Families form, break and re-form, partners find their new partners, but kids are the ones that have to suffer the worst through all this transition. The article in hand is a good pick regarding the life of a stepchild who is a subsequent product of a shattered family setup.
What is a Stepchild?
A stepchild by definition is a kid whose biological parent marries someone who is not a biological parent of the child. Besides, in case of separation, divorce or death of a biological parent, if the other parent remarries, the children would be step-children to the new partner.
“Step-parenting and being a step-sibling present a lot of exciting opportunities. When families break up and re-form, there may be less order, less certainty, and a bit more trauma involved, but kids can end up having half-a-dozen parent figures.”
Why to Adopt your Stepchild?
You are the in-charge of your life. So, you have all the rights to love whomever you want. Moreover, you are the one to decide whom you want to live with.
There are several reasons for adopting your stepkid. However, the reasons vary for person to person. Furthermore, the family scenarios also affect this.
However, there are commonly the following factors leading to step-kid adoption:
- Adoption provides equal rights to the stepkid as to the rest of the kids in the family.
- It is really very much important that you legalize relationship with your stepchild. Adoption makes this possible in actual.
- In case your partner dies, you will have a legal relationship with your stepkid if you have adopted him/her. Therefore, the kid will not go to the living biological parent. However, if you do not have adopted your stepkid, the stepchild will no longer be under your custody.
- If the other bioparent is alive but is abusive or is neglecting the child, it is better to adopt him/her to prevent this entire nuisance.
- Adoption reflects love and commitment. You adopt a kid simply out of love and affection and there is nothing lovelier than this.
- As adoption is permanent, it provides emotional security both to the stepkid as well as the parents.
Stepchild Problems: You Need to be Vigilant
We do not assure you that things will go as per your expectations. In fact, there would be a lot of problems. As a matter of fact, your step-child is going through a lot more in this regard. In case of divorce, he is more likely to suffer from depression. Moreover, he may also be in face of an adjustment issue. After all, adjusting in a new environment is not an easy task, is it? So, you always need to be on toes if you decide to build up a blended family.
However, we are going to outline some major perimeters to judge whether or not your stepkid is in trouble. Your Partner will help you identify the deviated behaviour in case you are not familiar with the normal attitude of the kid.
Specific problems in the life of a stepchild
A step child may have to face a lot of mental torture while passing through the adjustment process. He may reflect this tension through certain behavioural changes in his routine life.
Problems at home
How your child behaves at home will indicate whether or not he is adjusting. True that he will not be much friendly towards you in the beginning. However, if you find your stepkid involved in some kind of violent behaviour, addiction, self-harm or crime, believe me that you need a professional support as well.
Problems at school
The poor grades of your kid as well as his/her general attitude at school show something untoward is going on at the back of your stepchild’s mind. A drop in academic progress and lack of interest in co-curricular as well as extra-curricular activities depict his/her overall lack of interest in studies. However, it is important to figure out where the problem actually is. It is quite possible that the child may be upset because of something unusual at school like the general environment of his/her class room, too much strict attitude of some teachers, etc.
Problems with peers
A happy and satisfied child maintains good peer relationship. He/she is actively involved in making friends and shows a keen interest in playing. However, if your child is disturbed, he/she might start losing friends.
Problems while being with a stepchild
There is increase in divorce rate in the United States. Almost 50 percent of all marriages and 41 percent of all first marriages end in divorce in the US. Hence, the number of stepfamilies is increasing day by day.
The newly blended families have to face a lot of challenges such as lack of family bonds, stepparent discipline, sibling rivalry, kids’ need for attention, etc. Moreover, it takes time to form good relationships among the stepfamily members. Remember, it is a reciprocal phenomenon.
Reasons for stepchild hate and rude behaviour
Living with a step-family comes with many challenges.
- First of all, the separation, divorce or death of a parent imparts psychological trauma to the kid. This makes him/her very sensitive.
- It is not easy for a child to stop living with his biological parent and start living with someone who was once a complete stranger.
- He/she might have a sense of abandonment.
