Mature Dating - The Challenges of Being A Step-Parent and Grandparent
How to Cope with Grandchildren, Step-Children and Step-Grand Children
Dear April Masini,
I feel so lucky to have found my beautiful, smart and caring second wife Maggie. She and I are both in our 60s and feel blessed to find love again. While she and I couldn't be happier, I have yet to establish that kind of relationship with her children and grandchildren. I know they are all happy for the two of us, but they really have no desire to develop a relationship with me. How can I regain that father-figure role for them?
April Masini's Advice :
Dear Grand Dilemma,
Step-grandparents have challenges of being crucial members of an extended-blended family. Below are tips for making the transition and the relationship go smoothly.
- Don't set your expectations in an unrealistic place. If you've never had grandchildren or you already have grandchildren, these new step-grandchildren are not necessarily going to have the same relationship with you that the other kids already do. Accept this, and make it okay for yourself and the children.
- Never ever speak badly about any of the parents involved -- your children or your step-grandchildren's other parents who are not related to you, legally. Always speak positively about everyone, but especially around your new step-grandchildren.
- Expect your grandchildren to be jealous of any attentions you may give your step-grandchildren. This is an adjustment for EVERYONE. Be super-sensitive to feelings. If you cross a line and hurt someone's feelings, be understanding and apologize and adjust your behavior. You're human -- be super-sensitive now.
- Don't just send gifts or cards to your biological grandchildren and leave out your step-grandchildren as if they're not equals. They're not. But that doesn't mean they don't have feelings and won't be hurt. They are now your grandchildren, too. Step, or otherwise. It's much better to be inclusive than exclusive.