Healthy, Loving Boundaries: How to Foster Relationships When You’re an Adoptive Stepparent

Posted by Jonathan Jerkins | Oct 22, 2022 | 0 Comments

If you become an adoptive stepparent, it's likely that you thought about the decision and didn't make the choice lightly. Although you're not the biological parent, you probably still want a thriving and loving relationship with the child(ren). How can you make sure that this happens? The first step is boundaries.

Feeling safe and secure is very important to children, and boundaries help facilitate a sense of safety and worthiness. When you, as an adoptive stepparent, take the time to create (and hold) boundaries, the child(ren) will have clear expectations. What are some steps you could consider along the way to this?

  • Speak with your spouse and collaborate.
    If the two of you set the limits (and enforce them) together, the child(ren) will get a consistent message. If you're in the earlier stages of your relationship with the child(ren), consider having your spouse be the person who handles more of the discipline, even if you're both responsible for enforcement.

  • Have clear expectations for yourself.
    Remember that it may take time for the child(ren) to connect with you at the depth you desire. This isn't necessarily a reflection on you or your parenting skills. Be patient with them and understand that you're looking at building a long-term relationship—which takes time. Make sure that your expectations are realistic. Let the child set the pace and decide how quickly they want to take the bonding.

  • Build new rules and rituals together as a family.

Rules don't always need to have a negative connotation. You and your spouse can craft rules that are more ritual-oriented. For example, this could look like always having Family Friday Movies or always making cinnamon buns on Sunday mornings. By building rituals into your time together, you'll create new memories with your adoptive stepchild(ren). Plus, rituals and routines can help children with expectations, their sense of security and safety, and more.

An Experienced Attorney for Stepparent Adoption

Choosing to be an adoptive stepparent is a big step. Sometimes it is an easy legal process. However, it's always best to consult with an attorney who can help. Call Jerkins Family Law at 919-719-2785 or contact us online with any of your questions.

About the Author

Jonathan Jerkins

Jonathan "Jay" Jerkins, a native of Raleigh, North Carolina, intentionally focuses his practice on all aspects of North Carolina family law litigation and negotiations. Jay was admitted to the practice of law in North Carolina in 2014.


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