You love your new partner. When it comes to his or her kids…. not so much, or at least not yet. You're far from being the "evil stepparent," but anxiety overtakes you every time you anticipate a visit, and you'd rather they simply not come.
Before you begin shaming yourself, remember the following 6 tips that can help you through the visit and perhaps help you even start to look forward to their visits.
- Change your thought pattern. This may be easier said than done, but there are probably some aspects of the visit you like. Meal time together as a family? Bath time? Bedtime? Reframing your feelings and memories around small experiences may help change your feelings overall. Give yourself time.
- Prepare for the visit. Cooking some meals ahead, baking treats, and planning family activities can alleviate some of the stress of the visit and any complaint of "there's nothing to do here."
- Put on some comfy clothes. Greeting the kids in your work attire keeps the stresses of your job with you. Comfy, casual clothes, that you feel good in, can help wash away stress.
- Take some "me" time to transition into the visit. Even if it's just 10 minutes to do something just for yourself -- a "go to" activity that relaxes you. It could be something as simple as a brisk walk, a game on your smartphone or a Sudoku puzzle.
- Ask the kids about their activities over the past week, and LISTEN. This is type of warm-up activity for both of you to ease back into your relationship each visit. It opens the communication on both sides.
- Understand that the kids may be stressed as well. They're probably having a tough time with the transition too. They are the ones moving back and forth between houses where they never have all their stuff in one place.
Remember, it's called "transition" for a reason. The relationship between your stepchildren and you will take time to develop, and you're just at the beginning stages. Baby steps. You have years of memories to build, and the kids will be grown before you know it.
Getting Legal Help
The experienced Sacramento Family Law Attorneys at Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP can help you navigate your divorce and child custody issues with respect and compassion. Contact Bartholomew & Wasznicky LLP today for knowledgeable and respectful representation. Call us at (916) 455-5200 or email us at info@DivorceWithRespect.com.