On the heels of a recent conversation with a stepmom, it all came back to me.

It’s not fair that I have to be responsible for raising his child (a daughter), whose existence I had NOTHING to do with. I didn’t even know these people. Why do I have to be saddled with this thankless job when her mother checked out and gets off scot-free? Why should I deal with her mess? It doesn’t make sense… and I’m sick of it!

I listened. I had to agree with her that it wasn’t fair. But that has nothing to do with it. I also had to tell her that it’s her job to” participate” …whatever that means… in raising and supporting her partner’s kids. I also had to remind her that she is the adult stepmother of a child who needs her to be strong and stable…a hard pill to swallow.

That same day, I had a talk with my daughter-in-law whose own son, my 9-year-old grandson, is being oppositional and driving his mom crazy. Yes, she was complaining to me. She loves her son very much and besides, “He’s just going through a stage”, she said. The parents are busy, and he may be acting out a bit. It happens.

All I can say is, kids are kids. They have issues that upset you. Stepkids often have more issues due to stress from family break ups and remarriage. Their relationships with parents and stepparents are confusing. You are not their parent so they’re naturally inclined to take out their anger on you rather than their parent.

I remember being at my wits end. When I’d complain to my husband and the kids about how UNFAIR it was, I didn’t get much sympathy. They’d tell me in so many words, “Suck it up, you married into this family. It was your choice, so don’t blame us!”

OK, so I did marry into this stepfamily. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t easy. It was what it was- both blissful and painful. That was many years ago. What’s wonderful is how far we’ve come and what we’ve overcome. We still have our issues, but who doesn’t?

As a stepcouple you too can overcome the obstacles…if you want to. As a stepcouple, you can connect and communicate, and learn to co-parent each other’s children. It’s the most fair thing to do.

I wish you peace and happiness in 2010.

Susan Wisdom
Licensed Professional Counselor
January 2010

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