Parenting is hard. Parenting a stepchild is even harder! There is so much confusion around what is okay and what is not. What your role is and what it is not. Thankfully Tasha, my son’s stepmom, does a top-notch job at parenting my son right along with her own kiddos.
Okay, it’s no secret that I’m actually the bio mom so I had to call in some reinforcements for this post. I asked Tasha to give me a little insight into what parenting a stepchild looks like for her. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you know that I strongly advocate for the mom and step-mom relationship. I have a beautiful relationship with Tasha and you can have a beautiful mom and step-mom relationship too! Here are Tasha’s top 3 tips for parenting a stepchild.
Structure and routine
You need to keep the same structure and routine when you have for your bio kids even when your bonus kids are with you. With the bonus kids only being with you part of the time it tends to throw things off. You need to make sure you keep the same routine and structure. For example, nap time. My 2 bio kids are still very young and they nap every day. My bonus son does not nap anymore. To keep the same routine and structure on a consistent basis my bonus son has “quite time” alone in his room when the 2 younger children are napping. This keeps the same quite environment my little ones are used to while napping and it gives my bonus son a little alone time which he greatly appreciates since his little brother wants to be all up in his business at all times.
Discipline is still very important when parenting a stepchild. You may want to “take it easy” on your bonus kids since they aren’t there all the time. You want them to feel loved and welcome in your home and sometime you let them slide a little on the rules. This will certainly lead to disaster. This teaches your bonus kids they can “get away with more” at your home and it teaches your bio kids that the rules don’t apply for their step siblings. This train of thought leads to hostility, self-doubt, feelings of inadequacy and rejection from your bio kids. It also leads to entitlement and disrespect from your bonus kids.
Stick to the same discipline methods for both your bio and bonus kids. The expectations and consequences need to be the same. Go over these things with your husband to make sure the two of you are on the same page and are both enforcing the same rules and consequences. You should also talk with your bonus kids’ mom about what kind of rules and consequences you have in your home. Ultimately it is your home and your rules but peace and comradery go a long way in the mom and step-mom relationship. It’s always a good idea to have open lines of communication.
Make things a little special
So we just talked about keeping the same structure and routine and keeping the same rules and consequences but there are little things you can do to make it special when the bonus kids come. Pay attention to what favorite foods your bonus kids have and try to prepare those foods when they are home. Keep a special toy or two at your house that they don’t have access to at their moms’ house. Come up with special “sibling” games or activities that you only do when you have all the kids. This gives your bonus kids and bio kids something fun and special to look forward too and it doesn’t change the rules for anyone.
Being a Step-mom is hard. Co-parenting is always going to have its ups and downs and that’s okay. Give yourself a break! You’re doing a good job!
There will be ups an downs during any parenting journey. One thing you cannot survive without is a support system. You need the support of your husband and family and you need the support of the bio mom. If you can all work together co-parenting for the betterment of all your children then you will rock this whole co-parenting thing!
And there you have it. Some pretty solid tips from the best Step-Mom I know. If you’re looking to start a loving relationship with your step child’s bio mom, check out my post here for some great mom and step-mom date ideas.