When you hear the word step mom, it seems like the word “evil” simply creeps up before it. Sure, this may have something to do with Cinderella’s evil step mother, but that doesn’t mean all step moms out there are trying to keep children from finding their own glass slipper. However, children often associate a new step mom with evil or disdain, and this can make it hard for you to build a relationship with your bonus children. But while it’s difficult, it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips to help your new step children start to like you.
Meet them early enough.
You don’t want to force your partner of three days to meet his/her children, but you also don’t want to wait until your wedding day to meet them either. Instead, be sure that your relationship is moving in the right direction and you’re both serious about one another, and then ask to meet the children. This way, they can get to know you and not assume you’re there as a replacement for them.
Don’t latch on.
Depending on the age of the children, there’s a chance they’re not going to like you right away because you’re proof their parents are not getting back together. However, whether they like you or not right away, you can help the situation by not trying to latch on. Yes, it’s important for you to have conversations with the children and try to get to know them, but don’t try to become their best friend or associate with them on their level. For instance, trying to use their slang or talk to them about how you are the same way will only make them roll their eyes at you. Have a conversation and level with them, but don’t try to become BFFs the moment you meet them.
Give them space.
Some children will see you as a threat, so it’s important to give them space and time alone with their parent. For instance, if you’re always there during your partner’s time with his children, the children will start to resent you. Instead, be sure your partner is still spending enough alone time with his/her children without tagging along. When you are all together, try to have a conversation, but don’t force anything.
Be the adult.
It’s hard to take it when someone doesn’t like you, and your initial reaction may be to give up and throw your own temper tantrum, but this will not help. Instead, if the child is acting out towards you, be the adult and take it in the best way possible. Yelling at the child or complaining about the child to your partner will make the situation worse and could end up being the end of the relationship for you and your partner.
Small gestures go a long way.
Instead of trying to force yourself on the child, try to get along with them slowly. For instance, helping them with a homework assignment, a problem at school, or even doing a small act of kindness can go a long way to making the child open up to you more than ever before. Think of small ways you can help the child, and use this to your advantage.
Most children will start to allow the evil step mom persona to fade and will start to warm up to you and treat you like a member of the family. The most important thing for you to do is give it time, as this is what will help the relationship blossom.