Generally, step families are a problematic situation. It’s not easy for blended family members to get along. Misunderstandings may occur even over minor insignificant issues and result in significant conflicts.
Stepparents who have an unpleasant relationship with their stepchildren often find the strain spilling over and creating problems in their marital affairs. Thus, it’s crucial to understand family dynamics to improve the situation.
Is It Normal To Recent Your Stepchildren?
Yes. Occasional resentment towards your stepchildren is understandable. More so if it happens in the early stages of your new family dynamic. It’s easy to view your stepchildren as competition for your spouse’s attention. However, taking time to bond and know your stepchildren better can dispel the worst of these issues in time. Here are possible reasons why you resent your stepchildren:
Expecting Immediate Love And Affection
Sometimes stepparents expect their stepchildren to immediately love and show them affection once they come together as a family. And although that may happen in some situations, it’s not always the case. If your stepchild feels that you’re trying to force things, they may resist and hold back. This resistance may frustrate you, leading to anger and resentment.
An Intruder Having Control In Your House
The relationship of your stepchild with the other parent and whether that parent accepts you matters. Such a relationship can make or break your relationship with the child. For example, when scheduling events. The other parent (an intruder) has some say during such times, making them sway what’s happening in your world.
Being Reminded Constantly, You’re An Outsider
In normal families, kids tend to shift their parent preferences from time to time. The parent preference also occurs in blended families. However, in blended families, the stepchild feels closer to their biological parent than the stepparent. This can make the stepparent feel like an outsider in their homes.
Blending Isn’t Goals
Sometimes, for whatever reasons, blending as a family becomes impossible. If that happens, don’t force things or have hopes that you, your partner, and your stepchild will get along in the long run. If it can’t work, let it be. By letting things be, you’re avoiding changing yourself, your partner, or stepkids into something else, leading to resentment.
More Children More Financial Strain
Child support can be a crucial issue, especially when there are other babies you’ve had with your partner. The financial strain of your partner paying child support may cause your biological child to miss on things that the stepchild was provided for at their age. Sometimes you may think of how your child’s life would be if there were no child support. Such thoughts, coupled with financial strain, can lead to resentment.
Deciding You Won’t Have Kids
Sometimes resentment sets in when you live with your partner who has kids while you made a conscious decision never to have kids. Your living in the same house with the kids means your spouse may take advantage of your helping care for the kids. You may also find yourself contributing to household expenses, including the stepchild. Being in such a situation can make you resent the children.
How To Stop Resenting Your Stepchildren
Find Out Why You Resent The Stepkids
Although it’s not easy, establishing the reasons for resenting your stepchildren is crucial. Analyze your behavior and find out when the resentment feeling sets in. Is it when they spend more time with your partner than you or when they do something they shouldn’t?
Self-observing your behavior is the best way to know why you have such feelings.
Communicate With Your Partner
You’ll need to communicate with your partner about how you feel about the kids, as they may not be aware of that. Resentment grows quietly and slowly, and having someone to share how you feel can help. Let your spouse know when the children do something that bothers you, and it will be easier if you handle the issue as a team.
Your Partner’s Perspective
Think about your partner’s perspective on all this resentment issue. There’s no doubt that your partner loves their children, and they may not like you pointing out their faults to them. So, focus on how you feel more than what they are doing. Because at the end of it all, their children hold a special place in their hearts. Don’t give ultimatums as your goal is to live with your stepchildren without resenting them.
Don’t Allow Your Stepchildren To Do Things You Dislike
How does resentment build up? In his book, “12 Rules for Life”, Dr. Jordan B Peterson wrote that resentment builds when you let others do things you don’t like and do or say nothing about it. And the same applies to children.
Anytime your stepkid does something that you don’t like, and you let them have their way, you feel resentment towards them. So, immediately the kid does something to annoy you, address it immediately.
However, addressing such issues may be difficult since it involves disciplining a stepchild. It’s best if the child is disciplined by their parents. Addressing the problem may even be more complicated if the parent lets them do things you dislike.
Work On Your Resentment
Working on resentment is not easy and takes lots of time and conscious efforts to keep away those feelings. A good way of working on the resentment is to note down all the things you’re grateful for about your stepchild. It could be they make your spouse happy or your home lively.
Focus more on their positive behavior than the negative. Commend them when they do things you like and address them when they engage in behavior you don’t like.
Battling resentment is an ever-ending war, and once you find something you dislike in a person, it becomes easy to get annoyed by everything they do. Resenting your stepchildren is normal. But don’t ignore the feeling hoping it will go on its own. Plan and address your stepchild’s annoying behavior. Remember to couple that with more conscious efforts to appreciate them for their excellent behavior. This way, it becomes easy for the resentment feelings to go away.