New Year’s Resolutions I Wish My Stepmom Had
At the end of one year and into the beginning of the next, so many of us make New Year's resolutions. These goals are normally self-improvement based, like eating healthy, exercising and getting organized. We have a proposal, how about this year we make our resolutions just a little bit more meaningful in terms of our relationships? What if this year we made some resolutions that would make us better moms, stepmoms, and spouses? Your stepkids probably have very simple resolutions that they would like you to have! From the mind of a stepkid, this I what I would want my stepmom to do in the new year!
Give your Stepkid the Chance to be in the Spotlight
Before you became a stepmom, your stepchild had their parent all to themselves. There might have even been a time when their parents were divorced, and it was only the two of them against the world. Then in comes the stepparent, which now leaves their parent to divide their attention between the both of you. This introduction to a new person can be very confusing and hard to understand for a child.
It is extremely important to give your stepkid alone time with their parent. That may mean you have to take a step back and not be involved with everything to do with your new partner as it is important to allow your stepkid to be the center of their parent’s attention sometimes.
Find Common Ground
One great, and maybe a little obvious...but also intimidating task to do this year is to try and get to know your stepkids better! Whether you have been in their lives for 1 month or 10 years you can always learn more about them. Our hope for stepmoms out there is that you take some time to find out what we are really interested in. Find out what we like, what we do with our free time, what we do with our friends, what our hobbies are. If you don’t know these things, then you will probably feel uncomfortable trying to make conversation with us. Stepmoms if you feel that way...so do we! Once you know what we like we can really start to build a friendship and trust.
Don’t Talk Badly About People We Love
Your stepkid’s loyalty will be with their parents-- this is just a fact. Yes, there may be instances where the parent is a negative part of their life (or other exceptions) but initially, they will still be complete loyalty with their old way of life. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, your relationship will grow and change with time. with this knowledge, it is imperative you do not talk about other parents or even siblings negatively in front of your stepkid. Even if your stepchild is complaining about their parents it is still best to not chime in as they will likely become angry with you. Saying negative things about their parents or people they love will only cause more division between the two of you.
To be honest, no one in this situation knows exactly what to do. Stepparents don’t, bio parents don’t, and step kids don’t. Everyone is just trying to figure it out all at the same time. We are all uncertain, afraid, reluctant and insecure, but that’s ok! We want our step parents to practice patience this year. Give us time and space to adjust to your presence. Don’t take it personally. Just go slow and allow time to create a lasting bond between the two of us.
Don’t Change Too Much
Change can be a very tricky thing for people of all ages. Not many people can handle drastic life changes easily. Depending on how old your step kid is, they’ve been doing things a certain way long before you arrived. They are set in their routines and their expectations on how things are run. While you may notice some things that need improvement if you waltz in and change everything all at once your stepkids will grow resentful of you. It’s important in the beginning to let things slide while we are getting to know each other. Being a step parent is not a race by any means and we will both get there eventually.
I cannot stress enough that you can’t take things too seriously. Maybe even more important is to not take things personally. When my stepdad came into my life, I was a bratty teenager and I hated the idea of a new man in my life. I was mean to him and critical of him to my mom. I see now that he could have freaked out about this but he just slowly and calmly accepted that I wasn’t ready and just let it go. He also did not try to be my best friend or my new dad right away. Kids, (especially teenagers) can tell when you are trying too hard and it will really turn them off you. Just be yourself and keep things light, fun and remember to have a sense of humor.
Blending families together is not an easy thing. Blending two people into marriage is hard enough let alone adding multiple other people into the mix! There will be times when things are awkward, and fun, wrong and right all at the same time. But trust me with a little patience and faith the good will outweigh the bad!
XO, Social Stepmom