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Step Parenting: 4 Things I have Learned Over Time

30 Jun 2015 – 03:47 PM EDT

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Step parenting can have its rollercoaster moments, but a blended family can be a beautiful experience if you keep an open mind and an open heart. There are so many things that I have learned with my three amazing step children along the way, and I wouldn’t change any of those moments for the world. We have grown closer since four years ago when I first met them. I enjoy spending time with them on weekends and if we get to do some sort of adventure such as a vacation or excursion of some sort.

Without a doubt, I make my share of mistakes and will probably make many more, but my main objective as their step-mom is to offer them a sense of security, encouragement, a loving home to come to and moments of family bonding time. I feel closer to them when they tell me what’s going on in their lives and when they share their good and bad days with me. While there are many things I have learned over the years, these lessons stick out more than the rest.

Be Someone They Can Turn To, But…

It is important to be someone your step kids can turn to, but don’t try to be their best friend. The only way you will gain respect from your step children is if you stand by them and be there when they need you. Don’t hover over them, be nosy, or try to hang out with them as teens and avoid asking too many questions when they want their privacy. Just be there, it’s as simple as that.

Give Them Time and Space

When you first meet your step children, don’t expect an automatic warm and friendly response. Give them time to get to know you and build a relationship with you. Do not push them too fast or get upset if they don’t warm up to you right away. Give them time and space to get to know you as their parent’s new partner and friend.

Avoid Spoiling Them

It’s natural to want to shower your step kids with gifts on holidays and birthdays, but don’t go overboard. Like any children, if they have a certain amount of gifts one year, they might expect more the following year. Keep the spoiling to a minimum. You want your step children to like you for you, not what you can give them.

Let Them Know the Real You

While younger kids don’t normally ask too many questions about their parents or step parents, it’s ok to show the real you to your step kids. The more they get to know you and know that you too have bad days, good days, moments that you are unsure of and so forth, they will relate to you more. Don’t pretend you are super Mom or Dad, just be who you really are and they will respect you more as the new person in their Mom or Dad’s life and in theirs.

Step parenting can be a wonderful experience if you keep to the basics and keep things simple. Don’t over complicate things at home. Just let your step kids know that you are there for them if they need you.