- Moreover, the diverted attention of the other biological parent also causes jealousy in the stepkid.
- Furthermore, as you do not know the members very well, you don’t know about what they like or dislike. Hence, one wrong move such as lying or stealing something can make them hold a grudge and hate you.
How to tell if your stepchild hates you?
They will manifest the hate in their attitude as below:
- Your step-kid would tend to avoid you.
- He would not listen to you and may even show rigidity in his/her behaviour.
- The kid might become violent especially when you are around.
- He would be disrespectful towards you.
Can stepchild ruin your marriage?
Stepchildren can cause conflicts. The reason for this is they are upset about their split family. Moreover, though they witnessed their bio-parents fighting and drifting apart, they were unable to control the situation.
Hence, they have a strong feeling of being powerless. By creating reasons for conflicts, they feel they have some power to make things happen the way they want.
The repeated conflicts and inability to settle the things lead to divorce. It is documented that 67% of the blended families result in divorce.
Stepchild Vs biological children
It is natural that you love your biological children more than the stepkid. The reason is obvious that you share history with your biological children. Moreover, you might want to compensate their grief of a split family with extra love and attention. This results in a discriminatory behaviour.
How to maintain a balance between a stepchild and a biological child?
We are going to present some ideas through which you can deal your stepkid fairly. Moreover, at the same time, you can also maintain a loving relationship with your biological child. Here is the complete path.
- Do not use the term ‘step-son’ or ‘step-daughter’. Instead, introduce them as your son or daughter.
- You must show equal respect to both. Help them equally. Moreover, show equal leniency to both.
- Manage your time well. Give focused attention to every family member.
- Give one-on-one time to your biological-kid as well as the step one. So, they will feel loved and cared. Spare some special time for both of them and plan an activity that all of you may do together.
For instance, you may play Cricket, Football, etc. in your lawn.
- Set limits for everyone and these should be according to age. Arrange a family meeting, say fortnightly, and discuss the expectations and responsibilities of each member.
How to deal with a stepchild?
We understand that your role as a stepparent is very demanding due to many reasons. However, you should try your best to keep the things going smoothly.
We are going to present some tips that will serve as a guideline for you.
1. Observation–the magic word
It is very obvious that your step-children have different values. After-all they have come from a different family! So, in the beginning, just try to remain a good observer. Notice your step-children in terms of habits, choices, preferences and behaviours.
This, on one hand, will help you dealing with them. On the other hand, it will prevent you from giving a wrong reaction.
2. Discuss with your partner
For a better understanding of the whole scenario and in order to figure out an action plan, it is important to discuss with your partner. Let him / her know about what you have observed. Furthermore, clear any confusion you have in your mind.
Moreover, devise a strategy with your partner’s help to deal with your step-kids properly.
However, during the discussion, make him realise that your intentions are pure and you are a well-wisher.
Let your partner discipline his/her kid
Initially, your stepkid might reject your advice saying, “You are not my parent”. So, it is advisable that your partner should be the in-charge of disciplining his/her kids. Moreover, let him/her discuss the rules and expectations with the kid. This is more likely to prevent your stepkid from hating you.
4. Love and empathy can conquer all
It is very important to empathize with your stepkid. Try to understand the fact that it is very painful for a child to see his family falling apart. Moreover, it is even more difficult to see someone marrying his parent. Show them love to make them feel that they are not alone.
5. Ensure them that you are always there for them
Sometimes, all they need is help and support. It could simply be their homework or a dispute with a classmate. Help them figuring things out. Try to listen to their problems attentively and respond with empathy.
6. Get help if you need
Do not feel shy to speak to a professional counsellor if you feel stuck. Discuss the situation in detail and seek advice. It is better to take it off your chest than to let it ruin the whole lot.
The Final Words:
The tough life of a blended family can be made somewhat easy with your correct set of habits and kind behaviour. Although it is too difficult, yet there is a possibility that one day your step-kids start loving you. Moreover, they might even consider you better than their bio-parents.
“A good stepparent can literally turn the life of a child around.” — Unknown