Christian advice for stepparents
By Sherise Henry
Although divorce was never a part of God’s plan for family, it happens. In today’s society it happens at an alarming rate, creating a growing need for clergy and counselors to minister and advise the blended family.
Step parenting can be an overwhelming position, but with God at the helm and your focus on faith there are several practical solutions to making your home life as a stepparent run smoothly. Focus on the Family researchers advise that no parent should take on step parenting as an individual effort. In an article titled “Smart Step Parenting” parents are encouraged to work together as a blended unit and discover what strengths and weaknesses lie between the biological parent and the stepparent. The less tension between the adults in the situation the less stress on the child and the easier it is to connect to the stepparent. The article also recommends not allowing a stepparent to fill alone in their mistakes with the child/or children but support them through their learning process.
There are several scriptures that lend wisdom to the stepparent/child situation. God’s command is to respect and submit to those in authority. Parents must also show respect to one another 1 Peter 2:17- Show proper respect to everyone. Romans 13:7 says, “Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes pay taxes; if revenue then revenue; if respect then respect; if honor then honor.” Ephesians 5:21 says, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Applying these scriptures and others when tensions are high are communication is difficult can keep a family focused on its mission of love and support to one another.”
Focus on the Family offers advice for the parent who may lack a little patience in developing their relationship with their stepchild. Researchers advise that you enjoy the relationship you have with your child now. They offer the following tips
If they welcome or seek affection, then go for it
If they remain distant or cordial, honor that as well
If they follow your rules and respect your decisions, continue to assert your given authority
If they challenge your authority, find ways to live on borrowed power from the biological parent
Researchers with Focus on the Family say that there are several different roles that a stepparent may phase their way through as the relationship with the child or children grows. They give the following examples in the beginning you may be thought of as a person with a babysitter role, that time with the child may progress into being considered an aunt/or uncle type role. Some relationships will develop into a parent role and some whose relationship doesn’t include frequent interaction or bonding opportunities may fall into a friend/mentor role.
Whatever your relationship is with your stepchild/children it is recommended that a healthy marriage be the key ingredient in nurturing or expanding the love you have to reach the children in your family.