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Tonight, I realized I really am a single mom. As I sit here all alone waiting for the Dance Program to start I look around and I am the only one in the auditorium sitting all alone. My Son had Boy scouts tonight and my daughter is in the Program. I keep looking behind me to see if Archi will be walking in the door. I pray so hard for RaKel that he does walk in and for myself, I pray that if he does, that he doesn’t bring HER. In my mind all I can think about is how vulnerable and week, I must look. She has him and he has her, and I have……. My purse.

About two months ago, my husband of 20 years walked out my door. After that many years he had became a part of who I was. Even when he wasn’t with me, I was part of a relationship, a couple, a family. When he walked out, I thought wow, this is a good thing! We can’t get along any more anyway. All we do is yell and scream and frankly he hasn’t been around emotionally for three years. Not to mention that he started working a second job about two years ago. Since then he just kept taking on more and more hours at his job at Home Improvement and we saw him less and less. At least I think he has been taking on more hours? He hasn’t been ABLE to come to Ray’s Baseball games, or RaKel’s school programs for many years.

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I constantly run across step families, or blended families if you prefer, who either have no idea what awaits them or their doors are blown off because they didn’t know it would be like this. They almost always say that it is so much more difficult than they imagined. How do you survive? How do you reverse the trends that have begun? The following is how to have a step family and survive.

One, survival rate is increased dramatically if new blended families get informed before they dive in. I promise, it is a different set of rules and issues. You will face situations that you are not prepared for and and feelings that will shock you. You will wonder why you want to be tougher on your step kids than your own. You will try to hide from your new spouse that you do not love her kids as much as your own. I’m saying if you knew this going in and were both aware and equipped, the outcome would be different.

Two, if you are deep into your blended family and the above issues have slapped you hard in the face, then back up and punt. OK, by punting I do not mean get out, I mean start over. This is a little more difficult than doing this at the beginning, but it will still help greatly if you will do it. One of the ways it helps is because you get those feelings and surprises on the table. Something about honesty that promotes togetherness. Next, discovering the weird fact that it is OK that you do not love your step kids like your own, is freeing. You can drop the guilt crap and live in reality.

Where do you go, turn, read, for help? Many good books and ebooks on the subject. Yes, I have written one as well that will cover every issue. Just get enlightened. Learn the new rules. For example, did you know that it is almost always a bad idea for the step parent to be the disciplinarian of their non-biological kids. It does not work. Like it or not, biological parents tend to be sensitive when it comes to their children. I know, maybe it should not be that way. But we are dealing with reality hear, not the way it should be.

Finally, those little babies, or better said, the little turds that occupy the house, find it their job to stir it up. They are manipulators and will milk any situation for their benefit. A parent says, "No, not my kids." O yes, your little darlings are probably the worst since you seem to blind to it. It’s OK they act like kids or teens, but the biological parent must see it and be instant in dealing with it. If not, the resentment in your house will be as thick as sludge.

You can survive. You can be a successful step family. But only if you become aware of what is going on and how to best handle it. Otherwise, you will another statistic. Get some gumption, some initiative, and turn the tables on a bad situation while you still can. Do it day. Learn to enjoy what you have. This time it is for keeps…Living For Keeps.

Step families are in trouble, always have been. Mostly because the rules are different and they are unaware. Jim has spoken and written on the subject extensively. He has counseled numerous families to success. His motto is this time for keeps – Living For Keeps.

Find him at http://livingforkeeps.com/mine-are-from-heaven-yours-are-from-hell/

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