Getting Used to a New Step-Parent / by Cassandra Hearn

Getting Used to a New Step-Parent.jpg

It is a well-known fact that about half of all first marriages end in divorce. It should come as no surprise, then that following a divorce, many people will choose to remarry. Both the divorce and the remarriage mean a lot of change for both the spouses involved and their children. Adjusting to a new step-parent can be a challenging time for children, and parents and step-parents both should take steps to help a child adjust to the new step-parent’s role in the family.

As with most new situations, it is essential to keep the lines of communication open with your child. Take the time to have an open conversation with your child about how he or she is feeling with the new step-parent living in the house. Some children may feel more comfortable with such a frank conversation being conducted by text or email. Very young children may need more help communicating their feelings through drawings and role play. However you can achieve it, make sure you communicate with your child throughout the transition.

Take time to continue to spend one-on-one time with your child. Some children may harbor feelings of resentment that the biological parent is now dividing time between the children and the step-parent. It is essential to demonstrate to a child that he or she is still a priority, despite the changes in your family structure.

Creating new family traditions and going on fun outings together as a new, blended family can help your child understand that the new family will also be a safe and happy place. If your relationship with your former spouse is sufficiently cordial, inviting him or her to particular activities may help to strengthen the child’s feel for a family bond across both families. Activities like the child’s birthday party are particularly optimal for this type of bonding.

Finally, make sure that you are as patient as possible. It is natural for parents and step-parents to be eager for everyone to get along quickly and have a deep bond as soon as possible.  The reality is that it takes time for these relationships to develop naturally. Parents and step-parents should be as patient as possible and let the child dictate the pace.

We understand that divorce and post-divorce relationships can be complicated and have helped our clients with issues that arise. Call us today for an appointment at 619-800-0384 to talk about your family and your case