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Becoming a stepparent can be both challenging and scary, especially when the relationship is just getting started. When you start to date and be with someone you love it is always easy to be around them and to communicate with them. You connect on a better level age wise and personality wise. When it comes to the adventure of making the first move with the little one you have decided to take on, it can be hard to find just where you need to start. For those of you out there that need a little help, I hope my personal tips and experiences will help you find the connection you want with your new adventure.
Time is of the essence.
When approaching the thought of connecting with your future stepchild, try to see what the experience will be like from the child's view. You are an adult who has started to come around and you know that your mother/father likes this person, but you have absolutely no idea who they are. What if they are mean? Can I trust this big person? Taking your time with the first interaction is always a good start with this kind of situation. Jumping into the whole parent thing without any reassurance is never a good idea and will only end in heartbreak. Perhaps take the time to get to know your new spouse first and make sure that your new relationship will be a serious one. With my kiddo, I waited almost four months before I decided it was time to meet her face-to-face. During that time I listened to her father talk about what she was like and what her interests were and I was happy to discover that we shared mutual interests like painting, reading, and swimming. This information gave me a layout of how I would appear when we first met and it worked tremendously! I came to her father's house before she got off the bus that day and brought an art project for us to work on together. Sure, she was nervous when she first saw me, but with a smile and some markers, my baby girl and I started something beautiful: our relationship.
Once the ball has rolled into your court and time has established that your relationship is true, it is time to meet the other parent, if there is another parent in your situation. Personally, I have always been a big supporter of co-parenting. Co-parenting can be a positive image for the child involved and some studies show that it can help children keep from becoming depressed or lost in their way as they become older. So, if co-parenting is a possibility for you, go for it with your arms wide open. Something to keep in mind, though, is that sometimes this relationship cannot be established, and for that there should be no guilt on your end. Different situations and circumstances may demand that you and said other parent cannot interact without negativity and if that is so, then it should be approached the same way you would with a healthy relationship. Accept the truth and do what is necessary to keep yourself safe and to keep the child involved away from any negative imagery and unnecessary outbursts. I will admit, it can be a tough deal to go through when this is the situation both mentally and physically when it comes to dropping off children and school functions, but becoming a parent means you are agreeing to do what is best for your new little friend and if that means staying away from the other parent, then do so with caution.
I hope this little article gave you a new way to look at the stepparent experience and if I happen to feel I can add to this later on, I sure will. Thank you for the read!