Ray Johnson quotes, “It takes a strong man to accept someone else’s children and step up to the plate another man left on the table.” Ray Johnson gives the notion that step-parenting is hard. That parenting is a challenge that needs patience. You may need to parent a stepchild; however, behaviors may differ. The stepchild becomes out of control, and you decide when to leave because of a stepchild.
Children are brought up in different environments and, as such, have other behaviors, a stepchild notwithstanding. As a parent, you may be in a situation where you have a stepchild you live with, and their behaviors wear you down.
Before deciding when to leave because of the stepchild, take a self-evaluation and find out if you did it right? As a stepparent, you should not.
Set your expectation too high
Just like any other child, a stepchild has limitations too. Allow them to keep their loyalties. It will help minimize disappointments.
Take it personal
They stepchild is still going through feelings of loss, bitterness, and confusion. They are bound to make remarks that will upset you. As a stepparent, you are an easy target for these negative feelings. Do not get offended by remarks such as “You are not my parent” or “I hate you.” you do not need to worry. The stepchild is still going through a phase, and it will take time for adjustments to be made.
Turn the stepchild into scapegoats.
A parent should not vent their frustrations and aggression against the stepchild. Do not make your child the target of accusations, criticism, and blames. Making a stepchild guilty of everything in the house only creates unnecessary emotional tantrums in the family. The stepchild becomes depressed, withdrawn, and may even become suicidal. Do not understand the fears and self-hatred and desperation that the stepchild develops and feels.
Do not overstep boundaries.
Never assume the role of disciplinarian. Do not control their life and choices and forget that their parent can do it for them. Let the biological parent enforce rules, handle discipline, and control the choices made by the stepchild. Your role is to focus on building a healthy relationship with the stepchild.
Try too hard to please.
The child is still trying to adjust to and accept the new family setup. Do not force in the love and acceptance. Let the stepchild fall in place through the family members’ actions. Start by probably arranging for a solo outing to bond. While making decisions concerning the child, let the child take the lead and support their interests. The child will eventually like you.
Use excessive corporal punishment.
Disciplining a stepchild is perfect as it does not involve corporal punishment. However, excessive spanking, insults, and going ballistic on a stepchild are overstepping. Apart from causing physical harm, extreme corporal punishment makes a child rebellious.
However, a parent who tries all the above and all that it takes to make a comfortable home for a stepchild and it does not work would probably decide to call it quits. But let us look at situations that will call for when to leave because of stepchild;
When the child does not accept the stepparent as a parental figure
No matter how much effort you put in to love the stepchild, once they refuse to acknowledge you as a parent, it is time to step back. Otherwise, you will feel unappreciated and eventually burn out. Winning parental love for a stepchild calls for patience.
When they resent the stepparent’s efforts to enforce discipline
An indiscipline stepchild may recent to punishment. You try effortlessly to streamline their behavior but have no support from your partner. At other times your partner feels like you are overdoing and becomes overly defensive. They would even tell lies about you to avoid blames, punishments and responsibility.
Emotions of anger and stress overwhelm you; step back.
If you cannot refrain from spanking the step-kids because of the anger they cause you, then it is time to let go. Spanking kids when they mess is okay. However, overdoing it has negative impacts on the kid. Remove yourself from the situation if you feel your emotions are getting overboard.
If they are ruining your marriage
When the stepchild makes you feel unsafe in your own house and is the cause of unnecessary fights between you and your partner, it is good to let go. Your spouse keeps defending the kids, even in the awful moments. You are an easy target for their hurt feelings, and their parents failed marriage. So they don’t see why yours should work either.
Prioritize your peace
As a loving parent, you want to have peace and make peace with your kids and partner. However, the situation worsens with the stepchild that keeps spoiling the peace. They keep hurting your emotions with no remorse.
Communicate to your partner
It is good to discuss cases where parenting a stepchild is failing. If the talk with your partner is not yielding fruits, it is time to throw in the towel.
Easing into your relationship with your stepchild
Be patient with them
Being patient with a stepchild is the first quality a stepparent must adopt. Parenting stepchild calls for tolerance. It is not an easy task. Go slow on them and get to understand them better. It will help eliminate blames, hatred, and insults and encourage openness, trust, and love.
Partner with your spouse.
When parenting a stepchild, be sure to get the parent involved. Talk with your partner to take the prerogative of disciplining the child rather than you.
Focus on their positives and be supportive
Realize the efforts the stepchild makes, however slight they may be, and build on them. Support their actions and encourage improvement on the negatives. Give credit where they have performed well and reward if possible.
When the stepchild is at ease with you, the parent, they open up about their problems, weaknesses, and flaws. Openness will help the parent get to know their weaknesses. Once you spot the imperfections, build on them and encourage the best out of the stepchild. Strike up conversations that will eliminate fear and emotional insecurities.
Have predictable and realistic routines
Realistic routines will help the stepchild efficiently complete tasks assigned by the parent without much friction. Do not, as a parent, expect too much of the child. Appreciate the efforts being put into completing the tasks.
Plan for difficult situations
Anticipating tough times with the stepchild can be upsetting. However, it is good to plan to be able to overcome. Once a stepparent realizes the stepchild might be troublesome, it is good to put in place ways to salvage the situation. Decide the parenting skills to use and rehearse coping in your mind.
Step-parenting is tough and tiring. It is not a commitment you make with ease. If you decide when to leave because of stepchild for peace to prevail in your marriage, do it. However, it is not worth it when the stepchild makes you feel unsafe and uncomfortable in your own house and hurts your emotions without remorse. If the stepchild further tells lies about you or your kids, is manipulative, hurts your kids, and there is no peace in the house, then it is time to let go. It is even nerve-wracking when your partner does nothing about it or defends the child on the precept that you are being paranoid.