Steparenting Without Guilt Tips
Be prepared from the
beginning that stepfamilies do not function the same as intact,
nuclear families. There can be a lot of adjustments to work
through, both practical and emotional.
relationships can exist without love. They do, however, require
consistency and trust. Fairness goes a long way toward earning
Question the natural
parent when he or she promises “to take care of everything.” No
matter how sincere and well intentioned your future spouse may
be, it may not work out that way in day-to-day stepfamily
biological parenting) are not about winning a popularity
contest. They are about doing the job that is called for, and
sometimes that job is tough.
Know the virtue and
necessity of accepting what you cannot change and work from
there. Do not try to “fix” everything all at once. Sometimes
with stepparenting less can be more.
Playing “Who’s to
Blame?” is a no-win situation in stepfamilies. It only serves to
fuel further antagonism between stepfamily members rather than
fostering mutuality and compromise.
Your stepfamily may
experience a lot of emotional reactivity because members can
hurt in a lot of places. Often it is both useful and important
to take a deep breath and count to ten before responding.
There is a point where
your biological children come first, and this has nothing to do
with being a “mean” or “wicked” stepparent. You do not have to
save your stepchildren at the expense of your own off-spring.
If you honestly and
sincerely cannot deal with your stepchild, do not lie to
yourself that you can. Accept your limitations and work from
The greatest gift you
can give your stepchild (or child) is permission to be happy in
both homes. We do not all have to act or think the same way, and
learning how to honor differences is vital to this way of life.
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