Friday, August 6, 2010

Really relating to your stepchildren

If you attempt to identify the times at which you've felt especially good about yourself, chances are that you will pinpoint moments when you’ve felt greatly loved and appreciated or when you've been able to do something really special for someone else. Your greatest pain was probably accompanied by a feeling of not being lovable, not being valued, even of being rejected. This clearly demonstrates that whilst every human being has a number of basic needs, the greatest ones of those are to feel valued, worthwhile, capable and loved. Because this is just as true for your stepchildren as it is for you, here are 10 keys of how you can nurture your partner's kids:

1. Take time for your stepchildren – they instinctively know that you’ll spend time on what you value.
2. Lead by example – stepchildren won’t necessarily do what you say but, like all children, they will enact what they see.
3. Show an interest in what is important to them – this communicates that you consider them important enough to want to ‘know’ them for who they REALLY are.
4. Listen to your stepchildren without judgment – this shows that you respect their point of view.
5. Have age-appropriate expectations of your stepchildren – let them be children.
6. Remember that we learn from our mistakes – never punish your stepchildren for making one.
7. Affirm, praise and encourage your stepchildren – this boosts their self-esteem.
8. Show that you have trust and confidence in them – this encourages self-responsibility.
9. Teach your stepchildren how to deal with conflict – this helps them understand that conflict is a normal part of life.
10. Remember that your stepchildren didn’t choose you – you chose to become part of their lives when you chose their parent to be your partner.

You can read more on creating successful relationships in my book “Hell…p! I’m a stepmother”. To place an order, click here.

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