- Everyone will not be happy
While you and your new spouse may be blissfully happy it is important to recognize that most of the other members of the family are probably not approaching this transition from the same emotional place. It is important to not only recognize this but also behave accordingly. Too much enthusiasm or excitement in the face of other people’s emotional turmoil is a quick way to compromise all of your relationships with your own children and potential stepchildren.
- Just because you love your spouse does not mean everyone else in the situation has to love each other.
This is a great blog post on the issue that suggests you “aim for respect not love” between members of a blended family. That is not to say that love may not eventually develop but there is no use in trying to force love. Imagine if you had no control over the situation but someone was asking you to unconditionally love a random peer of yours without regard to possible conflicting personalities or lack of mutual interests. It is crucial that you have reasonable expectations.
- Becoming a step parent is one of the most complex roles in life
In order to successfully earn the trust and respect of stepchildren you must treat the situation with incredible sensitivity. Seeking to replace an existing parent will ensure your failure in bonding with you stepchildren. Your relationship is entirely unique. Do not try to fit it into a preexisting parental mold. In most cases, the children already have two parents and your role is more of a mentor, supporter, or role model than that of a parent.