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Three things to help stepparents peacefully coexist with kids

As we have come to learn through reality TV and media reports, the blended family has become an integral part of today’s American culture. At least one-third of American children will live in a household that includes a step-parent at one point in their lives. Because of that, more emphasis is being put on how blended families can co-exist.

While every family is different, a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University found that the relationship between step-parents and children can be strengthened by maintaining three principles. This post will describe them and how they contribute to a cohesive modern family.

Parents must keep arguments to a minimum – It might sound easy, but limiting conflict helps children understand how to be tolerant, flexible and open to change. Of course, disputes will occur. But having a healthy way to resolve conflicts (and limiting arguments) is important in building step-parent relationships.

Parents should encourage kids to share their frustrations – Getting used to a new authority figure is a process, and it is not without bumps in the road. Because of this, parents should be okay with their kids coming to them with gripes about their new step-parent. This can also open up a dialogue about boundaries and parenting styles that can ultimately lead to a happy home.

The step-parent and parent are on the same page – Parents may have differing parenting styles, but they must be in agreement on how to parent the children. Presenting a united front is the key to maintaining continuity. Also, children have a penchant for playing parents against each other in order to get their way.

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