One of the biggest challenges when it comes to step-parenting, and really when it comes to any parenting dynamic, is being on the same page with your spouse.
In my home, there are times when we approach one of our kids for discipline, or are just having a teaching moment about something and we are on the exact same page. We almost finish each others sentences.
Other times, we will end up in an argument of our own about how we are handling the conversation, or what we are or aren’t saying. This makes things incredibly stressful for both of us, and often diverts our attention from the original issue at hand. This can be more problematic in a step-parenting situation. One parent is the biological parent and the other is the step-parent, for a long time, it can be tough to figure out your role if you are on the step side of things and can also be an adjustment for the biological parent, who many times has parented alone for a long stretch of time.
The step-parent is suddenly parenting new kids, and the biological parent finds themselves suddenly trying to share the parenting.
As a step-parent, this is something that is a regular issue in my home. When we parent together and have a tough time agreeing on how to carry things out, it can end up adding tension to the situation and our home.
Some examples might be me using a tone with our sons that my wife doesn’t think is necessary or me jumping in while she is making a point because I don’t agree with it. These diversions can confuse the subject of the discussion at times, or get us off the point quickly.
The question remains though, how do you parent together when you have different styles and are at times coming at the same solution in a very different way?
One thing I know works is talking about the upcoming conversation beforehand when possible. In that scenario my wife and I can go through the details of what we want to get across, plan for potential sidetracking and pitfalls that our kids might want to dive into and have a better strategy as a whole. The problem is that sometimes it’s impossible to do this.
And I can honestly say that even after years of parenting together, we are trying to make it work consistently.
If you are a in a blended family parenting situation or have experience to share with any parenting dynamic, let us know what has worked for you in the comments.