A step mother bites her tongue as her stepdaughter swears at her. A mom talks to her son about his used dishes laying in the sink. A dad punishes his daughter for talking back and not being respectful. A stepfather explains to his wife how she should punish her son for not calling when he was out past his curfew. Why do these parents, who are striving so hard at blending families, behave the way they do to their children and stepchildren? How do people learn how to parent their children, let alone someone else’s children? In every case, behavior is a direct result of a person’s beliefs.
For lots of parents, the way they parent is a direct result of how they were parented. And yet very few parents know where their beliefs about parenting come from. The majority of beliefs about parenting are really formed beginning at infancy and get solidified by early childhood. These beliefs are so ingrained, and so much a part of a person’s make-up, that they are largely unconscious and not very easily accessed.
By knowing what your beliefs are about parenting and where those beliefs come from, you get to find out whether or not your beliefs are accurate. Children have a magical way of thinking and many times make meanings about the world that fit their thinking process, and those beliefs are not necessarily based on true information. Adults find themselves reacting to parenting situations in ways they never imagined they would, and they are often unaware of what is really running them underneath their reactions.
Talk is Cheap – Take Action
If you’re trying your best at blending families with children, work towards pinning down your childhood conclusions about parenting by allotting some unbroken, secluded time together as a pair. Or, if you don’t have a partner currently, elect to do this with another single parent to get some support and benefit. Determine who will begin sharing and who will put forward the questions. Be ready to switch roles midway through so that each of you gets the same length of time to share.
Ask curiousity-based questions about each other’s childhood. Discover who the primary parental figures were in each of your lives. Figure out how each of you was parented and what was effective in your life and what you wished had been otherwise. Explore the likely conclusions you made about parenting as a result of how you were raised. Be engaged and interested in what your partner has to say.
Blending step families can be rather tough. This exercise can make it less difficult for you to be successful. Find more helpful tips at Emily Bouchard’s web site today.