Last week I shared how she transformed her marriage, without trying to change her partner. And now I need to tell you what’s going on with her stepdaughter – let’s call her A. It’s too good not to share.
When Katie and I first started working together, she really struggled with A. She felt like A was too whiny. Her stepdaughter reminded Katie of the other bio-parent, whom she really didn’t like.
And ultimately, Katie felt like A didn’t actually like her. This made Katie reserved around her, and less patient. Katie wanted to love A more, but didn’t know how.
And I totally get it – I let Katie know it’s not natural for us to love people who are difficult, who we think don’t actually like us.
But, I also told Katie that loving A was always a choice. No matter how whiny A got.
And so I helped Katie sell herself on loving her stepdaughter more. Because loving A more is something that actually benefits Katie just as much as the rest of her family.
We talked about how loving A more would improve Katie’s marriage – because Katie wouldn’t complain so much about A’s behavior to her partner if she loved A more.
We talked about how Katie’s relationship with A would improve too – because Katie would be softer, more patient, more understanding with A when she misbehaved.
And now, Katie doesn’t struggle so much with A. She is a calmer and more understanding parent. She doesn’t condone A’s misbehavior but handles it with more patience. When A’s not around, she actually misses her. And her partner is thrilled.
And the best part – A didn’t change one bit. But Katie’s entire experience as a stepmom and wife did.
Any one of us can enjoy more peaceful, loving, and authentic relationships with our stepkids – just like Katie. All we need is the desire for something better, and a willingness to make it happen.