Stepmother’s Guide on Dealing with Stepchildren | Part 2
Let the kids understand that you are not trying to take their mom’s place. Rather, you are there as a totally different person, with a totally different yet somewhat similar role. “Helping them (the kids) understand that they can love both parents and still be loyal to both is terribly important,” advises psychologist.
A stepmother to four daughters herself, who also has stepparents on both sides and the founder and director of an information and counseling center in New York, suggests allowing time for father and children to spend same time alone together. Like in normal families, moms don’t always have to be the answer to everything all the time because they aren’t. She relates her own experience: “The more I step back and let my daughters be with their dad, the more they would want my presence.”
According to another counselor, psychologist and stepparent, romantic atmosphere most common to courtship and newlyweds usually “stimulate the children and aggravate their jealousy and rage.” One expert suggests that extreme displays of affection should be avoided.
“Each individual adult, as well as the couple, should be thoughtful about seductiveness,” one psychologist commented. “Privacy should be encouraged and respected.”
It is not just the children you have to think about. There is also the memory of the departed wife which can prove to be most enduring and stronger influence in the children’s behavior. A simple reminder to the kids like: “I know you love your mother very much and that I can never be like her and that makes it hard for you to like me. But I hope you’ll try to see me for myself,” is the suggestion of a therapist, stepmother and psychologist for this kind of problem. Also, one counselor comments how a new stepmother should not try to be the answer to the family’s problems of the present and the past. “A new wife cannot be the ephemeral excuse and solution to her stepchildren’s problems with their dad, although she should do her part.”
To be able to do her part, mutual respect and trust should be acquired. One psychologist comments, “A stepmother has every right to take a stand about what happens in a household that’s half hers.” Looseness in any relationship also helps a great deal.
A couple of experts, psychiatrist and psychologist, respectively note the, “need for emotional space” with children and couples as well.
Also, age-old traits such as patience, dedication and determination should be among the virtues of a stepparent to be able to function effectively.
Martha, another stepmother, observed and experienced that living with the problems and realizing it would get easier depends oil time, as the kids grow up and as you do, too.