Advice for step mums: handling step children
Feeling at home: living with step children
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Feeling at home: living with step children

Your step children shouldn't feel like they're intruding. When they come to spend time at their dad's, they come to spend time at yours too. Don't snub them by offering them the sofabed in the living room as a place to sleep. And don't hang around the following morning, anxiously waiting for them to get up so you can fold the sofabed away. They will pick up on how much their presence bothers you.

If you don't have enough room to give them their own bedroom, it's important that they at least have their own space, which they can decorate as they please. Don't insist that they should raise a hand before going to the toilet and let them eat and drink when they want, without having to ask permission first.

Our expert remarks: "There are many step mothers who no longer feel at home in their own house once their partner's children arrive. It pains them to see their home transformed into a playground. What seems normal to say to your own children to get a bit of peace and quiet, isn't so when it comes to step children, for fear of being labelled as cruel!"

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