1. Build a friendship with your stepchild before attempting discipline.   Be patient.  Research shows it can take up to two years before the child will be comfortable with your discipline. 
  2. Work as a team with your new partner to establish new house rules and methods of discipline. 
  3. If you feel the biological mom is being unreasonable with her child, take the side of the stepchild.  This will begin to build some trust with you and the child. 
  4. Take part in family meetings and be open for suggestions from the children on chores and special tasks that need to be done. 
  5. Talk to your spouse in private if you feel undermined or left out. 
  6. Respect each other’s privacy.  Knock on doors before entering.   Be an example of respect and courtesy.
  7. Recommended Reading:  “Keys to Successful Stepfathering (Barron’s Parenting Keys)by Carl E. Pickhardt, Ph.D
  8. See Stepfamily Guidelines and Resources.
  9. Also see our recommended reading list for stepfamilies.