It can be hard at first to establish a relationship with you and your stepchildren. Based on fairy tales, it is already an assumption for children to feel that their new stepparent will be a bad person who will treat their stepchildren badly. It is important not to push a relationship onto your stepchildren and to let them ease their way into your life so that they can learn to get to know you.

When you first meet your stepchildren, do not push yourself too hard on them as it might scare them away or come off as fake. Be natural with them. Do not do anything excessive like give them expensive gifts to get them to like you. Let them like you on your own and set the pace for the relationship. When they are ready to be closer to you, they will let you know. Give your stepchild time and space. If their biological parents are divorced, the children will be hoping that their parents will get back together. They might want to destroy your marriage so that their parent sees the light and gets back together with their parent. If one of their biological parents passed away, help remember the parent by listening to their stories, letting them show you pictures, or plan a memorial activity on their parent’s birthday.

It is best to treat your stepchildren like they are part of the family. If you have biological children from your new marriage, you do not want to make your stepchildren feel left out. Give them chores, share responsibilities, look over their homework, and attend their parent-teacher conferences. Listen to your stepchildren and respect their opinions as well as offer them praise when they do something right. Instead of trying so hard to be a new parent to your stepchildren, you do not want them to feel you are trying to replace one of their parents. Try to be a friend to them first and let them decide whether they will call you “mom” or “dad” or by your first name. There is no right or wrong answer. Show your stepchildren your honesty, confidence, making good choices, and being real with them. Earn your trust by letting them know they can come to you for anything. You and your stepchildren are in each other’s lives so you both should let each other in when you are ready.

Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.