Dear American Girl,
My mom recently remarried, so I have a new stepdad. I'm happy for her, and I'm glad that he's a member of our family, but it's still hard for me to get used to having him around. I want to get closer with him, but I'm not sure how. What should I do?
Here's your advice:
Try to spend more one-on-one time with your stepdad. Walk the dog together or go to a coffee shop. Having uninterrupted time with your stepdad can help you get to know him better.
-Jubilee, age 12, Maryland
I think you should talk to your mom. Maybe she can think of some ways for you and your stepdad to become closer. Your stepdad probably feels the same way you do and would like to have a better relationship with you.
-Maggy, age 13, Iowa
A good way to bond with your stepdad would be to set aside an evening to play board games and have snacks together. The rest of your family can join in, too. It would be a great way to have fun and to get to know each other better.
-Isebella, age 9, Arizona
Well, you and your stepdad definitely have one thing in common—you both love your mom! Start there, and you might find out that you have more things in common.
-Andile, age 11, Georgia
One word: talk. Talk to your stepdad about your school day or about things that annoy you. Ask him about his day, too. Pretty soon, you'll feel closer to him.
-Charis, age 10, West Virginia
Just go with the flow. Don't be rude to your new stepfather, but don't be over-the- top sugary-sweet, either. Eventually you'll get used to him, and he'll feel like part of your family.
-Amla, age 11, California
Explain to your stepdad how you feel. Tell him that you are happy he is a member of the family and that it's important to you that you bond. I bet he would be touched to hear that. Before you know it, you could be doing all sorts of fun things together.
-Elizabeth Anne, age 10, Texas
Think about it this way: Your new stepdad might be feeling the same way you are but is afraid to come off as pushy. Give him your support and friendship, and maybe he'll feel more comfortable with you.
-Juliette, age 12, Virginia
Ask your mom if you and your stepdad can have a some special time together. You could watch a movie, build a birdhouse, or just have a conversation. You might feel closer to your new stepdad just by spending more time with him.
-Zoe, age 10, Missouri
Suggest that you and your family go on a trip somewhere, such as to an amusement park, a campground, or a local park. Being together as a family could help you feel closer to your stepdad, and you'll make great memories, too.
-Gianna, age 11, Iowa
Try to include your stepdad in activities that you already do. For example, you could ask your dad to go for a walk with you around your neighborhood or ask him if he wants to watch TV with you. Make being with your stepdad a part of your normal routine.
-Emma, age 10, Missouri
Your stepdad is now a part of your family, and you will have plenty of time to get to know him and accept him. Have patience, and the closeness will come in time.
-Shaylee, age 13, Alabama
First of all, good for you for being happy for your mom even if you aren't comfortable with all of the changes. And second, the solution to your problem is simple—find something that you have in common with your new stepdad. If you both love music, teach him how to play a few songs on the piano. If you two are football fans, watch a game with him. Get creative!
-Sophia, age 10, Colorado