Tips for Step Families

When step families are created, a bond between the step child and the step parent is not automatic. The child may go through a “honeymoon” phase and then a “rejection” phase before any sort of bond takes place. In order to get the child past the rejection phase successfully, the step parent should avoid being the disciplinarian, give the child plenty of space, and focus on connecting with the child in creative ways.

I can relate to this situation, as I am a step dad to a teenage girl and two grown boys.  When I first came into the picture, I made the commitment that I would not be the disciplinarian and instead, simply provide support to my new wife.  Of course, I would voice my concerns and opinions but I would do it privately to my wife.  It was more important that I build my relationship with my new 8-year-old step daughter, especially since her biological dad was somewhat in her life.  After about a year of bonding instead of disciplining, I had developed a relationship with her that allowed me to ease into providing more discipline.  Because of that, I am enjoying a wonderful relationship with that now 14-year-old beautiful girl who refers to me to her friends as her parent!

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