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Parenting comes with a huge number of challenges, especially if you are going to become a step-parent. Being a step-parent can be intimidating and overwhelming for you and your stepchildren as well. Developing a good bond with your stepchildren can be similar to walking on a tightrope, there has to be a perfect balance between being a new parent and a friend. Also, you need to be careful, as one wrong step can ruin all your efforts.
But you don't have to worry as help is here. We have listed down some tips that can help you in developing a good bond with your stepchildren.
1. Let Your Expectations Adjust
Children are mostly hurt when a step-parent enters into their lives as this shatters their hope of seeing their biological parents re-united if there was a divorce. In case of death, it makes them feel guilty for being disloyal to their late biological parent.
So if you are expecting that your stepchildren will come running towards you and will build immediate bonding, you could be wrong. You need to adjust your expectations.
2. Take Things Slow
Your stepchildren might not accept you as their parent or a friend. In fact, they will see you as the person their biological parent chose to love and stay with. Therefore, initiate a steady friendship. For that, you don't have to go to them and say, "Hey, let's be friends." A smile and a casual hello can work in the beginning.
Also, bringing them expensive gifts and taking them out for fancy dinners, won't work as they might think you are trying to win their love through money. You need to first build a strong foundation.
3. Respect Their Space
If you think you can go into their room and check if they have slept yet or if they are doing their homework or monitor their every activity, then this might turn out to be a disaster. Let your stepchildren go out with their friends and have their own space.
Also, allow them to spend their time with their custodial biological parent and meet with the non-custodial parent. You can monitor their activities but from a safe distance.
4. Be Patient And Optimistic
Though this might not help, you will receive cold shoulders from your stepchildren. For that reason, your stepchildren might perceive you as the factor responsible for ruining the chance of their biological parents' reunion.
Even if you do positive things to move a step closer to establishing a good relationship with your children, your stepchildren might not accept it.
Therefore, instead of feeling disheartened, stay strong and make another attempt.
5. Avoid Treating Them Like A Special Guest
While you are all set to move in with your newly-wedded partner and develop a bond with your stepchildren, you might be planning things to make your stepchildren feel special. Thinking about doing something out of the box for them or bringing expensive gifts for them, might not work.
Remember, they are your stepchildren and not a guest from another household. Therefore, treating them the way you will treat a guest can be a mistake for you. Instead, you can share responsibilities with them, attend their school functions and ask for their opinion.
6. Let Them Decide Your Bond
If you are wondering whether or not your stepchildren will love you back then this might consume most of your time. Do not force them to develop a good bond with you.
Instead, you can accompany your stepchildren for their dance classes, shopping, playing football, and for other things. This will help your stepchildren to decide the bond between you and them.
Also, this way you can monitor the activities of your stepchildren. Let your stepchildren take the relationship forward.
7. Encourage Them
Children love when they receive appreciation for what they do. You can use this trick to break the ice between you and your stepchildren. Encourage and praise your stepchildren for the maths problem they solved or when they cleaned their room.
You can also take an interest in their hobbies and appreciate them. Such as if your stepchildren love to write, you can ask to see some of their poems and stories. You can then appreciate and motivate them to write more.
But make sure you do not pretend else it might backfire.
8. Build Trust
In order to have a trust on you, your stepchildren might take a long time than usual but that doesn't mean you have to stop trying. The best way to build trust is to ask for their opinions on a different matter and take their choice into account.
Instead of asking them to eat what you cooked, ask them what they would like to have in the meal. Also, you can sometimes ask them to help you and share their problems with you. This way your stepchildren will be able to trust you.
Being a step-parent is not that easy and people might feel tired and exhausted. But you need to understand that children never expect their parents to bring a new parent in their lives. Therefore, stay calm, be patient and take things in a slow yet effective manner.