While no two stepchildren will have the same emotional reaction to a stepparent entering their life, one thing is certain. As a stepparent, you’re most likely an outsider who needs to win over their respect and trust gradually. This is because the stepfamily structure often puts parents and stepparents on opposite ends of a continuum when it comes to separateness and closeness. For instance, every time a stepchild enters a room or a conversation, a biological parent might consider themselves as an insider and a stepparent an outsider. This happens naturally because children typically gravitate to the adult they are most comfortable with, an insider, when seeking support or nurturance.
In this excellent blog posting, Terry Gaspar writes that it’s completely normal for a stepchild to mistrust a new stepparent and for a stepparent to feel rejected, overlooked, or jealous at times. It’s a safe assumption that you will need to be consistent, present, and interested in their interests and activities.