“It is best for all parties in the new family to take matters slowly, to use the crock pot instead of the pressure cooker, and not to aim for a perfect blend, but rather to recognize the pleasures to be enjoyed in some of the distinct flavors of the separate ingredients.” – Claire Berman
I am blessed to be part of a phenomenal family. Both of my teenagers are smart, talented, compassionate people. My husband is all these things and more, and brings much joy (and comedy) to us on a daily basis.
The soundtrack of our life is laughter, punctuated at times by the cymbal-crash of teenage drama to keep us on our toes.
My husband joined our family when my daughter was eleven and my son was nine, thus entering our family story “after the movie had already started”. As such, he holds the daunting title of stepfather (or, “Pseudo-Pop”, as he’s known to our young’uns).
It’s not that there haven’t been issues while building our new family. In this series we’ll talk about some of the more challenging endeavors, offering tips on how we as a stepfamily are coping.
No two stepfamilies are alike, so there’s no set formula for success (doesn’t that cheese you off?) Take comfort in the fact that yours isn’t the only stepfamily that strikes a dissonant chord now and then.
Am I a friend or disciplinarian?
In our home, we leave discipline to the biological parent – me. We decided, after a few false starts, that the change of adult leadership in the household was best handled by giving Mom exclusive title to the role of “Bad Guy”. Pseudo-Pop supports me in my disciplinary efforts by reminding the kids of the rules while occasionally offering his “two cents” about why the rule is there in the first place.
Whatever being a stepparent may look like in your family, we strongly feel that presenting a united front in the presence of the kids is key. If there are disagreements to be discussed, we have them in private.
Tomorrow, I’ll discuss other ways that we have clarified the stepparent role in our “ready-made” family.