Dad-proof tips: Fostering the connection with your stepchild

From above of cheerful girl in hat looking at camera while sitting on doorstep with anonymous kid on blurred background

Becoming a stepdad can seem like a daunting role to take on. You are already a dad to your own kids, and now you taking on the role of being a stepfather to your partners children and forming a new connection can seem almost like an impossible task.

We are here to tell you that it’s one of the most rewarding experiences, and once you form a connection, you’ll wonder why you ever had concerns to begin with!

We aren’t saying it’s a journey without challenges, but the rewards surpass. Whether you are about to become a stepdad or you’re already one, we have some tips for connection to ensure your step fathering journey is as great as possible.

Top Tips to Connect with your stepchild

  1. Get to know your stepchildren. Try to get to know them before you live together, if you have to delay the move in date, do so. It’s better to break down barriers and get to know each other first than to rush the process.
  2. Take your step child on a ‘dad date’. Get them to choose something they are interested in and spend some time one on one together. This shows you value their time and are really wanting to get to know them.
  3. Take it slow. Take things at a pace that suits your step-children. For older kids, keep an open dialogue about the family change and give them an opportunity to express how things are going from their perspective.
  4. Build trust. Be reliable, open and honest and ask about their own perspectives, thoughts and opinions on the situation. Be aware that the children may be still experiencing a sense of loss with the change break-down of their family unit as it was before.
  5. Spend time together. Focused time will deepen the trust and emotional bond in your relationship. If they aren’t too welcoming if your presence, join their life at a distance and take one step at a time.

Advice from a step dad: To start with you must be willing to enter the child’s life as the ‘outsider’ and be prepared to slowly find acceptance, when the child is ready. Until then, you must try to find ways to work within their life as it is. 

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