Blending Families: 7 Secrets to a Happy Step-Life
Step... As in stepping on someone else's toes? Or, as in stepping on a drama filled
I'll be the first to admit that it isn't always a walk in the park. This is true for many reasons. It's hard to incorporate yourself into an already established family, there are preconceived notions about step parents and bonding with children that aren't your own can be challenging. I'm no expert, but I can assure you there can be happiness for everyone in this family process, including you.
1. Don't be a victim.
Unless you're reading this from a 3rd world country where women don't have a say, then you shouldn't feel obligated to enter into this type of relationship. It sounds callous, but you need to hear it. There's no "Poor me, I'm doing this for you".
Blended family bonds require sacrifice and many times we know early on whether or not this kind of commitment is for us. If find yourself suffocated while having second thoughts, then it's time to re-evaluate the situation and make a mature decision as to what happiness means to you. This type of family unit brings many blessings, but it's also a commitment.
2. Accept that you are not their parent.
This is tricky because there are many step parents investing their time
That's not to say you can't offer advice, but keep in mind that the authoritative figures were established before you came along.
3. Don't compete for love.
There's no competition because there's no comparison. The love your husband or wife feels for you is completely different that for their child. Speaking ill or condescendingly of their child will NOT put you in a better light. Singling out all of the things a child does wrong can be frustrating to the point where a spouse could harbor resentment. Rightfully so, as any parent thinks to protect their child at all costs.
If you happen to clash with your
4. Make time for yourself.
You went from zero to 100 responsibilities in an instant and you're bound to feel overwhelmed from time to time. Spend time with your girlfriends, hang out at a spa, go watch that chick flick
While you may experience guilt about leaving your new family (as I
Don't be fake and let the emotions develop organically. Show genuine interest
NO, everything is NOT their fault. We forget that our spouse is the one having to endure the brunt of the mess. The one having to spend time away from their kids, the one having to see their kids in the middle. The one who didn't plan for any of this to happen in the first place. Spend time together, talk things out and be
By strengthening the relationship with your
7. Don't take it
You've probably found yourself in situations where your
They constantly have to make choices,
8. Govern yourself accordingly.
Children are like elephants, they never forget. Please remember to do all things with compassion. Exercise patience when it's called for. Use your words carefully when dealing with the other parent. Steer away from doing or saying things out of sheer impulse or anger. You'll grow tor regret them and like everything else in life, they can't be taken back.
Being a happy step parent won't always come easy, but what you put in is what you'll get out. Just like biological parents. Over time it won't matter that they don't have your blood, by then they'll have your heart. I guarantee you'll find happiness there.
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