Families come in all different shapes and sizes. Some families have one dad and one mom, some have one or the other, and some have various combinations of moms and dads, and, even still, some families have step parents. Every family is different from the outside looking in, but all families have at least one thing in common – love. Love is the glue that holds families together, and even though some families may break apart and add new members, love is always present. It is when families separate, however, that the opportunity for step parents arises, and a new change like that can be scary. So, there are a few tips below to help with navigating a new family with step parents.
First of all, it is good to be aware that things are going to be different. When you go from living with a mom and dad to a parent and step parent, the household rules and happenings are going to be different. Your parent might have you on a routine of cleaning on Saturday mornings, while your new step parent may prefer a routine of cleaning on Sunday afternoons. These little changes and hiccups can be worked through and shouldn’t get the household worked up. It is important to host a family meeting for everyone to get on the same page, and the best way to compromise with everyone’s schedule and create one that works for everyone in your newly formed family is to show each other respect. Use the same respect with step parents that you might use with your parent, teacher, or coach because they deserve it, and you deserve their respect too.
Another thing to consider when adjusting to a new step parent is that it is going to take time. Patience is required in this situation. It takes time to adjust to a new home with a new person, and it is okay to feel aggravated or sad at times. It is not okay, however, to treat your step parent poorly because of your own frustrations. If your step parent does things that annoy you like watching television at the same time your show is on, it is important to talk to them about it. They might not be aware that you have a show you’d like to watch at that time, and talking to them could free up the TV for you. If you don’t express those feelings and just continue to dwell on your irritation, it could cause conflict among the whole family. Just be sure to practice patience while the whole family adjusts to the new changes at hand.
The next thing to take into account is the details of your new life. Holidays and celebrations may now be divided between your two parents in the case of a divorce or among parents and grandparents, and all of this can be confusing. If you have any concern regarding how specific circumstances are going to work moving forward, talk with your parents and step parents about it. If you are more comfortable talking with your parent one-on-one, then ask them to speak just to the two of you. Do not live with feelings of fear or anxiety when all it takes is a quick word to sort things out.
Entering into a new home with step parents is not always seen as a positive thing by children, but step parents can turn out to be quite a blessing. It just takes understanding, patience, and a willingness to talk through the tough situations in order to grow as a person and grow closer together as a family.