How Can I Foster a Positive Relationship with My New Stepchild?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 50 percent of all American families are remarried or re-coupled, and over 1,000 new stepfamilies are formed every day. Being a stepparent can be a challenging role to fill. The stepparent is an adult authority figure in a child’s life but he or she may not have all of the same responsibilities as a biological parent. The path of a stepparent will undoubtedly be filled with obstacles; however, a happy, healthy stepparent-stepchild relationship is possible. If you are a stepparent hoping to have a strong relationship with your new stepchild, read on to learn tips experts say can help.
Develop Healthy Boundaries
It is important to realize that stepparents typically do not fulfill the same role in a child’s life as the biological parent does. The younger stepchildren were when their biological parent married the stepparent, the more likely the children are to view the stepparent the same as their biological parent. When stepparents enter an older child or teenager’s life, it can be harder for the stepparent to figure out where he or she fits in. Experts say that one of the best ways to avoid conflict and develop a close relationship with your stepchild is to develop healthy boundaries. Do not attempt to take the place of the child’s biological parent or immediately become the main disciplinarian in the child’s life. With time, you may choose to take on more of an authoritative role in the family, but doing so too soon can backfire.
Participate in Your Stepchild’s Interests and Avoid Rushing a Close Relationship
One of the best ways you can develop a close relationship with your stepchild is to take an interest in what he or she is interested in. Spending hours building a complicated Lego set may not be your idea of a fun afternoon, but if your child enjoys it, give it a try. The more experiences you spend with your stepchild, the greater your chances are of developing a loving relationship with him or her. However, it is also important not to set your expectations too high. Your stepchild may not be ready to spend a great deal of one-on-one time with you for months or even years after your marriage to his or her parent. Avoid rushing a relationship and give your new family dynamic time to develop naturally.
Contact a Wheaton Family Lawyer
Blended families can often bring a number of legal complications. For help with a wide range of family law issues, contact Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. Call our office at 630-665-7300 today and schedule a consultation with a practiced DuPage County family law attorney.