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How to be a good step parent

MAINTAIN a sense of humour and realistic expectations of your new family life.

Make sure you set clear roles and responsibilities with your partner.

Spend time with your step children alone, in a way that feels safe and comfortable -- trips to the park, playing sports, cooking together.

Remember that building relationships takes time.

Develop a relationship with your step-children before attempting to discipline them.

Discipline them fairly and with the consent (prior discussion) of their parent.

Never discipline your partner's child harshly.

Try not to take their negative feelings too personally. They are probably upset with the situation, not by you as a person.

Encourage children to spend time alone with your partner and also with their other parent. This will help them to see that you respect these relationships.