Parenting in Mixed Families

Mixed families, or families with step parents, are often viewed as an extra challenge. My wife had a son when we met and now we have two kids making our kid count three, This is not much by most standards but every now and then, the mixed family stereotype touches us. My situation is tame in comparison to the dads and moms who come into a child’s life at 14 or even later. At this point there is inherent confusion as to the role of the new parent and sometimes, the child or young adult ends up quite bitter.

So now that we see they’re different, how does a step parent thrive in the situation?

I think the following list is a good place to start:

  1. Treat the child normally but be extra kind. The child is wondering if you love them as much since you aren’t their natural birth parent.
  2. Spend time with them regularly.
  3. Share a passion. For my son and I it is guitar.  We listen to Dave Sharp CD’s and air guitar them while driving.
  4. Hug them often.
  5. Remember your spouse loves that child immensely.
  6. Take them under your wing as if they were your own.

A few expressions of caring and love such as these will go a long way toward balancing your home.  If you are new to a mixed family, beware of the mistake of thinking it isn’t any different from a traditional family.  Do you have experience and/or advice about parenting in a mixed family?

2 Replies to “Parenting in Mixed Families”

  1. Good tips Damien – I was lucky to have met my husband when my son was just 1 year old so it was probably a lot easier because of that. For us the only thing was discipline – my husband didn’t want to come across as the “bad guy” or do anything I didn’t like. But after figuring out some clear guidelines and rules of the house we’ve gotten that under control.

    We’re expecting baby #3 in June, so we’ll see what its like having 3 kids pretty soon!

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