When you join a previously established family and embark on forming new relationships, change isn’t always easy. Integrating families requires a lot of love, empathy, and most of all, patience. We have some simple advice for helping stepparents handle their new responsibilities.
- Slow down – Ease into the relationship with your spouse’s child. While you’re stepchild may be excited to get to know you, the reality is that most relationships need time to develop. You may need to navigate feelings of resentment or loss. Work on developing a friendly and loving relationship.
- Show some respect – Establish a culture of mutual respect.
- Don’t take sides – When it comes to your stepchildren and your spouse, don’t take sides. Allow your spouse to handle the problem with his or her child without interference. You can discuss your concerns in private.
- Be reasonable – Don’t expect too much too quickly. Your stepchild may harbor bitterness, anger, or disappointment due to his or her changing life circumstances. Be open and honest. Focus on being a trusted friend and role model.
By giving your stepchild (or stepchildren) time to adjust and setting reasonable expectations, you can establish yourself as a trusted friend and role model.