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"Survival Kit for Stepparents" by Peggy Hansen

 1. Give up the belief that there’s only one RIGHT way to do things. Be willing to consider new possibilities and other ways of looking at the world. 

 2. Try to stay in the present moment, rather than letting yourself slip back into the past or drift into the future. Focus on things you have some control over.

 3. Accept an appropriate amount of responsibility for maintaining a comfortable and safe emotional “climate” in your home, but don’t get stuck in managing every detail. 

 4.  Recognize that everyone gets to feel the way they feel, but make and enforce rules that ensure that people act in ways that are fair and respectful.

  5.  Develop stepparent/stepchild roles gradually and thoughtfully, with the original parent primarily in charge of his/her children, while people are getting used to the changes.
  6.  Accept that parents and their original children will always have a special bond, and that this isn’t necessarily a threat to the newly developing family.
  7.  Resist overburdening particular days or events (birthdays, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, graduations, etc.). Instead, focus on creating good long-term feelings and memories.
  8.  Arrange to have some time alone as a couple EVERY DAY-- time to share information, plan and, most important, pay attention to your relationship.
  9.  Insist on some individual time EACH DAY for taking care of yourself.  Adults who are responsible for meeting the needs of their children and others on a daily basis can’t run on empty.
10.  When things look as if they’re getting out of hand, take a deep breath and try to remember which people in the family are the grown-ups and which ones are the kids. Then try hard to behave like a grown-up – and expect the other grown-ups to do so as well.

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