Bonding with step children is one of the most challenging things you can try and do in your marriage. We give you simple tips to help you know how to bond with step children. With these 10 great tips, you will know how to connect with stepchildren!
10 Easy Ways to Bond with Step-Children
Blending a family and figuring how to connect with step children is no easy task. This is especially true because you are trying to navigate a new romantic relationship and co-parenting as well. So there are a lot of factors involved!
In my experience, bonding with step children takes extra effort but isn’t impossible. In fact, it’s pretty simple if you are truly wanting to connect with your stepkids!
My Experience Bonding with Step Children
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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. We got along really well. 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. 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.
My memory of the first time Ty met Colby is very vivid. Colby decided to stare him down with the “evil death stare” as we call it in our house and it really didn’t go well at all.
The second time they met was after everyone was 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. And it was hard!
We decided that it was time to really make some special attempts to see if the boys could bond with Ty. If Ty and the kids weren’t able to get along and didn’t particularly like each other, then 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 with stepkids you can almost guarantee that your home with always be filled with some sort of contention.
So how do you bond with Stepchildren?
How to Bond with Step Children
Don’t Try to Force Bonding with Step Children
Take your time. Move slowly. Be intentional Don’t try and force a relationship immediately. Let your stepchild set the pace.
Recognize that this situation with getting to know one another isn’t just new for you. It’s new for your step children as well. We didn’t fall in love with our spouse overnight, so we can’t expect our stepkids to fall in love with us overnight.
Discover Your Stepkids Interests
Make the effort to find out what some of their favorite things are.
Do you both like the same sports teams? Are there topics you can relate with each other on? Maybe you both have the same favorite food or movie.
These little things are great starting points that can help start a relationship.
If you are struggling to find any thing you can relate on make some small talk on topic with things you already know they like.
“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.”
This is how you connect with step children, through simple interests.
Treat Your Step Children Like Your Family
I know this might sound odd to say to treat your stepkids like family, but it is so important to be intentional with this. If you stepkids only come every other weekend or for school breaks, it is easy to treat them like a guest in the home.
Don’t do this! Make them feel at home!
Make sure they feel just as a part of the family as every other family member.
Include Your Stepkids
It seems like common sense to include your step children, but sometimes it can be easy to get caught up in your normal routine and step children can end up sitting by themselves.
Invite your stepkids to join in what you are doing, with everything. You may feel like it’s unspoken that they are invited, but they may be uncomfortable.
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 and Communicate Your Intentions with Bonding with Step Children
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. Be real. Wait to find something that you BOTH like and bond over that! I promise you will find something. It may just take a bit of extra time and effort.
Communication is the key! Sit down with your stepkid and let them know that you want to have a relationship with them. This really does open up a lot of barriers!
Put in the Time for Bonding with Step Children
Bonding with stepkids definitely does not happen overnight.
It takes time. It takes energy. It takes effort.
Are you willing to figure out how to bond with step children?
Once you establish the 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 try and get them to like you.
Don’t only give your stepkids special treatment. It causes resentment and it’s very contentious. make them like you, but this just only causes contention for everybody else.
Don’t do it!
It hurts everybody in the long run. You don’t want to have your stepchild establish you as the “pushover step-parent”.
Treat everyone the same. Step children just want to be treated like one of your kids!
Give them Time with their Real Parent
You might be wondering how letting your stepchild spend time with their real parent helps with bonding with step children and 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.
Make sure that they have special time together. This could be going out for ice cream, reading a book together, or even shooting baskets together. It’s doesn’t have to be a big deal, but it does need to be special time set aside specifically for this reason.
Ask Your Spouse for Advice on How to Connect with Step Children
If you are struggling with bonding with stepchildren, 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 Other People’s Experience on How to Connect with Step Children
Bonding with stepchildren is HARD! 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 that will have you bonding with stepchildren in no time! Share with us in the comments what has helped you know how to connect with stepchildren!
Check out these other blended family posts!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!