It is becoming more and more common to marry someone with children from a previous relationship. While some children welcome the idea of a second parent figure in their lives, others are still hurting from the absence of their previous parent. Being a proper stepparent to them means being able to handle their frustration at you as well as introducing the idea of new people in their lives.
Here are ways to becoming a better stepparent:
- Ask the natural parent on how to win over their children. She will have a good idea of what her child is like and can help you along the process of bonding with them. Your new spouse will be a natural guide and your best partner in building up your new family.
- Improve on your patience. Accept that adjusting to the blended family is slow work, as psychological protection from the possibility that you may disappear from their lives, too. Avoid punishing or reprimanding them without the knowledge of their parent. Don’t take their negative behavior personally, as they may likely be expressing their frustrations about their new and unwelcome situation.
- Find common ground. Avoid being a substitute for the absent parent. Start with the idea that both of you love the natural parent and should work to make her happy. Work on your relationship from there, finding common interest
- Pay attention to your stepchild. He himself will give clues on how to be treated. Younger children will want a more attentive parent figure, while adolescent will want space. Encourage his behaviors of acceptance to the new reality. Youngsters are easiest to bond with, not having any concepts or social penalties of loss or blended families. The effort you put into bonding with your stepchildren at the earliest will pay greater dividends as time passes on.
- Remember to act as the adult. Stepchildren may show tantrums, commit delinquent behavior or display open hostility in order to break you down. Don’t lose your cool or act like a child yourself. Think of it as training for the later stages of your relationship. Find positive ways to cope. Step back if he refuses to share accomplishments with you.
- Enjoy some alone time with him. Early relationship roles between stepparent and child are defined primarily with their relationship with the natural parent. By spending time together, a relationship will develop between the two without having to resort to the third party.
- Become a member of a stepparent’s support group. Other stepparents are also struggling with their new roles, and have formed groups to support each others’ efforts. Group interaction can work wonders on relieving the stress as well as finding solutions for specific problems. You can also join in online support groups for a greater, if less intimate bonding with other stepparents across the country.
Being a stepparent is difficult work, and nothing is guaranteed despite your best efforts. Take strength from your spouse and commit to this arduous enterprise for her sake.