Getting into a relationship with someone who already has kids is not that hard as compared to striking a bond with the stepchildren themselves. Being a stepmom or a stepdad is immensely difficult as the child often harbors angst towards anyone who replaces their biological parent and probably the separation also had a bad effect on it as well. This relationship is much more complicated due to the various shades of grey that you might have to deal with. The barriers between you and your stepchild will definitely be there at the start of your relationship and the role might receive little support and appreciation from others considering the amount of emotional toil you might go through during this period but it can definitely be done. This is your guide to turn this weak bond into a strong relationship without going through the frustrations:
Respect their Biological Parent (Whose position you are in now)
The most sensitive bone of contention between you and your stepchild will always be their biological parent. The highest amount of problems stem from the fact that the child misses their separated parent and at first, this might lead towards feelings of suspicion and jealousy towards you. You need to assert the notion that you are respecting their biological parent and you won’t come in the way of their relationship.
If you want your child to develop a soft corner for you at the very beginning, refrain from speaking anything bad about their parent. Always ask them to keep their relationship alive with their parent and take care of them even if means going the extra mile and taking them for visits. You share a very fragile relationship with your stepchild and this would come off as a welcome move as far as the child is concerned.
Let the relationship be run at their pace:
Even if you are quite kind and loving towards your step child, the antagonistic feeling they have towards you will diminish in a long time. Any single mistake at being assertive will make your stepchild feel bad about you because you don’t share that strong a connection which provides you a high degree of parental control.
The stepchild will definitely take time to accept you and even more to develop feelings of love towards you. Don’t rush it, but give your relationship some time and if your intentions are kind enough, the child will definitely recognize them and start liking you in a more intense manner. They need to work through the diverse emotions they are having by seeing you around, let them pace it out and understand the new family and relationships for themselves.
Reduce the Anxiety:
Children always have their moments of anxiety and fear while dealing with new people and you are a relation that it did not choose for itself. You need to understand that the child might feel awkward while interacting with you at first and any questions that may sound good from their real parents, might not work well in your favor. They might see you as pesky if you ask questions about their school activities, homework or even about their friends. This can backfire and escalate pretty quickly, so stay away from these sort of questions.
Instead, what you can do is to try and get closer to them more naturally like getting involved in playing games with them or enjoying their time with the house pet. These activities will help you build a relationship faster as the child sees you more as a nice human and a friend. Your stepchild might resent in a lot of different modes at first, respect that and try to believe in only your kindness and love towards them. Strengthen the trust first before moving on any further.
Engage them in the family structure:
When we talk about a family, it can become quite a complicated relationship structure when a stepmom or a stepdad is now involved. The child was accustomed to their very own mother or father and now a new person assuming that role might be confusing for the child.
It’s best that you help your stepchild in accepting this new family structure by doing things that a family does together like going out for camping trips or planning holiday parties at home. The stepchild might not give you attention at first and may be involved with their remaining biological parent more than with you but the more you do it, the better chances your stepchild has of knowing you as a person and accepting your relationship with them.
Being a stepparent can be frustrating, exhausting and probably even a guilty experience as mostly the blame lies on you if the relationship might not work out. You just need to be tough and hang in there for as long as possible to develop the special bond with your stepchild that both of you can cherish and make it even more unique than ever.