Younger Stepmoms – Inside the March 2016 Issue

Younger Stepmoms
Inside the March 2016 Issue

The Younger Stepmom: Strategies for Women Partnered With Older Men by Brenda Snyder, LCSW

As if being a stepmom wasn’t hard enough, many stepcouples face another challenge—an age gap. And, while none of us is immune to the unflattering stereotypes heaped onto stepmoms (i.e., tramp, gold digger, trophy wife and evil homewrecker), those slurs are often hurled more harshly at younger women who partner with older men.

Those stereotypes don’t even hint at the fact that we love and are committed to our partners (be they young, old or somewhere in between). Continue reading “Younger Stepmoms – Inside the March 2016 Issue”

Stepmom Myths – Inside the December 2015 Issue

Stepmom Myths
Inside the December 2015 Issue

The Truth About Being a Stepmom: Replace Those Old Stepmom Myths With New Mantras by Brenda Snyder, LCSW

Almost everything you hear early on in stepmother life serves no purpose except to make you feel bad about yourself. People are full of advice about how you should feel, how you can make yourself into a better or more supportive parent and how you shouldn’t expect anything from the kids—especially at first. (At first? You’ve been with this family for five years!)

Even well-meaning friends give laughable advice—fit for a traditional family, perhaps, but certainly not for a stepmom. Most people simply miss the point. Women in love with men who have children are a special breed. Continue reading “Stepmom Myths – Inside the December 2015 Issue”

Mom vs. Stepmom – Inside the November 2015 Issue

Mom vs Stepmom
Inside the November 2015 Issue

Mom VS. Stepmom: Free Yourself From
Competition With the Ex
by Brenda Snyder, LCSW

If there’s a relationship more fraught with emotion than that of the stepmother and the ex-wife, I have yet to hear about it—and I’ve made a 20-year career of counseling people about their relationships.

It’s really unusual, even if you’re not sitting in a therapist’s office, to talk to someone for any length of time about life as a stepmother and not end up discussing the ex and her role in your life. Consider the time and energy you put into describing her latest manipulations, inconsiderate actions or poor parenting decisions. Continue reading “Mom vs. Stepmom – Inside the November 2015 Issue”

Stepmoms and Loyalty Conflicts – Inside the October 2015 Issue

Stepmom Loyalty Conflicts
Inside the October 2015 Issue

Stepmoms and Loyalty Conflicts: How and Why We Engage in No-Win Competitions by Brenda Snyder, LCSW 

One of the most frustrating things about stepmotherhood is the positive regard our stepchildren have for their biological mothers. No matter what. A cognitive understanding of why they love their mothers simply isn’t enough to help us heal the wounds—real or imagined—which we endure in the name of parent-child loyalty. Too often, our response to our stepchildren’s need to protect and defend the love they have for their mothers takes the shape of redoubling our efforts to “win.” But what are we competing for?

The term loyalty signifies devotion and attachment, which is usually aimed at the people we love. It also refers to where we choose to put our allegiance. Continue reading “Stepmoms and Loyalty Conflicts – Inside the October 2015 Issue”

Adult Stepchildren – Inside the September 2015 Issue

Adult Stepkids
Inside the Sept. 2015 Issue

All Grown Up: When Life Hands You Adult Stepkids
by Brenda Snyder, LCSW

It is a well-known fact that people are living longer and that the aging and elderly population is a growing one. This affects many aspects of society, including the growing number of stepfamilies that form later in life and are, thus, comprised of older adults with adult stepchildren.

Stepfamily literature and research tends to focus on families with young or school-age children, where everyday parenting tasks are the norm. Even informal conversations about impending marriages dismiss the unique challenges of taking on adult stepchildren, with everyone expressing gratitude that the “problems” wrought by younger stepchildren have been avoided. Continue reading “Adult Stepchildren – Inside the September 2015 Issue”

Why Stepfamilies Are Different – Inside the August 2015 Issue

Stepfamilies Are Unique
Inside the August 2015 Issue

Embrace Your Differences: 5 Factors That Make Stepfamilies Unique by Brenda Snyder, LCSW

A family is a family is a family. Two adults. Some kids. Does it really matter so much how and when the family was formed? Or that not all of the people in that family are blood related? You look like a family. You act like a family. Love conquers all.

The same rules ought to apply, right? Rarely do women who are not stepmothers understand just how wrong these assumptions are. They try to be supportive, but they just don’t get it.

Stepfamilies are different.

And it’s time to embrace those differences. At least five factors make stepfamilies unique. Continue reading “Why Stepfamilies Are Different – Inside the August 2015 Issue”

Teenage Stepkids – Inside the July 2015 Issue

Teenage Stepkids
Inside the July 2015 issue.

Their Teenage Years: Understanding Why Your Stepkids Act That Way by Brenda Snyder, LCSW

Teenagers are not only a challenge for stepmothers.

It seems as though they were invented so that any adult who raises them will want to turn their bedrooms into sewing rooms instead of shrines when they finally leave the nest. After all, if sending kids off to college was as hard as sending them off to preschool, we might never let them leave home for good.

Biological parents bemoan the unpredictable and sometimes monstrous behavior that overtakes their previously darling offspring. Eye rolls, sarcasm and slammed doors seem to be part of the expected family paradigm when teens are present. Sometimes, even worse behaviors Continue reading “Teenage Stepkids – Inside the July 2015 Issue”

Stepfamily Dynamics for Divorced Dads – In the June 2015 Issue

stepfamily dynamics
Inside the June 2015 Issue

It’s Complicated! A Divorced Dad’s Guide to Understanding Stepfamily Dynamics by Brenda Snyder, LCSW

Women are complicated. We know it. We’re even proud of it. Sometimes we don’t make sense to ourselves—not that we’d ever admit it to you … the men we love.

Your situation, of course, takes the concept of complexity to new heights. Because you have kids (whom you and your current partner didn’t create together), you get to sort through all kinds of extra stuff that takes the term “relationship challenge” to an entirely new level. Continue reading “Stepfamily Dynamics for Divorced Dads – In the June 2015 Issue”

10 Secrets Stepmothers Keep

Let’s face it. By definition, stepmother relationships are complicated—not only for the stepmother, but for her partner, too: Never entered lightly, never entered without thought for already present responsibilities, never meeting childhood fairytale hopes of perfect, unencumbered romance. Continue reading “10 Secrets Stepmothers Keep”

A Holiday Survival Guide for Stepmothers

By Brenda Snyder, LCSW Originally published in the Nov. 2012 issue of StepMom Magazine.

The holiday season is upon us! It’s “the most wonderful time of the year!” But sometimes, for stepmoms, the very times that are supposed to make us the happiest can have the opposite effect.

As a childless stepmother, I couldn’t wait to share my mother’s awesome Christmas Eve tradition of having Santa Claus visit from the North Pole. Continue reading “A Holiday Survival Guide for Stepmothers”