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How to make a stepfamily work

If you have gotten or are getting a divorce in Illinois, getting remarried someday opens up new concerns. You may become the stepparent to one or more of someone else’s children. If you have your own children, they will then become someone else’s stepchildren. These relationships can be successful but they can also put a lot of strain on a marriage. Knowing that remarriages have a lower risk of success than first marriages, what can you do to increase the odds in your favor?

Empowering Parents offers smart tips for people in this situation. Perhaps one of the most important is for you to not assume or act as though you are taking the place of the biological parent. In fact, not only should you avoid competing in this manner but you should actively foster a good relationship with that parent and your stepchildren. Of equal importance is for you to allow your new spouse to deliver tough parenting news, such as consequences, to your stepkids. Your role should be one of support, not of enforcement.

Allowing your spouse to have time with his or her kids without you is vital. Their relationships pre-date you and require that special time. By the same token, you will want to make sure that you have such time with your own kids. Finally, making a conscious choice to focus on the positive qualities of your stepkids rather than the things that annoy you will go a long way toward creating harmony in your new family.

If you would like to learn more about parenting in a blended family after your divorce, please visit the parents’ page of our Illinois family law website.

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