As I have said time and again, being a stepparent is hard. But what’s easy is losing sight of how we landed the role of stepparent and why we agreed to take on the challenges. At the time when people are vowing to eat less, go to the gym more, learn a language, etc., etc, New Year’s is the perfect time for stepparents to look back the year gone by and resolve to make changes that will enhance your stepparent experience, improve the relationships with the children in your lives and help make your marriage into the rewarding experience you want it to be.
There are myriad stepfamily scenarios, but below are five suggestions for resolutions that are likely to apply to the majority of steps. And if nothing else, hopefully it will inspire you come up with your own. It is not expected that you make five or even two resolutions. If you can follow through on just one, you would be doing better than 92% of people who make resolutions, according to a recent study at the University of Scranton.
Think about resolving to . . .
Remember that despite how “crazy” The Ex is, you actually should be grateful to him or her. After all, if they were someone you respected and might want to be friends with, it’s likely your current spouse would have felt that way, too, wouldn’t have gotten divorced and you wouldn’t have found the love of your life! So, try to embrace the crazy. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky to have an Ex who appreciates them, but maybe you can find a way to turn it right back on them and find the positive in the situation.
Remember to take advantage of the alternate weekend situation and plan dates and weekend getaways with your partner! In tact families don’t get that same luxury to be occasional child-free, so don’t waste those moments!
Get to know your stepchildren better. Find something they like to do and spend some time with them — without their biological parent. It might be awkward at first, but they need to see you as an individual who cares about them and not just a bystander or intruder in their lives.
Find people who can relate to your situation. Being a step can be very lonely. You often feel like an outsider in your own home. Because you don’t have a blood tie with your stepchildren like your friends have with their biological children, you may feel left out of conversations with them as well. Many stepparents don’t know anyone else in their situation. Find a place where people say “What? You, too? I thought I was the only one!”. You are NOT the only one.
Do things for yourself. Either by yourself or spend time with friends like you did before you were married. It’s important not to lose sight of who you were before you took on the role of stepparent. You’ll probably even find yourself talking about your family more than you would ever expected. And maybe that will make you miss them. And maybe you’ll appreciate your situation all the more.
Life is full of maybe’s. But one thing you should be sure of is why you chose to merge your life with someone who came as a package deal. And something you can count on is that there will be ups and downs, highs and lows. New Year’s is the time to re-set and start with a positive outlook. On New Year’s Eve, close your eyes, take a breath and say “2015 will be the year that I [fill in the the blank] with my stepchildren . . .with my partner . . .with myself.” And then write it down. And don’t forget about it. There are 365 days a year to re-set. But let’s all start with January 1st.
Please share your resolutions in the Comments section below. You might inspire a fellow step!
Best wishes to you and your families for an amazing 2015. Thank you for your readership.
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