Recent statistics have shown that 65% of all remarriages include children from previous marriages on one or both sides. With this in mind, it seems that there would be an increasing number of families looking for ways to make the new blended family work. By learning a little about what the children are going through and putting a few ideas into practice, you can improve your relationship with your step-children and live happier together.
Some of the key factors you should keep in mind when thinking about the needs of your step children include that they need to feel:
- Safe and secure and know they that they can count on all of their parents, biological or not. It’s important to remember that children who have divorced parents are more prone to distrusting people and having the fear of being let down. It will be even harder for them to put their trust in a step parent because they don’t want to be let down by them.
- Loved, just as everyone else wants to feel that they are loved. However, keep in mind you shouldn’t load it all on them from the get go, you’ll have to show it gradually as you give them time to trust that you won’t stop loving them.
- Important and valued as they often feel invisible or unimportant when family decisions are made.
- Connected in an emotional way. You must promote an honest environment where both you and your children and your stepchildren can speak opening with each other without the fear of judgment, rejection or humor at their expense. Make sure they know you understand and care about their perspective.
- That they have limits set by a caring parent. While a child might not admit they need limits and boundaries, your enforcement of them actually shows the child that they are indeed worthy of your time and attention. Of course as a new step-parent you shouldn’t just start enforcing things without working as a team with your spouse.
There are also few rules to keep in mind when dealing with your stepchild’s other biological parent.
- Keep all of the parents involved in family decisions or discipline procedures
- Never speak of your spouse’s ex in a bad or bitter way
- Invite your spouse’s ex to family events
- If your stepchild spends time with their other biological parent ask them how their time was, what did they do, etc.