If you are marrying or have married someone who already has children, you know it is not going to be easy. You will have to make some efforts in order to have a healthy relationship with the kids. But it can be one because you get to a parent and friend at the same time.
So here are three methods for you to follow to build a positive, healthy and strong relationship with your step child.
SHOW YOUR INTEREST
- This relationship is very sensitive. You need to make sure that the child feels comfortable. You can’t force any relationship or anything on them. Let them know that you are ready for what they want. The kind of relationship they want is what you will work on.
If they are avoiding you, do not force yourself on them. Do not meddle in their matters because they need some to accept the changes.
- You need to be very impersonal with them. No one wants someone new to meddle in their life. So befriend them using the same technique you would apply on somebody else. Start with a topic that they have interest in.
Like if the son has an interest in sports, ask them something about a match or share your experience in baking if daughter is interested in it. Choose topic that can have follow-up questions like ‘since when are you passionate about this?’
While your family is having a general conversation over dinner or TV, try to make eye-contact occasional to show that you are interested and listening.
- If you are bad at making conversations, go for this tip. Try to be interested in your step child’s interests and hobbies. Like if they child likes basketball, hang a basket in the backyard for him. This would give you more opportunities to interact one on one, like sometimes you could play with him.
When your relationship has reached a point where the step child is a little comfortable with you, you can show him what you are interested in, like woodworking maybe.
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- What the step child calls you is a big deal. Do not ask or force them to call you ‘mom’ or ‘dad’ at all. Tell them to be comfortable and call you whatever they feel comfortable with like ‘Mr. xyz’ or ‘uncle’ or whatever.
- Do not be afraid to have a bond with your step child. You have to be forthcoming because kids usually bound themselves when they see a new addition in their family. So open up a little and let them know that they can ask you anything, anywhere at any time. You have to always make them feel like you are going to do your best to make a bond. That is because if you do not tell them about anything, they are going to distrust you.
- Do not be ignorant. Always notice your step child’s reactions to everything you say or do. After a little time you are going to want to be a little affectionate towards them. But do not make them feel uncomfortable at all.
Notice if they back away a little if you touch them on shoulder etc. Or ask them if you can give them a hug on something special.
- In the beginning, you should try to very friendly with your step child. Do not be the parent who disciplines. Let the biological parent deal with giving out rules and punishments.
But that does not mean that you should not have a say in it. Just talk about this stuff with your partner in private. And let them say that to your kids.
- The most important thing about the relationship with your step child is to be respectful towards the child’s other parent. You should not talk negatively about them in front of the kids. And if they are telling you any story about their other parent, listen to them and respond actively too.
- Children get really sensitive when their parents get separate and it gets worse when any of them gets together with someone else. So be patient if they are a little annoying at first. Do not meddle too much to give them some time to get comfortable.
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- Try not to be everywhere. Give your step child and the biological parent to have some private time. This will show that your respect the pre-existing relationship and the child would feel comfortable.
- Try to have a family conversation daily. Either over dinner or TV, try to make everybody share something about their day.