7 Things a Step-Parent Should Never Say ...

Blended families go through really big changes and some difficult moments, but no matter how tough things get there are some things a step-parent should never say. Your step-child may get angry and out of control, or your spouse’s ex may do things you don’t understand, but you need to learn to keep your distance during these moments. As a step-mom myself, I have learned firsthand about the things a step-parent should never say…

1. Never Put down Their Birth Parent…

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Regardless of the type of relationship your step-child has with their birth parent, this advice is the most important and that's why is it numero uno in the things a step-parent should never say. Even if your spouse’s child “hates” their birth parent, you need to be the adult in the situation and never put down their mom or dad.

2. Don’t Try to Discipline Them…

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Your step-kids need to treat you with the same respect they would show any adult. However, if they get out of line, don’t try to discipline them; let your spouse be the one to take charge. No one wants to hear those dreaded words, “You’re not my mom/dad, you can’t tell me what to do.” Yes, you can give them love, support, and parental advice. But don’t argue with them or discipline them when they say things that hurt your feelings or do something they shouldn’t. If your spouse isn’t around when this does happen, contact them on how to handle the situation. Then tell the child, “I called your dad/mom and they said you aren’t allowed to watch TV, go outside, etc.” Having the support of your spouse will make things better for everyone.

3. Don’t Be a Pushover…

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When you step into a family with older kids, there is a fine line for a step-parent between discipline and becoming a pushover. On the one hand you don’t want them to dislike you, but on the other hand you also don’t want them walking all over you. If your spouse has set guidelines and rules the children are supposed to follow, don’t break them just because you want the kids to like you. If they aren’t supposed to eat ice cream before dinner, then no ice cream. They might get upset and say mean things, but you need to be the “parent” figure and make sure they follow the house rules. Never say yes when the answer should be no.

4. Don’t Make Them Feel Left out...

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You and your spouse, just like any other couple, need your alone time. However, you shouldn’t make your step-child feel left out by doing new things without them. If you are taking a vacation, a road trip, or visiting a location the child has never been to, try to include them if you can. Even when you do have a date night or take a mini vacation together, just the two of you, allow your spouse to be the one to tell your step-child that the adults need alone time. If you have included them on a trip the weekend before, they will understand that this trip is just for the parents to enjoy by themselves.

5. Never Make Them Feel Less than...

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If you are bringing biological children into the mix or have children in the future with your spouse, be sure to love your step-children the same as your “own.” You never want to make your step-child feel like they are less than your biological child, both children are yours and they should feel this way. It will take time to actually share this bond between the two of you, but never favor or give special treatment to one child over the other. Take your step-child out for lunch, just the two of you, and give him/her the same “mommy” and me day that you would give to your biological child.

6. Don’t Try to “Be Cool”...

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This goes along the lines of being a pushover, but it’s also more than that. Trying to act cool and be “one of the kids” is something you never want to do. It’s one thing to make your step-kids feel comfortable enough to come to you for advice, but it’s another thing to just let them do whatever they want because you’re trying to be the “cool” parent. If you become too much of a friend, you will never get the respect of being their parent.

7. Don’t Try to Get Rid of Their Traditions…

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It’s not always easy dealing with traditions and memories your step-children and spouse made before you came into their lives. There have been many of times when I got jealous if I heard the words, “Remember when?” or “It’s a family tradition.” No I don’t remember when and what about me and my traditions? So, I can’t tell you that you won’t get jealous or a little sad when you hear these words as well. However, do not ever try to stop these traditions or bash their memories. In time you will make new memories and traditions that they will share with their own families and say to you, “Remember when?”

What things as a step-parent have you learned to never say? Have you ever made the mistake of saying these things a step-parent should never say? Don’t worry, I’ve stepped on plenty of toes in the beginning, just remember it takes time, patience, and above all else...love.

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