Frustrated stepmothers say: “My stepchildren don’t respect me. They turn their back on me, they’re rude, and they don’t even say ‘Hey’. They head directly towards perfect precious Daddy with loves, hugs and stories.”
“It’s not fair because we’re the ones who do all the work! As stepmothers, we often feel like slaves with little gratitude offered our way.”
Stepchildrens’ side of the story: The truth is your stepchildren don’t know you, trust you, or feel about you the way they do their Daddies. They’re not disrespecting you; they’re just NOT INCLUDING you.
How to minimize the gap between stepmoms and stepkids:
- Understand you’re not their biological parent. You don’t have the bond or the shared history with them that “Daddy” has. Your relationship with them needs to grow. And it will if you want it to.
- As any good husband, Dad should include you and treat you with love and respect in front of his kids. By his behaviors, the kids will get it that you’re here to stay as his wife and their step mom.
- Be patient. It’s not about you. Let go of your negative reactions and insecurities, which slow down building positive relationships with stepchildren.
- Get your support and warm fuzzies from your husband, your family, and friends. And when you least expect it, something good will come your way from a stepchild – a birthday card, a hug, a story for you specifically, a movie with a snuggle on the couch, a good report card… Who knows? When it happens, enjoy it because there’s more to come.
Understand that your stepchildren may not disrespect you, they may have just not brought you into their loop yet.
What are you doing to gently get into their loop?
Susan Wisdom LPC