Having kids is tough. Having to help raise someone else’s kids? That’s a high-wire act like no other. Becoming a step parent is personally difficult, but ultimately about how children manage change and adjust to a new life situation. If they’re fine, it’s likely that you will be as well. But seamless transitions are rare and it remains incredibly difficult to balance romantic and non-romantic priorities within a new situation. And then there are the other questions: Should stepfathers discipline their step-kids differently? What’s the best way to have fun with new step-kids? How can stepfathers make it clear they’re not here to replace anyone?
There are answers of course, but it’s tricky stuff.
That’s why Fatherly built this guide to step-parenting. Entering into a new family inevitably has its hurdles, but we talked to psychologists, behaviorists, and other step-parents to help you surpass them in style and build the best relationship with your step-kids.