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May 23rd, 2009

I am thrilled to have a dialogue with this amazing author whose book Stepmonster is hitting high marks and selling like hotcakes!

About her book, I wrote the following endorsement:

“She’s done it!  Martin has told the TRUTH about being a stepmother, backed it up with extensive research, interviews, and stories.  With deep understanding and empathy for women with stepchildren, Stepmonster will inspire stepcouples, benefitting them as well as the children they are raising.

“I wholeheartedly endorse this surprising, honest, fascinating book and will recommend it to anyone on the journey of stepcoupling, stepparenting and especially stepmothering.”  May 2009

Wednesday Martin, much to my delight, responded with this:

“When the author of a classic in stepfamily studies emails you out of the blue to praise your book, it’s incredibly exciting and gratifying. When she’s also an expert stepfamily therapist who has made a career of saving the most endangered marriages of all–well, even more so. And when she’s the person who coined the term “stepcoupling,” it’s reason to crow.”
May 14, 2009

Wednesday and I agree that her book, Stepmonster and my book Stepcoupling complement each other perfectly.  Years ago when I found myself in a stepfamily raising three stepchildren and two biologicals, I would have given anything for the honesty and openness that these books provide.

Susan Wisdom
May 2009

SUMMER VISITATION IN STEPFAMILIES: Providing Warm Memories. . . or Surviving Mayhem

May 22nd, 2009

Summer is here! That means spending more time with stepchildren who areis301-020 out of school on summer break. For many stepcouples it means an extended visit from children who live elsewhere the rest of the year. Here are some tips for stepcouples and stepparents to make the most of their time together this summer

Now’s the time to prepare your heart and your home!

Prepare your heart

• Know that transitions are tough on children. Lower your expectations a notch or two. Ease into family routines slowly rather than expecting stepchildren to smile and sit up straight at the dinner table from Day One.

• Build – or rebuild – your relationship with your stepchildren slowly. Be flexible. Realistically, stepchildren (and biological children, too) are likely to ignore and reject you at some point. Don’t take it personally.

• Expect meltdowns. Visiting children have major adjustments to make. They miss their home, their absent parent, their friends, their pets, etc. Tears, withdrawal, and anger are common reactions. It won’t last long.

Read the rest of this entry »


May 10th, 2009

Every year it happens.  Stepmothers go into emotional turmoil and confusion. sf_060911_1400 Children naturally and instinctively associate MOTHERHOOD with those women with whom they are biologically, historically, and emotionally connected – women, who delivered them into the world. They are the REAL moms…for better or for worse.  But we stepmothers count too, so let’s not forget it!

I once knew a stepmother who visited her stepson at parents’ weekend, freshman year. The boy couldn’t wait to see his stepmom and Dad, and he couldn’t wait to show them his new dorm room.  When she walked into the room, the stepmother was surprised to see a large picture of the bio mom displayed on the bookshelf.  (Bio mom died when the boy was three, and his father remarried when he was six.)  The boy had a fantastic relationship with his SM, one of the best I’ve known.  While SM was initially surprised at the picture, she understood it.  The family resemblance was striking, and the woman inside the picture frame was legitimately his biological mother.  The young college student knew it!  So did his stepmother.  There was nothing to hide, nothing to be ashamed of.

There’s something to be learned from this story…

It would be nice if mothers, stepmothers, and stepcouples could take pride in the roles they all play in delivering, caring for, sheltering, educating, disciplining and nurturing the children in their lives – biological, step, or otherwise.   It would be nice if everyone could respect their boundaries as well as those of others.

How can Mothers Day be fair and pleasant for everybody?  Stepcouples, exes, children and stepchildren should not have to be torn in half over this Hallmark Holiday.

As a stepcouple, how can you do your part?

Susan Wisdom
May 2009

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