ONLINE PARENTING COACH: Stepfather-Stepson Relationship Problems
Stepfather-Stepson Relationship Problems. "I feel I have my son on a better path with his ODD/ADHD. The extreme behavior and fits have calmed down and his. Parenting holds a great many challenges. Little is more challenging than the role of Christian stepparent. In short, the stepparent joins the biological parent in. Many stepdads believe that the new challenges and stresses of taking strong, healthy relationships with your stepchildren also take time to develop. For example, if you grew up in a home with a step-parent, chances are.
If your stepchildren are open to you and seem to want physical affection from you, don't leave them disappointed. If, however, they remain aloof and cautious, don't force yourself on them. Respect their boundaries, for it often represents their confusion over the new relationship and their loss from the past.
As time in the stepfamily crock-pot brings you together, slowly increase your personal involvement and affections. Together you can forge a workable relationship that grows over time.
Recently a gentleman told me that it took 30 years before he could tell his stepfather he loved him. Undoubtedly, his stepfather struggled through those years for his stepson's acceptance. But despite his godly attitude and leadership, his stepson simply couldn't allow himself to return that love.
Eventually, however, love won out and was able to express appreciation to his stepfather for being involved in his life. Trust that doing the right things in the name of Christ will eventually bring you and your stepchildren together. In the meantime, set realistic expectations that don't leave you feeling like a failure until that day arrives.
Relax and Build Relationship Relax.
It's an interesting word to hear when you feel like you're not making any progress as a stepparent, yet that's exactly the word I continue to use in therapy with stepfamilies.
The crock-pot will eventually bring you closer together with your stepchildren, but you can't force their affections. So relax, accept the current level of relationship, and trust the crock-pot to increase your connection over time.
In the mean time, use the following suggestions to help you to be intentional about slowly building your relationship. Early on, monitor 1 your stepchildren's activities. Know what they are doing at school, church, and in extracurricular activities, and make it your aim to be a part. Take them to soccer practice, ask about the math test they studied for, and help them to learn their lines in the school play. Monitoring seeks to balance interest in the child without coming on too strong.
A second suggestion also seeks to build relationship, but slowly. Throughout the first year of remarriage, stepparents should be involved with stepchildren when another family member can be present. This "group" family activity reduces the anxiety children feel with one-on-one time with a stepparent.
Adults frequently assume that the way to get to know their stepchildren is to spend personal, exclusive time with them.
This may be true with some stepchildren; however, most stepchildren prefer to not be thrown into that kind of situation until they have had time to grow comfortable with the stepparent. Honor that feeling until the child makes it obvious that he or she is okay with one-on-one time. Another suggestion for building relationship is to share your talents, skills, and interests with the child and to become curious about theirs. If you know how to play the guitar and a stepchild is interested, take time to show him how.
If the child is interested in a particular series of books or a video game, become interested and ask her to tell you about it. These shared interests become points of connection that strengthen trust between stepparent and stepchild. Sharing the Lord through dialogue, music, or church activity is another tremendous source of connection. For example, service projects are wonderful activities for parents and stepparents to experience together.
Little brings people together like serving others in the name of the Lord.
The Effective Stepfather: A Check-List to Live By - National Center for Fathering
Discussing values through the eyes of Christ and having family devotional time can, also, strengthen your relationship, as well encourage spiritual formation in the child. Find Your Role with Discipline Perhaps the most confusing role for a stepparent is how to set limits, teach values, and enforce consequences.
Indeed, the most common pitfall for stepfamilies is when the biological parent hands off too much responsibility for child rearing, and the stepparent begins to punish the child for misbehavior too quickly.
Rather, a unified team approach that involves both biological and stepparent is best. Early on, teamwork for the biological and stepparent begins with the acknowledgment of the stepparent's lack of authority due to a weak-although growing-relationship with the children.
Until parental status 2 is attained and that can take 18 months to many years the stepparent should focus on building relationship see section above and being an extension of the biological parent's authority. Initially, this is done by through two tasks: As all effective parents, the couple must discuss rules, standards, consequences, and a system of discipline for the children.
