Myleene Klass has opened up about becoming a step-mother and parenting in a blended family.
The former Hear'say star singer shares a 20-month-old son, Apollo, with her fiancé Simon Motson, and has two children, Ava, 13, and Hero, 10, from her relationship with ex-husband Graham Quinn.
Like Klass, Motson also has two children from a previous relationship.
The star, 43, admitted that being step-mum has its challenges but she has found a way to overcome them by being "the most mature you can possibly be, even when you don't want to be."
Speaking on the Made By Mammas podcast, Klass said: "I said to Sim when we were first all living in the house together, I said that I'm not going to tell your children off because I don't feel like that's my role.
"And within 10 minutes, that'd gone out of the window when one of them is hanging off the monkey bars and another is trying to put a ball through a window."
Klass said she likened their situation to being on a boat together.
"In the end, I just changed all that around and I sat them down around the table and said look, the only way we're going to do this is, I see it as we're all in a boat, this is how I view it," she continued.
"And one of you rocks the boat, we're all going to feel it. And if one of you goes overboard, I'm going to grab you and make sure you're safe. That's the only way we're going to get through it, is if we're all in this together."
Watch Myleene Klass reveals her favourite ads.
Challenges of parenting in blended families
Parenting in a blended family, with children from previous relationships, comes with its own unique set of challenges, according to the charity Relate.
"It’s very easy for roles to get confused," the charity explains on its website. "Are you a parent or friend to your new step children? How involved should you get in discipline? And what about your own children? How do you make sure they feel secure and loved?
"It can be very stressful trying to negotiate what can often seem like totally foreign territory, but try not to panic.
"As long as you and your partner work together and communicate effectively along the way, there’s no reason why your blended family can’t be as happy and harmonious as any other."
Fiona Small, founder of the Young Mums Support Network, says she would advise couples embarking on bringing together a blended family to take time to adjust and allow their children to communicate how they feel.
"Only use the term step-mum or step-dad if all who are involved feel comfortable with it," she adds.
"When families begin to blend, communication is key as you now are parenting with a new set-up which can pose as a challenge if not managed correctly.
"Take the time to manage the transition from early on, even before you move in together and be prepared to listen, even if it hurts."
Relate has also provided some tips for adjusting to parenting in a blended family:
Don’t force things. Even if your children don't like your new partner. "They may need a little time and space before they’re ready to come to terms with their new circumstances, so try to provide this."
If you have your own children, make time for them. It is likely they could feel anxious about their new positions in the blended family and concerned about not being as important. "Having special bonding time with them can help them to feel secure and loved."
Reassure them about any step-brothers or sisters. Try to address any worries your children might have about other children being incorporated into the family. "Let them know that, although the other children are an important part of their new family, they aren’t being replaced and they’re still as important to you as they ever were."
When it comes to discipline, be cautious. According to Relate discipline can be one of the trickiest aspects of being in a blended family. As a general rule, the charity suggests trying not to assert yourself too quickly. "It’s not a good idea to try to take over parenting duties if you’re a step-parent: this will likely cause tension. Instead, agree on a number of ground rules with your new partner when it comes to discipline and make sure you’re there to back them up if needed."
Remain a parent to your own children. It is vital your children see the control of their lives hasn't passed to your new partner. It’s important for your kids to see that you haven’t given up control of their lives to your new partner. "They will still need you to represent an independent presence in their lives."
For more help and support overcoming the challenges of living in a blended family get in contact with your nearest Relate to book an appointment for family counselling.