So many parents are now taking on the role as a Step Parent. With this new role can come confusion and even at times hostilities from the children. How do we find a balance and settle into our new role?ABC Radio How to help positively shape your new step-parenting role? Unfortunately, it usually does not work out at all like the old TV program of the Brady Bunch. Following the steps below can help achieve that balance and allow everyone to settle into their new family. 1. Allow the biological parent to discipline their own children The stepparent is not and never will be the main parent, so disciplining the other partner’s child is often cause for dispute between the children and the stepparent as well as between the new couple. 2. Never denigrate the child’s other parent to them or the new partner Children love both their parents and find it very stressful to hear either their biological or stepparent speak badly about their parent. This leaves the children feeling upset. Children should have no real idea of the difficulties the biological parents are experiencing. Keep any discussion about the other parent away from the children at all times. 3. Spend time getting to know your step children It is important that the stepparent spend some time with their stepchildren without the biological parents always being there. It allows communication and the relationship to develop between the new parent and the child as they get to know each other. 4. Don’t try to step in to the role of their mother or father as they have one already Even if as the stepparent, you believe you could guide or direct the child’s behaviour or decisions; this is best left to the biological parent. Make suggestions as to what you feel could be beneficial, however always leave it up to either the child or the child’s parent to make that decision. 5. As the stepparent, invest in being the child’s mentor, not their parent Understand that you will never be the stepchild’s parent and while you may even be raising them fifty percent of their lives, it is safer for all if you mentor the child, guide them, assist them and support them without parenting them.

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