Stepmothers do not have the best of reputations, thanks in part to fairy tales and films where they are portrayed as harsh and unfeeling towards their stepchildren. In reality, the role of the stepmother varies greatly. It can be anywhere between minimal contact with her husband’s children during holidays or weekends, to 24 hour care for children who live with her and her husband.
How can Stepmothers successfully Fit into Blended Families? #1 The loyalty issue
When a woman marries a man who already has children, she should be warned that life will not always be easy for her. Even if she had a good relationship with her stepchild ren prior to the marriage, they may not feel the same way towards her once she is married to their father and has more control over their lives. Many stepchildren become resentful of their father’s new wife and feelings of jealousy and insecurity may creep in, particularly if their natural mother is still living and continues to play a significant role in their lives. The reason for this change often boils down to issues of loyalty. The stepchildren will continue to feel love and loyalty towards their natural mother as well as their father. But they may find it difficult to become reconciled to their father’s new marriage, as it may seem to them to take away from the loyalty to their mother. The stepmother must tread carefully around the loyalty issue and not try to take over as a replacement “mother”. She will never replace her stepchildren’s mother, however much they grow to love her in her own right. The two roles are separate and this is how a
lot of children will view both women.
How can Stepmothers successfully Fit into Blended Families? #2 They respect the natural mother’s memory
A wise stepmother will be careful to respect the memory of the natural mother of her stepchildren. This rule equally applies whether the mother is still living or not. That means that she will never speak down about her stepchildren’s mother. Even if the natural mother behaved badly towards their husband in the past, that is no reason to dig up the past and disrespect her memory around her children. She will always be the mother of the stepchildren, however badly she may have behaved.
How can Stepmothers successfully Fit into Blended Families? #3 Build up a relationship with the stepchildren
Successful stepmothers do their best to form a good relationship with their husband’s children. As the natural parent, it is primarily up to the husband to decide how he wants his children to be disciplined. His rules and regulations will be more familiar to the children and as such, the stepmother can learn of how her husband deals with issues of discipline and routine and try to follow his lead. As time passes and she begins to play a bigger role in the stepchildren’s lives, she can also discipline them. This is more effective if both husband and wife are in agreement. A husband who negates his wife’s discipline will not help her to earn the respect and esteem of the stepchildren.
How can Stepmothers successfully Fit into Blended Families? #4 Patience!
Some couples mistakenly believe that marriage will create an instant bond of love and affection between a woman and her husband’s children. This is simply not true. They need to get to know one another before they begin to feel like family members. It is usually easier if the children are babies or infants. But older children will have longer memories and will not be quite so willing to accept a new stepmother into their lives. Patience is indeed a virtue. For instance, it will be easier for mothers to be accepted in the family if she does things to help stepchildren like creating home sensory gym if a child has a learning problem.
In conclusion, stepfamilies have to deal with many of the same issues as traditional families do. But one of the differences is that being a stepmother is not a natural task, and it does not come with clear cut instructions for success! Stepmothers are important members of a family. Over time, many stepchildren grow to love and respect their stepmother.