The role of a stepparent can be tricky and there’s no such thing as instant love between a stepparent and a stepchild. It’s worth your time to understand your stepchild’s perspective and to realize that you’re not going to replace their biological parent but you can still make a positive impact on his or her life.
Different from a biological parent, a major thrust of being a stepparent is to be an adult friend to your stepchildren on some level. Not like a school friend, but an adult friend is more akin to being a mentor who is also a parental figure.
It’s important not to rush the process of disciplining your new stepchildren, especially if they’re teenagers or have a biological parent in their life. Focusing on giving your stepchildren time to adjust to their new living situation and being a good role model will set the stage for a solid relationship with him or her over time.
In this excellent blog posting Terry Gaspard offers 8 ways to connect with your stepchild:
Proceed slowly in your efforts to connect:
Be supportive of your partner and their need to spend time alone with their biological child.
Adopt realistic expectations:
Stay a positive role model.
Form a relationship with your stepchildren through hobbies and interests.
Be receptive to your stepchild’s view.
Understand that there’s no such thing as instant love.
Display a united front with your spouse.
Be sure to listen to your stepchildren’s input so they’ll feel validated. Ultimately, you and your spouse are the adults who have the last say on household decisions but showing your stepkids you respect their input will help cement a good relationship in the years to come.
Further, it’s important to cooperate with your spouse and have regular conversations about stepfamily life. Most of the talking will take place away from your stepchuldren but be sure to have cordial conversations and informal discussions about family rules, roles, chores, and routines with the kids.