Step-Parenting and Breaking the Ice with Step-Kids

not all family relationships are easy for step-families. The key is to take it one step at a timeby Pam Smith 

Step-parenting is becoming more and more common in today’s society..  However, it is not always an easy situation.  Visions of the Brady Bunch are quickly replaced with reality.  There are a variety of different reasons why you may be in a step-parenting roll. When in the early stages of step-parenting there are some simple steps you can take in order to break the ice and form a friendship with your step-son or step-daughter.

It is important that you have a clear understanding of what your role is.  In most instances, you are not in the relationship to replace their parent.  You are simply there as a partner for their Mom or Dad.   You will also want to have an accurate perception of what to expect from your step-kids.  In the beginning, don’t expect them to automatically love you and accept you.  If your step-kids do not immediately open up to, try not to take it personally.  This is not only new to you, it is new to them. 

In the beginning of your relationship, you will want to make sure you allow your partner ample alone time with his or her kids.  This will not only give them the bonding time they need, but it will also show the kids you are not trying to take their parent away from them.  This is very important to a child who been through a divorce.  They often feel insecure and feel like they have lost one of their parents.

It is important that you and your partner are always up front with your step-kids.  Let the step-kids get used to the idea that you are going to be involved in their life.  Allow them to ask any questions they may have and be honest with them.  They will respect you in the long run if you can always be honest with them. 

Kids of divorced parents rely on stability.  Therefore, it is important that your presence does not interrupt their normal routine.  They have been through so much and need to keep the stability and routine of their everyday life. 

When you initially begin a relationship with a partner who has children, it is important that you do not immediately meet the kids.  Instead, wait until you are sure the relationship is going to move forward.  The kids have already been through the tragedy of their parents splitting up.  Therefore, it is important that they are not exposed to additional break-ups. 

Once you are to a point where you can meet the kids, you will want to take it slow.  Older kids will have a much harder time warming up to you, verses kids that are younger.  Therefore, you will need to give the kids the appropriate amount of time and space to warm up to you and accept your presence and role in their life.
You may want to plan the first meeting in a neutral location. No matter what the age of the children, be sure you keep your affection to a minimum at first.  For younger children, you could easily plan a day at the zoo or the park.  This will allow the focus to be more on having fun and enjoying the animals rather than meeting the new step-parent.  

For older children, you may want to consider a lunch date.  This will give you all a chance to get to know each other in an informal environment.  You will want to keep the conversation light and up beet.   Try to keep the first meeting short and sweet.  You can gradually spend more time with the kids. 

Becoming a step-parent is not always an easy decision.  It is often a package deal that you must accept when you fall in love with someone who has children from a previous relationship.  There are a variety of different things you can say and do to make the transition an easier one for all involved.  One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you are there to be the child’s friend and not there to replace their parent.  By taking baby steps, you will soon have a lasting and working relationship with your step-kids. 

 
Biography
I am a 34 year mom of two girls, ages 6 and 19months. I am also a step-mom to two wonderful boys, ages 16 & 14. I have been married to my husband for 10 years. Currently, I am a Stay At Home Mom and enjoy every minute of it. 

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