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How to Have a Good Relationship With a Stepdaughter

by Tiffany Raiford

Turning two families into one can be difficult, even in the happiest of blended families. There are many changes in the way of parenting, co-habitating and other household matters. One of the challenges is figuring out a way to have a good relationship with your stepchildren. According to HelpGuide.org, a nonprofit resource for families, girls prefer that you show your affection and happiness with them verbally rather than physically, which is a potential first step to establishing a positive relationship with your stepdaughter.

Expect that it might take some time to form a good relationship with your stepdaughter, advises the Christian Broadcasting Network website. Even if you get along right now, forming a healthy, long-lasting relationship with her could take time, as you have to develop trust and mutual respect. By keeping your expectations for a happy family realistic, you may prevent a lot of frustration and actually help your relationship form faster.

Stay cool and avoid trying to buy your stepdaughter’s love and affection. According to Christina Steinorth, marriage and family therapist and author, coming on too strong is a way to make your stepdaughter feel skeptical of you and make your attempt to bond with her seem forced or fake. She doesn’t need tons of attention or extravagant gifts.

Keep discussions about your stepdaughter's other parent positive when talking in front of her. Regardless of how you feel about your spouse’s ex and the biological parent of your stepdaughter, keep it to yourself. If you want her to respect you and you want to have a good relationship, you need to be willing to encourage her relationship with her other parent and keep any negativity to yourself.

Listen to your stepdaughter without brushing her off or acting like her opinion doesn’t matter, advises HelpGuide.org. Positive relationships are built through open communication, a lack of judgment and the knowledge that the other person genuinely cares and values your opinion. Being open, caring and honest with your stepdaughter can only help you bond with her.

Follow her lead, advises the Christian Broadcasting Network website. For example, if she hugs you after she makes the cheerleading squad, hug her back. If she doesn’t, offer her a warm and genuine congratulation without touching her. It’s a lot easier for you to form a relationship that’s positive if you follow her lead instead of upsetting her by ignoring what makes her comfortable.

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