Are you frustrated that your step-family still feels divided, after another year zoomed by? You are not alone. Many step-families share your pain. You can make a difference, in this coming year. By implementing these 6 easy tips, you will experience a difference in how you connect with your step-family.
- Stop your familiar routine for a couple of hours, so you can quietly evaluate what you would like to see improving in your step-family.
- Take 3 steps toward fulfilling your vision of a more meaningful connection with your step-family.
- Establish realistic expectations of your step-family, so that they will actually be met.
- Practice constructive, positive, and assertive communication with your spouse, biological children, and stepchildren.
- Understand step-family dynamics through reading, support groups, and talking to a therapist who specializes in working with step-families.
- Plan and commit to dates with your spouse. Time alone, as a couple, will help nurture and strengthen your relationship with each other and with your family.
Take 3 steps toward fulfilling your vision of a more meaningful connection with your step-family. For example, schedule a regular family game night, or start a new tradition, such as a Sunday night dinner that the kids get to decide the menu for. Also, you may want to schedule individual outings with each child.
Establish realistic expectations of your step-family so meeting them will be obtainable. You may initially expect politeness and courtesy from your stepchildren. Expect the relationship to grow over time, as a result of sensitivity on your end and tolerance of the children’s other household.
Practice constructive, positive, and assertive communication with your spouse, biological children, and stepchildren. Introduce concerns using “I” statements, such as “I am concerned about your refusal to cooperate.” Offer a solution to the problem. Then, listen to your spouse or child’s response. Accept only respectful language. Conclude the discussion with a decision on what action will be taken to resolve the conflict and when will it happen.
Understand step-family dynamics through reading, support groups, and consulting with a therapist who specializes in working with step-families. Many mistakes in step-families can be avoided simply by becoming educated about the step-family process.
Plan to commit to regular date nights with your spouse. Your couple bond must be continuously nurtured and deepened. Time alone as a couple will help grow and strengthen both your relationship with each other and that of your family.
You can achieve your goal to improve the relationships in your step-family by working closely with your spouse. Together you need to define your goals, make deadlines, stay committed to the process, and reevaluate them and progress periodically.