As a step-parent, you have your work cut out for you because you now have to earn the trust and respect of your step-child.
This is the best way for you to influence the child’s behaviour. Gaining a child’s trust and respect happens over a period of time and is not something that can be rushed.
In the beginning, let the child’s biological parent handle the correcting and reprimanding.
Let this be the rule until the child has accepted you. Effective step-parents should move into disciplinary roles gradually.
Don’t get pulled into a debate between your spouse and his/her child about behavioral issues. Let your spouse handle the situation. Only join in when and if your spouse asks for your help.
Start building your relationship with the child by offering help with homework, sports, problem solving, and so on.
Do not give up if the child turns you down, but let it be know that you are available if it has a problem or needs help.
Allow your spouse some quality time with the child. This shows the child you are not trying to take away its mum or dad.
Once you have bonded with the child you can begin sharing some of the discipline with your spouse.
The biological parent must pass power to the step-parent so that the child will understand that the step-parent is not acting on his or her own authority.
With your spouse, set up a few house rules and consequences, then share these with the child in a family meeting.
If a rule is broken, as far as the children are concerned it is the parents’ rule, not just the step-parent’s.
It is important for step-parents not to consider themselves failures if they do not achieve parental status with every child, since the length of time required to move into this role depends on several factors, most of which are beyond the step-parents’ control.
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