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Successful Stepparenting
 
While stepfamilies face lots of 'interesting' challenges! - it's not all doom and gloom and sometimes we need to put things in perspective.
 
All couples and families face problems - lots of the time. It's not just the preserve of stepfamilies! Although it's important to recognise any problems you might have in your family it's also important not to get obsessed by them and keep everything in perspective.
 
Take a moment to count your blessings. In today's fast moving world it's easy to forget how much we have to be grateful for - whether it's a great relationship with our partner, supportive family and friends, happy and healthy children or a lovely home. Remember life's never perfect but we can always strive to make it as good as possible!
 
A number of stepfamilies who considered themselves 'successful', having gone through the various stages and emerged relatively unscathed they wanted to share the 'secrets of their success' with others. Take a look through the list below and ask yourself if you're currently doing this in your family - if not, why not give it a try and see if it makes a difference in your family.
  • Accept that conflict is healthy and part of normal, loving relationships
  • Be honest and open. Learn to listen without criticising
  • Forge a relationship with your stepchildren based on mutual trust. Learn to like your stepchildren
  • Say sorry. Learn to accept when you're wrong or simply need help
  • Clarify your role in the family - remove any ambiguity
  • Learn to communicate effectively and resolve conflict - don't go to bed angry
  • Spent quality time together as a family - have fun and make your own shared memories
  • Create family rituals that bind you together as a family unit
  • Make sure you rely on a strong support system - from family and friends and from your partner
  • Try and find a positive relationship with your ex partner - remove animosity or blame
  • Have realistic expectations and don't try and rush things - stepfamilies take time to form and develop
  • Be flexible. Stepfamilies are more complicated than first families
  • Do things together as a family as much as possible to develop a sense of an integrated family unit
  • Develop a good sense of humour! When all else fails, try humour to get you through!