Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Step Parenting Step 1: The Do's and Dont's

"I would have definitely gotten divorced if I hadn't called the Step-Parenting Survival Company I felt alienated and alone. I didn't realize that there were simple solutions to my problems I didn't want anyone to know how bad it was. The best part was I could just pick up the phone and get help whenever I needed it"
CP South Carolina

"I got the Step-Parenting Survival Manual just in time. I thought I was the 'Wicked Stepmom of the East' I shuddered each time the kids were coming. My husband thought I hated kids so I couldn't talk to him. I learned exactly what to do and how to do it. It sure opened my eyes as well as my husbands. But the best part is being able to talk to someone who has been there. I hope all stepparents get the help I did."
PS Rhode Island

The Do's and Dont's
1. Do communicate effectively. Communication is the number one key element that can make or break a relationship. Communication is important in all relationships but an absolute must in step-relationships. Do discuss all incidents/problems that really bother you when you are calm and relaxed. Do remember your attitude counts just as much as what you say. So, do remember to be "upbeat" when discussing things that really bother you. Don't nit-pick at every little thing. Do choose your "battles" wisely. Do choose a setting that is conducive to talking. Always start out with positive remarks. Do state your "gripes" positively. Do present you concern in the form of a dilemma with a question rather than an accusation. Example: The step-kids seem to have messy rooms. So find some-thing that they do well and say: Johnny is so fast on the soccer field. How can we get him to move that fast to clean up his room?" In this manner no one is offended and your point is made.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Getting Ready For The Holidays - 5 Tips

5 Tips to Help Stressed Stepparents Enjoy the Holidays…

As Thanksgiving approaches, instead of feeling the warm anticipation of a day to spend with family, stepmothers across America are downing antacids… Considering the fact that most stepmothers feel they have zero control over what happens in their homes, a stepfamily Thanksgiving is one holiday recipe in danger of becoming a disaster. Luckily, there are things you can do to mitigate some of the stress you’re feeling as the holiday season approaches. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are You A Step GRAND Parent?

Stepgrandparents usually enter into a family in one of two ways. They marry someone older when they are older and they get a huge package which includes stepchildren and stepgrandchildren. Or, their biological child marries someone who has children from a previous relationship and voila, they get new stepgrandchildren. Either way, I’ve talked with people in this situation and manytimes they are confused about their grandparent identity and/or their role. A lot of the time the responsibility falls on your shoulders to “keep a finger in the pie.” Let’s face it, you can still act like the typical grandparents—rile up the kids, have fun at their parents expense, and then go home. What do your stepgrandchildren call you? Is it OK to call you by your first name or refer to you as Aunt or Uncle? If their four other biological grandparents are still around do they really see you as a Bonus or as an odd extension to the family? So, all you stepgrandparents out there—let me hear from you. What are your experiences?

Dr. Rick

Keep reading at Dr. Rick's Step Forum

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thinking Of Meeting The Ex?

For most stepmothers, meeting your husband’s ex-wife for the first time is an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, and my situation was no exception. I knew that Lucy was a difficult person – or at least, that was my impression of her gleaned from receiving countless lists and directions from her when the boys visited our home and through overhearing Aidan’s end of phone conversations with her. And of course, I had heard Aidan’s side of the story concerning why their marriage had ended and Lucy’s role in the break up. Honestly, I secretly wished that there were a way that I could just be a stepmother and wife without meeting Lucy, but of course, this wasn’t practical.

A year after becoming the boys’ stepmother had passed before she and I met face to face, mostly because we lived in the States and Lucy and the kids lived in Montreal. Combine this with the fact that Lucy wasn’t entirely comfortable with the idea of meeting me and I didn’t have an overwhelming urge to meet her, the distance ended up being an easy excuse for why we had never met one another. Aidan would travel on his own to Montreal to visit the kids on his appointed weekends, and then he’d pick them up and bring them to our home over the holidays and in the summer. In hindsight, I probably should have insisted on meeting Lucy sooner, but the right thing to do is almost never the easy thing to do.

Keep Reading On The Stepmom's Slice Of Life

Thursday, November 12, 2009

StepMoms = Feminists?

In case you missed them, be sure to check out these two recent posts by Wednesday Martin, Ph. D on Psychology Today:

What Makes Stepmothering a Feminist Issue?

“Often, a stepmother is subjected to stepchildren’s hostility and rejecting behavior-something that is normal, but frequently goes unchecked for far too long (due again to dad’s guilt and fear). If she adheres to mainsteam stepparenting advice, much of it rooted in biased, misguided assumptions about how women should be and feel (”Leave the disciplining to him; just love them; you be the fun friend, etc,”), the woman with younger stepchildren finds herself in a position of having no say about parenting practices in her own home.”

Read the full article HERE

Source: Stepmothers Milk and Psychology Today

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Stepfamily Stereotypes

You know, I just really don't like fitting into a mold, being predictable, being a stereotype. It just goes against my well-developed sense of specialness! For example, this morning I'm sitting at my favorite coffee shop (Panera Bread), working on emails, lesson plans, and this message to you. And, just for the effect, every time I go back to the coffee station for a refill, I make a point of whistling "Deck The Halls With Boughs of Holly," just loudly enough to be heard by ... well most everyone I pass by. Why? Well, it's supposed to be around 95 degrees (fahrenheit) here today ... Read Full Story

Source: Zimbio

Monday, November 9, 2009

Do You Have Teen Step Kids? Listen Up!

If you have teen stepkids in your home, you need to listen to this episode of the free Stepmom Circles Podcast. Stepfamily coach Emily Bouchard shares some great ways to connect with teenaged stepchildren. She learned the hard way with her two teen stepdaughters. Tune in to find out how she handled it when one of her stepdaughter’s stole her car and went for a joyride!

Keep reading on StepMomCircle

Friday, November 6, 2009

Does It Really Take 7 Years To Work?

Reports about it taking seven years to blend a stepfamily are shockingly accurate. Stepmom Paula Bisacre writes in The Washington Times:

In our earlier years, stepparents with whom we spoke were in one of two camps. In the first camp were people just like us who were married for less than seven years and who wondered sometimes how they ever would get through stepfamily challenges successfully. The second camp was comprised of couples who had been happily remarried for more than 15 years with children that had all grown up and moved out. Campers from this second group calmly and knowingly said, “Just give it time. Be patient. And, keep your sense of humor.” There were a couple of days when more than a few of us in the first camp, including me, heard this and just wanted to roll up their tent and go home. Wasn’t there anyone in between?

For many stepfamilies, it’s a long road to feeling settled.

Keep Reading on The Stepfamily Life