Q. I adore my fiance, who has a 6-year-old son from a previous marriage. Problem is, I'm an only child and have never really been exposed to young children before -- babysitting was never really my thing. How can I learn to become more loving to my future stepson?
A. Below are five key ways to be a loving stepparent to your soon-to-be stepson:
Do so by saying "I like you" not only with words but with gentle touch. You'll certainly learn to like this little boy, so when you feel affection toward him, say so, and show it by offering a loving touch. Gentle touch communicates love and care without saying a word.
Consideration does not mean indulging him, giving in to every whim. It means considering his wants while keeping his best interest in mind. You can do so by:
Prove you're interested in your stepson's life by:
Don't go overboard with, "You're so great!" or "You're absolutely fabulous!" A more subtle approach will mean more to him as he masters the skills expected in childhood. A loving parent:
Offer support and encouragement during times of stress. As a loving parent, you can:
These five methods communicate affection and will put you on the road to developing a loving and liking relationship with your fiance's child.
Jan Faull, MEd, is a veteran parent educator and the author of four parenting books, including Darn Good Advice -- Baby and Darn Good Advice -- Parenting. She writes a biweekly parenting advice column for this site and a weekly parenting advice column in the Seattle Times. Jan Faull is the mother of three grown children and lives in the Seattle area.
Originally published on HealthyKids.com, April 2006.