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Success Tips for Step-Parents
By Susie and Otto Collins

Matt always wanted a big family and now that he's married to Corey, he's got it. Between the two of them, they now have 5 children, plus the two of them.

But this is not the way he envisioned his big, happy family to be.  In fact, there seems to be a whole lot of unhappy with a bit of tolerable thrown in.

If you are a step-parent, or have a blended family, you probably know where Matt is coming from.

As hard as you try to keep things harmonious and loving, there are challenges and bumps along the way-- sometimes a lot of them.

It's true. In any family, there are certainly challenges and unhappy moments (or more than just a few).

But, some of the situations and dynamics in blended families can be unique. In many respects, you are thrown together in close and intimate space with people whom you don't really know well.

You and your spouse are trying to create a marriage that is healthy, trust-filled and passionate. You also possibly want to feel close and connected with your spouse's children-- and that your spouse will enjoy a closeness with your own children.

It can get tricky to navigate all of these budding relationships!

Try these success tips if you are step-parent...

Work with instead of against your partner.

If you and your mate both have children, there may be occasions during which you feel torn. Perhaps there is a disagreement or conflict that involves your partner and your child.

Whose "side" do you choose?

We recommend that you attend to both relationships without choosing either "side." Ask yourself if this disagreement truly involves you.

Quite often, it really doesn't. In many cases, the people involved in a conflict can effectively come to a peaceful resolution on their own.

Is your child asking for you to become involved? If he or she is, perhaps you could listen to your child talk about what's going on during a private conversation.

There might be situations in which your child feels unsafe or unheard.

Please pay attention if this happens. You might help him or her practice saying what needs to be said.

You could even agree to be present during the conversation that your child has with your mate about the disagreement-- you would remain
silent or possibly re-state what your child said if that is wanted.

*If at any time you discover that your child feels fear for his or her physical or emotional safety, follow up and discover what's going on and take appropriate action.

We don't recommend that you step in and try to solve the conflict between your child and your partner.

You can be a listener and even offer feedback when it's asked for-- from your spouse as well.

Matt realizes that he tends to try to intervene whenever he senses conflict between Corey and one of his daughters. This almost always leads to both his daughter and Corey being irritated with him-- as
well as at one another.

The next time that a disagreement arises, he plans to make himself available to both Corey and his daughters, but not to get involved unless he is asked to.

Don't take it personally
Even though your partner loves you and wants to spend time with you--after all, he or she married you-- your mate's children might not want much to do with you.

As cool, loving, funny, interesting or parental as you try to be, your step-child or step-children may take awhile to accept you.

There is really no guarantee that they will ever like you or even love you.

Don't take any of this personally. Try to stay open and tuned in to what your step-children are asking for.

Perhaps they are expressing interest in you and want to get to know you. Perhaps they are wanting space to process how they are feeling and the changes that are going on in their lives.

You can't demand or force their love or even like. You can expect respect.

Make it a household policy that you will all respect one another. Be specific about what being respectful means to each of you and then hold everyone-- including yourself-- accountable. 

In the midst of a busy family life, be sure that you are making time for just you and your mate. Create space and time for the passion and connection that brought you together.
If you'd like more tips for how to have a close and passionate relationship, check out Susie and Otto Collins' free report: "5 Keys to a Great Relationship"


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Contact Info
Relationship Coaches Susie and Otto Collins, PO Box 14544, Columbus, OH 43214
Contact Susie or Otto about Relationship Coaching by calling (614) 568-8282.
For all other inquiries, contact us by email.

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