Thursday, April 05, 2007

10 Best Ways to Be a Better Stepdad

Blending families is like mixing breakfast cereals: You get the sweet Lucky Charms along with the oat bran and fiber. But merging families is difficult and can seem overwhelming. Here's how to make it work.

1. Know that you're in a big boat. One in three Americans is now a stepparent, a stepchild, stepsibling or some other member of a stepfamily. Simply knowing that others are going through similar challenges can be reassuring -- and a source of support.

2. Make your marriage the center of the family.
Here's where blended and other families are no different: The kids should not be the center of the family, says family psychologist Mario Alonso, Ph.D., the "Ask the Head Coach" columnist for Best Life. The marriage should be. Studies have shown that children derive a sense of security when their biological parent and stepparent have a solid, loving marriage steeped in respect for each other.

3. Understand that you are viewed as an intruder.
In the beginning, you will be thought of as an outsider in the family circle. Keep on the sidelines for a while. Trust takes time to build.

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