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Stepmothers can ease transition in new family

When women in Missouri and all around the U.S. marry a man with children, they marry the kids, too. Whether their new husband has full-time custodyor sees his children on a limited basis, new stepmothers need to be prepared to handle the title.

There certainly is an adjustment period, but new stepmothers can follow three key steps to try to develop a good relationship with the new children in their lives.

•1. Accept that the children have a mother and that they love her. A child will read into the stepmother's words any dislike for their mother, even if she doesn't say right out that she isn't fond of their mom. The stepmother might not even dislike the mother but might just be intimidated by filling her shoes. Stepmoms shouldn't give the children any clues that their mother isn't their favorite person. Instead, whenever possible, they should mention good things about their mother. Passing on a compliment to their mom will help to win their hearts.

•2. Stepmothers should show the step kids their good traits. They should let the kids get to know them and earn their respect. They can show by example any positive quality, such as being a good cook, and build from there. It's a process.

•3. Stepmothers should build a new family that includes bringing in their new husband's past - even his ex-wife. Stepmothers need to include the kids' mothers in this new family, perhaps even reaching a hand out and inviting her to join in on some activities. The children did not choose to have their family torn apart. The stepmother can help bring in back together by including their mother in some activities.

Stepmother is a difficult title to hold. Women must be ready for bumps in the road and should not expect to form a new family overnight. Building the family is a process, but a worthy one. Family harmony is worth the work.

Source: Huffington Post, "Becoming A Stepmom: 3 Strategies For Success," Tracey E. Clifford, Dec. 10, 2012

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