Important tips for Stepfather Raising Stepdaughters
Being a stepfather is challenging, the relationship of stepfather-stepdaughter always starts smoothly when you first come into your stepdaughter’s life; especially with older children, you should expect and initial honeymoon period; however; you are going encounter something completely different and opposite in later period.
when you that type of behavior starts to show up in your stepdaughter`s attitude, don`t it personally; is because stepdaughters don`t often understand why their mother has to replaced their father; so she need time to understand this and to be able to truly accept you as her stepfather; she will displays strange attitudes towards you, distancing herself from you; the reality is your presence`s novelty as has gone and now it’s up to her understanding that will be determine her reactions towards you; and this could take years to be fully accepted by your stepdaughter.
Don`t force your involvement as her father figure
You need to go at her pace and don`t force it; just allow the relationship to move gradually; it requires you to be patient and understanding; there are certain things that is beyond children`s understanding but as they grow they will begin to understand them. But no mater how long it takes; at some point, she will definitely come to you to ask for your involvement as her father figure.
When that time comes; talk to her and make understand that you are not trying in any way to replace her father; you want to be part of her life and let her find place in her heart for one more person in her life. When you do that she will respect you for that; and this could help save you from lots of hassle in trying to win her heart. So just by showing her you cared and is your quickest way to make her accept you.
To stay connected with her, you need to keep engaging her; especially when you and her mother decide to have one more child; she may display series of emotions from happiness, to outright hostility, to avoid this; is the reason you have to involve her right from the pregnancy period. Make her help you and her mother in decorating the baby`s room; shopping cloths for the baby and even pick baby`s names for her future sibling, but still expect the unexpected.
New-born child can affect your relationship
When your new child is born; you have to be sensitive to the possibilities your stepdaughter, she may feel that you now pay more attentions to her sibling which is your biological child than her. If she concludes that, it may cause her to create distance between you and her. Try to stay connected and balance your attention between her your child; so she knows that you still value her and nothing her change, make her feel equal, doing so will eliminate the chance of that outright hostility towards your biological child.
You can expect an instant respect with her mother`s help fro her; but you don`t have to expect instant love; because love and appreciation only happens with time; expecting instant love and appreciation is a fantasy that only happens in movies but not in real life. To help yourself stay connected is to find things you both have in common, things you both like and use that to gradually win her heart. However; certain times will come when she might tell you “You are not my father!”, especially when you make an effort to correct her on her behavior; just know that no stepfather is immune to this particular world, it is wise not to react on that but rather love her anyway.
Give her your attention
It is important you don`t try to buy her affection by giving her elaborate gifts, giving her money all the time; giving whatever she wants, doing this you are rather spoiling her than making her love you, no amount of money can actually buy love and affection, just keep that in mind. And definitely it would not make her to respect you either. But she will instead regard you as everyday Santa Clause and a clown from whom she can get anything from. 90% of her gratitude she may show would be fake appreciation just to keep buying her things. Just give her your attentions, be helpful, give her kind advice, especially the love and respect you will expect in return.
Know your limit when it comes to her discipline, never act by your own; it is very important for you to know what is considered as physical and sexual abuse, allow her mother to be the disciplinary person; and don`t be the person to call for that discipline. Be careful how you show your affections to her, because too much of it can be considered sexual abuse; and that could harm your marriage relationship, so, do it only in appropriate ways that are not considered as sexual abuse like kissing on her forehead, little hugs, etc. But the best thing is not to even act in such.
Understand her grieve
You need to know that your stepdaughter has gone through a lot of grieves for that fact that she has lost her first family member, and every girl needs a father; so that grieving and loss is a process she might be going through, so you should not set a time limit for that. In addition; when come her life, she is wondering if she can trust you, that kind of feeling need time to develop, as she need to first get comfortable with you before the trust issues. Therefore, you need to be reliable, consistent and not the other way round to break her hear again.
Try to be accepting and positive towards your stepdaughter; be encouraging to her, especially when she does well in her education, you could celebrate her with a surprise cake, these kinds of actions will help you build smooth relationship with her. Have genuine interest to build that stepfather-stepdaughter relationship, with time things will work out well for you, she will regard you as a loving father she can trust to share her personal issues. It not easy to raise a stepdaughter, but when you exercise understand and care; you can do it.
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