When dealing with stepchildren, it is important to remember to have set ground rules with your spouse to keep family arguments to a minimum. To avoid feelings of betrayal, the stepchildren should understand that the stepparent is not replacing the biological parent, according to A Better Child.
A new family was created due to a death or divorce of a biological parent, and it is important to let stepchildren know that this new family might function differently than their biological family and to be open-minded about these new expectations. In addition, the stepparent should not expect an instant bond with stepchildren. However, stepparents and stepchildren can be respectful of one another right away. Through time, a relationship develops as the stepchild and stepparent begin to understand each others' common interests.
A stepparent and a new spouse should discuss how to discipline their children. Some stepparents agree to assume the role of adult-in-charge when the biological parent is not present. Making this role clear helps to prevent stepchildren from being angry over the feeling that an unfair consequence is being decided for them by this new stepparent who is not their real mom or dad.
In blended families, neither biological children nor stepchildren should be ignored. Spending some special quality time with each child ensures that competition for attention remains low. Such competition is often a cause for many arguments between biological children and stepchildren. Spouses must work on their own relationships as parenting stepchildren together can cause much stress and tension. Remembering to work as a team is critical for laying down the foundation of a new family.