Then the biological parent can communicate this to the children. When either adult acts outside these negotiated rules or fails to uphold themchildren can divide and conquer the couple. Conflict and resentment are sure to result. On the other hand, when a baby-sitter cares for children, it is understood that they have authority because the biological parent has put them in charge. Likewise, once rules are communicated, the biological parent must pass power to the stepparent by communicating to the children the expectation that they obey and respect the stepparent.
If a rule is broken, it is the "household's" or the "parent's" rule, not the stepparent's. If a punishment is executed by the stepparent, it is the "biological parent's" punishment. Later, when the biological parent enters the picture, they should support the stepparent's decisions hopefully they are in line with the pre-determined system of disciplineand then reinforce their expectation that the child obey the stepparent in the future. This baby-sitter role thus creates space for the stepparent and stepchildren to build relationship and, at the same time, empowers the stepparent to have influence in the home.
If children have struggles accepting the stepparent's position, compare their obedience to the stepparent with their obedience to a teacher, coach, or camp counselor. Sometimes, the fear of betraying a non-custodial, biological parent keeps children from being cooperative with a stepparent.
However, their fears might be reduced if they view the stepparent "just like a teacher. In addition, because stepparents will bond with younger children much sooner, they may be "extended family" to young children and "the baby-sitter" with older children. As you can tell, keeping open communication about the stepparent's changing role with children is an important task for couples.
The Value of Stepparents Did you ever stop to notice that the God of the universe entrusted His son to be raised by his stepfather, Joseph? These co-parents had unrealistic expectations of themselves and their family relationships because they denied their identity as a stepfamily and what it meant to all of them. He also denied feeling and demonstrating a preference for his own sons, and seem to believe he "loved" his stepkids like his own.
The adults had no awareness of this and what to do about it. There were probably other such conflicts too - e.
Step Dads, Don’t Expect to Bring Order Into Your New Family
And the vignette also illustrates that If so, this was inhibiting any bonding between the stepdad and the teen. The biofather was probably a Grown Wounded Child in denial like the other adults. If so, there were probably significant unfinished problems between the divorced parents which were not brought up in therapy.
If all three of his co-parents were psychologically wounded, the adolescent boy had probably begun developing his own wounds. Several or all of these people and other family members?
The adults were unaware of this and how to evaluate it. His disrespect added to the stepfather's disapproval of the boy. Because of the couple's widespread unawareness, most of these problems weren't identified as therapeutic goals.
This ensured that - unless both adults were open to learning about and admitting all these problems - therapy would "fail" not improve the stepparent-stepchild relationship and reduce household stress. Their wounds and ignorance made such openness unlikely. As is common, the biomom sought professional help for this growing problem in her home and remarriage. Her "well educated" husband seemed to feel it was her job to correct her son and solve their problems, rather than admit he was half of the multiple problems.
This is GWC denial distortion in action. What do you notice about this daunting web of interactive surface and underlying primary stepfamily problems?
Perspective Problems between stepparents and stepkids may surface during adult courtship, or develop over some years as everyone ages and co-parents' several biofamilies slowly merge. Problems are usually compounded by concurrent relationship stresses between divorcing parents, biological and step siblings, and adults and their parents, relatives, and in-laws In other words, stepparent-stepchild problems usually occur among an interactive web of family-relationship stressors.
The best way to reduce or adapt to stepchild-stepparent problems is to see them as part of a dynamic mosaic of all relationship problems in a multi-home stepfamily, not just an individual problem. As a foundation for improving stepchild relationships, help all your adults appreciate the special adjustment tasks that typical stepkids face.
Stepparents and other adults have their own complex family-merger tasks to master as they try to help their stepkids master theirs. With any relationship "problem," two broad possibilities are: The first can only be accepted, not "fixed. Possible Root Problems If you have a stepparent and stepchild who "don't get along" well enough, several of the issues below may be contributing to the problem.
Many of the links below will take you to a new article, so I suggest you finish this article before clicking any links.
- The Effective Stepfather: A Check-List to Live By
- Being a Stepdad: 3 Things That Will Absolutely Wreck Your Relationships
Use this to test for this possibility. See this article for perspective and options. Follow the links to assess for this problem. They may not see that the child's "problem behavior" is a symptom of being overwhelmed by these many tasks.