I know that you don’t WANT to resent your stepkids. Of course you don’t. Resenting people feels crappy.
But then you look at their behavior -the backtalking, the not listening, the fighting for Mommy or Daddy’s attention…
And you feel resenting them is your only choice. And I totally get it.
(Note: If you feel this way, I promise there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you.)
The problem, however, is that resenting our stepkids breeds more arguments, and more distance between us and our partners. We’re overly critical, defensive, and dismissive.
Having a strong and passionate and lasting marriage – one that can withstand all of ups and downs of stepfamily life – happens when we stop resenting our stepkids.
So you’re probably wondering – how in the F do I do that when my stepson is so rude to me? And when my partner doesn’t see it?
It starts here:
We have to first start spending just as much if not more time focusing on what’s already good in our marriages, and in our relationships with our stepkids versus what sucks and what isn’t working.
Of course, it sucks when our partners don’t back us up in parenting. But it’s also really incredible when they support us in our decision to switch careers or be a stay at home mom.
Of course, it’s hurtful when our stepkids talk back and are disrespectful. But it’s also really amazing when out of the blue they say I love you, or when they genuinely want to know how our day was.
And…you’re probably like so I’m supposed to ignore everything else?!?
No. Just give equal air time to what’s already good.
When we spend more time focusing on what’s good, we feel calmer. We enjoy the time we spend with them so much more. We argue less with our partners because we’re not hyper-focused on what’s wrong.
There is no magic pill for a more loving, and intimate marriage. It starts with small tweaks exactly like this one – and focusing on what’s good and what’s working is something we can all tap into right now.