How to Get on the Good Side of Your Step-Child(ren)

Step-parents are a part of a new family that should not walk on eggshells, but should also not be a heavy hand. Trying to change a step-child's world too soon can cause negative results.

A new life is about to begin with a new ready-made family.  You are moving into a new home with an established group of people and you want to make a good first impression.

How you presented yourself before you became a full-on member of the family has absolutely no influence on how you will be treated now that you have married into the family.  A few things listed below may help you improve your mindset and create an amiable relationship with even the most contrary of children in the household.

You Are Not their Friend

No matter how much you want the children to like you, the very last thing you want them to consider you to be is their friend.  Once you have crossed over parent boundaries into friendship you will have lost their obedience when it is needed the most.  Being friendly but still keeping your distance from children in your new family will help you to create boundaries that will enable you to ensure that the household continues to flow.

You Cannot Play Favorites

If you are bringing your own children into the new family be sure that you are not giving either your own children of the children of your new family preferential treatment.  Regardless of the child, they should all be treated as equals in your eyes.  If you show preference to your own children then the step-children will begin to not only resent you.  If you show prerefence to the step-children over your own children then animosity may build up between both child groups and make a symbiotic relationship between the entire family more difficult.

You are the Interloper

When you move into a home with teenagers you have to be especially careful to not overstep pre-conceived boundaries.  Whether you are a male or female step-parent it does not make a difference.  Your involvement in their life will move through many transitions before everyone will find the comfort zone.  Do not try to walk into the home and begin setting rules down that are contrary to what the kids in the house have become comfortable with.

Learn the Family History

Do not nose around the house, but it would do you a great deal of good if you can learn important things about the family.  If you can learn about the missing parent, whether they passed away or moved on; favorite grandparents and cousins that cause trouble, or other small pieces of information that preceeded your inclusion in the family then you may be able to learn how to cooperate within their demographic.


Before any perception of negative feelings become reality it is a good idea to talk with the person who you are concerned with.  If you move to speak with your spouse for every foreboding feeling he/she may dismiss your concerns.  Nipping negative perceptions in the bud, before they are blown out of proportion, will help you and your new family to begin to work together as a cohesive unit.

This should be done in a civil and responsible tone.  No one should feel as though they are being accused of any negative behavior as this will create additional tension.  If you begin to feel that your own blood pressure is going to rise, take a deep breath and ask the other person what they would like to see that would make things easier on the household.  Even if their response is for you to leave the house, do not play into their hands.  It is better to discuss things in a calm and reasonable way.  This will show the child that you are willing to talk with them and not just shout at them, and will likely lighten the air.


No matter what kind of situation you have married into, it is your right to be happy in your new life, but you have to also live within the rules and regulations that have become part of your new life before you joined it.  Getting together with your entire new family at the beginning will help you to become a happy part of the new family for years to come.


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Virginia Grant
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Posted on Jan 17, 2012
New Energy
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Posted on Jan 17, 2012