I have a really powerful story to share with you.
It’s about a fellow stepmom, Kathy.
Kathy has a teenage stepson who destroys her house –
And I mean we’re talking like ‘throws his freshly cleaned clothes all over the laundry room, wipes toothpaste all over the mirror on purpose’ kind of destruction.
This isn’t just your average ‘kids are messy’ situation.
On top of that, she and her husband have zero authority or capability to make him change his behavior.
As you can imagine, Kathy was losing it – she felt like her stepson was trying to get rid of her and she was taking it out on her husband. Her marriage was in trouble.
She ultimately came to me because her husband is her best friend, and she didn’t want to let her stepson ruin her marriage.
So I helped her focus on and strengthen what’s truly in her control: Her perception. Her reactions.
I helped her understand that when kids behave this way it’s a sign of deeper emotional issues – unhealed wounds from the divorce, insecure parental attachments, or maybe something else entirely.
Her stepson simply didn’t have the emotional and developmental abilities to regulate himself or listen to the adults at home.
She didn’t need to condone his behavior, but she was able to stop taking things so personally.
Then I taught her the skill of processing her anger instead of reacting to it so that she always felt in control. She practiced and got really good at it.
Her stepson still destroys her house. On purpose.
But she doesn’t let it get to her so much.
She reminds herself he’s suffering.
And she can manage her anger.
She’s not lashing out at her husband anymore. Her marriage is healing.
And here’s the beautiful thing about this story. Kathy’s story is extreme – AND, if she can overcome her situation, that means it’s possible for you too. No matter how challenging your stepkids are.