Since today is not only my wedding anniversary it is also the anniversary of my amazing step daughters entering my life, I want to share my experience on negotiating the troubled waters of step families.
1. Remember that they are a separate individual with their own hopes and dreams, which may or may not include you. – it’s easy when you fall in love to imagine that everyone will be happy for you and it will all just fall into place. Nothing could be further from the truth. Children require every bit as much time and effort in developing relationships as adults do.
2. You have to be willing to give them unconditional love, no matter what they say or do. They are not mini lodgers or a burden. They are an important and integral part of your family. In my opinion if you cannot do this you should not continue the relationship. It’s not enough for any child to just be put up with.
3. Be interested in their life, find interests you can share. Shared memories build a lasting bond.
4. Never insult, belittle or compete with their natural parent. You have to build your own place in their life.
5. The most important of all, enjoy their company. You have chosen to be part of a package deal so embrace it. Do family things, appreciate what they bring to your relationship and above all love them.
For anyone starting out, it’s hard sometimes and frustrating, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt it’s worth it. My step children have brought as much joy to my life as my own have and I wouldn’t be without a single one.