Getting to Know the STRANGER in Your Family
Dealing with a parent isn’t always easy. But what if you now have a stepparent?
Your heart is pounding. You wait somewhat nervously as your mother walks up the driveway with someone you still consider a stranger, although you’ve seen him many times.
The door opens and there you stand, face to face with the one who is now going to be a regular member of your household.
Who is he? He’s your stepfather.
Because of the death or divorce of a natural parent, your mother or father has remarried, and you now face the uncertainty of getting to know a stranger in your home. What is your life going to be like now? Many young people today face this question.
This new parent isn’t entirely a stranger to you. You possibly were able to get acquainted while your parent was dating your new stepparent. However, you probably didn’t have a great deal of time to really get to know him or her.
How do you get along with a stepparent? In children’s stories, stepparents aren’t generally regarded very highly. Sometimes they are described as being really nasty and mean. Are all stepparents this way?
Certainly not. Some of our readers know they are not, and do enjoy a good relationship. Others, however, may find difficulties at times with a stepparent. Most children and teens are going to have difficulties occasionally with their natural parents! So it shouldn’t be a surprise that this new relationship may provide a challenge.
In many Western nations it is becoming increasingly common to have a stepparent. For instance, in the United States, there are an estimated 40 million plus stepparents. That’s a lot of families!
The conditions before your parent’s remarriage were no doubt traumatic. The family unit you once had was shattered, and as a young person, you found yourself more dependent on your single parent. You needed the warmth, security, attention and love of this parent.
But as your parent begins to date and show an interest in another person, you may feel threatened, even rejected. This other person may not be quite what you had in mind as an addition to your family.
But what can you do to enjoy a better relationship with your stepparent? Here are some tips.
Become better acquainted. After all, the stepparent is a stranger coming into the family, and it will take time and cooperation for everyone to get to know each other better.
What is it about this person that caused your parent to love him or her? You are going to be spending a lot of time together in the future, so get to know each other. You can really grow to love this person.
Accept your stepparent. This person is going to be a major influence in your life, and even though you are not a direct physical descendant, you are now a part of the same family.
Family togetherness is vital for our happiness and security. Your stepparent can be a sympathetic, understanding parent and counselor. Becoming better acquainted is necessary for this acceptance. We often fear and reject the unknown, so coming to know a person well increace our acceptance.
Rather than making life difficult for each other through rejection or hesitancy, do what you can to develop a close and loving companionship with both of your parents.
Avoid making comparisons. No two people are alike, and in a family situation like this, it is easy to make comparisons with a divorced or deceased parent. Respect each parent for the way he or she is, and benefit from the unique attributes of this person.
Become friends. It is good that we develop a friendship with our parents, and we can do that and still maintain respect for them. But to make friends, we need to be friendly ourselves.
A real friend can be of immense benefit, and a good friend can even do more than someone who is a blood relative (Proverbs 18:24).
Every experience in life can be a growth experience for us. Family life will provide us with a stable foundation for the rest of our lives.
Even if our lives have been rocked by family tragedy, and a new family unit has been established, it too can be a secure and happy haven for us In an ever changing society.
Bob Regazzoli. ‘Youth’
Note: In a divorce situation it is important for the parent and the stepparent to show as much respect as possible for the missing Father or Mother, the divorce may not have been caused by the missing parent. Most older children in this situation are more than aware of ‘the guilty party’ in their parents divorce- if there is only one.
The family members should be aware that the time will come when they will be considered adults and will have the choice to either stay or to leave, to begin their own adult life out of the home. Hopefully even at an early age they will understand it is better to live at peace until then and later in life, not to make the same tragic mistakes as their parents.
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