Is Your Stepchild Causing Problems In Your Relationship?
Adjusting to a (potential) step parent can be a difficult transition for a child. The divorce is the first shock, and probably the heaviest, but when a child’s parent starts dating somebody new, it can bring on a whole wave of different emotions.
Say you’ve been seeing somebody for a while now, everything is going fantastic. You move in together, perhaps you’re thinking of getting married – but one of your children, or one of their children, just can’t seem to adjust to the change. What can you do?
Firstly, identify the problem. What happened? Does it concern you?
If the problem doesn’t involve you, it’s a good idea to take a step back and let the biological parent handle the situation. As much as you may want to play an active role in your stepchild’s life, if they are not yet that comfortable with you, it would be better to step out of this situation.
As much as you would like it to happen, you won’t be close with your partner’s children straightaway. Building a bond takes time. Until that happens, remember their boundaries and don’t force them into activities that they do not want to participate in.
Perhaps your parenting techniques are different to your partner’s, and this is what’s upsetting to the child. Maybe they just feel left out, or maybe they still haven’t let go of the fact that their parents aren’t getting back together. Perhaps the problem is related to boundaries. Children in these situations may withdraw themselves or act out in unusual ways.
Speak to your partner about the situation. What’s going on? What can you do to help? Sit down together and figure out a solution to the situation. The solution is often simpler than you might think. Work together and plan activities together, if the child is comfortable with participating, to bring the family closer together. Take it slow.
Remember that it’s never too late to repair mistakes. Encourage the child to be open about their problems and to communicate them. Families often don’t blend perfectly straightaway; that’s just the reality of the situation. Put lots of effort and love into the family, and over time, you’ll see improvements. If the child is still acting withdrawn and causing conflict within the family or your relationship with your partner after a considerable amount of time, it’s advised to seek help from a therapist.