It is very difficult to talk about step parenting in general because there are so many different situations in which you can find yourself in the role of a step parent.
Finding yourself as a step dad or step mom to a one year old baby is a very different to coming into an established family with several children ranging in age from a toddler up to sixteen or seventeen year olds. In the first case you can be presented with very few additional problems outside of the normal realm of child parenting, while in the second case you could well be facing a huge range of difficulties.
Raising step children can bring with it not only difficulties with the child or children involved, but also potential conflict with your partner and indeed an internal struggle with yourself.
Where differences arises between yourself and a step child you will invariably be confronted with "why should I listen to you anyway, you're not my real mother/father", or something similar.
When conflict arises with your partner over a parenting decision you might similarly find yourself being relegated to the position of a 'second-class' parent and find yourself caught between your partner and the child or with both siding against you.
Finally, when the going gets tough, you will also inevitably hear that little voice inside your head saying "why on earth should I worry, it's not my child after all", or words to that effect.
Parenting is perhaps one of the most rewarding things that any of us can do in our lives, but it can also be one of the most difficult undertakings and parental responsibility is not something that any of us accept lightly. Perhaps the most difficult undertaking of all is to accept the role of a step parent.
While child parenting is essentially the same whether you are the child's birth parent or a step parent, the manner in which you approach your role and the attitude that you adopt often has to be quite different and so, as we explore the role of parenting, we will pay particular attention where needed to the special circumstances of step parenting and try to provide you with the necessary advice and tips.
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