By: Danica Joan Dockery, M.Ed
Stepparenting can be a challenging role, especially when it comes to navigating the dynamics between the stepparent and the biological parent. One of the most important things that a stepparent can do is to support the relationship between their partner and their partner’s ex-partner, the biological parent of their children. Here are some ways that stepparents can support the bio parent relationship:
Encourage communication: As a stepparent, you can encourage your partner to communicate openly and effectively with their ex-partner. You can also encourage your partner to involve their ex-partner in important decisions regarding the children, and to keep them informed about their children’s lives.
Be respectful: It’s important to show respect towards your partner’s ex-partner, even if you don’t necessarily get along. This means avoiding negative comments or criticisms, and refraining from bad-mouthing them in front of the children.
Recognize the importance of the bio parent-child relationship: Stepparents should understand that the relationship between the biological parent and their children is crucial, and that they should not try to interfere or compete with that relationship. Instead, they should support and encourage it.
Show appreciation: Stepparents should show appreciation for the positive qualities of their partner’s ex-partner, and acknowledge their contributions to their children’s lives. This can help to build a more positive relationship and reduce tension.
Be flexible: Stepparents should be willing to be flexible and accommodating when it comes to parenting arrangements, and to work collaboratively with their partner’s ex-partner to ensure the best possible outcome for the children.
Seek support: Stepparenting can be challenging, and it’s important to seek support when needed. This can come from friends, family, or a support group for stepparents.
In conclusion, supporting the bio parent relationship is crucial for successful co-parenting and positive outcomes for the children. As a stepparent, you can play an important role in fostering a positive relationship between your partner and their ex-partner, which can benefit everyone involved.
Danica Joan Dockery is a certified family mediator, anger management/domestic violence specialist and co-parenting expert, the author of “A Happy Child Co-Parenting Course” a court ordered family stabilization course for parents who are navigating the challenges of co-parenting after a breakup. She is also the founder of Kids Need Both, Inc and co-creator of the Hope4Families.net platform, a collaborative community that provides education, support and resources to families.