For those of you who are remarried, how is your relationship with your partner’s children? Are you close?
Do you think you are a good and loving “step” parent in your step-child’s eyes? Of course, right? I hate to break this to you, but most of us miss the mark on this one. Read this short post carefully and I’ll show you how to live up to your own perception of being the loving “step” parent and provide you with one more strategy for avoiding becoming the “wicked” one.
If you want to create or maintain a good relationship, or any relationship with your partner’s children, it’s important that you honor the relationship with their other parent.
What do I mean by honor? There are so many ways to honor that bond but I will only focus on one for this article.
Your step-child’s other parent is a part of who they are as person. It’s very important to include both parents when celebrating that child’s major life events (things like milestone birthdays, graduations, wedding showers, bar mitzvahs, etc.). I’m not talking about national holidays that come up every year such as Thanksgiving. I’m talking about events that are held exclusively in honor of that child.
Inviting their closest friends and relatives, but excluding their own Mom or Dad will breed resentment toward you and only you as their Step-Mom or Step-Dad. (That’s right, they’ll be OK with their Mom or Dad, but not you.). Keeping things “separate” and expecting their other parent to have a “separate” celebration is an unwelcome alternative and frankly feels weird. Children (grown ones and young ones alike) want both parents at their major events. I’m 49 and still want both of my parents to be with me when I celebrate my 50th. Steer clear of allowing your insecurity and ego to play any role in your “step” child’s big event.
Will this be easy at first? No. Will you, Step-Mom/Step-Dad be uncomfortable? You bet. Will having a great relationship with your step-children strengthen your marriage? Yes! Won’t that help to ensure your own happiness in the long-run? ABSOLUTELY. Lastly, wouldn’t it be nice to share the expense of that big event with your step-child’s other parent? You betcha.
As a step-mom, I’ve been walking this walk for years. It wasn’t easy, sometimes it still isn’t easy. My weak, selfish side doesn’t want to endure one more uncomfortable yet boring walk down memory lane with my husband’s ex-wife.
But I put my big-girl panties on and I do it time and again. My step-children are my family. I love them and want to nourish my relationship with them. It’s been good for our family and good for my marriage to their Dad.
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