I want to bond with my step-child without overstepping. I don’t know the rules. Help!


Posted anonymously, 17th October 2018


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  • I think it really depends on how old the children are. It is best to have your partner support you as they may come out with the attack of “You’re not my mother/father”. Children can be cruel when they are hurting. So just make sure they understand you are there for them and are not going anywhere. I wish you luck.



  • I’m not a stepmum but I think you can’t go wrong with treating your stepchildren the same way you’d treat your own children. When it comes to discipline though, that’s when I think it gets tricky.



  • It’s a tough road to walk. Good luck with it all



  • I am not a step mum but I am a mum and this is what I would expect for my children if my partner and I ever separated and he married again:

    Love the child. Support, encourage and engage with the child. Just simple positive interactions can mean a great deal. Never utter a bad word about the child’s biological mum or cause any friction. I would suggest that any issues that may arise, speak with both mum and dad if possible. They are the child’s parents but you also play a huge role in the upbringing of this child. I would make sure that they always feel loved and wanted. When the child visits, be sure to do fun things as a family, like a walk, go to the beach, skate park etc. Just treat the child as a valued member of your family but always remember to speak to both parents about any issues and if clothes are needed, ask if you can take the child to purchase them etc.



  • There is no RULES per say, I think the best advise is to reassure your stepchildren that you are in no way taking their mothers place. Being a step parent is hard, an there will always be steps forwards and backwards. you just have to roll with it.



  • Before zi became a step mum, when I first met the children of my intended husband, I asked them to always let me know if any thing I said or did made them feel uncomfortable. They did so and this clarified for me what I needed to be aware of. I also told them I would never hurt them. They had their mother and I was not wanting to “take her place”.
    It took a while for the children to build a trusting relationship with me. They tried me out to see what my limits were. We also never used the “step” word. They called me by my name as I invited them to. I always treated them with respect. Whenever there was an issue, we talked about it. Just before we married out Pastor talked with the children and made sure they were okay with this. One child had a big problem with me that he could not overcome and I was so curious, it was that I had not learned to speak “American”! I am an Australian! And they had never seen me angry and were wondering how I would behave if I were angry! The opportunity when it presented, I told him I felt very angry at what he had just done as it was a matter of safety. And that satisfied him of what I would do if I was angry!
    He also wanted to know if his father would change his last name because their mother had.
    I asked the children if it was ok for me to take their last name.
    I invited them to participate in the wedding and if they did not that was ok and even if they did not want to attend that was okay too.
    I took my cues from them.
    So often decisions are made without consulting the children.
    These kids were happy to be given the choice and they wanted to participate.
    I said my vows to them to which they responded. It was beautiful to become their “ other mother” I alway treated their mother with respect.
    I never entered their rooms without asking first. I built wonderful relationships with these children who are now adults. I love them no less than the children I gave birth to.

    I think many people who become step parents have unrealistic expectations that they will automatically fill the parental role and how this should be. This is a big mistake. Go gently and if there potential for conflict discuss it. Hear them out, you are the adult, you are the one who has the opportunity to form a loving relationship or one so divided it cannot ever be healed and it puts their parent in an impossible situation. Often a parent has to make a choice and that is not fair. Children know when you are being genuine, they have another parent that they love and are loved by. The parent that becomes your spouse should never be made to make a choice. If discipline is required, do not do this, the parent has this job. If there is an issue that needs addressing, and the parent is not there a phone call can take care of that. I have done this on occasion. Never make a promise that you might not be able to keep. Kids will not trust you if you break a promise. Instead, whatever it is about, it can become a possibility that we can do this or that. Don’t ever lie to them. Ask them if they need help and let them know you would appreciate their help. I enjoyed being part of their lives during those years. I had the time to to really enjoy them, teach them and share their life. Even after their father and I divorced, they still kept a loving relationship with me and still do. Sadly their dad died suddenly and my heart broke for them. Even though we live in different countries, there is still a close bond.



  • I’m not sure there are rules as such but from my personal experience I prefer my step mother acting less like a mum with me and more like a friend. Depending on the ages of your step child/ren they may prefer to have more of a mum especially if theirs isn’t in their life anymore. If they still have their mum and she’s on good terms, have a coffee and ask. If not, go with a friend approach and see what develops out of the bond from there.



  • I think not expecting too much too fast is key, whatever the child’s age. Don’t expect instant acceptance.



  • Try to be their friend rather than a parental figure. Obviously once you and your partner have been together for longer then you can start to have some ‘parental role’ over them. You don’t want to be the evil stepmother straight off the bat! Genuinely be interested in them and their interests. Don’t try to over do it though.



  • i Don’t think there are rules each situation is different. I bonded with my step daughter over music slowly she let me in but now 10years later we are best friends. Try finding something common and go from there make sure they know they can come to you at anytime big or small problems



  • Yes, showing interest in the child is important. Doing things together as a family, going to a park, going to the library a picnic, a farm, bowling, watching a movie or simply sharing a meal are important. Ask what he likes to do and what he likes to eat. Prepare the foods he like and maybe shop, cook, and bake together. Don’t force yourself on the child, give him/her time



  • One step at a time is best. Talk to your partner about what he’d like and expects and try and work out some activities you can do to get to know each other. But always be interested in the child, don’t be distracted by phones or anything else they need to feel that you want to be around them.


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