Every time stepparents are mentioned, the evil stepmother from Cinderella
probably pops into your head. Stepparents have become stereotyped as the
bad parent, out to replace a child’s birth parent. It can difficult
to fight the stigma in the eyes of a small child, but it can be done.
With an average of 50% of American marriages ending in divorce, remarriage
is a likely possibility. It is important to get along with your stepchildren
if you want a truly healthy marriage. Here are tips on connecting with
Allow Time for Adjustment
It can be a confusing time for a child to get used to their parent’s
new spouse. They need time to grieve the end of their parents’ marriage
before they can accept this new union. Give them time and space. By not
forcing your company on your stepchildren, you show them that you respect
their emotions and what they’re enduring. That does not mean you
should not make an effort.
Plan a Quick First Meeting
It can be awkward when you and your stepchild first meet. You do not want
to overwhelm them. By having a short first meet up, you both get a chance
to assess one another without the obligation of a long drawn out dinner.
Be open to forming a relationship naturally, rather than forcing one.
Treat Stepkids Like You Would Your Own Children
Whether you have children or not, treat your new stepkids like family.
By being overly enthusiastic or unnaturally friendly, you may make children
feel like guests rather than part of the household. Treat your spouse’s
children with the same level of familiarity and with the same expectation
you would your own kids.
Allow Stepchildren to Have Alone Time with Their Parents
As much as it might be tempting to want to participate in all activities
with your new spouse and their kids, you should give them some alone time.
By allowing your stepchildren one-on-one with their biological parent,
you show them that you are not here to take over. Rather, your new family
should naturally progress to wanting to spend time together.
Be Open and Honest
Children can sense when someone is not being genuine. By being honest,
your stepchild will understand that they can trust what you say. This
will help ground your relationship on a solid foundation.
Open Lines of Communication
You should make sure that your stepchild knows that they can come to you
to talk. Be there for them if they need someone to listen to or offer
advice. You can reach this level of friendship by sharing interests and
participating in activities you both enjoy.
We hope these tips will help you as you connect with your new stepchildren.
This can be an exciting and overwhelming time. Just remember that you
are expanding your family and that can be great. If you need a family
law attorney in San Bernardino, contact our lawyers at Matthew Sheasby,
Attorney at Law.