Being in a blended family is never easy. When your new partner has kids, it can take a lot of adjustment before both parties can accept the new member of the family. Stepparents often find it hard to connect with their stepchildren, while stepchildren find it difficult to accept and trust their new parents. How does one cope with the new arrangement? Here are a few things that you can do to start connecting with your new children:
Set realistic expectations
Just because you are open to your partner having kids does not necessarily mean they will willingly do the same for you. S make sure that you set realistic expectations. It is best not to keep your hopes high but remain positive. Be patient and understanding. Respect their boundaries and always give them enough space.
Make a good first impression
First impressions last when it comes to stepchildren. But be careful not to overdo it. Make sure that you dress appropriately during the first meeting. You can opt to offer a gift, but if your stepchild is older than a toddler, you might want to skip the expensive gifts. Ask help from their parents for the things their child is interested in before you buy anything Phoenix, Arizona gift shops.
Never attempt to replace the other parent
Some stepparents think that their new role requires them to replace their stepchildren’s other parent. It is important to understand that you are here to connect and build a new good relationship with them, and not to replace anyone. Be open, be supportive, and try to earn their trust. Make sure to ask their parent first before you take extra measures.
Allow them to grieve
If their other parent passed away, give them enough space to grieve for their loss. Never attempt to make the child forget about their parent. Instead, be supportive enough by allowing them to share stories and wonderful memories with their mom or dad. If their parents are already divorced, they may try hard to reconcile their parents. Don’t take this personally as this is a normal reaction.
Don’t ignore the cues the kids are giving you
Some kids tend to be more open to the possibility of their parents finding new partners. But many will resist their new stepdads or stepmoms even if you are the coolest stepparent there is. What you can do is to take the cues the children are giving you. Pay attention to what they say and what their body language tells you. Make sure that you keep your doors open if their guard is still up.
Allow the kids to maintain a good relationship with their biological parent
Just because you are a new mom or dad doesn’t mean that you have the right to stop the kids and their biological parents from seeing each other. They have the right to spend quality time and resolve any issues they may have. Encouraging them to call and spend time with their other parent will make them trust and respect you more. Also, never talk bad about their parent and remain civil toward their biological parent.
It is true the gaining the trust and respect of a stepchild is nowhere easy. But with the help of this list, you can start creating a positive relationship despite you not being their biological mom or dad. It may take some time and a whole lot of effort, but all of this will be worth it once you manage to connect with your new family members.