3 stepparenting hacks you need to know right now

parents hugging kiddos

When someone told me that there was a way to get my stepkids to change their behavior *without* straining our relationship, I nearly fell off my chair. 


At the time, the relationship with one of my stepkids was really tense. 


And to be honest, I thought he was the problem – HE just didn’t want to listen to me. He couldn’t change his behavior. And so we argued about it daily. 


I complained to my spouse a lot. 


We both shrugged our shoulders about what to do. 


Deep down, I worried there was something wrong with me. 


But then I learned that there was actually a formula for increasing trust and connection while also changing my stepson’s behavior for GOOD. 


The way I was step-parenting was simply ineffective – and EASY to change. 


So here are the 3 simple steps I implemented to repair my relationship AND change my stepkid’s behavior: 


  1. Establish a firm system of boundaries, expectations, consequences, and rewards. 


Kids need firm boundaries and expectations to feel safe. But, parenting approaches that rely entirely on consequences are often de-motivating and don’t work in stepfamilies. Mix it up. For me, I decided to motivate my stepkid to change with a really juicy reward (hint: it had to do with screens).


  1. Take your emotions out of it. 


Calm parents are the most effective parents, and being calm, and not reacting to negative emotions, is entirely in your control. So take care of yourself first. Take some deep, slow breaths, or pause to gather your thoughts before you have a conversation with your stepkids about their behavior. For me, I would just say: “Hey – I need to think for a bit. Let’s talk in 10 minutes.”


  1. Support the kiddo emotionally and validate their experience no matter the behavior outcome. 


Kids need to feel like their stepparents are on their side – even when they mess up. This builds trust and love. If you have an expectation for their behavior, tell them you believe in them, and they can do it. If they are upset that they didn’t get the reward, or that they have a consequence, you can tell them: “I get why you’re upset. This is OK, and I still love you. I know this is hard, but your consequence still stands/ you still don’t get the reward today.”


And the result for me? 


My stepkiddo changed. He exceeded my expectations. We argue less, and I feel a lot more connected to him. 


And I feel such a sense of relief knowing that the strength of our relationship, and his behavior in my home, is entirely within my control. 


This sense of relief. A deeper, more peaceful, and connected bond with your stepkids – it’s possible for you too.


All it takes are 3 simple tweaks to make it work. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

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