Being a stepparent is never easy, but many individuals find the experience to be as rewarding to that of being a biological parent. It takes time and effort to establish a relationship that is healthy for everyone involved. But everything is possible when all parties are willing to make it work. Here are some guidelines that you can follow in beginning the journey with your new family:
1. Take your time. Establishing a relationship with a child who may already have an established relationship with another parent may be difficult. Initially, a child may not be too open in starting a relationship with you. Allow things to develop naturally, and just go with the flow. Bear in mind that it takes time to build healthy and meaningful relationships.
2. Maintain open communication lines with your partner. Discuss on how you can get to know the kids more, and learn more about their individual temperaments. It is also vital to discuss the parenting styles that you will both take to instill discipline in your kids.
3. Respect all the persons involved with the child’s welfare. Never attempt to tarnish the image of another parent. Likewise, do not attempt kids to take sides on certain matters. Bear in mind that you can never replace the roles that their biological parents play in their lives. When you hear complaints from your child regarding the other parent, stay objective and try to stay neutral. Kids may have complaints, but they may also not appreciate your negative remarks towards their birth parents.
4. Make time for fun activities with the family. For a relationship to develop, you need to allocate time for bonding activities. Try new things together, and make new family traditions. By doing so, you also get to learn more about the kids’ distinct personalities.
5. Know your boundaries. Although you play a key role in the life of the child, there are just instances when they need their biological parent to straighten out certain matters. Your partner will even appreciate it if you learn when to step aside.
6. Work on strengthening your relationship with your partner. If you have a healthy relationship with your partner, you can weather the transition together and you can help kids adjust to the changes too. Marital issues can affect the entire family as a whole. And it may also hinder the development of a healthy relationship with the kids.
In establishing a deep and meaningful relationship with your stepchildren, you will definitely encounter plenty of challenges. But there is no step by step approach that you can take to make the transition easier or even quicker. Every family is unique, and you need to use it as a tool to come up with ways on how you can make the transition smoother for everyone.
It may be difficult to find your place in the lives of kids when they already have established relationships with their birth parents. But with hard work and dedication, you can eventually make your mark in their lives.