This year my stepdaughter stepped out of her comfort zone and made the basketball team. It’s something she had been wanting to do for several years. To support her, we’ve attended as many games as possible. Sometimes even staying for the JV and Varsity games as well.
The varsity team is particularly fun to watch because of the floor-lead. Not only is her skill at the level of a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, and her movements fluid as she glides down the court and up to the net, but she is an incredible leader.
And leadership is what we’re talking about in this episode.
What makes a great leader in stepparenting?
Here are a few qualities of this impressive high school sophomore, whom I’ll call Kelly to protect her privacy …
Don’t hog the ball. Kelly is consistently the highest scorer on her team, yet she relies on all of her teammates and makes good use of each one. She trusts that they will bring their A-game to support her and each other in the game.
With this approach, she makes her team shine and inspires them to greatness.
As a stepparent, recognize that you don’t need to control each decision and the plans. Yes, it can be tricky. Remember everyone is doing the very best they can. And we are all on a different part of our journey.
Try your best to be a team player, accommodate and support your teammates. Meaning your partner, your partner’s ex-partner, your stepchild and the extended family. Be kind and considerate of your blended family member’s needs.
Own your excellence. When you own your brilliance, you don’t need to showboat. Because you’re not worried that someone’s going to miss your ability and contributions and not credit you.
It’s about performing at your best not about the recognition of doing so.
Your focus and commitment is to how you play the game as a team and how you’ll feel about each other when the game is over. With this approach you’ll always come out a winner no matter how many points you score … which is the real prize.
Understanding that hits are a part of the game. Kelly takes falls, sometimes even sliding 5’ while doing so, but she jumps right back up and continues to play.
Bumps, bruises, falls, and hits happen. And sometimes it hurts, and you might even get wounded or need a time out to tend to your injury, but you care about the game and want to get right back in as soon as you’re able.
For example, when your stepchild says painful things or is disrespectful, it’s easy to read into it and run away with their motives. But the truth is, kids are young, and they make a lot of mistakes along the way while they learn.
Your stepchild is also trying to cope with lots of emotions not only in their day-to-day lives but about their parents splitting up and having to adjust to the new dynamic.
This sensitivity can come into play even if the split happened while the child was really little and their stepparent entered their life early. And it can have an impact even when they’re older. Divorce is devastating and often makes the child question their sense of security at any age.
Be one with yourself, in spite of the conflicting voices. It’s the ability to stay fully present in that moment and flow with what is. Pressure seems to roll off Kelly like rain drops. Time seems to bend to her will, instead of the other way around. Her movements defy the laws of physics.
It’s about flowing, like water, around an obstacle.
When you achieve that focus, you become totally free. You’re not pushing to get something to happen. You tap into your full wisdom and potential and can bend with the wind, truly present with all of the elements around you.
The Final Stepparenting Lesson
The final lesson here is kids have much to teach you. In the case of Kelly, she already exemplifies qualities that most adults don’t have figured out. And she, at a tender age, showcases a mastery of them.
It’s easy to dismiss children as not knowing or not understanding. But when you pay attention, they’ll surprise you with their insights, ability, dedication, skill and creativity. Kids also have an unbridled passion for life, which in and of itself is worth adopting.
I’d love to hear and celebrate your stories of leadership in your stepparenting so please email me at email@example.com and share them!
Are you struggling to develop your leadership skills in your stepparenting role? If so, book a discovery call at synergisticstepparenting.com/work to find out how I can help you transform family chaos into meaningful and harmonious co-parenting.
Until next time, be well.
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