Number of kids: 1
Ages of kids: 5
Problem: I am a new 20 year old step-mother to a five year old girl. I have never been a mother, but I raised my little sister so I know how to handle kids. I want to be a good step mother to my little girl, but the problem is, her real mother is a bad mother who only has partial custody(she lives with us) of my step-daughter and she has 3 other kids whom she's not even sure of their fathers. She comes around about 3 times a year and is always breaking promises. How can I get my step-daughter to trust me and think of me as a parental figure and not just as her daddy's new girlfriend?
Solution submitted by Linda from Ontario, CAN: I agree with PatC (below). I am also in a new situation with 2 new stepchildren. I understand where you are coming from. With the love and support from their father, I am taking one day at a time. Children who have "lost" a parent are bound to have great fears and be a little untrusting. I believe that in time they can learn to love you as much as you love them. Have lots of patience and understanding for her and I'm sure that she will be as comfortable with this situation as you will. I have given my new stepchildren space as well as letting them know that I am here for them. I have let them be the ones to come to me. Just remember that there will be good days and bad and that you can't let every little problem affect your family unit. If you truly believe in it, it can work.
Another solution submitted by PatC from Canada: First of all let me tell you my heart goes out to you for you have a long hard job ahead and it will not always be easy. You are lucky in the fact that the child is still too young for permanent damage to have been done. Her distrust is 100% normal and will disappear with genuine love and under- standing. This will take time and nobody can tell you how much time. Three rules of thumb that I found useful were: 1-- Be patient, 2-- Love the child, 3-- Be there for her when she needs you. The only "don'ts" I know of are Don't smother her; let her learn to accept you on her own terms. She's not just a child but also a small person with a big problem.