THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

Will the kids totally retaliate and begin plotting their nasty schemes to get rid of the new girlfriend or boyfriend? Or will they accept the new member of the family with open arms? Every household is different.

Woodford mum of two Katie Dykes said taking it slow was key.

"I am very protective of my children so after splitting with my husband I wanted to make sure my kids were always my priority," she said.

"When I met my current partner, I didn't want to push anything. I wanted to keep it very casual.

"As things progressed we'd go and stay at his place for the weekend or he's come over and we just took it really slowly, and now we're living together."

Ipswich mum of four, plus a stepchild to make five, Meltopia Grandelis said things could become tricky when discipline and conflict were involved.

"If there is any conflict in the house, I will always take the kids side and he knows that. But in saying that, we've got to stick together on things or it won't work," she said.

"So we do make a conscious effort to take the emotion out of it and think 'this is the problem, let's stick together and solve this, but I am first and foremost going to protect my children'."

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.
Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent. Jupiterimages

Tips for introducing a step parent to the family:

Don't expect your kids to love them overnight. These things take time - let it.

Take it slow. Too much change all at once can unsettle children.

Insist on respect from the beginning.

Tips for bonding with your new blended family:

Let the child set the pace. Most kids will eventually give you a chance, some just take longer than others.

Use verbal praise and encouragement when granted. Children like to feel appreciated.

Recognise the child's role in the family and involve them in any decision-making. 

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