Our Pittsburgh family law attorneys want to assist new stepparents with the transition into a role as an important figure in a child’s life. Our attorneys have conducted many stepparent adoptions, including counseling new stepparents in order to help them transition into the role of stepparent. We have also counseled clients through situations where an ex-spouse’s new partner will play a significant role in their child’s life. This is an important transition for all involved, and one that should be handled with the utmost care.
Remember the movie Stepmom? If you recall, the first half of the movie portrays a stepparent/biological parent relationship gone wrong. Julia Roberts’ character, the “Stepmom” is highly disliked by the children’s biological mother (Susan Sarandon) and the movie accurately portrays how this negative relationship affects the family’s two children. To avoid this happening in your family, read further for some tips on how to accept a new role as a stepparent.
Tips for New Stepparents from your Pennsylvania Family Lawyers:
1) Have realistic expectations about your relationship with your spouse’s children. This all depends on the age of the child, but typically a child may not warm up to you right away. Understand that this is a change that must happen gradually, and children all respond to change differently.
2) Nurture the child’s relationship with their other biological parent. Understand that children may feel as though you are trying to “replace” their other biological parent, and this may be difficult for a child to handle at first. Remember that even though it may be important for you to develop your relationship with the child, jealousy or envy toward the child’s relationship with their other parent will only make things worse. Always be supportive of this relationship-and the child will quickly realize that you are not a replacement, but another supportive figure in their life.
3) Define your relationship with the child. A stepparent should be just another supportive adult figure in the child’s life, and never a replacement for their other parent. Speak with both your spouse and the child’s biological parent about disciplining the child, and know exactly what your role is, and make sure you know your boundaries.
Every relationship revolves around trust, and trust is not built in a day. Be patient with your spouse’s child, establish your role with the child early on, and always respect the child’s relationship with their other biological parent.
If you are considering a stepparent adoption, contact our Pittsburgh Family Lawyers at Lisa Marie Vari & Associates. Our team will provide you with the legal guidance necessary and help you throughout the process. For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us today.