The evil Step-Parent. Certainly a stigma, and a strong one especially because we all automatically think of of wicked Step Parents and Evil Step Children as portrayed in the media. But stereotypes aside, stepparent-stepchild relationship is extremely critical for the happiness and security of any family. As the older and wiser, you should understand that the step-child’s hope of their Mom and Dad reuniting in a themed setting like in the movies is forever gone. So you should expect a grieving process. Sometimes it takes a few months to accept, sometimes never but whatever the case may be, you need to be prepared.
Trust is a key component in building of any relationship and it can take time to build as a child observes how you handle different situations. Do you listen actively? Do you really care about what is important with your step-child? Are you trying to become a part of their life out of want or necessity? They can sense dishonesty and insincerity. If you “Demonstrate honesty, confidence, making good choices and being ‘real’…they will know, one way or the other.” If you’re able earn their trust, over time, you may become an important confidante.
Never treat your Step-Child different than your own
Develop trust and honesty in your relationship with them
NEVER make them feel unwanted or unloved
To build some bridges, find some interests that you and your stepchildren share, and invite them to join you in these activities. Or better yet, create some new interest together. What is SO important in this process is to let go of the Fantasy. When there is a huge distance in expectations and reality, brace for the unhappiness. Don’t come into a family as a Step-Parent thinking that their is a time limit on grieving and a buzzer will sound when it is time that the family will immediately gel, the relationships will be tight, everyone will feel the love and the family will be a happy one because it really doesn’t work like that. Letting go of the fantasy will help you with the acceptance of what is really the reality and that’s needed to get to wherever you’re going, as a family.
Look, nobody goes into marriage anticipating divorce and children don’t look forward to the day their parents live in separate houses but it happens. Parenting is already tough and Step-Parenting…well that a whole new beast in addition. So if i had one word of advice for any Step-parent, it would be this: If you do have your own children, try not to show blatant favoritism to them. It is normal to feel more for your won children but your Step Child should never have to see this blatantly played out in front of them. That is just a horrible thing to do. Just keep in mind that although tips can be provided by peers, no one solution fits all.