Blended families are complex. Knowing how to deal with your stepchild(ren) is essential to the success of your new marriage or new committed relationship. As well, when you consider the effects of divorce on children, it is essential that you now play a positive role in the lives of your stepchild or stepchildren.
Stepparents often have a difficult time defining their roles in dealing with a child of their new partner. This is especially true in the beginning of the relationship when 'authority' and 'the right to parent' have not been established. This is a good exercise to help you correctly build this new and important relationship.
This exercise suggests that you – as a stepparent – think of your role as a 'roommate.' Even though you may not want to define your role this way, thinking in those terms will enable you to interact successfully with your stepchild(ren).
Answer the following questions. Record your results below.
You may want to print this exercise for ease of use. Click the Print Friendly button above. From there you can also format this exercise into a PDF file or email it to a friend. Note: Printing from a computer works best.
List five responsibilities you think are reasonable as a sensitive and responsible roommate.
What are five things you expect from a roommate?
What do you do when a roommate doesn’t fulfill his or her responsibilities?
How would you approach your roommate if he or she were not behaving as a good citizen in your shared home?
How would you motivate your roommate to cooperate in doing chores?
What would you do to avoid expressions of anger when discussing problems with your roommate?
Your answers suggest a style of interactions you can use with your stepchild(ren).
Hopefully, depending on the age of your stepchild(ren) and the opinion of your new partner, you will eventually function more like a 'birthparent.'