Aloha Beth, You always “set the house on fire” with your spirited and thought provoking presentations. Thank you for speaking to the ARMA Hawaii Chapter. I hope I’m able to get you a gig speaking to Access in Phoenix… Take care and keep in touch!...
Blended Family Mothers Day
Blended Families Can Be Challenging Especially on Mothers and Fathers Day
It’s Mothers Day. Drive around your town and you’ll see daddies dropping their kids off at mom’s house. With a divorce rate at 50% or more, there are a lot of kids living in two homes. Blended families are the norm now and we really need to get a handle on it. Too many parents use kids as agents in enemy territory. KNOCK IT OFF!
These kids are people, too. They might not know as much as us, but they know plenty. One day I was asked why Mommy and Daddy had to fight so much. I told my little one, “Hey, think of it this way: Some kids don’t have ANYONE to love them. You girls have four parents, oodles of grandparents and even more aunties and uncles who are fighting to prove they really, really, really love you! You are our Angels!”
She then proceeded to draw the picture above and informed me they had halos and wings because they “flew between the houses and made us happy.”
There’s a reason I wrote my new book, Resilience Not Included: Helping Your Kids Learn to Bounce Back. I didn’t do enough for my first set of stepkids. The biological parents duked it out and competed to see who could buy them more stuff than the other. I loved those kids and in retrospect wish I had stepped in more. Maybe they would have struggled less as adults.
Make Agreements With Your Spouse
With my second set of stepkids, my husband and I made some agreements. One of them was to not play the “make mommy wrong” game, and to not get sucked into it if/when she tried the same. It’s amazing what happens when you don’t take the bait. I still would like to hug my girls’ mother because she brought these wonderful girls into the world. So Happy Mother’s Day to her!
Here’s one way to successfully navigate in a Blended Family. This is an excerpt from my new book…
It was a normal after-school day. The girls were happily playing in the living room. I noticed one hadn’t done her chores, so I called out to make sure she got them done before dinner. She came over to me with hands on her hips, declaring, “I don’t want to. Mommy says we don’t have to do chores over here. Megan doesn’t do ANY chores at all!”
I heard a little siren in my head! “Man the Battle Stations! This one is important!” Reluctant at that point to take on the Mommy comment, I headed for her friend’s situation.
“Megan is spoiled. We don’t use her experience as a guideline in this house.”
Challenge accepted: “Well, I want to be spoiled, too!”
I sighed and took a deep breath. “Honey, would you do me a favor and grab the milk out of the fridge? And bring a glass please? Thanks.” She did and I asked her to pour it. I knew they had left the milk sitting out and it was closer to cottage cheese than milk at that point. Glug glug glug, the big chunks dropped into the glass. “Can you please drink that for me?”
“Honey, please drink the milk…”
“NO! I don’t want to!”
“Because it’s spoiled!”
Out of the corner of my eye I saw her three sisters watching with wide eyes from the living room floor. One by one they figured out what I was doing. But my stubborn one was just not getting it.
“Yes ma’am. That is spoiled milk. That’s what spoiled looks like. No one wants it. And if you’re spoiled, no one will want to play with you. No one will want to hire you. No one will want to be in a relationship with you. I love you too much to let you grow up spoiled. Now go do your chores.”
Surprisingly, she did just that. End of the conversation, and as you can see from the letter in the Appendix, not only did she remember that lesson, all her sisters did as well.
I didn’t take the bait…
By diverting the conversation away from the claim that her Mother said she didn’t have to do chores I got to the real issue: I didn’t want her to grow up spoiled. In a blended family, mothers and fathers tend to take the bait and turn everything into a battleground. It took years of experience for me to figure out ultimately this is about raising healthy kids. It might be too late to raise healthy parents, but these girls were going to, By God, grow up resilient, happy and healthy!
Bless All Moms, Stepmoms, Grandmothers and Aunties!
© 2017 Beth Terry, Beth Terry Events
PS – Don’t forget to check out my new book for Parents and those who need to Re-Parent themselves!