All relationships require time to grow, so don't expect to connect with your stepchild overnight. Cultivate the bond and you two will enjoy a long, healthy relationship.
- TIP: Allow stepchildren the emotional space to preserve their bond to the biological parent.
- Step 1: Don't give up if the relationship hits a rough spot. Instead, demonstrate faith in the bond and your stepchild is likely to eventually respond by trusting you.
- FACT: In most states stepparents are considered "legal strangers" without legal rights or obligations to minor stepchildren.
- Step 2: Don't make negative comments about your spouse's ex, which may alienate your stepchild.
- Step 3: Establish unity with your spouse in matters of discipline, and make house rules clear to the children.
- Step 4: Learn about the child's life, friends, activities, school, and teachers so that you can relate to them by talking about the things that interest them.
- Step 5: Find common ground by sharing your talents and interests with your stepchild, whether it's cooking, fishing, playing a musical instrument, or volunteering.
- TIP: Realize that it is likely to take longer to establish a connection with older stepchildren.
- Step 6: Give the relationship time and space to grow at a pace the stepchild is comfortable with. Try not to force it.