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Tips for Step Parents

Tips for Step Parents

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Tips for Step Parents

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Step Parenting: "My step daughter doesn't listen to me, and often says things that upset me. How can I communicate my boundaries with her, without undermining her biological parents or damaging our relationship?"

 

Being a step-parent can be a challenging experience.  It sounds like you are wanting to create a respectful and appropriate relationship with your step daughter- one that fosters a healthy relationship between you and her whilst allowing her biological parents to do the parenting.

 

You may like to consider the following:

  1. Work with your partner.  Let them know how you are feeling and take responsibility for what you can do to make positive change between you and your step daughter.
  2. Understand adolescent development.  Understanding what your step daughter is going through during this stage of development can be helpful for you in managing this time of life.
  3. Understand what is and isn’t in your control. Let go of what you don’t have control over and take charge of what you do have control over. You have control over you and creating the foundations for a respectful relationship with your step daughter.
  4. Understand the importance of building a relationship first.  There are many ways to build connection.  One is through validating her feelings and perspective. This doesn’t mean you agree with her feelings or perspective it means you are hearing how it is for her.  With this understanding she is likely to feel heard, more likely to feel safe and therefore more likely to be open with you.
  5. Understand the importance of listening.  Listening provides the opportunity to know and understand your step daughter. 
  6. Understand boundaries.  Boundaries are not about control, they are about setting a line in the sand you do not want crossed.  For example, it sounds like your step daughter’s comments can really upset you.  You can set boundaries by owning your feelings and articulating this to her through ‘I’ statements. ‘I’ statements are all about respectful assertive communication.  Respectful to yourself because you are expressing your feelings, respectful to your step daughter because you are not blaming her, you are telling her how you feel about the behaviour you are receiving.  
  7. Understand the importance of being a positive role model.  Manage your emotions, communicate respectfully, apologise when your behaviour is less than you expect, show compassion for yourself when you disappoint yourself.  Teens learn so much from what they see. 

 

Child & Family Professional, The Benevolent Society


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We are Child and Family Professionals from The Benevolent Society, answering questions for the ReachOut Parents event: Ask a Child and Family Professional a Question


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Re: Tips for Step Parents

Thank you so much coach90. It is a very timely post. 

I am struggling to learn how to let go and to respect boundaries. It is so hard to work on a new relationship who has minimal contact, and to earn trust and validation when there are academic pressures on the child. 

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Re: Tips for Step Parents

We're glad you found it helpful @PeteNorthside 

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