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What are some mistakes I should avoid making as a new stepparent?

The role of stepparent is not an easy one.  When you become a stepparent, the first thing you likely want to do is bond with your new stepchildren. This can prove challenging, however, because you must also navigate the intricate web of relationships between the stepchild and his or her biological parents.  Being the best stepparent you can be will involve opening your arms to welcome your new children.  As you step into the role of stepparent, consider the following mistakes to avoid.  When you are ready to formally adopt your stepchild, contact our Midland, Texas stepparent adoption attorneys at Navarrete & Schwartz, P.C.

Three Mistakes New Stepparents Should Avoid 

Even stepparents with the best intentions can behave in a manner that might unwittingly alienate their new stepchild.  Avoid doing the following:

  1. Rushing the relationship:  You likely have hopes of entering into your new family and instantly connecting with your stepchildren.  While this might happen, oftentimes you need to be patient and allow your relationship with your stepchildren to evolve over time.  Avoid trying too hard for approval or affection, as it could cause children to resist.
  2. Speaking badly about the biological parent:  No matter how strong your relationship with your stepchild may be, it is imperative that you avoid badmouthing the child’s biological parents.  Insulting the child’s parents will only serve to create ill feelings between you and your stepchild, and potentially your stepchild and the biological parent.
  3. Setting too high of expectations:  If you enter into the stepparent relationship with lofty expectations, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.  You should recognize that your stepchild will likely need some time to accept a new person in their lives.  Keep your expectations in check and approach the new relationship with an accepting and loving attitude.

Adopting Your Stepchild 

Once your blended family is bonded, one of the best ways you can demonstrate your lifelong commitment to your stepchild is through adoption.  Under Texas law, stepparents can adopt their stepchildren if certain circumstances exist.  Stepparent adoptions are the most common form of adoption and often occur when one biological parent is no longer around.  Contact our stepparent adoption attorneys for more information about this special type of adoption.