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Rules that everyone should know going into a relationship when kids are involved
Whether you met the kids when they were one year old, teenagers, or full grown adults, there are still learning curves to being a step parent.
You will have questions like, how long should you wait to meet them? How involved should you be in their lives?
Or more simple questions like, will we get along? Will they respect me?
Being a step parent is not an easy task. It can cause a lot of stress between you and your partner. I feel that there are some ground rules that you have to set for yourself up front.
My step kids don’t obey the simple house rules but I have to follow rules for step parenting?
That’s ridiculous! Or in teenager jargon, “that’s wack”!
Where do they come up with this stuff?
Anyway, the answer is “YES”, we should follow a couple of ‘golden rules’, as I like to call them.
Rule #1 Never try to replace their biological parent
You also do not want to be their best friend as this will cause problems down the road. You are there for extra support to your partner and the kids.
Make sure that they respect you, as their elder. Anything that you say is just as important as if your partner or their biological parent were saying it.
This is something that your partner has to stand behind you on as well, otherwise you may grow to resent each other. You need to have each other’s backs when it comes to making decisions, even if at the time you don’t agree on what the other said.
Never argue in front of the kids. Instead, wait until they are in bed and then discuss the issue and what steps should be taken next time that situation comes up. It’s not always easy because your partner will not always have your back.
Just like any other couple there will be disagreements.
And your partner won’t always understand where you are coming from because they may have never been in your situation.
It comes back to the old saying “until they walk in your shoes, they won’t understand”. However, a great partner will try to be as supportive as they can.
Rule #2 Try walking in the child’s shoes.
Like I stated up above with your partner not understanding you.
Walk in their shoes.
Imagine…Mom or Dad starts dating and this new person is coming over to your house and taking your time away from you with that parent. All summer you and your parent spent countless hours hiking, kickin’ each other’s butt at FortNite, or going to movies.
Now you have to share that special person in your life with someone else.
You have a choice whether you want to be a part of that family.
The kids don’t have a choice.
They are kids.
The kids don’t have a choice whether they want you a part of their life or not. Sure they can say what they want to your partner but in reality, it’s up to your partner if you stay or go.
It’s not up to the kids.
To avoid this from happening, make sure to include the children in your plans. I know as a single person that this can be difficult.
Not having to worry about anyone but yourself is way easier. You can go out any night of the week and not have to worry about picking anyone up from soccer practice.
Be patient with the kids, include them in on some date nights, and treat them like little humans.
Rule #3 Communication
Always keep the lines of communication open between the kids and your partner. If at all possible co-parenting with your partner’s ex.
Sometimes this is not possible (which is my situation).
For the most part, this can be a touchy subject.
Showing the kids that you are able to be the better person and communicating when possible. This teaches the kids that communication is key in anything you do, which it is.
If your partners ex hates your guts, it makes things a little more difficult. But you do have to remember to not talk bad about their biological parents.
If you do this, the kids will see you in a bad light. The kids may say that they hate their mom or dad but you cannot.
You have to remember that you are the adult and you should take the higher ground.
I feel that these rules are most important to remember when going into a relationship and kids are involved because it will help your relationship down the road with the kids and your partner.
Of course there are many other rules and guidelines that you should follow when dating someone with kids but do I know what will work best for you and your situation?
No, of course not!
My situation is different than yours along with my neighbors next door. I’m merely telling you what I have learned from my own experiences.
Like I stated before, step parenting is never easy.
We always seem to be the bad guy that gets the blunt of everything.
Stay positive because when the kids come to give you a hug at bedtime or run to you when they fall down and get a scratch on their knee, it’s all worth it.