Inspired by a recent conversation with somebody, this article addresses an issue many don’t like to admit or discuss.
The majority of step parents don’t hate their step children, even though it may seem like it. Rather, it is the step kids’ behavior that is the issue. More than that, it is the ineffective methods of managing misbehavior in a way that discourages further misbehavior. In other words, step parents get frustrated with their step children repeatedly acting out, misbehaving, arguing, and the like. If the misbehavior continues after multiple attempts at curbing or controlling the behavior, their frustrations escalate and come across as dislike toward the kids when, in fact, it is just the misbehavior they don’t like.
Your partner came into your life and your children’s life liking them. If she didn’t like your kids, you wouldn’t have moved in with her. Instead, you would have dismissed the relationship as one that wouldn’t work. It stands to reason, then, that the current attitude evolved over time.
It’s possible that she even loved your kids in the beginning. However, love is not a requirement and shouldn’t be an expectation, but common courtesy and respect should always be expected. Read more on that subject by clicking this article, Misconception of Instant Love.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What was your partner like in the beginning?
- Did she try to parent?
- Did she dote on your children?
- How did the children react – receptive and grateful, or resistant and resentful?
- Did their biological mother (non-custodial parent) talk bad about her to your kids?
- Did she often disagree with your parenting methods or express discontent over ineffective means of parenting?
The answers to these questions lead to the conclusion that your current situation – your partner’s behavior and attitude – is a result of common stepfamily dynamics. Here are a few basic guidelines to go by. If her behavior in the beginning was good, it denotes her intentions and feelings for your children are also good. That is emphasized if she tried to parent or doted on your them. If they misbehaved and you were unable to curb the misbehavior, it’s likely she’s frustrated, and possibly saddened or worried, about how it will affect their future (and their personality as adults). If the children didn’t appreciate her efforts, which may have been exasperated by the other biological parent’s reaction to her doting or parenting, she probably pulled back on her efforts. These reactions are common human reactions within the context of stepfamilies. The good news in being common stepfamily dynamics is that it can likely be reversed with the proper education and tools.
Keep reading and educating yourself. If you consult a professional to help, be sure he or she is knowledgeable about blended families. That makes a difference.