Trying to make a blended family come together can always be a bit of a challenge. One area many struggle with are stepparent boundaries. Knowing what lines you shouldn’t cross can make bringing your new family closer much easier to accomplish…
Take the role of their biological parent
One of the stepparent boundaries to respect is that of your stepchild’s mother or father. The thing is, you can’t take the place of that parent, nor should you. Your stepchild is still going to need to love that parent as they normally would. This means you shouldn’t even ask them to call you “mom” or “dad”.
Still, you should still try to be a good source of support and positivity for them. You can be a good mentor for them and earn their love and respect, even if you aren’t their “real” parent. Eventually, they may be comfortable with calling you “mom” or” dad”, but you should let them reach that point on their own.
Discipline and authority
Another of the stepparent boundaries to be mindful of are in regards to discipline. Younger stepchildren may be more willing to see you in a position of authority and rule enforcement. However, older kids may be more willing to reject you as an authority figure and your rules.
That’s why it’s better to come up with rules and discipline with your spouse. Instead of trying to be a heavy-handed disciplinarian, try to focus more on being friendly and supportive. When your stepchild breaks the rules, go to their parent for discipline instead of trying to do it yourself.
your partner and their ex’s discussions
This is one of the stepparent boundaries which doesn’t involve your stepchildren in specific. Rather, it involves the discussions your spouse has with their ex. As their new partner, it can be tempting to get yourself involved when they talk. However, it could end up making things worse between them.
The thing is, their co-parenting agreement is between the two of them, not you. While it’s fine to offer some advice to your spouse, those discussion need to be between the two of them. In fact, this can help you build a positive relationship yourself with their ex, especially if things ended on good terms.