With Step parenting, sometimes your efforts may be rejected. Don't take this personally, remember that your step-child is dealing with this new situation and their own personal feelings about these changes as well. It can be difficult for children to understand a new family structure and the changes that come with it. They may have had their hopes set on their parents getting back together or just really want the love and attention that you're providing from their bio mom or dad. Insert yourself into the equation trying to love and care for this child and they reject you.
One of the first signs of rejection is a change in behavior, what we like to call "acting out". They may start acting out in school, causing problems in your relationship, playing both sides between parents, etc but as a step parent you have to learn how to love them in the midst of all it.
Some children may feel by acting out they may push you away. They may also be testing you to see if you will still love them. Children test their parents and step parents to see if you can deal with them under any circumstance. Having a step child can also be tricky because they may feel like they have to choose between parents. For instance, the step child may feel like they are betraying their bio mom by embracing their step mom. I remember my stepson's bio mom and I had a conversation about him asking her if it was ok for him to love me. You never know what they may be thinking.
When blending your family, some children may also feel a sense of entitlement when their bio parent has a new mate, especially if you’re coming in with a child that is not their sibling. That's when blending can get a little challenging. The child may have a "that's my dad/mom" attitude towards the situation. They may not be open to sharing their parents especially if they have never had to share them before.
With children we all know patience is a must, so add a double dose of patience into the mix when you feel your stepchild is rejecting you. You may have thought you were just going to meet the kids and love them and everything will be perfect but NO, this isn't always the case. There are some children that are going to try and show you that whatever it is you have to offer, they don't want. No matter how hard you try, or what you do, it’s just something they are not willing to take at that time. A child showing rejection is normally a child's way of saying "I'm not happy with this". However if you can see past the behavioral problems and learn to love them even when they are pushing you away, they may see that this new relationship can be a good thing. Keep in mind that this may not be an overnight thing, you just have to stick in there and continue to show love.
Children are very smart, if you mean well and the love is genuine and real they will pick up on it and they will give in.
A lot of the time we expect children to be understanding and adult minded. We want them to see us for who we are and accept us with open arms and everything to be smooth sailing. We don't know what emotions and feelings they have dealt with prior to you joining the picture. If they had hopes of their parents getting back together or witnessed them going through the on/off again break up process, they might be feeling some type of way or have some pent up emotions. Now you come along and just by you being there shows them that what they hoped for isn't happening.
Now let's talk about the disrespect. I hear so many step moms say "once they start disrespecting me, that’s it"! Now, let me be clear, I am not saying you should tolerate disrespect, absolutely not. What I am saying is you should correct it in love and move on. You have to teach a child what is accepted and what is not. A lot of stepmom's have issues with dealing with some of the side effects of rejection from their step child/children and because they don't know how to deal with it they just shut off the relationship.
Shutting off the relationship is not healthy and does not or will not help the situation. You have to learn how to deal with it, go through it and love through it. One of the things that help me love through rejections was me dealing with myself. I had to focus on why I was there. What role am I playing in this child's life? What do I want this child to learn from my relationship with him or her? What is it I'm here to show, teach, and be an example of? Once I understood my role in this and understood that this was bigger than me it was easier to deal with. This child is hurting. As a step parent you don't get to say hey this isn't my problem. I am here to assist my mate in raising their child to the best person they can be. and that's what I will do.
A negative mindset leads to negative actions and a positive mindset leads to positive action!