Stepchildren are children of your spouse’s previous relationship. Entitled stepchildren are people who believe they are inherently better than anyone outside of their family, and have a higher position in the family hierarchy.
This can be because of race, wealth, or social status, for example. Many times, it is due to the above reasons combined.
They believe that because they have been brought into this family through marriage or adoption, they deserve more attention, respect, and value than the parents of his or her siblings. This can be very harmful to sibling relationships.
Because you have been married to their parent for a while, they may assume that you belong to their family as well. This can make dealing with entitled stepchildren even more difficult. They may not see you as an authority figure because you have been integrated into the family by marriage.
It is important to know how to deal with entitled stepchildren in order to prevent lasting damage within the family unit.
If you have kids from a previous relationship, your job is to be a parent, not a friend.
You have to set rules and enforce them, even if your child doesn’t like it. You have to be consistent so they know what to expect.
It can be hard to do this when you have a strained relationship with your child, but try your best! It will make things easier in the long run.
If you don’t enforce rules or set boundaries, then your children will not respect you. They may even think they can get away with things. This will only add strain on your relationship.
Children need stability and consistency in their lives. If they feel like they can’t rely on that from you, then they may act out even more.
Do not favor your children over your stepchildren
This may sound like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many parents struggle with this rule. You do not have to love your stepchildren any less than you love your own children, but you should not give them any more attention or special treatment.
It is very difficult to treat children who are not your own as equally as your own, but it is worth trying for the sake of your marriage.
Why? Because doing so will reduce the amount of friction in your marriage with your partner. Your spouse will feel more secure and valued if he or she knows that he or she is getting an equal level of attention and consideration from you.
If you constantly favor your children from a previous relationship, then there may be some trust issues that develop in your marriage. Ultimately, the goal is to have enough trust between spouses so that they can work together to raise the children together.
Ask your spouse to intervene
If you and your spouse have a good relationship, there’s a way to ask him or her to help.
Most parents find it hard to ask their children to treat their spouses kindly. You can make it easier by asking your spouse to help him or her feel welcome.
Ask your child’s other parent if there’s something they’d like them to have or do, and offer to help make that happen. It shows you care about their needs and wants, which may help them feel more at home.
If you know your child well, you may be able to talk with them about issues that are bothering them. Maybe they just had a hard day at work or school, or maybe there’s something deeper going on. Either way, listening may help resolve the issue.
You can also talk with your spouse if they feel uncomfortable in the home. You both can work together to resolve the issues.
Stepchildren are usually the product of a failed marriage
More often than not, children enter a stepfamily situation due to divorce. A parent separates from their partner, and then that parent dates and eventually marries another person.
More often than not, this new marriage partner is of the opposite sex. Therefore, the children from the previous marriage or relationship are usually exposed to a new sibling of a different gender.
Sometimes parents remain friends after divorce, but other times it’s a hostile situation. It all depends on the people and how far they want to take things.
Sometimes parents have joint custody of their children, which can make things very difficult. One parent may have control over more days than the other does, which can be frustrating.
Regardless of whether or not children in stepfamilies are treated equally, they all experience some level of insecurity due to the fact that they are in a new family unit.
Try not to take their behavior personally
It’s very easy to get annoyed, even angry, with your stepchild. After all, they are a constant presence in your life.
But if you let their behavior affect you too much, you’ll end up fighting with them over nothing. And that’s the last thing you want to do.
You have to remember that most of the time, things aren’t personal for them. It’s hard to understand this, but it’s true.
Most of the time, things they say or do are due to something someone said or did to them earlier that day or week. Or it could just be a phase they’re going through. It has nothing to do with you personally unless you bring it up.
It can be hard to separate personal issues from each other, but try your best to do so.
Have a conversation about expectations
If you are in a stepfamily, it’s important to have a conversation about expectations. What are the expectations of each other?
How will you treat each other? How will you deal with changes in schedule and spending time with one another?
These conversations should be had early on. It’s hard to make changes later, so start with a base level and then add to it as time goes on.
For example, start with respecting each other, then add things like keeping personal business private and not going into each other’s rooms without permission, etc.
It can be hard to have these conversations, especially if there is tension already. A helpful tool is to have conversations as if you were talking to a friend or colleague. That way there is less hostility or anger when having these conversations.(www.marriageworkshops.
Set rules about spending time with parents
If you’re in a stepfamily, it’s important to set ground rules about how kids can spend time with their other parents.
It can be hard for children to understand that they have two parents, and even more so when those parents are married to each other but live apart.
Children may feel like they cannot spend time with one parent without feeling disconnected from them. This can lead to feelings of resentment.
There are a few things you can do to help prevent this. One is to have the children pay attention to what times they spend time with each parent, and how long they spend there.
Another is to have them switch rooms when they’re at their other parent’s house, or have them bring some of their things so that it feels like a little bit of home.
Do not allow them to manipulate you
More than anything, this is the biggest thing you need to avoid. Entitled children try to manipulate their parents and other family members with guilt.
It is hard not to sympathize with them, as they have spent most of their life with one set of parents and now have to adjust to a new one.
You may feel like you are walking on egg shells, trying not to make them angry or upset. But this makes you a target for their manipulation.
They want things that they are used to having and if they cannot get it from you, then they will try to get it from someone else. This can lead to fights between siblings or even between you and your stepchild.
It is important to establish boundaries and clarify that you are the parent now. You have the authority and responsibility so do not let them take that away from you.
Remember, no matter what, you need to learn how to love your stepchild, spend quality time with them, and show genuine care and understanding.