Not mutually exclusive: rude stepkids & a happy marriage

Couple out to eat with kiddo

“I was out to dinner with my husband, his bio-daughter, and *our* baby daughter. 


And my stepdaughter totally ignored me and her sister! She treats me and her baby sister like garbage!


So naturally, I started nagging my husband to get his daughter to change, and I sulked around the house for 2 days straight. 


I really want to stop letting my stepdaughter get under my skin, but I don’t know how to just ‘let it go.’

If this keeps up, I’m worried I’m going to ruin my marriage!”


If this is you, you’re not alone. 


And unfortunately, this 👆👆👆 dynamic is VERY common in blended families, and it can feel so horrible to be treated like this. 


But the real reason being ignored or excluded feels so horrific has NOTHING to do with how disrespectful our stepkids are. 


{stay with me, it’s gonna get better}.


As humans, we have a basic need to feel safe, included, and loved in our own homes – 


Because back in the day, a strong supportive tribe meant we could survive, whereas being booted from the tribe meant imminent death. 


So when our stepkids treat us like trash, our animal brain kicks into high gear and automatically assumes something is really, really, wrong (and that death is literally just around the corner). 


So I know what you might be thinking: 


“Well then Kristin, I need my stepkids to CHANGE so I can feel safe and loved!” 


And this is where most of us get it wrong. 


See our brains have also been tricked into believing that other people cause our feelings – 


We think that when our stepkids are nasty, our only choice is to feel horrible. 


But as adults, with adult human brains, we’re actually responsible for all of our feelings – the good and the bad.


And we do not need our stepkids to treat us differently in order to feel safe and loved {or to stay alive, anymore}. 


So the antidote to nasty stepkids? 


It’s to offer ourselves COMFORT first – 


That may look like simply reminding ourselves that: 


  • I’m worthy of respect, no matter how others treat me 

  • I’m safe here. 

  • I love my partner so much, and they love me. 

  • I’m good enough, just the way I am 


WARNING: Comforting ourselves does NOT mean we sit around and let people yell at us all day – we can still enforce boundaries, rules, and consequences.  


INSTEAD “comforting” ourselves simply means we are meeting our own emotional needs as humans, and no longer relying on our stepkids’ behavior to change to feel safe and loved. 


So next time your stepkids are rude or disrespectful, I want to invite you to turn inwards – 


Give yourself what you need first. 


Because you are loved, and worthy of respect, just as you are. No one can ever change that. 

AND… equally as important….when you meet your own emotional needs FIRST you also: 


  • Argue less with your spouse about how his kids need to change (because you feel at peace no matter how they behave)

  • Feel way less anxiety around your stepkids (because you know how to comfort yourself whenever you’re feeling triggered by them)


And ultimately, you get to stay happily married to your best friend. 


With a little practice, all of this 👆👆👆 is 100% possible for you.


P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

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