Are you or anyone you love remarried with children? Has the “going” been tougher than you thought? You’re not alone, Today 4 in 10 new marriages involve remarriage. In this article I’d like to share a little wisdom gleaned from my own experience as a Mom and a Step-Mom of some really great (now grown) kids.
In 2003 I met the love of my life. We dated for three years before tying the knot in 2006. My husband’s kids were around the same age as mine and I absolutely adored them and It was fabulous how well his children seemed to get along with mine.
However, we were rookies, blind and dumb we forged ahead with our new relationship, kids and all. Our lives as a blended family had lots of challenges. We made it through the tough times and
made many mistakes learned valuable lessons along the way.
The Brady Bunch didn’t do us any favors when they portrayed the happy-go-lucky Brady family and its light-hearted story-lines and perfect endings in every episode. They made it look so easy!
You are not the Brady Bunch so tread lightly.
The Brady’s were a made-up family who had producers and directors choreographing their lives every second. Each episode ending with the whole family winding up in perfect loving harmony with one another. But let’s face it, that’s not reality!
I could write an entire book about the personal challenges of step-parenthood, and maybe I will. But at the moment I’d like to share the single most important thing that everyone needs to know before attempting to bring two families together.
First comes Love – Don’t be a disciplinarian!
Grow a loving relationship with your partner’s children before being any kind of disciplinarian. Anything else will lead to resentment and likely cause damage to your marriage in the long-run. Just be their friend. The health, welfare and well-being of your spouse’s children is the responsibility of your partner and the child’s other parent. Stay out of it and enjoy being out of it! Be fun, play games, show interest in them and the things they are interested in. If they just want to be left alone, then leave them alone and try again later. Enjoy being the fun, kind and giving person that you are. Discipline is a tough job, and not one meant for a step-parent.
What if you are left in charge of your spouse’s kids?
Spend the time doing things that build the relationship between you and your step kids. Don’t spend it trying to grow them into better adults, that’ll backfire and is your partner’s job anyway.
Why do we need to treat our step-children differently?
Your own children love you in a special way and it is a bond like no other. You are their lifeline and they are often helpless without you. The trust and love relationship has been established and when parental consequences come into play your children will still love and need you.
To a child parental discipline and “parenting” just doesn’t feel right coming from anyone other than Mom or Dad. I know it doesn’t sound easy. But attempting to blend two families never is. (No matter what Mike and Carol Brady have tried to show us. Besides, they had Alice. Wouldn’t it be great if we all had an Alice?)
If you must dole out some consequences:
One thing is certain if you find yourself in a position where you’ve got to dole out consequences to your partner’s kids, make sure you do it out of genuine love. Follow it up with at least three or four acts that will be perceived by your step kids as acts of love, value and kindness for them.
I realize that my view is simplistic. There are many variables I haven’t touched upon, such as are there other children involved? How do you take charge alone when all of the kids are together? Is your step-child’s other parent in the picture, and so on.
Not everyone who reads this will agree with me, but in the long-run it’ll work out better for everyone and you’ll avoid the title of “Wicked Step Mother/Father”.
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Thank You for reading and be fearless!