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Tips On Helping Stepchildren Feel Included And As If They Belong

Written by: Suzi Freeman, Diversity Equity And Inclusion Panel

 

Stepfamilies are becoming increasingly common, and it's important that everyone in the family feels like they belong. Often, stepparents feel left out or excluded when their stepchildren don't automatically include them in their lives, and this can create an instant feeling of distance from the child and vice versa. Inclusion is everything when you are blending a family. Bonding with a stepchild can be challenging, but it is well worth the effort.

Why it's important for stepchildren to feel loved and accepted


Stepparents play an important role in the lives of their stepchildren. Although they may not be related by blood, stepparents can provide a child with love, support, and guidance. In many cases, a stepparent can be just as important as a biological parent.


One of the most important things a stepparent can do is to make their stepchild feel loved and accepted. This can be a challenge, especially if the child is grieving the loss of a biological parent or feeling insecure about their place in the family.


However, it is essential for the child to feel that they are valued and loved. Stepparents should take the time to listen to their stepchildren, spend time with them, and create a bond of trust. Doing so can help their stepchildren feel as if they belong and are important.


Here are ten great tips on how to make your stepchild feel included.


Tips for creating a strong bond with your stepchildren

  1. Respect their feelings and listen to what they have to say.

  2. Don't try to replace their biological parent. Just be yourself, be authentic, and treat them like your child.

  3. Be understanding if they struggle to adjust to the new family dynamic.

  4. Help them feel like they're part of the family by including them in decision-making and family activities.

  5. Spend time together. Get to know your stepchildren by spending time together. Go on outings, play games, and enjoy each other's company.

  6. Be patient and understanding. Stepchildren often behave differently than biological children, and adjusting to their quirks and idiosyncrasies can take time. It takes time to build trust, and bonding takes time. Don't expect things to happen overnight, but be patient and keep working.

  7. Take an interest in your stepchildren's lives. Ask them about their day, their hobbies, and their friends. Let them know that you care about them.

  8. Be consistent. Kids need consistency and routine in their lives. Try to be as consistent as possible in your parenting style and rules. Being consistent will help your stepchildren feel safe and secure.

  9. Communicate with your stepchildren openly and honestly. Let them know what your expectations are and listen to their concerns. Establishing a line of communication will help you form a stronger bond with them.

  10. Show your affection. Hugs, kisses, and words of love will go a long way in cementing your bond. Make sure you are doing this with their comfort and permission; you can do that by asking if you can give them a hug or a kiss on the top of the head, etc. It will take time, but it will happen.

Following these tips can help your stepchildren feel loved, accepted, and like they belong.


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Suzi Freeman, Diversity Equity And Inclusion Panel

Suzi Freeman is a Certified Suicide Prevention Specialist, Master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, & Master Clinical Hypnotherapist.

Suzi utilizes her training and certifications to teach individuals the skills needed to cope better with stressful and anxious situations that may otherwise lead them to a dark moment.

Suzi understands the need for preventative training and obtaining skills for stress and anxiety management; she had struggled with suicidal ideation for many years. Both of her sons are in high-stress jobs, military, and civilian police; she has prioritized helping people build strong mental resilience and teaching suicide prevention within the military and police communities.

She volunteers with multiple military charities, such as the Blue Star Mothers of America, Inc., and Hire Heroes USA.

Suzi holds the title of Mrs. Elite Arizona for Women of Achievement 2022 as well. She is recognized for her work in the community for suicide prevention and helping build mental resilience in others.

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