Statistics report that one of the 2 major areas of conflict in step- and blended families are your partner's children. If it isn’t their behaviour, it could be that their biological mum or dad (your darling partner) just seems to drool over them OR that this very same partner just cannot see (what surely is blatantly obvious!) these children’s multitude of faults! OR that this very same darling partner simply refuses to take your side when you are clearly right about something or the “rotten egg” isn’t at all sympathetic to your plight. If that’s how it is for you, read on…..
What can you do?
You CAN take charge of the situation!
Follow these steps.
Step 1- ASK YOURSELF: Who am I really angry with?
* My step children?
* My partner?
* My partner’s ex?
Step 2 - THINK ABOUT IT
Figure out WHY it is that you are angry with one, more or all of the abovementioned people.
* that your REAL anger may have little to do with your stepchildren. It might instead be to do with your partner’s way of dealing with them;
* with his ex’s partner’s poisoning tactics;
* with your inability to deal with the situation…..
* or you could be feeling it for any number of other reasons.
* Then again, it might really be the stepchildren you want to strangle.
Whatever the case may be, the next helpful step is to…..
Step 3 - WRITE IT DOWN
Writing can be enormously useful. It helps to clarify ones thoughts and feelings….and is good pre-verbalization practice.
Step 4 - TALK ABOUT IT
Now that you are clear on the issue, tell your partner.
In order to do this without putting him on the defensive, it helps to:
* Wait for the right time – don’t do it the moment your partner walks through the front door after a long day at work.
* Create the right atmosphere – e.g. take your partner out for coffee, make a special meal for the two of you, take a walk through the park.
* Begin by telling your partner how much you love/admire/appreciate him for…….whatever you truly love/admire and appreciate about him.
* Tell your partner that the reason you are raising this issue is because it is a real problem to you and you want him to help you resolve it for the sake of more harmonious family living (and your sanity!).
* Remain calm and (preferably) unemotional.
* When you tackle this issue ensure that you own your thoughts and feelings. This is best done by using “I” language (e.g. “I feel really angry when your son arrives and ignores me”, or “I feel hurt and unappreciated if you don’t back me up in my expectations of your children’s behaviour in this home”, or “I feel taken advantage of when your kids don’t help with the cleaning up”. Get the idea?
* If your partner reacts defensively, tell him that this is not about accusations, winning a battle, scoring points or anything else of that nature. It’s about YOU needing HIS help to resolve a problem.
5. TOGETHER FIND A SOLUTION
Because the problem involves a number of people and relationships, a solution may not be easy to find. Sometimes the only possible solution is to compromise. If compromise is the answer, don’t let this distress you. Remember a compromise is better than no change at all! Rome wasn’t built in one day either.
MOST IMPORTANTLY you’ve just spent quality time with your partner; have practiced a new way of communicating; have ensured that he is aware of what’s really going on for you; have been open and vulnerable thus giving him permission to do the same – in other word YOU’VE JUST MADE A VALUABLE INVESTMENT TOWARD A HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL FUTURE.