In the story of Cinderella, which other character is just as memorable as the dainty and beautiful Cinderella herself? It’s the ugly and wrecked stepmother. Isn’t it? Thanks to our pop culture and Eastman color Bollywood movies, the relationship between a step-parent and a stepchild is often viewed as strained, exploitative and largely negative. Is it any wonder then that most individuals looking to remarry often tend to seek partners with no kids from a previous marriage/s?
Dealing with stepchildren is not as tedious or negative as our movies make it out to be. It’s entirely possible to develop a healthy and nurturing relationship with a stepchild. It’s not easy, but it’s most certainly not impossible.
Firstly let’s address some concerns that most individuals tend to have when it comes to stepchildren.
With a gradual, patient and step by step approach bonding with anyone including a stepchild should not be a problem. You must not pressure yourself or them to accept the new family, tolerate the inconveniences of living with new people and sacrificing their interests for the larger goal from day one. We all take time to adjust to a new environment; it’s a universal phenomenon. So allow them and yourself some time and space.
It is essential to ask yourself the purpose of getting married again and giving yourself another shot at marital bliss. There is a high likelihood that you are tying the knot to seek companionship, happiness and the opportunity to live among people who would love you and take care of you. Guess what? Your new spouse and your stepchild want the same thing. Past experiences might make you a little more defensive and cautious. Well, the same applies to your new spouse and stepchild. Just remembering this fact will help you.
There are more similarities between you and your stepchild than you can imagine, these similarities need to be explored and worked on. Take inputs from your partner on what the child LOVES. If they are foodies, propose a family-outing to a restaurant that serves their favorite cuisine. If they love cricket, book IPL tickets. Basically, find things the stepchildren love and create opportunities where you can share that passion with them. It will go a long way in creating happy memories and stronger bonding between you and the stepchildren.
The stepchild will not regard you as a parent, may not consider you as an authority immediately but that does not mean he or she cannot be influenced, persuaded or guided. We love to trust smart, strong and well-meaning people, so all you have to gradually do is show your stepchild that you can handle pressure, solve problems and care for the welfare of the family.
We all make this mistake of subconsciously expecting that other people should change to accommodate you so that your life remains reasonably comfortable. And that is not a fair expectation to have. But when you do something for other people, people want to return the favour. So simply be nice to your new family, do good things for them, remember your step child’s favourite food, hobbies and interest and they will feel pressured to return the favour, to love you back.
Your stepchild may have some physical or mental challenge, and you may think, ‘Why do I have to deal with this? What did I do to deserve this?’ Here again, you are making the mistake of demanding that nothing unpleasant should ever happen to you, your life should not be inconvenient. Nobody has a life with zero inconveniences. You are going to have hassles in your life whether you remarry or not, whether you have stepchildren or not. So DECIDE to accept and love the stepchildren as they are. You need to be the bigger person in the equation and take the first step forward.
Someone awesome once said, “We aren’t “step”, we aren’t “half”, we’re just family.” Hopefully, with a little courage and a lot of love, you too will be able to say that about your beautiful family