Whether you have moved in with your Partner or Married what do you expect as a Stepmum?
For the majority the first steps on the road of stepparenthood can be pretty daunting. Stop and think about it. Have you walked into a home with a Custodial Parent? Does you partner only see their kids every other weekend? Is your partner moving in with you?
Now whatever the situation put yourself in the childs position. Whos that women moving into our house? Daddy doesnt spend as much time with me now that she has moved in? I like our old place I dont want to move?
Scary thoughts right! and probably even worse for a child that may have stability issues having been bounced between parents.
It can be a major upheaval for EVERYONE. As a step parent you are walking into a family unit, with bonds and trust in place. It will take time to bond and trust with a new member of the family so do not expect things to be ideal from the moment you walk through the door, they will not. There will be work to do on both sides.
Boundaries: So that everyone including the kids know the boundaries that is acceptable you must discuss with your partner and then inform the kids. Also seek clarification with your partner they are happy for you to discipline the kids in their absence and what sanctions are appropriate. In doing this your partner will not start to feel they have lost control or that you are unfair in dealing with their children (its the authomatic defence mechanism to protect their children).
Bonds: DO NOT buy off the kids. Children will respect you more if you spend time with them. What I mean is spend time on activites together such as helping to bake cakes, making hand painting picture, having water fights on hot sunny days is a lot more bonding than buying Jimmy a new Wii game and him disappearing into his room for the rest of the weekend.
Birthparents: Regardless of the situation they have a place in the childs life! Depending on your situation that may be hard to swallow. You may never be able to accept that position, but you will have to accept your stepkids feelings and make sure whatever happens you will be there for them. In saying that though, it maybe difficult (or not in some cases) to try and work together, it will be more beneficial for the child. Just do the best you can.
Your Marriage/Relationship: Talk, discuss, be open with each other ooh and did I say TALK! The last thing you should do is clam up. This can cause resentment with your stepkids and build tension within your marriage/relationship. You must make time for your relationship and listen to your partners fears and issues, as well as being open about your own. Also work together and not against each other.
Above all else as a new stepparent, give yourself time!