It’s a thankless labor of love, one few adults are prepared for. Many times the adults have good intentions, but the kids want nothing to do with them. Or the kids have a real need, and the parents aren’t ready to fill the void. I’m a stepparent. I love my stepkids as my own. I fact, I don’t even use the word step in talking about my kids, who are now adults. If you’re a stepparent, here are some suggestions that I had to learn the hard way. First of all, you’ll never replace the parent’s position you’re stepping into. These kids need BOTH of you. Don’t discourage that relationship. Secondly, never speak ill of that parent. You’ll be the one they dislike. And, thirdly, you’re the outsider. Ease into the relationship—a relationship that can be amazing.

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