Bonding With Your New Blended Family

You will increase your chances of successfully bonding with your new stepchildren by thinking about what they need. Age, gender, and personality are not irrelevant, but all children have some basic needs and wants that once met, can help you establish a rewarding new relationship.

Children want to feel:

Safe and secure. Children want to be able to count on parents and step-parents. Children of divorce have already felt the upset of people they trust and may not be eager to give second chances to a new step-parent.

Loved. Kids like to see and feel your affection, although it should come in a gradual process.

Valued. Kids often feel unimportant or invisible when it comes to decision making in the new blended family. Recognize their role in the family when you make decisions.

Heard and emotionally connected. Creating an honest and open environment free of judgment will help kids feel heard and emotionally connected to a new step-parent. Show them that you can view the situation from their perspective.

Appreciated and encouraged. Children of all ages respond to praise and encouragement and like to feel appreciated.

Limits and boundaries. Children may not think they need limits, but a lack of boundaries sends a signal that the child is unworthy of the parents’ time, care, and attention. As a new step-parent, you shouldn’t step in as the enforcer at first but work with your partner to set limits.