5 hours ago
In a first-time family, how you “do” thousands of little daily things is a just a given. this much vegimite on toast, this is the toothpaste we like, who sits where when watching tv - has all been sorted. no need for negotiating or discussing. everyone just ‘knows’.
the avalanche of these tiny (and sometimes not so tiny) differences can be overwhelming and surprising to a new stepparent. .
it doesn’t take hearing ‘that’s not the we do it’ or ‘my mom does it this way’ too many times before you begin to feel like a tourist in your own home. .
when building a stepfamily you have to build a brand new family culture from two pre-existing ones. the biological parent and the child share the comfiness that comes with understanding the unwritten family rules about the ‘right’ way to do things. the adult step-couple doesn’t. the stepparent and stepchild don’t.
building a stepfamily culture of your own takes time. and, while it’s happening it’s normal for you as the stepparent to feel off-balance. the sense of otherness a stepparent feels in a newly forming stepfamily can be extremely confronting.
it can help to understand this is normal and every stepfamily goes through it’s own version of merging two different ‘cultures’ together.
it helps to be patient and learn with each other by making mistakes. rather than insisting there is a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way for your stepfamily to function, use the differences as learning opportunities. as you get to know each other better, you’ll build your own new way of doing things. but, keep in mind - as happens between differing cultures - some differences are bound to stay. and, that’s okay. it’s accepting and understanding your differences that will ultimately bring your stepfamily together. #itbeginswithyou
. (adapted from surviving & thriving in stepfamilies: what works & what doesn’t work by dr patricia papernow)
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