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Tips on bonding with your newly acquired adult stepchildren

Jul 11, 2012, 8:41 a.m.

Deciding to marry someone with adult children may present a few challenges but they usually are not impossible to overcome. Understanding the adjustments for both of you could help ease uncomfortable tension. Realizing that you both love the same person can also bring you to a better level of understanding.

It may take years to build good relationships with stepchildren. A bond of friendship requires respect and usually starts slowly. Pleasant conversations may seem worthless, but they could work to build familiarity between personalities. Every positive interaction works to build to the next level.

Seek mutual respect. Even in the most strained relationship, respect is earned if you work at it. Many times, mature adults are willing to respect the parents wishes when they decide to remarry. A mutual respect with adult stepchildren can go a long way in keeping your own marriage healthy.

Listen to adult stepchildren, even the most difficult ones. Successful blended families can evolve if stepchildren believe you are genuinely concerned about their lives. Ask their advice on shopping, restaurants or movies. Be careful not to hand out advice to them. Be a friend, not a parent. They already have a parent who is capable of advising and nurturing them.

Know when to leave the room. Let your adult stepchildren have alone time with their parent. Regardless of age, children and parents need to discuss things without you being present. An adult stepchild can easily become a close friend and advocate with time and understanding.

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