Have there been times when you’ve felt like no matter what you tried, it seems instead of growing closer together as a family, you feel as though you are moving farther and farther apart?
Don’t worry, you are not alone. Many stepparents have felt the same at one point or another. It’s common for many stepparents to feel as though the blending process is a never-ending struggle.
The real question is why. The most common answer is unrealistic expectations. Most of us coming into a blended family come into it with expectations of how the relationship with our stepchild should go. When it doesn’t look like we think it should, we start to question our decisions.
So what are 3 realistic expectations that could help us start the blending process right?
Don’t expect the child to be in love with you right from the start.
Relationships take time. There is chemistry that is attracting you to your mate. You and your spouse may be head over heels in love, but you and your step child may not feel the same. You will have to be intentional about learning about the child/children and spending time with them.
Don’t take it personal.
We all want people to love us and nobody likes to be rejected. The fact is it very well may not have anything at all to do with you. It’s common for children to have an allegiance to their biological parent. When they are faced with someone coming into their family from the outside, it’s normal for them to be apprehensive.
I know this doesn’t sound very glamorous, but a relationship has to start somewhere. Look for the opportunity to nurture whatever seeds you can. Just like any garden planted, it doesn’t produce crops overnight. Focus on the future goal and not on the current work.
The Bible says that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. This is a great example of focusing on the end result, and not the process to get there. As I reflect on how horrible and painful it must have been for Jesus to die on the cross, to choose to lose his life to gain relationship with us, the challenges we face in the blending process to gain relationship with our step kids doesn’t seem so challenging or painful. The outcome of this process will hinge on the choices we make everyday; whether we choose to love or choose not to love.