Missing Persons

Category: Step Parenting / Author: Tim Watson

Ever been standing in a room listening to your family have a conversation waiting for a space that invites you to be a part but that space never comes?

I have, and truth is most Step Parents have found themselves in this very spot from time to time with no immediate support from their significant other.

It’s as though the entire family sees you but send’s an unspoken vibe that says;
‘You should be alright as we have this conversation ‘in your presence’ about ‘us’, and this household with no regard for your position.’

You should be alright as we have this conversation ‘in your presence’ about ‘us’, and this household with no regard for your position.

~the state of many Step-Parents during pivotal seasons in the home

Whether it’s money related, school related, major decisions regarding parental changes etc. conversations like these happen all over the world in Blended Family homes every day.

The first time I found myself in this position was 15 years ago standing in our kitchen after just coming in from work. The day was not particularly kind to me and I’d already settled the fact that the remainder of my day would not be much better.

Unfortunately the evening would prove my expectations correct as I found myself wanting to add a point of view to an already on-going conversation between my wife and her family regarding my Stepson.

Needless to say the feeling was depleting as I stood there waiting to be seen or even ‘asked’ what I thought about things.

If you should find yourself in this position try the following steps to avoid internal turmoil and resentment:

Monitor your ‘inner-voice’ – what you tell yourself is an internal fast track to your subconscious self. Be sure what you say falls in line with what’s positive about your situation and remember your spouse has your best interest at heart.

Put yourself in their shoes – viewing things from another perspective helps with reasoning, as well as empathy for what might not be such an easy topic or situation for the bio parent either. Doing a position change often times allows us to see the challenges our spouses or partners may be working to resolve and makes it easier to give them space to work things out.

Let them know how you feel – nothing wrong with opening up and simply ‘asking’ to be heard as well as letting your spouse or partner know how the situation makes you feel. Usually this conversation would take place after the fact but make no mistake about it ‘asking during the instance is okay as well’. Just be sure to take the conversational temperature before doing so as to not escalate an already potentially uncomfortable situation.

Don’t take it personally – I can’t stress this enough. The importance of keeping yourself safe from internalizing another persons situation is key if as a Step-Parent we are to remain healthy. It is difficult to live in the same home without identifying with the struggles that take place within that home. Identifying and internalizing are two different things. When we begin to internalize things they become ‘personal’ and this is often times where the resentment takes place. Yes, identify with your families situation just do so without taking the situation as your own and adding the weight of resolve to it.

Our functions are full of challenges and obstetrical instances that if not seen in the proper light have the potential to derail our purest intentions. Instead of seeing them as detractors in our relationships let’s use them as opportunities to grow, and tools to strengthen our unity.