Being a stepparent can be stressful and awesome at the same time. You are in constant worry of segregation among the children.
Sometimes, the kids make it difficult for you to deal with them, especially if they are adults. It is worse if they are teenagers. But it is less stressful when they are toddlers because they adapt rather easily.
Some kids might see you as a threat in the house or a replacement to their lost parent, either to death or divorce.
They might shift their anger towards you since they don’t know how best to handle their emotions.
Here are some things you shouldn’t do if you want to live peacefully with your stepchildren.
1. Do not act as their parent's replacement
This is the reason why they are angry. You do not want to make things worse by acting like you are there to replace the parent they have lost. Rather, be their friend. Nobody can handle their emotions, especially if things ended on a sour note between their parents.
2. Do not force friendship
These kids have to open up naturally, not when you force friendship down their throats. Give them time to adjust. They need to heal on their own. The moment you start forcing friendship, they will want you out. Their mom or dad learnt to grow with them gradually, so you should try that too.
3. Do not instill discipline
They are not your kids and you do not have the right to instill discipline in them. Leave that to their birth mom or dad or, at least, wait till they are more open to you or when their birth parent gives you the go-ahead to discipline them.
4. Do not assume authority
This is similar to instilling discipline. Do not assume you have authority over your stepchildren. You can make them do their chores or even cook for themselves if they do not warm up to the idea of you doing these things for them.
If they are teenagers, teach them how to, and if they are grown ups, just leave them to it. Do not say things like “I’m your stepmom so you have to ...”. This will not help at all.
5. Always give them space
Know that it is their father or mother’s house and you should allow them have their space. Do not force your way into their personal space. It is wrong. If they wish to talk to you, they will open up.
6. Do not turn your spouse/their parent against them
This will make things worse. They will not respect you. They will be scared of you and that is a bad start.