The greatest gift you can give your new stepchild is time. Remember your stepchild is grieving the loss of their nuclear family. It will take time for them to get used to the situation.
Getting married always presents adjustments for the wife, husband and their extended families. Marrying into an already existing family structure introduces additional challenges and adjustment for everyone involved. Newlyweds may not enjoy the same privacy and bonding time that childless couples experience. Stepparents will have instant roles and new relationships with possibly confused or resentful children.
With the proper blend of patience, communication, and support from your spouse, being a stepparent can be a rewarding and positive adventure. Here are some tips for easing the transition and building and maintaining healthy relationships with your stepchildren.
GIVE IT TIME
Depending on the situation and age, children may take a long time to accept a stepparent. Teens may take even longer than children under eight. Adolescents may already be struggling with all the adult relationships in their lives. They may also be experiencing things that have nothing to do with the new stepparent. Being too eager to force a relationship may backfire.
Giving kids time to get used to you may prove beneficial over time. “The greatest chance to be a positive influence can only be achieved through patient bonding,” advises John Patrick Jacobson, a stepfather of two teenaged children and founder of website, Stepfathers.com.
Your spouse plays a vital role in helping kids and stepparents build a positive relationship. Tad Benson, a stepdad of a six-year-old boy and founder of Stepdads.com warns that sometimes “Moms tend to try and force it and make everything all right, but it won’t pay off in the long run.”
Benson maintains, rather than rush the relationship, “it will take time and it needs to be built on mutual trust and acceptance.” He states, “your goal initially is to survive.” Based on his experience, Benson adds, “as long as everyone is mutually respected and there’s love abounding, you should strive to create your own relationship and family dynamics.”
Benson warns that, “stepdads need to see themselves as stepdads, not biological dads.” Though this may be difficult to accept when you are eager to forge new relationships with stepkids, but Benson feels this belief will help to build a better foundation. A new, special bond will most likely develop naturally over time.
According to a recent poll completed by stepdads, conversation is the best way to connect with stepchildren. This is followed by activities of mutual interest such as computer games and sports.
Stepparents may make progress building relationships with stepchildren by trying to be a loving relative, instead of a …
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