1. Start slow
One of the biggest mistakes you can ever make is expecting your relationship to be perfect right from the start. There are activities that can help you two bond, but you should first evaluate the kind of person the child is to make the experience enjoyable for them. Depending on the age, you could play sports together, plan movie dates or ask her to help you while cooking, anything to get the two of talking.
2. Handle discipline carefully
This is something you should iron out with your man first. Parents have different styles of discipline and you shouldn’t in any way undermine them. According to Psychology Today, Dr Marilyn Wedge states that it’s important for all three parents to be on the same page. Let it not be that you’re the ‘fun parent’ whilst daddy is the strict parent as this creates inconsistency.
3. Don’t replace the biological mother
Chances are the child knows what’s going on so don’t try to replace the biological mom as this might make the child resent you. Perhaps in the long run he might consider you as mommy, but now you’re just aunty and that’s good enough.
4. Love will come
Unlike giving birth to your own child whom you’ve had a bond with since he or she was inside you, the love for your step child won’t come instantly. Author of The Secrets to Stepfamily Success Gloria Lintermans mentions that the idea that when you love a man you should also love his kids is a myth. Instead you should love your man and work at respecting his kids, love will come, don’t force it.
5. Know and define your role
For the younger kids who don’t really understand what’s going on, they’ll ask who you are and you should be ready with a good answer. Are you their new babysitter, a friend to their father? Only you and your partner can decide on what to tell the kids.