Avoid this crucial mistake

Adele Cornish, BSW

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I received this comment recently; see if you can relate to it:

“She is quick to criticize my kids and last to offer them any care or kindness.  We fight often as I defend my kids and she is trying to have her needs met.  If she would only show some kindness and care for my kids….to make a real effort to build a relationship with them…My kids would have shown more respect and likewise my wife would have been inclined to build more relationship with them.  I care deeply for my kids and …maybe too much to a level of “overprotecting them”.

I’ve mentioned in previous tips that the first part of the blending process requires those in a step relationship learning to accept each other. From this basis trust is developed and family members can grow to care for each other and bond.

If a stepparent rushes into an authoritarian discipline approach before this foundation is laid, they are likely to find their stepchildren become resistant towards them particularly older children and teenagers.  This crucial mistake brings to mind the saying “Rules without a relationship produce rebellion”.   In a step family it often hinders bonding which DELAYS the whole blending process.

During the first few years of blending it’s typical for a stepparent to feel on the outer edge of their partner’s relationship with their child. If you’re unaware cohesion takes time, you might be tempted to blame yourself (and feel inadequate) or others in your family.

If you’re a stepparent, with your partner discuss house routines and expectation but let your partner sort the bad stuff initially with their children so you can remain the ‘good guy’.  This protects the more vulnerable relationship you have with your stepchildren while you are bonding.

For essential information on how to bond with stepchildren go to Session 4 page 21 of the Blending Lives Program.  Session 3 also has information on helping a stepparent feel valued and purposeful and practical strategies to encourage positive behavior.  If you don’t have a copy yet, click here

Warm regards

Adele Cornish BSW

Blended Family Advisor

p.s. Researchers have found the blending process takes on average seven years but it can happen more quickly if you use proactive strategies.