One thing I am learning quickly in this step-parenting thing is the need for my step-sons to portray loyalty to their mom. That loyalty is constantly challenged with their desire to be equal within the family. In addition you have my daughters wanting the “Father” relationship with their step-dad, but clinging to the loyalty of their biological dad. No wonder there is so much frustration within the blended family.
For a while, my 4 year old step-son would declare how much he hated his father hugging me. At the same time my 4 year old daughter would try to squeeze in-between us while hugging to push us apart. Whether we wanted it or not, there was a definite line between “yours and mine.”
In essence, the children hated to see us showing love to each other because it challenged their view of loyalty to the original parent. By accepting us showing affection, they had to come to a place where they realized that being happy with our marriage was not disregarding their relationship with the other parent.
This morning after his dad left for work the 4 year old step-son told me that he liked his dad hugging me now. I quickly countered with;
“OK, how does that make you feel?” (The whole time imagining a tiny couch he was stretched out on while we analyzed his feelings.)
“It makes me happy because you are happy.”
EUREKA!!! We have a small breakthrough. It is a sure as the sun shines that his opinion will change within an hour, but for a moment he was able to internalize acceptance of a situation beyond his control.
I believe a successful blended family is where each individual is allowed to be an individual. Where they are encouraged to embrace what is uniquely theirs from their past. Where the loyalty they need for each parent is respected and where they are happy in the moments that are present.
Blended family or not, isn’t that all we hope to achieve in our families?
To be happy because someone else is happy.
..and frankly…that’s all I hope for.
Categories: Diary entry June