Tips for Managing Divided Loyalties

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When children do not get emotional permission from their biological parents to like and develop a relationship with their stepparents, they often feel confused, frustrated and torn.

The more likeable the stepparent, the more conflicted the stepchildren feel. The children end up feeling guilty for liking the stepparent, hide it from their biological parent, and are unable to express feelings toward the stepparent.

You, as parents, may at times feel threatened by a kind and nice counterpart in your children’s other household. Please, rest assured that your children need you, love you, and need to be able to trust that you can handle a stepparent involvement in their lives without feeling insecure about it. If you feel that your relationship with your children need some strengthening and reinforcement, please focus on that, and improve your relationship.

It is critical for your children’s well being that you help ease their adjustment to their other stepfamily . The following tips may help you in this task.

Tips for a smooth transition into the stepfamily:

  • Solidify your relationship with your children by spending quality time with them in meaningful conversations and activities that they enjoy.
  • Give your children the emotional permission to like and love their stepparent.
  • Encourage your children to develop and enjoy a relationship with their step siblings and half siblings in the other household.
  • Role model to your children how to be polite and respectful to their stepparent.
  • Reassure your children that you can handle and actually welcome them having a positive relationship with their stepparent.
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