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Why Stepkids are “Mean” In The Beginning

April 24th, 2009

In the beginning, I wondered why my stepkids were so mean to me.  They aa018258avoided me at all costs.  They wouldn’t do what I asked without a fight.  They always ran to their father for protection and excuses for noncompliance.  He usually came through for them.

I felt confused and powerless. I didn’t know what my role was, but I knew that what I was doing wasn’t working.  Why did they hate me so much?  I always felt like the bad guy.

LATER ON…
One day, to my surprise, I had an opportunity to chat with my stepson.  I guess we were driving in the car… or something like that. It was just the two of us.  We started talking about our family.  He admitted that when we got together, the kids wanted nothing to do with me.  They liked being with their Dad alone. Then their dad was free to play, take them places, go fishing and camping…just hang out!

Then I came along and stole their dad away.  Everything changed for them.  Dad was divided between his kids and me.  My stepson said, “We didn’t want you here.  We did everything we could to make it bad enough for you to leave.  We tried to break you and Dad up.”

I heard him and began to understand what it was like for the kids to have an outsider move in on them.  I began to believe how important it was for kids to spend quality time with their biological parents. I also began to appreciate my stepson’s willingness to talk honestly with me.  We began to build a relationship after that – him and me.

Can you find the time and space in your heart to talk to and listen to your stepchildren, even if what you hear may not be pleasant?

Susan Wisdom, LPC
April 2009

Moving From a Romantic Twosome to a Solid Stepcouple and Stepfamily

April 17th, 2009

ARTICLE FIVE:
FINAL ARTICLE IN THE SERIES

In it for the long run…how to hang in there.

In this final article, I leave you with some tips to help you get through the difficult times.
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How do you stay strong as a stepcouple when it gets rough?

You try very hard because you’re COMMITTED.  You’re a stepcouple and there’s a lot at stake. The love of your life just happens to have a past that includes children and probably ex-spouses too. It’s a package that says “Take me, take my kids.”

You and your spouse are a team.  As a team, you’re the heart, soul, brain, and glue in your stepfamily.  The stronger and more stable you are, the more it trickles down to the children.  Everyone benefits. It gets easier and better over time.

How do you stay together as a stepcouple?

I’m absolutely positive that the only way we stayed together was that we had a very strong relationship, because frankly there times when we were miserable…angry and resentful of each other, the kids and the exes.  But we were always able to face each other, argue constructively, and get through it…whatever it took.  We always knew neither one of us was going anywhere. We learned not to take stuff personally. We loved each other, we needed each other, and we deserved to be together in spite of how nasty things got sometimes. WE WEREN’T GOING TO LET OUR KIDS OR ANYTHING ELSE BREAK UP OUR RELATIONSHIP.

How do you avoid blaming each other and their kids for causing problems and making you miserable?

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Moving From a Romantic Twosome to a Solid Stepcouple and Stepfamily

April 3rd, 2009

ARTICLE FOUR:
ADJUSTMENT AND ACCEPTANCE

Gift of  Acceptance Over Resistance.bld041936

I finally concluded that the only way I could be happily married would be to ACCEPT MY SITUATION…and be the best wife, mother and stepmother I could possibly be.  I noticed I was beginning to get used to having him and his kids around the house. I was ready to give it my all, whatever that meant. I no longer needed my marriage to be something it would never be – just the two of us. It would always be a stepfamily.

The reality was …HELLOOO – we now had five kids to raise together. We had a lot of work ahead of us. I had a lot of growing up to do.

The first step for me was a major attitude adjustment.  Since his kids would be part of my life, I thought I’d better get to know them rather than wishing they’d go away.  How did I do this?

Instead of waiting for them to reach out to me, I went to them with an open friendly attitude.  I frequently asked if I could do anything for them. I took them places, cooked meals they liked and bought them things they needed.  We began to have inside jokes, tease each other, talk, laugh, all of which loosened the barriers. My husband did the same thing with my sons.  He helped them with sports and school projects and showed them how to work with tools.  He took them fishing, while the girls and I shopped.

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