By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.
Tips for Stepmothers - What To Do!
- Remember, this marriage is between you and your partner. Don't try to change things after the wedding where the children are concerned.
- Go by the rules (or non-rules) that the children's father has established and continue the rules that you have established for your children if you have them.
- The watchword here is "slowly".Establish a friendship with your stepchildren. Take their side when you can.
- If your husband has lost the children's mother through death, be very sensitive to their memories. Help them to remember her and to have a sense of her. They will ultimately appreciate you and even love you for it later.
- If you are in charge when their father is absent, make sure that he has delegated his authority to you and make sure he is reachable if you need help.
- Be careful with outward signs of affection. The stepfamily has a sexual climate that is usually more heated. Affection, "yes-"sexuality "no."
- Make sure that everyone has a set of cores and that you and your husband are a team about that. Enforcement comes from him with his children. Make sure that you aren't feeling that you are cleaning up for everyone.
- Make sure that your stepchildren know about you and your history and find out about theirs.
- Find ways to incorporate everyone's rituals into the family. Blend the rituals that are important to the children and to you and their father.
- Keep your expectations LOW. Make sure you and your husband have at least one date night each week without the kids. Remember, the marriage is for the two of you. If you are doing well, the kids will too. They grow up and leave home if you are successful. You and their father must have a life so that you can show them how successful families work.