Q&A: Forming strong bonds with stepchild

Q: What’s the best way for a stepparent to form strong bonds with a stepchild? I recently married a wonderful man. He’s kind, but firm, with my three children. Unfortunately, my preschool-age son has had a hard time warming up to him.

A: Try to view the situation through your pre-schooler’s eyes. A new man has suddenly moved in, taking up a lot of his mother’s time and attention that once belonged to him. To make things worse, she’s actually been seen kissing and hugging this guy – yuk! And to top it all off, he’s now telling him what to do and punishing him when he misbehaves. 

The problem can be even more challenging if there hasn’t been consistency in setting limits with your children. It’s not uncommon for tired and busy single mums to be somewhat lenient with inappropriate behaviour. If your new husband is a firm disciplinarian, your son probably isn’t going to like it. 

Encourage your husband to spend lots of special one-on-one time with your son. Sincere demonstrations of warmth and love are critical for your son right now. We’d also suggest that he go out of his way to praise your boy when he behaves well instead of simply punishing him when he acts up. In other words, he needs to make an intentional effort to “catch him being good.” At the same time, you may want to complement what he’s doing by firming up your own disciplinary techniques. Don’t put your husband in the position of having to play the “bad cop” all the time. Do what you can to take up some of the slack and give him a chance to appear in a more positive light. 

For help navigating through the issue, please call our Family Support Services at 03-7954 7920 or write to support@family.org.my.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Share

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

MORE

MARRIAGE

The Inner Lives Of Husbands

Believe it or not, women have many misconceptions about men – and those perceptions often affect our relationships. Discover what a loving wife needs to consider in order to give her spouse confidence to become the man he is called to be.

Read More >

Family Financial Fitness

The New Year is here! You know what that means. Time to face your financial woes and set new financial goals. Fret not! Here are 6 easy steps to help you be intentional and proactive in developing a workable budget plan.

Read More >

PARENTING

Delighting in Your Child

No matter how you express “I love you” to your children, it doesn’t mean much unless it reassures them that you really do. Delight in your child by choosing a new attitude today.

Read More >
article-40-questions-ask-children-dinner

40 Questions to Ask Your Children at the Dinner Table

Having conversations with our children is critical for building a solid foundation of trust, demonstrating steadfast love, and teaching them how to grow as a young person. These 40 questions to ask your children are a great starting point for conversations around the dining table.

Read More >

FAMILY Q&A