Are you trying to bond with your stepchild?
When you enter a long-term partnership with someone who already has children, you might face some struggles. Children are sometimes inherently distrusting of new adults in their lives, and they may reject you as an adult in the household.
After you’ve signed those step-parent adoption forms, it doesn’t mean that the child will accept you.
We’re here to offer some advice to help new step-parents forge bonds with their new stepchildren. Keep reading for our top tips.
1. Do Your Research
If you don’t have any biological children of your own, it’s possible that you’ve never even touched a parenting book or blog. That’s okay! Everyone starts somewhere.
Take some time to do online research and pick up some step-parenting books. Professionals understand how difficult this transition into sudden parenthood can be, so they’ve compiled some of the best advice for any situation.
2. Don’t Replace Their Parent
One of the biggest mistakes that any new step-parent can make is to try and replace the birth parent. Whether the biological parent is still in the picture or not, your stepchild doesn’t want to see you as a replacement (even if they later accept you as a parent).
Remember that the biological parent is (or was) an important figure in the child’s life. Instead of trying to replace them, create your own role in the family.
3. Talk to Your Partner
If you’re dealing with some serious stepchild problems, consider talking to your partner about potential solutions. They know their child better than you do and they may have some helpful insight.
Your partner shouldn’t try to force the child to accept you either, but they have a stronger bond. If the child sees their parent bonding with you, they may be more likely to come around.
4. Engage in Fun Activities
With any child, bonding often requires some fun activities. For someone who’s never spent time with children before, this might be a confusing task.
Activities will vary depending on the child’s age. Young children may want to play games and go to the park while older children and teenagers might be more interested in events.
Learn about what the child likes and find activities that you can do together (with or without your partner).
5. Give Them Space
It’s possible that your stepchild will resist all of your efforts, and that’s okay. They may not want to do things with you, talk to you, or even call you by anything other than your first name.
You can’t force a bond, but if you give the child space, they may come around. Show them that you respect their autonomy and let them come to you.
Step-Parents and Stepchildren: A Difficult Bond
It’s normal for step-parents to face some resistance when it comes to bonding with new stepchildren. Instead of forcing them to like you, show them that you’re a safe and fun person.
Remember, you’re not replacing their biological parent: you’re becoming a new addition to the family.
For more helpful posts all about parenting and more, visit the rest of our site.