Being a stepmom is complicated.
Blended families are complicated.
But if you ask me, if you’re relationship with your step-kids is not going so hot, the actual reason isn’t complicated at all. In fact, in my opinion, it’s one of two things!
1. You’re being an ass
In some way or another you’re an ass to them and therefore they don’t like you. Harsh I know, but it’s true.
I have read many different chat boards and blog posts about Stepmoms being upset that their step-kids don’t like them. I have read the things that these Stepmoms say and do around the kids, and I cannot for the life of me figure out why these women are surprised when their step-kids want them to pack their bags! Truth be told, I don’t blame the kids one bit.
Here’s a little piece of information. Kids pick up on everything!! If you resent them for being around or feel like they are interfering with your relationship, they will pick up on that!! (Remember, I was a child of divorce myself, and I can say from experience that some Stepmom figures bring it on themselves.)
Ask yourself “Would I like me if I were them?” (And ask it often)
I am constantly ask myself this question! Somedays my answer is “heck yeah I’m a great Stepmom” and other days it helps me check myself and realize I am bordering on a five letter word that starts with B and ends with H.
There have been times where I have taken a step back and realized that the way I was behaving, wasn't warranting the type of relationship I was striving for with my stepkids.
But it took taking that step back to realize that.
2. It’s not your fault
You’re right, they don’t like you, and it has absolutely nothing to do with you.
It has to do with the fact that their parents are divorced or separated. It has to do with the fact that they did not ask for this. It has to do with a never ending list of factors that are absolutely out of your control.
They did not ask for parents who live apart, they did not ask for access schedules and separate sets of belongings and they certainly didn’t ask for another woman (or man) to come into their life and be a potential parental figure. They did not sign up for this!
So if they are mad or angry, it’s probably not about you. It’s probably about territory, or feeling like there is someone coming to replace their mom, or perhaps your reputation is being tarnished by the other parent (it’s a disgusting thing to do, but yes it happens all the time).
Bottom line, their parents are split, and in one way or another they are pissed or hurt or sad about it. Unfortunately, you’re collateral damage!
Don’t take it personally. Continue to be respectful and caring, but don’t push it. Take their lead! They will tell you how involved they want you to be in their life. Hopefully as time heals, they will come around!
So it’s complicated and simple all at the same time. If the kids don’t like you, it’s either because you’re a total ass or for reasons that are beyond your control.
If it’s the first, you need to figure out how not to be an ass, apologize to them and change your tune. Be honest, tell them this is new territory for you too and that you haven’t been at your best and you’re going to try harder! Ask them what you can do to be better… they may tell you to hit the road or they may give you some honest advice on how you can all move forward together!
If it’s the second, you need to just keep being you. Do your thing and try your best to not take it personally (easier said than done I know). Amongst all the frustration, hurt and rejection, remember these kids had their world rocked! They are experiencing emotions that are so foreign and so strong.
Emotions that kids shouldn’t have to deal with.
Emotions that they probably don’t know how to deal with.
Emotions that even adults don’t always know how to deal with!
Empathy is key! Remember it’s not about you, it’s about them!
Hang in there!