Being a Stepmother is not for the faint-hearted. It takes time to adjust to living with children whom you didn't raise from birth, especially if they've grown up with popular stories of evil stepmothers. Are you are about to marry a person with kids from a previous marriage? If so, read on.
Accept your spouse and children the way they are. Decide to be okay with your stepdaughter listening to strange music or your stepson earning below-average grades at school. You cannot transform the people you live with, and in order to build a solid relationship, you must be okay with the core parts of their identity. There is nothing wrong with
helping your children (e.g. helping your son study for his quiz), but there is something wrong with trying to change who they are (e.g. trying to turn your son into a high achiever, when he simply isn't smart enough). Accept yourself and embrace the new change coming your way. Remember that acceptance is not learned overnight, and allow yourself to adjust to the new role. Work on it on a daily basis.
Remember to take care of yourself. Transition times can feel stressful—new living arrangement, childcare duties, spouse, extended family, work or chores—and it can wear you thin. Set aside time to enjoy your hobbies, get outdoors, and talk one on one with your spouse when the kids are asleep.
Treat your family with kindness and respect, even when things become difficult. Control your tongue, and leave the room if you are overwhelmed or angry. Sometimes it will be difficult to handle the change, but losing your cool will only make you do things that you regret. It's natural to feel frustrated sometimes at the first wife, but remember that your stepchildren probably still care about her. Badmouthing her will only make them trust you less. If you upset somebody or lose control of your temper, apologize sincerely. Talk privately with your spouse if you need to vent or discuss a problem.
Build a relationship with your step kids. Spoiling them is not necessary—your time and love are what they want most. Laugh with them, be there for them when they are emotionally hurt, play together, and [Actively Listen|listen closely] when they want to talk. There are many valuable ways to strengthen the ties within your step family. In time, your foundation will get stronger and you'll all benefit from it. Remember that it takes time to build a relationship. If your stepchildren are initially shy, don't worry. They will warm up to you.
Allow the step kids alone time with your spouse. Let them talk privately, read books on their own, or do the things they used to before you entered the picture. They need time to maintain that relationship too. A family change can be confusing for children. They may need extra time with your spouse so they can adjust and work through their feelings. Sometimes your children may invite you to join them. If they do, you'll know that you're doing something right.
Be a good example. Most children learn by example and you'll find them mimic your values and actions as you spend more and more time with them. Be a better person not only for them, but for yourself.