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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Myth - Stepmothers are wicked

Based on the fairy tales we heard as children  - Stepmothers can be depicted as not nice, kind, or fair.  Therefore they are to be "suspect" members of the family and not to be trusted.

This negative concept of the stepmother role imparts us in a very personal way and we may be very self-conscious about our stepparenting. Research tells us that stepmothers have the most difficult role in the stepfamily.

Stepmothers have a huge opportunity to positively impact the lives of the children that they welcome in to their stepfamily with realistic expectations.  Often children reveal (when they become adults) just how important that role was for them!

Myth - Love occurs instantly between the child and the stepparent

This myth says that I will automaticlly love his or her children; or that the children will automatically love us because we are such nice people.

Of course this is not realistic.  Stepfamilies are like a "full mean deal" - some of them are easier to love than others.  Love can and often happens in Stepfamilies - but it takes time - it does not happen "over night" or because we "want it to happen". 

Stepfamilies are often places where it is hard to accept that sometimes we are willing to have a relationship with someone who is not willing to have a relationship with us.  We often get hurt in this process and can become resentful and angry.

Having realistic expectations is a good place to start with the Stepfamily.  We worked on respect as an initial step.  Love did happen but it came after respect and a willingness to be part of this new family and to let love happen again.