Know your role.
Due to traditional gender roles (which are still very much hard-wired into society), it is often assumed that a female entering into a blended family situation, or taking on a partner’s children will automatically wish to take on a mothering role.
This is an assumption and it is key to discuss and communicate around this point time and time again. When adults are not aware of what their role is, it can be highly stress inducing for the adult as they try to navigate the unknown territory of parenting somebody else’s child, or somebody parenting their child. Many things come under this heading of what is my role, such as who is choosing what they eat, making their food and feeding the children. Food and eating practices are very personal and can be a major bone of contention for any family. Family chores such as who washes the clothes, who tidies up after the children or do they tidy up themselves. These can be issues with moving goalposts in traditional family units and where there is grey areas related to these topics, it can then become an issue to be disciplined, leading to who is disciplining the children and do the co-parenting adults have the authority to do so?
Again clear communication is necessary regarding whose role is what, and what is the protocol for the adults when they find themselves in a place of conflict with their step child. Overstepping the mark here is a recipe for disaster. As much as possible, know what your role is and what it isn’t and keep talking about it.