The other day, a recently remarried friend commented,“I can’t seem to do anything right when it comes to parenting my spouse’s teenage kids.” This friend is finding step-parenting much more challenging than expected. If you are facing a similar difficulties in your family, it is important to realize you are not alone. Did you know that over half of the families in the United States today are blended families and millions of parents are facing the challenge of step-parenting? Here are a few ideas that may make the transition to step-parenting a little smoother:
First, take it slow. Don’t blame yourself if everything doesn’t go according to plan. Remember, there is no such thing as “instant love.” Love grows slowly over time so expect some rejection initially and try to keep a sense of humor.
Second, whenever possible, let the child’s biological parent do the disciplining. A step-parent’s role in the family with teenagers can be that of a role model, a mentor, and a friend. Work together with your spouse to decide house rules and to create structure at home; this will help you maintain a united front.
Finally, continue to strengthen your marriage. Over time, your love and commitment to your spouse will create security in the lives of your step-children. Keep your relationship alive and healthy, date regularly, and express your affection for each other in the presence of your children.
So, to recap, take it slow, let the biological parent discipline, and focus on your marriage. Good luck. I hope this is useful. If you would like to speak to a professional about your family’s specific situation, please contact us at Wasatch Family Therapy; We would love to help.
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