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How to dissolve conflict with stepchildren

With couples having children later in life, a stepchild may be a part of the immediate family. Careers, getting married later in life, and single families all contribute to the possibility of a stepchild in a relationship.

When children from a previous relationship are brought into the family, the likelihood of conflict can arise. Consider these simple tips to dissolve conflicts and create a healthy, happy atmosphere.

Dissolving Conflicts

  • Children should be told, from the beginning, that you are working as a team and have their best interests at heart.
  • Immediate action should be taken when a conflict arises. Waiting builds up frustration, stress, anxiety and tension.
  • Both parents should be involved in deciding what steps to take when dissolving the conflict.
  • Punishment should be given within the same degree of tolerance to all involved.
  • Avoid taking sides with either child. Children are smart and can tell the difference.
  • Conflicts should not be taken lightly. It is up to both parents to take responsibility for their part in the conflict.
  • Children are aware of the parent that gives in and will take sides with that parent. Avoiding this dilemma from the start will make the conflict easier to handle.
  • Communicate with each child during and after the conflict.
  • Do not blame one child or the other. Staying neutral will emphasize to both children that you are listening to each one.
  • Apologizing or saying "I'm sorry" should be part of dissolving a conflict.

Conflicts can create an atmosphere of distrust and animosity. Being proactive in dissolving a conflict will ultimately bring harmony to the household.

You must remember that this is all new to the stepchild. Creating a healthy and happy atmosphere is the responsibility of all involved.

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