Knowing how to parent a child that is not yours can be difficult at times.
It may seem hard at first because they are not from your bloodline but with the proper steps and guidance, you’ll be able to parent a child that is not yours. It will take the same parenting skills it does if it was your own child.
Whether it is a child you are adopting or it’s a stepchild, you will need to put in a lot of effort and dedication to parent them right. Before going into this, you need to be ready mentally and physically for what is to come.
When approaching this situation, you need to walk in with the right mindset. You know that the child isn’t yours through blood but you have to treat them like they are.
You need to approach them like a parental figure so they understand that you are their guardian and not brush you off like you are a stranger. Whether it’s a young child or an 18-year-old, the mindset has to stay the same.
That means being firm with all of the decisions you make regarding them. Since they are under your supervision now, you are responsible for how they will grow up and continue on in life so making sure you are parenting them right is important for their development.
The first step to take when you are taking a parental role over a child that is not yours would be to try and build a bond with them. Since you two have had barely any interactions with each other, the child will still view you as a stranger to them so it is your job to try and build a connection with each other.
If you are taking the role of parenting a younger child, this can be an easier process since they are still developing and have time to build a relationship with you. The way you can build a bond with a younger child would be by spending time together doing activities you both can enjoy.
That can be going to the park and playing on the playground, take them on their camping or fishing trip, or go to the beach and have a fun time under the sun (if you are near one).
If your young child is around the preschool level, here is a guide on some outdoor activities you can do wit them.
If you are going to try to create a bond with an older child (Teen and up), it can be a difficult process especially if they are not open-minded so it may be hard for them to open up to you in the beginning.
A way you can combat that would be to see what they are interested in and create a bond over that.
Do they have a favorite sport? Do they play a certain instrument? Do they have a certain show they love to watch?
Teens nowadays have their interests and they can easily bond with someone that has the same interests as them so if you are able to insert your self in their world and see what interests they have that can be interesting to you too, that can lead to a potential great bond.
Obviously, if it is something that you will not be interested in, don’t force yourself because it would not be fair for you to do that. This bond should grow from you both enjoying something together.
The next step that needs to be taken when parenting a child that is not yours would be their morals.
Morals are what people use to make decisions in their everyday life and it guides them to do the right thing. It does not matter how old they are because your morals should be implemented in you from the day you are born till the day you leave this earth.
When you have a conversation with the child, lay down the morals you expect them to have to have a good and fulfilling life.
A great way to outline what type of morals they should have would be by showcasing the six pillars of character counts.
These six pillars are enough to fulfill the need to teach them about what morals they should aim to have.
If you are dealing with a younger child, respect should be on top of the list because that will be their cornerstone when it comes to their morals. Since it might be hard for them to understand, here is a guide that teaches your young children about respect.
Lay Down the Rules
Since they are now going to be living in your home, it is important to lay down the rules for them so they can understand what is expected of them. Even though they are still new to the family, they need to have a sense of what is allowed and what isn’t.
It is important to establish the rules early on from the beginning days so they can have a clear understanding of how this family operates. If you just welcome them in without setting the rules, they will do anything they want and expect to get away with it since they “were not told” that they weren’t supposed to do a certain action.
A way you can help them get informed about the rules would be to have a talk with them about what is expected. When having that conversation, make sure you are not saying it in a bossy tone because they will have a bad impression of you from the begging which is the last thing you want to happen. This does not mean you are light on the rules though, they need to understand that what you are saying is serious and should not be played with but at the same time, approach them like a guide and not like your the boss of them.
Love and Support
One thing to remember in all of this is that you need to come with all your love and support when parenting a child that is not yours.
Since they are going to feel out of sorts the first couple of days, weeks, or even months, it is important for you to make them feel like they are loved and appreciated even if they are not your real kids. Making them feel that way will empower them to live their new life with happiness and joy knowing that they have a loving support system that has their back.
Become a mentor for them and someone they can talk to whenever they feel down because that will mean the world to them. If they can see that you are there for them even though they are not your real children, they will have a sense of appreciation for you which is what any parent wants to feel.
Knowing how to parent a child that is not yours can be hard because it will be a new transition for the child and the family. When parents adopt or have step-kids, they have to step into the role of being responsible for them and to make sure they grow up and have a successful life.
It will take time, effort, and patience from the parents to accomplish this task but with the ride mindset, you can easily parent a child that is not yours and build an amazing bond that will last forever.
For more tips, Check out this guide about 9 steps to become a more effective parent.