There are fewer things in life as rewarding as being a good parent, unless it’s being a good stepparent. Imagine the quarterback thrown into the middle of a big title game without a helmet, game plan, or cleats and you now know what it can feel like to be a stepparent. However, with great communication and proper goals in mind, being a good stepparent is as easy as 1-2-3.
1. Speak Well of the Parents
Whatever the situation was that brought you into your stepchild’s life, it is important to speak well of the first parents he ever knew. Being a good stepparent depends on this. For so many children, how they think of their parents is how they think of themselves. When the other parent’s name is mentioned, but even more than civil, be kind. This is for the sake of your stepchild’s environment, making it as happy and stable as it possibly can be. And we all know when the kids are happy, so are we!
2. Get Your Own Niche
You aren’t your stepchild’s mom, so don’t try to be. Whatever works for your integration into the family is the best way to be. Find your niche, what makes you comfortable, what makes your stepchild feel secure and hopefully happy, and what works for the parents, and do it. The only rules on this are your own.
3. Have Fun
It can be stressful to become a step-parent, especially if you’ve never had a child of your own. But more importantly, it can be the best experience of your life. Have fun with it, even when you’re helping your little one to learn valuable lessons. Even in the stress of feeling like everything you do is wrong, find a way to let loose and let the laughter roll.
4. Smiles Go a Long Way
When you’re the new parent in town, walking in with a smile on will make your stepkiddo feel more like you are friend and not foe. There were a lot of changes that happened in his life to get this new family to this point. Let him know your goal is just to be a positive influence in his life, no matter his age.
5. Spend a Lot of Time, Time, Time, and a Little Money
The only thing spending a lot of money on a child does, is to set up an expectation that you spend a lot of money on children. Instead, make her feel special by knowing you are willing to spend the priceless commodity of time on her. Listen with her more than you talk to her, play a game with her more than you buy her toys, Read with her more than you take her to the movies. In the end, the toys will wind up in the dump, clothes will be outgrown, but the memories of time spent making her feel special will last a lifetime.
6. Be Supportive
Whatever his interest, be supportive (as long as it’s not harming anyone, especially himself!) If he’s into juggling, get some old tennis balls and watch a YouTube video together, if she likes baseball, get her a glove and play catch with her. Whatever it is, if it’s making her more of herself, then bring it on!
7. Show up
There will be a million book fairs, holiday concerts, parades, and spelling bees in a child’s life. It’s not enough that you went to one once. Each one is important to your stepchild. If you show up for as many as possible, it just cements in their lives that they are important to you.
Being a stepparent is a joy and a responsibility, and one that will change your life for the better forever. What is the best advice you could give to a new stepparent?