Bridge-building Tips for Stepparents
Are you new to the world of being a stepparent? A stepparent’s job is both unique and difficult, in that you want to be there for a child that isn’t biologically yours, yet you still feel a connection to him or her as a family member. For this reason, being a stepparent can be a bit difficult, particularly if the child is having trouble adjusting to the divorce.
However, there are many ways that you can make an effort to be a part of a stepchild’s life. Once they see that you are making the effort, they may warm up to you and eventually think of you as part of the family. Here are some tips to help you build a better relationship with your stepchildren.
Let them warm up to you
If you are a new stepparent, it may take some time for the kids to trust you, particularly if they are still hurting from the divorce. Not everyone handles major family changes the same way, so give them some time to adjust.
Let them have time with the biological parent
You don’t have to be involved in every aspect of family life. As the newcomer, give the biological parent some time with the children apart from you, so that the kids can still feel like they are a priority for the parent.
Try to get involved
You can start by asking the kids about what’s going on at school or in extracurricular activities. You can offer to drive them to football practice, take them to see a friend, or offer to drive them to a movie.
These little ways of helping them out will be much more effective than trying to buy them a new toy or try to be their best friend by helping them break the rules.
Don’t force it
Whenever possible, let the kids take the lead. If they are behaving coldly now, remember that they have gone through the trauma of a divorce and and reacting as only they know how. Just do your best to be supportive and respectful, as long as they maintain a decent level of respect for you on a personal level.
While you can never replace the child’s biological parents, you can still be a major part of your stepkids’ lives. But since every family is different, it helps to try a few different methods and go with what works.