A guest post by James Whitsett
It’s safe to say that being a Stepdad is no walk in the park. Fortunately, bonding with your spouses’ teenage children doesn’t have to be painful. You shouldn’t expect an instant bond with your stepchildren nor should you overstep your boundaries, something that is particularly important with teenagers. Become closer to your stepchildren by scheduling unique activities that promote a sense of teamwork and accomplishment. Pay attention to your stepchildrens’ preferences and you’re sure to come up with a fun-filled idea that is ideal for your family.
Encourage your kids to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors with a boating trip to places like Lake Ontario. Boating on a lake is sure to catch a teen’s interest, especially if he or she has never been fishing. I took my kids to this magnificent Canadian lake and we loved it. If you do head up north make sure you have a Canadian boating license before you start packing your gear which is required to operate a powered watercraft. Remember, you don’t have to make a roadtrip of it. There are plenty of great waterways to chose from. Boating and fishing are great activities since they create a neutral zone. This eliminates distraction so you can connect with your kids and create shared memories for your family.
Preteens: Cook a Meal for Mom
Working together in the kitchen is a great way to promote teamwork and cooperation. You’ll make a meal and a memory. You don’t have to be a great cook. Look for recipes on Pinterest and include your kids in the decision process. Whether you make a full course meal or a batch of brownies, the teenagers in your household will enjoy surprising Mom with a delicious treat. And everyone enjoys sweet treats!
Teens 14-16: Visit a Theme Park
You don’t have to go to Disneyland or Universal Studios to have a great time. A theme park finder can help you locate theme parks in your area. Alternatively, if there are no theme parks in your state, consider another type of activity venue, such as a rock climbing gym, paintball arena or an indoor ice skating rink. The goal here is to find an option that suits the entire family’s interests.
It’s no secret that teens love watching movies. Sure, it might seem counter-productive to sit in the living room staring at a screen together, but consider the shared moments of laughter you’ll experience. The mere act of laughing is a great way to bond in a group, reports The New York Times. Next time your stepchildren complain about being bored, suggest a comedy movie marathon complete with popcorn. Anchorman, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Bruce Almighty, Dumb and Dumber and Dodgeball are all great movie options that are appropriate for teens and are sure to incite some laughs. Have your teen invite over a couple of friends for the evening, you’ll be sure to win them over.
Attend a Parenting Workshop
Although this is not necessarily an activity that can be done with your stepchildren, it is a great way to improve your bond with them. Hand in Hand is a parenting program that focuses on giving parents and primary caregivers the tools they need to discipline and nurture their children. The organization offers various classes (either self-guided or given by an instructor) that help Stepdads bond with their stepchildren, such as Supporting Adolescents and Parenting by Connection. Additionally, one on one consultations are available that target specific family issues.
The important thing is to have fun! Families that have fun together bond faster.