So you have met the person of your dreams and you are getting married. You see stars in their eyes when they look at you and you feel butterflies in your stomach when you look at them.
The magical day comes. You walk down the aisle and exchange the most epic vows ever uttered. It is all settled, and you are together till death do us part this time. The reception is lovely. Your friends and loved ones are there to celebrate with you. Even your kids from previous relationships manage to behave themselves and have a good time.
You go on a blissful honeymoon to some romantic spot right out of a tropics magazine and you could not ask for anything else. Days pass, you build memories, and then it is time to come home and build a life together.
As husband and wife, you make your first decisions and join your blended family under one roof. Your kids are his kids, and his kids are now your kids. Your mixed family is looking good and you are focused on building a happy life together.
And then all hell breaks loose.
Divorce Causes Casualties and Broken Relationships
Parents often forget that their children are suffering. Not because you have moved on, found someone, and are in love means that all is right in their world. At some point, the emotional upheaval that has been churning inside of your children will spill out.
You may even start to wonder if they are spawns from hell rather than the cherubic little angels that you met a couple times while courting your spouse.
They say living with someone shows you a whole different side to them. Things get real very quickly and as a stepparent, you have to be equipped with the right parenting strategies and relationship goals to counter these effects. Else, there will be devastating repercussions for everyone involved.
How to Build a Relationship Between Stepparents and Stepchildren
Charge up on a dose of love from your honey bun and be prepared to dish it out in spades to your new stepchild or children. You might need every trick in the book to achieve your stepparent relationship goals.
Here are several that will help.
It Takes Time to Build Strong Relationships
Every family has different types of relationships. Some take a longer time to form bonds than others do. Be prepared to work through the issues over the long term and take whatever wins you can over the short term. Even if it takes a little while, never give up hope that one day, you will have a loving family.
Expect things to unfold on their own time. This will depend on your specific dynamic with your stepchild. Regardless of the cataclysm, challenges, crying and errors, deal with your children with love. It is a separate relationship, which deserves its own time.
Take time to know that child. Learn about their likes and dislikes as well as the things that make them happy or sad. Sooner or later, they will come around. Don’t rush things.
Your foremost objective is to cultivate a relaxed and stress-free atmosphere. This will finally get them to accept you. Make one of your primary relationship goals that of spending quality time with everyone in the family, especially your stepchildren. You want them to trust you, to know that you love them equally, and to shed all the negative effects of coming out of a divorce or broken home.
Laughter Builds Relationships
Employ pleasurable moments and hilarity to change those anxious moments. There is oftentimes too much tension around when you are trying to blend a mixed family successfully. To achieve this task, you will have to develop a sense of humor.
Laughter will make your children feel more at ease. Loosen up and don’t take all that happens personally. Be aware that sometimes there will be challenges and so you will have to work though them, one at a time. This might take longer than you wish, but submit to the process.
After a while, your stepchild will start to change. All they need is positive reinforcement, care, attention, discipline, and your time. Think of inventive ways to bring more laughter in your life, and joy, peace, and happiness will follow.
Stepparents Need Support
Stepparents have to deal with challenging interactions with their stepchild. This is especially true if they were not a parent before. It can feel as if you are walking on a landmine every day.
Some stepparents have it especially difficult because the child is very abrasive and hostile. This is why it is important to have an objective third-party to support you. Make sure that you have a special friend who understands and can offer some wisdom. In time, you will have healthier relationships with your stepchildren.