Sunday, June 16, 2013
Managing Step Relationships - Step 3
DEALING WITH VERY YOUNG STEPCHILDREN:
In many ways dealing with very young stepchildren is easier than dealing with older ones. They are usually too small to struggle with loyalty conflicts, haven’t as yet become critical and generally respond well to kindness.
HAVE AGE-APPROPRIATE EXPECTATIONS
The danger in step-situations, especially if we don’t have any previous parenting experience, can be that we expect more from a young child than he or she may be capable of giving. With young stepchildren it is important that you…
DON’T expect maturity that is beyond their age or an ability to do things they haven’t as yet been taught.
DO spend time playing with them.
(See last month’s newsletter for a whole host of useful play-ideas).
DON’T expect very young stepchildren to fall in step with your normal life style if it isn’t child-oriented.
DO act in consistent ways. Ensure that they have regular sleep and mealtimes. Be a predictable and stabilising factor in their lives.
MANAGING YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR STEP-TEENS:
Step-teens can present a particular challenge, especially if you have not had experience with teens of your own.
TRUST AND RESPECT
DON’T be scared off by your step-teens aloofness, their ‘I don’t care’ type behaviour or an apparent lack of interest.
DO remember that step-teens, like all teens, are going through a difficult life phase during which they are far more invested in separating than in connecting. To ‘win’ your step-teens you need to create trust and give them lots of respect.
RELATING AS AN INDIVIDUAL
In order to create trust and respect with your step-teen it is important that they get to know you as the individual you are. This necessitates that you…
DON’T be their biological parent’s mouth piece but instead…
DO let them know that you have a mind of your own. Share your ideas, thoughts and feelings with them and allow them to share theirs with you.
FORGING A CONNECTION
DON’T expect your step-teens to turn to you when they need a helping hand or a listening ear, but if you…
DO consistently show them your sincerity and genuine interest, especially when they are in times of need they may, in time, accept and appreciate your help.
Remember that actions speak louder than words!