Day 4: Step-by-Step Stepparenting
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
How long has it been since you’ve had a checkup to assess your spiritual health?
We all know that we need an occasional visit to the doctor to check our physical health. The same is true with our spiritual lives.
In Galatians 5:22-23, God has given us a process to evaluate our spiritual condition. “Reflecting the Fruit of the Spirit,” guides you through these verses with 10 diagnostic questions to help you assess how spiritually healthy you are.
We hope you find encouragement as you read “Reflecting the Fruit of the Spirit” and honestly answer the 10 questions. And we hope it will help you to be even more “fruitful” as you live out each of these characteristics of the Holy Spirit’s presence in your life.
“Reflecting the Fruit of the Spirit” is FREE! All you need to do is tell us where to send the PDF.
Stepparenting can be tough. Stepparents frequently report feeling confused about their role, displaced from their spouse when the stepchild is around, helpless to change the situation, and guilty because they know that God is expecting them to love their stepchildren, even though they sometimes don’t.
Finding an effective stepparent role is a challenge—you must persevere to find success. Here are some practical tips for the journey.
Relationship Building Tips for Stepparents
- Play! Having fun is a great way to connect.
- Track with them. Know what activities a child is engaged in and enter that world. Take them to practice, ask about an activity, and take interest in their interests.
- Share your talents, skills, and hobbies.
- Communicate your commitment. Let the child know you value and want a relationship with them.
- Share the Lord and your walk. Shared spirituality can facilitate connection and a sense of family identity, but don’t be preachy. Instead share with humility your faith journey so they will experience you as a safe person.
- The cardinal rule for stepparent/stepchild relationships is this: Let the children set the pace for their relationship with you. For example, if your stepchildren are open to physical affection from you, don’t leave them disappointed. If they remain aloof and cautious, respect their boundaries. As time brings you together, slowly increase your personal involvement and affections.
- It’s important that stepparents not consider themselves failures if they do not form deep emotional bonds with every child. The length of time required to move into this role depends on multiple factors, most of which are beyond the stepparent’s control. Enjoy the relationship you have now and trust that investments made over time will increase affection and respect.
Dos and Don’ts for Stepparents
- Early on, biological parents must pass power to stepparents in such a way that children understand that stepparents are not acting on their own authority
- Parents and stepparents negotiate rules together behind closed doors and seek unity in leading the family. The biological parent then communicates the rules to the children with the stepparent’s support.
- Stepfamilies where both parents bring children to the stepfamily still negotiate rules together, but each parent takes the lead role with their own children.
- Over time as emotional bonds with stepchildren deepen, stepparents can become more authoritative and shows of affection can become more common.
- Don’t be harsh or punish in a way inconsistent with the biological parent. This tends to polarize parents and create marital discord.
- Do focus on relationship-building with each child. This is your long-term strength as a parent figure.
Based on The Smart Stepfamily by Ron L. Deal. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
Ron Deal delivers a daily word of encouragement for those in stepfamilies and those who know them with 60-second short features from FamilyLife Blended®. Listen today.