Both stepparents are noncustody parents with long and short-term visiting children.

Stepparents: Both non-custody but one has long-term visitation.


Stepparents as Non-Custody Parents:
What if you are both non-custody parents but 
one spouse’s children have long-term visitation?

Joy Stevens

How do you handle the times when one parent has long-termvisitation, such as summer, while the other spouse’s children are coming for the week-endonly? What would be the proper stepparenting procedures here?

If you are both non-custody parents, and each have week-end visitation rights, make certain to plan a few empty times so you can have time for each other on a week-end. Hopefully, one custody parent or the other will be willing to change week-ends occasionally to allow this to happen.

There is another potentially  poor situation. Your spouse’s children are spending the summer with you. Your children come for visitation.

Be careful about the following situations:

  • Your children are treated like royalty while at your new home. Live-in children are ignored or take on some of the chores to help out for the guests. Maybe they are even moved out of their rooms or have to put most of their social plans on hold while the royalty is there.
  • Your children are horrified to see you living with a new family. They jealously watch your every move to see if you still love them, love the other children more,  or have left a spot for them in the new family.

Here are some suggestions to handle the above situations:

1. Make certain you and your spouse continue ongoing discussions and compromises and that you are both involved.

2. Your children should be encouraged to express their reservations about the new situation(s).  Put yourself in their shoes and empathize with them. Make an effort  to talk and behave like everything is the same.

3. Make certain your children do not feel like guests, but members of another caring group when they are at your new home.

4. Make certain your children realize that your new spouse will never take the place of their other parent and that your children will never have to choose between two families.

5. Give your children a permanent drawer and spot in the house. If they have to share a bedroom with stepsiblings, see that they have a bunk or trundle bed that is their own. Keep a place at the dinner table for them and make certain they have a place on the family arts and craft wall, family picture wall, etc.  

6. Include your kids in the family chores, pow-wows, decisions, and plans. Keep in touch while they are away so they will know what is happening at your house. But don’t make them jealous or use them to let your ex know how good it is going for you now.





7. Arrange activities that include your new family and activities that will let you be with your children alone.

8. Encourage your new stepkids to accept your children and spend time with them. But also encourage all kids to have friends and activities so their stepsiblings don’t have to entertain them.

9. Start the week-end with an activity that gets everyone involved when you can.

And what about your stepchildren?

1. Ask your stepkids what problems, if any, your children cause. Listen to their answers with an open mind and try to find solutions to their problems.

2. Express your gratitude to your stepchildren for including your children in their activities and lives.

3. Don’t expect your stepchildren to take the backseat to your children or let them feel pushed aside in any way.

4. Try to get your children and stepchildren involved in projects, activities, and chores so they will naturally get to know each other. But allow any of the kids to back off when they want to without feeling guilty or pressured to stay in the "group."

5. Get your new spouse to help with his/her kids and with the blending of the families. After all, you can’t do it all.

Just as all people are different, these blended kids will be different, too. You can not please all of them all of the time. Just remember to communicate with everyone concerned. As with most of life, talking and listening are still king!

Additional information about stepparenting, stepfamilies.

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