Daily Archives: December 7, 2010

One Difference Between Boys and Girls

I walked into a Bath and Bodyworks yesterday and inhaled – and felt all warm and floral and pretty inside. I looked toward my 8 year old son, he was holding his nose and saying yuk.

What’s in a name?

In my quest for more resources and information on blended families I just came across this awesome site – this lady calls herself “Smom” instead of step-mom and it works for her and her step-children.

When the KoD and I got engaged my little one asked us if he could now call him “Abba”, which was awfully sweet. But we explained to him that he and his brothers call their own father “Abba” and it would be disrespectful to him to call the KoD by the same name. The boys call the KoD by his given name, and the KoD’s kids call me Hadassah and we are all ok with it. There are times that the kids’ friends have called me Ima, but that was funny. In some old-school movies the kids have called the step-parent “Mother Hadassah” or “Father KoD” – but that just is too formal and weird.

Sometimes I wonder whether it would help the relationship a little if step-parents had an honorary name like Mom, Dad, Abba or Ima etc. The “Smom” has found a name that works for her family – although she did tell me that one of her kids calls her husband, the step-dad – “Cookie” – and I was wondering whether you guys have honorary names for the non-biological parental units in your life? If you do have non-traditional names (like the aforementioned “Cookie”), how did they come about?

He’s so Punny!

I have a buddy – @jyuter. He is so punny that it is totally unreal. He has real zingers and cracks us all up daily with his punacity over on twitter.

Today’s offering was personal to me:

I’d like to coin a term: people who try pissing you off should be called “Sabo-massochists”

Love love love it!!

How Sabotaging Stepmoms Hurts Your Children

I came across this article (from Remarried With Children) – and I share it with you here. I am sure many of you will find some wisdom here. I happen to like and respect my kids’ step mom – she’s a good person,  she loves my boys and cares about their well being – how can anyone feel threatened by that? The more people that there are to love a child unconditionally, the better, as far as I am concerned. This article is extremely well written.

How Sabotaging Stepmoms Hurts Your Children

You expected mothering to be a solo job. You and your husband raising your kids together, with no one to interfere—okay, except the media and public education. You anticipated tender, private moments with your children.

So much for that. Along came divorce. Worse still, your husband remarried.

You didn’t sign up to share motherhood with another woman. Your dream of privacy and exclusivity with your children is shattered. Your profound sense of loss gives way to anger and frustration. As if that wasn’t bad enough, your kids like or even love her, making it more uncomfortable still.

Sabotage: Finding Your Motivation

That dream’s loss may have been sour, but these special cases can make it that much harder to accept your children’s positive relationship with their step-mom:

  • As your husband’s lover, she was the wedge that split the marriage.
  • She’s younger, aggravatingly attractive, and is easier for your kids to relate to.
  • She’s less worldly, leaving you insecure about the “life experience” and maturity level that backs advice she gives to your children.
  • She comes from a different background, and is exposing your kids to different religious or cultural values.

Either way, it’s unnerving watching your children spend more time with a competing mother figure than you. You feel inadequate, your judgement clouds, and you make knee-jerk reactions in protection of your cubs. You catch yourself making unkind remarks about your children’s stepmother and demanding your children’s unwavering loyalty.

You’re just making life hard for her, right? Wrong.

Surefire Ways to Damage Your Child

Information Warfare

You treat your child like a mole by grilling him about every detail of what went on in the other house. It’s boring and annoying having to do seemingly insignificant reconnaissance work for a neurotic parent.

You censor your kid’s ability to relay what went on at your house. Being unable to talk freely makes your child uncomfortable and unsafe.

Deny Your Child Permission to Like His Step-mom.

You deny your child permission to be himself. You rob your kid of free will, which can make him feel unimportant and depressed.

You force your child to focus on your needs instead of his own. Your child feels less safe and taken care of. Emotional energy towards fulfilling your demands is divested from your child’s ability to relax and be himself. Your child is left uptight and guarded, which can lead to anxiety problems.

Engaging in the role reversal in which your child has to take care of his mother instead of the other way around can also set the stage for your child to become an enabler for people with other problems, down the line.

You discourage your child from being in touch with his feelings, which can foment resentment, anger, and depression.

Forbid Your Child From Cooperating with His Step-mom.

Your child’s stepmother and father will become upset with him. Your child is causing problems on your orders, not of their own volition, and now has to take the heat for it. This leads to anxiety.

This negative attention often comes with punishment, which will additionally leave your child frustrated and isolated.

Your child won’t feel like the part of the family when at your ex’s house. It’ll impact his self-esteem. It’ll also damage his sense of belonging (a fundamental need) which, when missing, leaves a void that people try to fill with things like addictions and cults.

How You Hurt Yourself

Undermining your child’s positive relationship with his or her stepmom* also backfires. He will be angry at and resent you for not trusting his judgement and decision to like his stepmom.

*This assumes absence of any major indicators of abuse.

How You Can Fix Things

Empower yourself with a positive and a proactive attitude by taking these practical steps:

Have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself. Write it all down and get in touch with the buried stuff that you’ve yet to examine.

Evaluate your concerns about the stepmother as objectively as possible.

Grant your children emotional permission to like her if she is indeed nice to them.

Give them permission to have their feelings independent of yours.

Listen attentively to your children. It’ll deepen your relationship.

Give your children your undivided attention when you are with them.

Get therapy if you still need help processing your losses or establishing boundaries.

Reach out to your support system, like friends and family, or join a support group.

Closing Thoughts

Let go. Your old dream of a private, exclusive family life chains you to the past. Releasing it lets you create a new, happy, and healthy vision for yourself and your children.

Most stepmothers won’t come between you and your kids half as much as your fear will.