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Summer Sanity in Stepfamilies – Is There Such a Thing?

School’s out and summer vacation begins…

Vacation for kids and stepkids is hardly a vacation for the parents raising them. “ Do this, do that, take us here, there and everywhere…NOW!”

The kids complaining -THERE’S NOTHING TO DO. The begging -Can so and so come over? I need money to go to the mall? Everyone else gets to go ______ or do _____ except me!  You’ve heard it all a million times.

The moody sulks, the tears, and the energy…oh my! And by the way kids, especially preteens and adolescents, are the CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE, because that’s what they’re supposed to be.  (Aren’t you glad your kids are normal?)

Even though my kids are grown up now, I remember the long summers when they were young. Relentless and exhausting.  You work yourself to the bone to please, accommodate, and satisfy.  And you worry way too much about how the “little darlings” are doing…where they are and WITH WHOM.  If you’re a stepparent, you wonder if you’re fitting the bill at all! Still you go for perfection.  Doesn’t every parent want to be the best?

So stop yourself! Step back. Take a break.  You have to say NO sometimes.  Take care of YOURSELF.  You do count… you do have a life!  Have some fun.  Go to yoga or exercise class, get a pedicure, have a drink with a friend. Get off the computer, get out of the car, and leave the dirty dishes in the sink.

Free yourself up, breathe, and relax.

Gotta go now.  I’ve been on the computer way too long.  I’m going for a walk.

See you later…

How will you take care of yourself this summer during those long summer days?  Think about it and make a plan, if necessary. Leave a comment here so others can learn from you too.

Susan Wisdom
Licensed Professional Counselor
June 2010

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2 responses to “Summer Sanity in Stepfamilies – Is There Such a Thing?”

  1. Kim says:

    Susan,
    Great reminders. I’m not a mom, so your readers can immediately discount my perspective if they want, but………

    It seems to me that there is waaaaaay too much overfocus on the children and that keeping them so overly “booked” is not good for them. I mean a kid needs to have some time hanging in the front yard, bored to DEATH in the summer time. It is in that moment of complete and utter boredom that they learn to access their imagination and that brings brain function into action and creativity and voila, pretty soon they are not bored. I attended a continuing ed course for speech pathologists for kids with attention deficit disorders not so long ago and the psychologist teaching that course said, the single most important thing a parent can do for a kid is create situations of “functional boredom.” Like that cross country car trip. Or, a long lazy summer day with NO plans. Not talking every day, but some days. That is what summer is about.

  2. Susan Wisdom says:

    Kim –
    I couldn’t agree with you more! Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. Kids need to learn to be creative and think up stuff for themselves rather than always relying on adults to do it for them. What they create for themselves are what they remember the most
    Thanks for your comment!!

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