Step Parenting – Child Custody Rules

A few of my friends have become step parents in the last few years. We talk frequently about their children and what is going on with their families. It’s been very interesting to hear about how they have handled the adjustment to parenting and some of the issues that go along with that. At some point, they have all shared problems that have arisen because of the child custody situation. The more we’ve all discussed, the more we’ve come to realize how to best handle the issue of child custody. Here are three child custody rules that have developed that can help while step parenting.1. Don’t expect the situation to magically change. A step parent may feel like once they are involved, they’ll be able to help their spouse work out the child custody issues. The new spouse can be very helpful and supportive, but a step parent needs to accept that changes for child custody go very slowly. Because the step parent is new to the situation, they may want immediate, drastic change for any flaw they find with the custody agreement. They may also want their spouse to stand up more to the other parent and not give in to so many demands. It’s best for the step parent to take a deep breath and be patient. This will allow the new couple to work together to solve custody issues and be okay with small victories.2. Give the children time. Different children respond differently to step parents. Some may be fine with the transition and may enjoy having the other person around. Others may be resentful or jealous of their parent’s attention for the new person. Give the children time to adjust to the step parent. It’s also important to let the children adjust to a different situation with custody and visitation. The parents should do everything they can to make this easier for them.3. Work out problems with your spouse first. If there are issues with the children (like them disobeying or being disrespectful) decide with your spouse how you will handle that. It’s imperative that the parents are a team when dealing with the children. It may be more beneficial for the child’s biological parent to have a calm discussion about inappropriate behavior than the step parent reacting in a big way. The step parent shouldn’t ever feel slighted by their spouse and the children. The spouse should be a big support as the step parent adjusts.These are just a few of the basic child custody rules that have helped my friends through the years. If you are a step parent, or about to become one, you are in for a good time. There may be difficulties, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges.