What a step parent really wants to say to their partner’s ex is: “I do not want to be your child’s parent and maybe if you stopped playing all the emotional games you are currently playing, the bad mouthing of me and your ex and actually parented your child which is your responsibility, life would get easier for everyone.”
There we go, I’ve said it.
Sadly, though, what should be common sense, simply flies out of the window in situations that are now just all too common.
Parenting is a tough gig but so too is step parenting. In most cases, it can be even tougher.
When someone becomes a step parent they marry their spouse’s entire situation and have to find a balance between supporting and defending without overstepping visible and invisible boundaries
When someone becomes a step parent, they sign up to actually make a difference to their step child’s life. They do not sign up to have to be wading through psychological games that are played all the time by some ex-partners who cannot bear the thought that their ex is now actually with someone else.
Some marriages or relationships work, some drift apart and some fall apart. There is always that risk, just like there is with most things is life.
People have got to become a lot more practical.
If you are separated or divorced, all you should be focussing on is: Where to next? What should you do?
The number one thing is to help yourself first. Putting yourself first doesn’t mean you are being selfish or that you don’t care about others. It just means that you’re smart enough to know that you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself first.
All sorts of weird and often irrational thoughts might pop into your head but the most important thing is that if you don’t take stock of you and sort out what you need to sort out, then you’re not going to be in a good place to be able to take care of your children.
Facing up to what you need to do takes courage. Simply moving onto something else or meeting someone at lightning speed so that you avoid focussing on what needs to be done such as seeking some proper objective advice such as counselling is going to end up compounding your current situation.
You and your ex deserve to be happy and chances are, one of you will meet a new partner sooner than the other. Who cares? It doesn’t matter but don’t suddenly think that you are not attractive anymore or that you will never find anyone again.
That’s silly. Of course you will. But you need to be fair to that person who’s out there that you haven’t met yet that you are clearing up your emotional baggage to be in a good headspace for when you do meet them.
Step parents often get all of the blame and none of the credit when it comes to helping raise their stepchildren.
They are often the ones that have to walk the tightrope, correct things that should have been dealt with years beforehand and permanently resist the urge to point out the home truths they are lumbered with dealing with because you actually haven’t parented your child, you have projected your hate for your ex and their step parent into their daily lives so they begin to see this as normal behaviour when it isn’t.
Karma is an interesting thing and one day your children may well become step parents themselves.
Would you like them to be subjected to what you are currently subjecting their step parent to?
I didn’t think so.
Think before you act and remember; your ex is your ex but he or she is still your child’s mother or father.
And just as importantly, your child’s step parent is there to help in your children’s upbringing, they do not want to replace you.
Is the author of “Step Parenting with Purpose; Everything you wanted to know but were too afraid to ask”.
This book provides invaluable insights and advice to those beginning or already on their journey in the step parenting/blended family world. It recently attained a number 1 ranking on Amazon.
It is also available from her website, which during Covid-19 disruptions to deliveries is very useful.
Karalee is a mother of 3 children and stepmother of 2 young adults. Karalee is also a sought-after news and current affairs commentator on television, radio, a regular columnist and a senior executive media trainer.