Magazine article Work & Family Life

Friend, Mentor, Confidant? A Variety of Roles Stepparents Can Play

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Friend, Mentor, Confidant? A Variety of Roles Stepparents Can Play

Article excerpt

Authors Elizabeth Einstein and Linda Albert describe the many positive, nurturing roles a stepparent can play with his or her stepchildren as a newly blended family develops its own history.

Stepparent as friend. People who approach their stepparent role as that of a friend tend to be the most satisfied and successful. Remember, your stepchildren already have a father and a mother. This is true even if one of the parents died or is an absent figure in the child's life. Just be aware that being a friend doesn't mean you're a "buddy" or that you have to get along with each other all of the time. But you can support and empathize with a child.

STEPPARENT AS CONFIDANT. A stepparent can provide yet another adult sounding board. This is important for teens, who may feel alienated from their parents. (See Parenting on page 5.) But be careful not to develop an alliance with a child against the other parent.

Stepparent as another parent-figure. If kids are young or have little contact with their non-custodial parent, you might be considered as a primary parent, but that still means "in addition to" rather than "replacement for. …

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