How to Become a Good Stepmother

If being a mother is the toughest job in the world, then being a stepmother is a close second. It's never easy to step in and fill a mother's role. Becoming a good stepmother takes patience and practice. There are the usual speed bumps along the way. But if you follow these steps, you are on the road to becoming a good stepmother.

Get to know your stepchildren before marrying their father. This can make the transition from "dad's girlfriend" to stepmother much easier. Don't attempt to take over the mother's role without consulting with the children's father first.

Remember that you are not equal to your stepchildren's father. Always communicate with him when it comes to punishments, rules and other aspects of the children's upbringing. Don't compete with your stepchildren for their father's

Interact with your stepchildren. Show interest in their schoolwork, their friends, their hobbies and extracurricular activities. Be available for them. Become a part of their lives without forcing yourself on them.

Show respect for your stepchildren's real mother. Never talk badly about her in front of them. If she's alive, be friendly with her in front of the children.

Develop a relationship with your stepchildren based on who you are. Always be yourself. Establish your own place in their lives and develop your own special bond with them.

Prepare for the inevitable test of wills. Your stepchildren may push your boundaries. Become a good stepmother by showing them respect while at the same time requesting respect. It's not an easy feat. However, with patience you can see things can get better if you are persistent and consistent.

Don't force your stepchildren to call you "mom" if they are uncomfortable doing so. This just builds resentment. You can become a good stepmother without being addressed as "mom."

Build their trust. Have a patient and understanding ear when they need to talk, and if they ask something of you, such as keeping a secret, respect their wishes. Building trust goes a long way toward earning your stepchildren's love and respect.