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When it comes to blending families and becoming a stepparent, creating a good dynamic, and introducing your new role to a family can be challenging. At TalkingParents, we understand the pivotal role that stepparents play, and the transition to becoming a stepparent is unique. Check out some of our other resources, including Tips for Blended Families
and ideas for How to Bond with Your Significant Others’ Kids
New stepparents are navigating multiple relationships, getting to know your step kids while working on a relationship with their other biological parent. On top of it all, you are continuing to build and create a relationship with your significant other.
Depending on the custody and parenting agreements in place, the children’s other parent likely has a say in big decisions. These decisions can include medical choices and schooling options that you disagree with but will need to accept.
Some expected emotions that stepparents may experience, such as jealousy of the other parent or the existing parent-child dynamic. Other feelings may include loneliness or confusion as you adjust to a new set up.
Talking to your significant other and finding communities (both online and in-person) to help you are important pieces of creating a support system
From the Kid’s Perspective
Depending on how long their parents have been separated or how long they have known you, the kids may feel apprehensive about a new person in their life. Give them time to warm up and try to understand the situation from their perspective. Building a connection and relationship when the kids are ready will take time. Follow their lead and try to create special moments to show them that they are important to you.
Take an interest in the things that are important to the kids and find areas in common that can help you bond with them.
Adjustments Take Time
US researcher Patricia Papernow
found that stepfamilies take 7-12 years to adjust to their new family structure. Remember to be patient with yourself, with your partner, and with your step kids. Everyone will adjust over time.
Celebrate Big and Small Wins
There will be challenges and conflict along the way, so make sure to celebrate big and small wins. Celebrate the times when your stepchild comes to you for advice or is excited to tell you about their day. Considering how many years the stepfamily adjustment can take, commemorating special moments along the way is essential to the success of that adjustment time.
Support for Stepparents
There are many online and offline resources for stepparents and blended families. Consider reaching out to friends, people in your community, or finding an online community for support.
National Stepfamily Resource Center
Reddit’s Stepparents Forum
Utilizing a service like TalkingParents is key to creating clear lines of communication between co-parents. The messaging, calling, shared calendar, and unalterable Records are easy ways to keep both parents accountable.
TalkingParents blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding legal matters.