With half of all marriages ending in divorce, and most of those going on to remarry, it’s import to learn how to be an awesome step parent. Even if you don’t have any kids yourself, if you’re marrying someone who has kids you’re going to face some interesting hurdles. And it’s not just about the kids. In fact, most of the challenges you potentially face are with the ex spouse. Being an awesome step parent can be the difference between a wonderful remarriage for your spouse or it can make their life immensely more difficult.

I have a friend who credits part of her success to her ex husband’s wife.

“She could have been petty, she could have been mean, she could have been jealous, she could have simply ignored me. She did none of those things. Instead she reached out in kindness and offered to provide day care to my toddler so I could work, free of charge. None of us had much money back then, and going back to work was already so challenging. Leaving my son with his step mother was a win-win. She got to know him better, he learned to trust her, and I knew he was safe with her.”

You don’t have to go so far as to become a pro bono day care provider but there are some lessons you can learn about being an awesome step parent from this story…

How to be an Awesome Step Parent

Reach Out – My friend would have never reached out to her ex husband’s wife. While she and her ex were on good terms, she felt it was not her place to reach out. Having the step mom reach out to her signaled that it was okay to have a relationship, friendship with her ex husband’s wife.

Stay in Touch – It was important to have that relationship in place when issues came up. Because they had connected early on it was much easier to have difficult discussions about grades, discipline, dating, etc… as the child got older.

Be Gracious – My friend’s ex husband and his new wife went on to have three children of their own, but always made sure to include the first child. In fact, the step mom often extended invitations to my friend to join in the family celebrations. When my friend remarried and had another child the first one to visit new mom and baby was the step mom. She showered both with gifts, encouragement and love.

Divorce is never easy, but blending families doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be a heartwarming experience for everyone.