Being a parent of a teen is difficult enough. Try being a step-parent! This is a tricky role all year long but is particularly difficult during the holiday season. Not only are the kids leaving and re-entering homes but the parents and step-parents are trading, missing, and re-uniting with step-children. The shape and size of families changes during the weekends, sometimes weekdays, and especially during the holidays.
So how is a step-parent to deal with the stress of the ever changing family structure and rules during the holidays? Here are some suggestions.
1. You and your spouse should consider creating a set of expectations for the teens prior to their arrival and departure during the holidays.
2. Try to communicate calmly. Keep in mind that patience is appreciated.
3. Remember that you have more power than you know. You are in an excellent position to be a positive role model.
4. Set up family traditions with your step-children. Traditions seem to help everyone relax. Most teens thrive on consistency.
5. Resist the urge to speak negatively about their biological parents. Negativity never assists in any situation.
The takeaway message is that if you are willing to be patient and respectful while riding the "step-parent escalator" then you are more likely to receive the same behavior in return. It may take some time but your investment is likely to lead to great dividends!
Your experiences and thoughts?