What Is the Stepparent’s Role?

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As a stepparent, you may have a meaningful connection with your partner’s child. Can you participate in the child’s everyday activities or make important decisions for them? 

Participating in everyday activities  

You can be present and participate in the family life of your partner and child.  

When the child is with your partner, your partner chooses the child’s daily activities. You can participate in these activities. For example, you can do these things: 

  • take the child out 
  • pick the child up from school 
  • choose what they eat 

But you and your partner can also ask the child what they want to do, depending on the child’s age.

Only parents make important decisions 

You cannot make important decisions for the child. The child’s two parents are the only ones who can decide. They must make decisions together, especially when it comes to these things: 

  • choice of schools 
  • health care for the child 
  • long-term activities or activities that involve risk 

But you can discuss these decisions with your partner, who is the child’s parent. You can also support the family in making important decisions.

You can’t make decisions for the other parent. When the other parent is unavailable, your partner can make important decisions on their own. For example, when a child needs emergency medical care, and the other parent cannot be reached.