What is a Bonus Mom?

• Try to support the biological parents' decisions. This means you should uphold the biological parent's rules. Add your insights to establish policy, but uphold their decisions.

• Learn the secret of active listening. When your stepchild makes a statement like "You make me so sick!" instead of "Oh, yeah, you little brat ..." try this response: "Billy, I hear that you're angry with me. I think you're having trouble telling me that you're angry because you can't go to Sam's house to play. Am I on the right track?" Let him explain his feelings or clarify if you are wrong, and after you get to the bottom of the whole mess, then talk to him about being disrespectful when talking to you. Otherwise you will argue about the manner in which he spoke to you instead of why he's angry, and all of a sudden you're the stepmonster again.

• Look for the compromise. One of the classic phrases you will hear from any child is "That's not fair!" However, in retaliation, don't get bogged down with sticking to your guns. Yes, rules and consistency are extremely important, but if a stepchild sees that you're not taking his feelings into consideration, they will regard you as a stepmonster. When they see that you are making adjustments based on the facts in front of you, not blanket policy decisions, you will gain bonus mom status. This does not mean that you should give in to begging, nor should you have to argue about a decision you've made. With true compromise, you retain your authority but also communicate fair play.


Find out more about Bonus Families™ at www.bonusfamilies.com
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