According to author and expert, Molly Barrow, PhD., blending a family is not easy. "You can't force it before it's ready," says Barlow. Therefore, tips should emphasize patience, family discussions, and a supportive message to stepchildren - one that permits the primary parent the latitude to discipline his children while the stepparent takes a step back and earns the new step-children's trust and respect.
The Health and Parenting section of WebMD offers some tips and guidelines for successful stepparenting. Stepparents are advised to take small "steps" when bonding with their stepchildren. Try not to hurry the process. Don't try to create an instantaneous bond if you want to establish trust.
WebMD also advises that stepparents stay on the same page as their spouse with respect to discipline. Stepparents and spouses should discuss the kinds of methods used for rewards and punishments and agree to the establishment of certain disciplinary rules.
Having weekly meetings allows members of the family to share their feelings and preferences. Stepparents should refrain from setting too high of expectations when relating with stepchildren or trying to enforce the same set of criteria as they would with their biological offspring.
The site adds that stepparents should refrain from overstepping their bounds when they are meting out punishments or disciplining the children in their new family.