Why Step Parenting Is Harder Than Parenting

  • By: Maya
  • Date: April 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Step parenting is a form of parenting in which the child’s primary caregiver is not the child’s biological or adoptive parent. It has been shown to be harder than parenting by one’s biological or adoptive parents, due to the lack of support system that traditional parenting provides. One study found that step-parents felt more pressure and had less resources available to them than biological or adoptive parents did.

Establishing boundaries: Difficult when emotions are high

The idea of establishing boundaries can be difficult when emotions are high. For one, it can be difficult to stay calm and rational when things seem to be escalating quickly. Second, it can be difficult to know when is the right time to set boundaries. Third, it can be hard to know how much information to share with the other parent about our children and our concerns. Finally, we may worry that setting boundaries will result in our children not wanting to see us or communicating with us at all.

Managing expectations: Can be difficult to balance what is fair to both parents and children

When parents divorce, it is natural for children to feel the effects. They may feel like they are losing a loved one, and may experience anger, sadness, and confusion. It can be difficult for kids to manage their emotions as they go through this transition. This is especially true if one parent maintains a more dominant role in the child’s life than the other. A study published in The Journal of Family Psychology found that when one parent is more authoritative and controlling, it can be harder for the child to develop healthy relationships with others outside of the home. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and loneliness. It can also make it difficult for children to trust their instincts and learn how to cope with stress.

Dealing with stepchildren’s resentment: Can be a challenge when they don’t want you there

Step parenting can be harder than parenting your own children. When your children are stepchildren, they may resent you for taking away their parent figure. There are a few reasons why stepchildren might feel this way. 

The first reason is that most stepchildren feel like they’re losing out on privileges that they would have had if their parents had stayed together. This can include things like spending more time with their parent, being able to make decisions without consulting the stepfather or mother, and gaining access to the family money. 

Second, many stepchildren feel like they’re not given a fair chance to prove themselves to their new parent. They may feel as though they’re not allowed to have any fun or show any emotion because it might upset the parent who is still living in the home.

Co-parenting successfully: Takes work from both parents

Parenting can be hard, no matter who the parent is. Many times one parent will have more natural tendencies than the other, leading to tension and conflict. This is especially true when it comes to step parenting. A study published in The journal of social work research found that step parenting is harder than parenting a biological child alone. The study looked at data from 197 families with children aged 6-18 who had adult children living in their households full-time. They found that there was more tension and conflict between step parents and biological parents than between step parents and adoptive parents. This suggests that it takes two adults to successfully co-parent, regardless of whether they are biologically related or not.


In conclusion, step parenting is harder than parenting because of the added challenges and stressors that come with the role. However, it is possible to be a successful step parent with commitment, patience, and support. If you are considering becoming a step parent or are currently in a step parenting role, it is important to remember that it won’t be easy, but it is definitely worth it.

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