If you’re new to the stepparenting game, chances are you may feel like you’re running uphill every day.
If you’re eager to start the bonding process, you’ll want to be thoughtful about it. Here are five steps you can take to help you develop bonds with your stepkids.
1. Treat Kids as Equals
Nothing says “You’re not the same to me” as treating your stepkids differently than you treat your own kids. The Huffington Post reminds stepparents, kids keep tabs on things like gift-giving.
It might seem like a small issue, but it isn’t. For example, if you give your kids extravagant gifts at Christmas like a cell phone or laptop, and you give your stepkids boxes of cookies, they’ll notice.
Such treatment makes it more difficult for them to bond with you, because they’ll always feel like outsiders where you’re concerned.
2. Allow Them Time Alone With Your Spouse
It’s natural you’d want to spend time with your new spouse. However, it may be better for your relationship with your stepkids if you also allow your spouse to spend time alone with her children.
Your spouse is also your stepchild’s parent. As such, they need to spend time doing stuff with her kids sometimes.
The upside is eventually your stepkids won’t see you as competition and may even want to spend time with just you.
3. Follow Their Lead
It’s best to get to know your stepchildren at the pace they set. While you may feel anxious about developing a bond with them, it’s important to remember relationships take time.
It’s also critical to remember your stepkids may still feel some residual grief due to their parents’ divorce (or even death). Your stepchild will develop trust for you if you give him/her the time necessary to work through the difficult feelings they may still have.
For the moment, it’s okay to be your stepkid’s friend above being their parent.
4. Show Interest in Their Interests
Nothing shows your stepchildren you care about what is going on in their lives like participating in their lives. If they love attending hockey games, go with them to one.
Attend a school function with them or help them with their homework. Ask them to teach you more about their favorite hobbies, and then do their hobbies with them.
5. Don’t Betray Their Trust
If your stepkids give you private information, don’t just randomly share it. Additionally, show them you know how to listen actively when they take you into their confidence.
Respecting them and showing them they can depend on you go a long way toward building trust between you.
It’s easy to fantasize about how swiftly you and your stepkids will bond. However, that may not be the case.
Relationships require time and nurturing to grow. The most important thing you can do as a stepparent is show your stepkids they can trust you.
If they know they can, they will feel more inclined over the long haul to let you into their world.
Does a stepparent need to be their stepchild’s friend? I don’t think so.
Assuming the child is normal they probably have more than enough friends among their peers. I feel a stepparents role should be more liken to a coach or mentor.
A coach builds a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. Like an athletic coach, a stepdads role is to help his stepchildren reach their full potential spiritually, physically and morally. What do you think? Please leave your answer in the Comments below.