A blended family or step parenting can be a very big challenge for everyone involved. The following are some guidelines to make the new family unit function more effectively.

1. Be Patient – A natural family is created slowly, yet a blended family is more abrupt. Allow time for adjustment.
2. Make Respect a Rule – Demand that each member of the family is treated with respect. Members may not like each other, yet acting with respectful actions and attitude is mandatory. Discipline behavior and character.
3. Allow time for bonding between Step Parent and Child. Step Parent must take initiative to create a bond with the child. Small behaviors lead to bigger behaviors.
4. As the relationship increases, disciplining increases.
5. Maintain harmony as a team or a united front between parent and stepparent.
6. Understand the losses and hurts of the children.
7. Step Parent has the authority initially like a baby sitter, teacher or coach. The next stage is like an uncle or aunt. The next stage is like a parent.
8. Never speak negatively in front of the child about the biological parent.
9. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
10. Lower your expectation of the quality of relationship between the stepparent and child.
11. Create a list of family rules and consequences. Make the consequence facilitate the desired behavior.
12. Write down the rules and consequences in a binder.

Follow these suggestions, and you will reap the benefits.

Author's Bio: 

Dean Sunseri is a Licensed Professional Counselor or therapist experienced in General Mental Health Counseling, Marriage Counseling, Substance Abuse Counseling, Christian Counseling, Family Counseling and Sports Performance Counseling in Baton Rouge, LA. His web site is http://www.ihaveavoice.com .