A few weeks ago, I received a frantic call from a stepmom. We met the next day for coffee.
Through shouts of anger and a flood of tears, she shared her hurting heart. It was visible that Debbie was in deep pain. She’s been Sarah’s stepmom for the past 10 years and has physically and emotionally taken on the role of “Mom,” as Sarah’s biological mother floats in and out of her life. Continue reading “Stepfamily Loyalty Binds: Inside the April 2017 Issue”
Is It Parental Alienation? Recognizing the Symptoms, Signs and Solutionsby Kristan McLean, LCSW
I write this article to shed light to an important topic. I want you to know what parental alienation is. I want you to be able to recognize its signs and symptoms. I also want you to realize that, if you or your partner are being alienated against, it’s not OK and you are not alone. Continue reading “Parental Alienation: Inside the March 2017 Issue”
Financing Your Stepkids’ Teen Years: Protect Yourself—and Your Savings—From the Teenage Money Pit by Mary T. Kelly, MA
Teens have been known, throughout the ages, to be reckless and careless with their possessions, their lives and those of other people. Some 2,300 years ago, Aristotle wisely said: “The young are heated by Nature, as drunken men by wine.” He should have added that their antics could end up costing a hell of a lot of money. Continue reading “Teen Stepkids and Money: Inside the January 2017 Issue”
When an intact family system reorganizes by death or divorce, every family member makes adjustments to the new structure. Unfortunately for the children, the adults are often so steeped in their own emotional pain that they are oblivious— through no real fault of their own—to the unhealthy accommodations their kids wind up making. While this is certainly not optimal for the adults, it can be devastating to the emotional health of their children.
Do any—or all—of these complaints ring a bell for you? They will if you suspect that the stepkids are none too thrilled with you:
⊲ “I’ve never felt so disliked or unwelcomed.”
⊲ “His ex hates me. Now? His kids hate me, too.”
⊲ “His kids were never warm, friendly or kind—despite my efforts.”
⊲ “My stepdaughter and I were close. She turned 13 and it all went sour.”
⊲ “My stepkids loved me before I moved in. They took a 180-degree turn after I unpacked my bags.” Continue reading “Stepmoms and Rejection: Inside the October 2016 Issue”
Many stepmoms get frustrated when their stepkids lie about one thing or another. The lies can be major, in an attempt to gloss over breaking curfew, doing drugs, drinking alcohol or stealing. They also can be a series of small lies related to homework, chores or anything else imaginable.
One of the reasons stepmoms seek my help is to deal with such situations. They’re simply not sure of how to handle lying—whether it’s their stepkids fibbing, their partners routinely omitting key information or the exes in their lives embellishing on reality until it’s unrecognizable. Continue reading “Stepfamily Secrets: Inside the October 2016 Issue”
A stepmother’s relationships are complicated. And it can be difficult to maintain your identity—the very personality traits that make you who you are (a superwoman committed to the love of your life and his kids)—as you navigate the rocky terrain of joining a family that formed well before you came on the scene. Continue reading “Stepmoms and Forgiveness: In the Aug. 2016 Issue”
If you have stepchildren of any age in your life, you—I would wager—have arguing and even fighting (by which I mean arguments that go ballistic—with criticism, contempt and stonewalling ruling the interaction) in your life. Perhaps, at certain points, particularly the first five to seven years of your remarriage or repartnership with children, lots of arguments and fights: Continue reading “Stepmom Conflict by Proxy: Inside the July 2016 Issue”