Parenting a Step-Child

Step-parenting issues

In our current society parenting is a vital aspect of a child’s growth and development process. However, in some cases children may find themselves in shared custody where both parents have to take part in raising their children in different environments actively. In some cases, some parents end up raising children as single parents or raise their children with other spouses who are not necessarily their biological parents. Step parents frequently endure different hardships when it comes to raising children who are not necessarily their own. Therefore delving into various issues that step parents face like difficulties in bonding with their stepchildren, creating the perception of a biological parent, building beneficial relationships and safeguarding the future of their stepchildren ensures that we understand the crucial role that stepparents play towards the growth and development of their stepchildren.

Bonding with stepchildren is often an issue to step parents.  Creating an intimate relationship with stepchildren is extremely difficult in most cases because most stepchildren are used to their biological parents. According to Cartwright, “when stepparents try to create intimate bonds with their stepchildren it’s usually difficult” (Cartwright, 2012). This is because the children are already aware of their of their parents and changing their mind is usually not easy. However, biological parents have a significant role to play in ensuring that they encourage their children to relate to their stepparent through coming up with activities such as camping to ensure that they can bond (Ganong and Coleman, 2012). Additionally, step-parents also have to ensure that they are patient with their stepchildren since in most cases adapting to the new changes takes time. In our case, it is upon CJ’s step parent to put some effort to ensure that he can find time to learn about CJ’s Hobbies and likes which will make it easy for them to bond over things that they have in common.

Additionally, trying to create a perception of a biological parent is usually tricky for step parents. In most cases, a stepparent tries to fit into the shoes of biological parents which is generally very difficult especially when dealing with grown-up kids. This is because, for kids who are grown, they can easily differentiate between their adoptive and biological parents. It is therefore quite impossible to try and change their point of view. According to McCarthy and Gillies, “it is the moral responsibility of every parent to ensure that a child receives love and attention”(McCarthy and Gillies, 2017). In addition to that, stepparents tend to forget to put into consideration that it takes time to understand children’s needs and point of view. It is therefore imperative to take time and try to read and decipher every move of children to understand them. Children also come from dealing with the terrible loss of their parents’ divorce as well as trying to adjust to their new life of having someone new to take the place of their father or mother from what they initially were used to is usually difficult (Papernow, 2013). The transition to new parents is difficult, and therefore biological parents should ensure that they smoothen the process by ensuring that they are encouraging their children to be receptive towards their stepchildren. In the case of CJ, the mom should focus on trying to bring CJ’s stepfather and her son together.

Building valuable relationships with stepchildren is usually tricky for step parents. In the long term, a weak association between step parents and step children’s ensures that they grow in environments which are neither conducive nor stable. Most stepparents find it difficult relating to their stepchildren as a result of poor parenting attributes or a perception that they are not the biological parent. The Australian Parenting Website affirms that a step-child might at times reject a stepparent or become shy around them (2016).  It is, therefore, imperative for biological parents to ensure that they try to foster good relationships between their children and the other step parent. In addition to that, it is essential to provide that as a step parent you try to create an intimate relationship with your stepchild or children (Cartwright, 2012). Focusing on the needs of stepchildren is a milestone in trying to show them love, and this fosters good relationships with a stepchild.

Securing the future of stepchildren is an issue to most step parents. This is because most stepchildren are usually rebellious and judgmental making it difficult for stepparents to cater to their needs. As a step parent safeguarding the future of your stepchildren, by ensuring that they receive all that they need in terms of financially, physically or emotionally support. Creating a conducive home for a child gives them a sense of security that they need and builds trust despite them knowing that you are no their biological parent (Braithwaite and Schrodt, 2012). This ensures that step parents secure the future of their stepchildren thus winning over their love and attention. Parenting is considered to be a vital aspect in socio-economical growth and development, and therefore different parenting styles affect the behaviour of a child (Lomanowska et al., 2017). As a stepparent, you need to protect, guide and teach step children discipline as per how the society perceives it. CJ’s stepfather can ensure that he spends most of his time, energy and finances in providing that he tries to meet CJ’s needs. Small argues that children require love in high school to ensure that they grow in a healthy environment (Small, 2019).  This can go a long way towards ensuring that CJ feels loved and cared for even though he has a perception that love is not coming from his biological father.

Delving into various issues that step parents face like difficulties in bonding with their stepchildren, creating the perception of a biological parent, building beneficial relationships and safeguarding the future of their stepchildren ensures that we understand the crucial role that stepparents play towards the growth and development of their stepchildren. However, it is essential as a step parent to have advanced emotional intelligence and patience to understand a stepchild clearly. Most children come out as rebellious in environments that they feel as if they are not loved. Therefore, step-parents need to ensure that they take into consideration the emotional needs of their stepchildren to ensure that they meet their emotional needs. Biological parents also need to ensure that they encourage their children to be receptive towards their step parents. This can be achieved by organising activities that provide that they bond as a family through sharing meals or going out for events. Stepchildren also need to ensure that they are in a position to accommodate their step parents despite their perceptions. In some various cases, parents should take their children to visit a psychologist when they find it difficult being receptive towards their step parents.



Braithwaite, D. O., &Schrodt, P. (2012). Stepfamily communication.Routledge handbook of family communication, 2, 161-175.

Cartwright, C. (2012). The challenges of being a mother in a stepfamily.Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 53(6), 503-513.

Ganong, L. H., & Coleman, M. (2012).Stepfamily relationships. Springer-Verlag New York.

Lomanowska, A. M., Boivin, M., Hertzman, C., & Fleming, A. S. (2017). Parenting begets parenting: A neurobiological perspective on early adversity and the transmission of parenting styles across generations. Neuroscience, 342, 120-139.

McCarthy, J. R., Edwards, R., & Gillies, V. (2017). Making families: Moral tales of parenting and step-parenting. Routledge-Cavendish.

Papernow, P. L. (2013). Surviving and thriving in stepfamily relationships: What works and what doesn’t. Routledge.

Small, P. J. (2019). Socioeconomic Factors and Perceived Parenting During the Transition to College (Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University).

The Australian Parenting Website. (2016, February 1). Being a step-parent. Retrieved from


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