I remember meeting my stepdaughter for the first time. I actually met her before I met my husband. She was 4 at the time and took quite a liking to me… She talked to me about everything: her dad’s boat, how she would draw in the garage on her easel, and even about Princess Dolphin, her rabbit. We established a bond early on without even knowing that I would one day marry her dad!
Soon after meeting Ty’s daughter I met Ty and we decided that we might want to date each other to see where it could go. We casually dated for a couple of months with no intention of involving the kids in our relationship, I mean what if it didn’t work out? That would have been so hard on them!
After awhile Ty and I decided that we really liked each other and wanted to see where this would go, so we decided it was time to have each other meet the kids and see how it went. I remember the first time Ty met Colby, Colby decided to stare him down with the “evil death stare” as we call it in our house… It didn’t go well. The second time they met was after they were all hyped up on Mountain Dew after the San Francisco Giants had just won a playoff game to make it to the World Series. Again, it did not go well! These encounters were not successful. We decided that it was time to really make some special attempts to see if the boys could bond with Ty because let’s be honest, if the kids didn’t like him or got along with him, then a marriage would never work out. The same went for my relationship with Ty’s daughter because if we could not bond then there would always be contention, lucky for me Ty’s daughter and I had already bonded a little bit before.
Bonding with stepchildren is not an easy process, in fact establishing a bond with stepkids is probably one of the most difficult things you will do in your marriage. If you don’t establish a bond you can almost guarantee that your home with always be filled with some sort of contention.
So how do you bond with your Stepchildren?
These 10 Tips will Help you Bond with your Stepkids!
Move slowly. Take your time. Don’t force a relationship immediately. Let your step-child set the pace. You know how all this is new for you? Well, we have to remember that it is all new to them as well. We didn’t fall in love with our spouse overnight, so we can’t expect for our stepkids to fall in love with us overnight.
Discover what your step-child is interested in. Make the effort to find out what some of their favorite things are. Perhaps a sports team, a favorite movie, or food. Do you like these same things? If so, that can help start a relationship. If not, then use their favorite thing to talk to them. “So how did the Giants do last night?” “I love doughnuts too, what’s your favorite kind? Maybe on Saturday, we can go to the doughnut shop together.” “I haven’t seen that movie, what’s it about.” There may be ways to connect with them through these interests.
Treat Them Like Your Family. I know this might sound odd, but it is true. If you stepkids only come every other weekend or for school breaks, it is easy to treat them like a guest in the home, but this doesn’t help establish a relationship. Make sure they feel just as a part of the family as every other family member.
Include Them. If you see your stepchild sitting by themselves, invite them to join in what you are doing. Kids can tell when they are being left out, so make an effort to include them in all things, including chores and household responsibilities.
Be Real. Kids know when you are being fake. They know when you like something or don’t like something. Don’t pretend to be something you are not just to try and establish a relationship. Wait to find something that you BOTH like and bond over that! I promise you will find something
Put in the Time. Bonding with your stepkids doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time. It takes energy. It takes effort. The question is Are you willing to put in the time? Once you establish a relationship it doesn’t end there, just like your marriage you need to continue to nurture the relationship for it to continue to grow.
Don’t play favorites. It is easy to favor your new stepchild to make them like you, but this just only causes contention with everybody else. Don’t do it, it hurts everybody in the long run because you don’t want to have your stepchild establish you as the “pushover step-parent”
Give them Time with their Real Parent. You might be wondering how this could help establish a bond with the two of you, but it does! It lets your stepchild know that you care about their relationship with their parent and in turn strengthens yours. So make sure that they have special time together it could be going out for ice cream, reading a book together, or even shooting baskets together.
Ask Your Spouse for Advice. If you are struggling with bonding with your stepchild, ask your spouse if they have any ideas of ways that you can try and bond with their child. I mean they do know their child best, so it’s the perfect person to seek guidance from!
Learn from others. Bonding with your stepchildren is HARD, hands down. It can be frustrating. Find others who have gone through the blending process so you can talk to them about what works. This will be your greatest blessing in blending a family.
So there you have it! With these 10 Simple, but effective strategies you will be bonding with your stepchild in no time!
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