What's Your Stepparenting Style?
It’s important to determine early on what your role as “stepparent” will look like. This will help you define how you fit into the family, and help everyone get comfortable that much quicker.
What do you want your relationship with your stepchild to be? Start by asking yourself this question, and then think about what kind of a stepparent you will be to forge that relationship. The benefit of being a stepparent versus a natural parent is that there is far greater flexibility and freedom in your role. Do you envision yourself being hands-on—attending teacher’s conferences and soccer games? Or, do you want to be more of a supportive friend? If you have children from a previous marriage, how will you avoid playing favorites? Keep your stepchild’s living arrangements in mind when you answer these questions. If your stepchild lives in your home full time, you’ll probably have to be more involved than if they lived with the other parent full time, and vice versa.
Once you have an idea of the type of stepparent you want to be, talk to your spouse about your wishes and see if your ideas match with his or her expectations. Remember to allow for some flexibility. Your role is a work-in-progress that will continue to evolve in the weeks months and years to come.