Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162



What Are My Parenting Boundaries as a Step-Parent?

Posted on in Family Law

Oak Park family law attorney for step-parent adoptionIt is common for divorced or unmarried parents to eventually move on from their previous partner and seek out a romantic relationship with someone new. When starting a new relationship, parents will need to consider the manner in which their children will relate to their new partner. Relationships between step-parents, and step-children relationships, can be tricky to navigate, especially in the beginning stages. However, by using the tips below, a step-parent can build a healthy and loving relationship with their step-child. And over time, a step-parent may decide that legal adoption is a further step they want to take.

The Dos and Don’ts of Step-Parenting

There is no tried-and-true playbook on how to parent, whether you are a biological parent or a step-parent. However, boundaries are often one of the main issues that step-children have with their parent’s new partner. Step-kids can often feel as if their step-parent is trying to replace their biological parent, and boundary issues can arise when a step-parent tries to discipline their step-child. 

It is important to have a conversation with your partner about what the parenting dynamics in your relationship are going to be. Some parents may expect their new spouse to take on a more involved parental role, while others may wish to avoid the issues that can arise regarding boundaries and discipline. There is no right or wrong approach, but discussing expectations can help eliminate any gray areas that may arise.

It is also a good idea to chat with your step-child about your relationship. As previously mentioned, many step-kids have a fear that their step-parent is trying to replace their other biological parent. Being open about this concern with your step-child and letting them know that this is not your intention can help avoid conflict on this topic. Also, oftentimes it can be a good idea to avoid becoming involved in any disagreements between your spouse and their child. While it may be tempting to weigh in on these disagreements and support your spouse, this could lead to resentment if the child believes you are attempting to take on an inappropriate role. 

Being supportive and having a positive attitude can go a long way toward building a good relationship with your step-child. While you should avoid being the “fun” parent in hopes of getting in a child’s good graces, there is nothing wrong with a good attitude when it comes to your step-child. This is especially true for step-children in their teenage years. Since they are old enough to have their own opinions and may remember when their parents were together, building relationships with this age group can sometimes be difficult. Eventually, they often will come around, but it may take some additional patience on your part to get there.

Call an Oak Park Step-Parent Adoption Lawyer

In some cases, your relationship with your step-child may develop into being a typical parent-child relationship, with the “step” title becoming basically irrelevant for both of you. Step-parents who have such a close, loving relationship with their spouse’s children may consider legally adopting them for a number of reasons – for example, you may want to provide them with the financial support that a parent can provide, or you may simply want to show them how much they mean to you. The Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. has helped numerous families complete the process of step-parent adoption for over 32 years, since 1988. If you are considering legally solidifying your relationship with your step-child, contact our Hillside adoption attorney at 708-449-7404 for a free consultation.


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