You’ve met someone that makes your heart melt and to whom you feel a deep connection. She has a child and you also want to form a meaningful bond with her child. Establishing a bond can be a rewarding, yet challenging experience. Taking the appropriate steps to make a healthy connection can make the bonding process much easier.
Keep the initial introduction short and stress free. Choose an activity, in a neutral location, that everyone will enjoy and that does not require constant conversation. Give the child time to get comfortable with your presence without trying to force a relationship.
Age will make a difference as to how receptive and quickly the child will be willing to connect with you. If the child is younger, he generally will be quicker to respond to your attempts to connect. An older child may have a harder time accepting you. Allow the child to adjust at his own pace. If you are respectful, consider his feelings and take the relationship slow, you are setting the groundwork to establish a bond.
Speak directly to the child and express an interest in him and his hobbies. Make him feel important. Allow him to express his thoughts and feelings freely. If the child is too young to communicate or appreciate conversation, initiate fun interactions so he becomes comfortable with you.
Develop a relationship with the child independent of your relationship with his mother. As the child becomes more comfortable with your presence, do solo activities with him. Grade school children may enjoy board games, playing catch or going to get ice cream. Teenagers may enjoy going to a movie, a sporting event or concert.
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- If the child is not receptive to forming a bond with you, don't give up. Be patient and keep trying.
- Keep in mind that you are not his father and do not attempt to take on a parental or a disciplinarian role.
Stacey Elkins is a writer based in Chicago. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale and a Masters in social work from the University of Illinois in Chicago, where she specialized in mental health.
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