Ep 12 – How to Have Difficult Stepparenting Conversations

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Hello, beautiful stepparents! I want to lay a stake in the ground and tell you, you are amazing! The way you show up for your partner and your stepchild, is nothing short of incredible!

The way you worry, and think about them, plan all the things, and make sure all the important stuff happens and is taken care of is nothing short of awesome! Simply put – you are a superhero!

But sometimes even superheroes, need to call for reinforcements and get a little help. Today, we’re taking a deep dive into how to have difficult conversations with our beloved blended family.

You might not know how remarkable you are. And your blended housemates might forget to tell you … or might not even realize it. Because you’re so good at making it all happen smoothly behind the scenes. And you make it look so effortless.

But all the things you do are not going unnoticed. They matter! And they make a big impact on your partner’s and stepchild’s lives.

Feeling at Odds and Unappreciated by Your Blended Family

Recently, I’ve been hearing from a lot of you that it’s hard to do the grind. You’re feeling like you are alone in disciplining your stepkid and you don’t feel that your partner has your back.

You feel unappreciated by your stepchild. You hate to nag them all the time, but you feel like without it, they don’t do anything they are supposed to.

It breaks my heart because so many of you tell me that you need to busy yourself with hobbies, outings with friends, and even take on MORE WORK just to get out of the house and escape the feelings of disappointment and negativity.

Well, you don’t have to feel trapped in your own home! There is another way. Being part of a blended family is about compromise, not about imprisonment.

You work so hard to consider and try to meet everyone else’s needs, it’s important that you value your own needs too.

What to Do About the Overwhelm of Disappointment and Hard Work of Stepparenting

It can be easy to slip into the pattern of thinking if you do more for them, they will realize it and will want to return the favor. But the truth is, they might literally not work that way. As in, planning things might not be their strong suit.

Their brains might be wired in such a way that they have no idea how to juggle everything by planning ahead. They might not realize all the hard work and millions of little steps involved.

So, it wouldn’t occur to them how much you’re doing and what a heavy lift it is. And because you make it look so easy, they might not know that you need help.

Unless … you let them know!

Unless you ask for the help you need, or a shoulder to lean on. Unless you share just how much is on your plate.

Asking for help is not something that we are used to doing. Society tells us that asking for help is a sign of weakness. When it comes to parenting, if we need help, we are made to feel like there is something wrong with us.

We are expected to inherently just know how to do everything, have endless supplies of patience and energy, and have the perfect words to say in every situation involving our family members.

I want you to know that it’s not true. That tape with all those SHOULD’s and HAVE TO’s is outdated. And it’s done nothing but make you feel bad about yourself. Which only negatively impacts any situation.

You can’t be strategic unless you’re logical. And you can’t be logical unless you’re grounded. In episode 7, I shared tips for how to stay grounded in stepparenting. Find the show notes for that episode at synergisticstepparenting.com/7.

The part of your brain experiencing big emotions, is in fight or flight mode, which means the logical part of your brain is shut down. Because the emotional part of your brain and the logical part of your brain are never on at the same time. 

3 Steps to Having Difficult Stepparenting Conversations

It might seem like talking to your family is difficult. But … since you’re a stepparent, I already know that you can do hard things.

Here’s how to approach it …

1. Identify what’s bothering you.

Write down or speak out into a voice memo how you feel and what’s bothering you.

Review the voice memo and get clear on the main points letting everything else go. You might need to repeat both of these steps a few times to clarify what the main points are.

2. Share how you feel with your partner.

Once you have your main points, discuss them with your partner. Make sure to have this conversation alone without the stepchild present.

If things get heated, take a break and regroup at another time when you’re both calm and can hear each other.

I shared tips on how to get calm in stepparenting in episode 11. Find the show notes for that episode at synergisticstepparenting.com/11.

Even if you don’t make it through everything on the first go round, that’s okay. Starting the process is still creating progress.

Once you guys have come to an agreement, discuss the approach of talking to your stepchild.

3. Discuss the situation with your stepchild.

Depending on what you and your partner decide, are comfortable with and what the situation calls for, it might be best to have a heart to heart with your stepchild alone.

Open up to them and allow yourself to get vulnerable and let them know how you feel.

Ask them for help problem solving the solution. Every child loves to be of value and can often problem solve a lot more creatively and effectively than we give them credit for. And they’ll appreciate being included and trusted.

The more you do things you’re not used to doing, the more you build the atrophied muscles and the easier doing these things becomes.

Plus, when you go out of your way to do something, your mind automatically perceives it as safe. 

Give these steps a try and let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time, be well!

Related Episodes:

Get Out Of The Stepparenting Autopilot Grind

How To Stay Sane As A Stepparent

3 Common Pitfalls Effecting Your Stepchild’s Behavior

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