When you fall in love you always expect everything to be perfect, the perfect dates, weddings, children, house etc. What most people don’t expect is marrying someone you love and their child. When it does happen a child can become confused, angry, or even depressed by the idea of you trying to take the place of the other parent. You have to be patient and understand that this is a huge semi-happy change for a child.
First thing you need to realize is not every child is the same. Figure out what the child really enjoys. If they love video games take them to the local game store and let them explain which games are the best and why. If they enjoy comic books, take them to a convention. If the child enjoys being outside take them on a hike, somewhere they have never been. Find out what they really enjoy and even if it may sound completely stupid or childish remember that they didn’t ask for the dramatic change in their lives. Remember that they will eventually warm up to to you.
You don’t have to spend money to make a fun experience for a child. eat ice cream and watch their favorite movies, or play their favorite video games. Share your hobbies with them, or find a hobby both of you can enjoy together.
Another thing is always remember to never talk about the “other parent” in a bad way, that is still their parent. It can cause friction between the bonding moments. Don’t mention them unless the stepkids does. Then ask simple questions like “what do you two do for fun?” Be careful though, a lot of times a child won’t want to share special moments they have with the “other parent” with the “new parent”.
Watch your boundaries. Be careful of crossing boundaries with a child, be aware that they can and will lose trust in you and it can be nearly impossible to get back. Just plan the day for the two of you and really focus on what the stepkids likes or dislikes.
Stepparenting is also extremely tough with an older child, such as a teenager. In these cases it may be best to let the child see how happy your significant other is with you. Once they see how happy they are they begin to warm up. Try to make a day for the entire family. Help them when things get tough for them. Be their friend when they need someone to talk to that isn’t mom or dad. Be their friend and make sure they can trust you. A big issue with teenagers is the need to trust.