Easy Ways to Connect With Your Step-Child
I think that there is a big misconception that step-parenting is just like being a parent, and that a connection with your step-child is automatic, as soon as you walk in the door. I can tell you that being a step-parent is much different from being a birth parent, and making a solid connection with your step-children takes time, patience and work.
I struggled from time to time, to feel like I am connected with Mackenzie. She is a much different person than I was as a child, or even than I am as an adult. Mackenzie is your typical girly-girl. She is all about princesses, sparkles, dresses and all things frilly and pretty. I am, and always have been a bit of a tom-boy. I loved being outside, playing in the dirt, zooming around with my trucks and tractors. I still love dirt, tractors and being knees deep in mud!
So, when Mackenzie first became a part of my life, I was not sure how to connect with her, and build a good relationship based on the things that make each of us special.
It has taken some time for me to really start to feel like Mackenzie and I have a good connection. Getting to this point has been full of conscience decisions about how I can connect with her. Here are a few things that have worked for me that you might want to try, if you are looking to build a good solid relationship with your step-child.
Include your Step-Child in a Project or Task
So, this one is a challenge for me, because I’m a Type-A, control freak, perfectionist. I have my way of doing things, and sometimes it’s REALLY hard for me to let Mackenzie help. I have figured out however, that when I let her help me with a task, even if it is only for a few minutes (until that next shiny object comes along) it makes her so happy. AND I get to share time with her, without having to stop what I am working on. I have also realized that she thinks I’m pretty awesome when that task teaches her something new and cool.
Find an Activity or Interest that you BOTH Enjoy
When Mack was little, she loved to draw and play make believe. Now, I’m not great at make believe games, but I do love to color and draw, so we would sit down and draw pictures and make art together. Now that Mack is older, we seem to have a shared interest in science (I think this is SO COOL). We subscribe to Steve Spangler’s monthly Science Club and she and I take time during the weekends to work on a science project together. Not only is this something that we both enjoy, but we get to learn together which is completely awesome!
Recently, Mackenzie has taken an interest in cooking, which I guess is our next activity to work on, together.
Help With Homework
I imagine, the thought of this might scare some of you. I know that school and homework are much different than they were when I was a kid. I have however, stumbled through new math and the new concepts of teaching reading and writing, so that I can help Mack.
This is one of the parts of my time with her that I enjoy the most. She depends on me to guide her through challenges, and when she is successful, I am directly related to that. It is a really easy to create a positive image in your step-child’s mind of you as a step-parent, when you are directly connected to success.
Be a Part of the Bed Time Routine
Figure out what this means for your family. Some evenings, I help Mack get ready for bed, read with her and then tuck her in to sleep. Some nights, I get a few minutes of snuggles and that’s it. However, this is when I get to share quiet, one-on-one time with her. There is no expectations, tasks or anything to accomplish. It’s a time for love and hugs, and that is really important when you are building a relationship with a child.