Your guide to becoming a step-parent

By Carolyn Parfit

Your Guide To Becoming A Step-parent
Try these top tips on step-parenting and blended families, plus check out our helpful list of resources to make the journey that much easier.

A modern-day guide to step-parenting: tips and advice.

You’ve met ‘the one’ but they come with kids. What comes next can be an enriching experience for you all.

Welcome to the world of step-parenting and blended families. Try our top twelve step-parenting tips and don’t forget to use the support resources below if needed.

A guide to step-parenting: 12 tips

  1. Wherever possible, use humour.
  2. Be kind to yourself. Remember it will take some years for this new arrangement to settle.
  3. Make it clear to the children that you are not replacing their father/mother, but you will support them whenever they need you.
  4. Form the most positive relationship you can with the other parent.
  5. Accept assistance from friends, the other parent and grandparents when you need it.
  6. One of the most important step-parenting tips is to talk to your partner about house rules and agree to stick to them.
  7. Be a support, but leave the disciplining to your partner.
  8. Realise that these feelings are okay and will pass: frustration, jealousy, guilt, sadness, anger and powerlessness.
  9. Take time out for yourself and give the children and your partner time alone together.
  10. Know that divided loyalties and competition will arise, particularly during the festive season.
  11. Seek help from a therapist or support group if it all gets too much. Step-parenting books are another great resource when you’re struggling.
  12. Be loving. Give the kids your time, interest and effort – they are precious.

Resources on step-parenting and blended families

Step-parenting books and resources:

  • Stepmother Love – Ten Inspiring Stories about the Toughest Gig in the World, by Sally Collins (Simon & Schuster, 2014).
  • The Other Mother – A Tale of Love, Blending Families and Becoming a Wicked Stepmum, by Kelly Chandler (Affirm Press, 2017).
  • Take Heart – A Story for Modern Stepfamilies, by Chloe Shorten (Melbourne University Publishing, 2107).

For kids:

  • Super Jack, by Susanne Gervay (Harper Collins, 2003) – Jack learns how to deal with his new extended family.
  • Wicked! (Parts 1 to 6), by Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman – A tale of step-siblings Rory and Dawn who hate each other.

For support and information in Australia:

For support and information in New Zealand:

READ MORE: Positive Parenting.


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