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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When Stepfamily Life Gets Messy...

Do you have triggers that send your emotions over the edge quicker than you want to admit? Unfortunately, I do and one of them is the emotional struggle with my ex-husband.

I've had a difficult week as a result of  his out-of-town visit with my daughters. The girls get caught in the middle between trying to do the right thing but honoring their embittered feelings toward him due to the unstable history of their relationship.

As a parent, I still feel responsible for helping them make wise choices when they call for advice, as my 18-year-old did the night her dad arrived. I was not malicious, but honest, when I explained to her that she needed to take care of herself and not get caught in an unhealthy situation, despite the poor choice her dad was making. Unfortunately, because of a history of addiction, drama and misshappenings surround him, but I have always sought to keep the girls from being entangled in it.

And the situation becomes more complicated now that we live four hours away and I can't rescue the girls from their dad's inappropriate behavior. But I can still coach them through sticky circumstances, teaching them how to protect themselves from others' bad choices.

I wish it didn't have to be this way. But it is. Life is messy. But I refuse to give in. My children may have unhealthy influences in their lives, but my current husband and I can continue to offer stable influences that overshadow others. Healthy role models are hard to ignore and will have a positive influence in the long run.

I have spent years teaching my daughters, 18 and 21 years old, the dangers of addiction and the consequences to bad choices. They are now seeing painful consequences played out in a defeated life. But I rest on the hope that my words and behavior have not been wasted and am thankful to watch healthy lifestyle choices played out as my daughters navigate their young adult years.

In what area is your stepfamily life messy? Will you make a commitment to sort through  the messiness? If so,will you please share about it?

Related Posts:

It's Always Too Early to Quit

Dear Stepparent: Never Underestimate Your Value With Your Stepchild

Coping with Stepfamily Drama


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At January 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM , Anonymous Sue said...

I think it's wonderful that your daughters still call you for advice. What a tribute to you. You are obviously someone they trust--someone they can count on and whose opinion they respect.

My husband's ex-wife is manipulative and a pathological liar, and it is often difficult to know whether the kids see her true colors. They don't ask their dad for advice about anything dealing with her anymore, and he doesn't offer any for fear of alienating them or putting them in the middle.

The situation is a source of pain and frustration in our lives, but my husband and I are trying stop to agonizing over it and "let go and let God."

At January 12, 2012 at 8:13 AM , Blogger Step Parenting with Grace said...

Sue, That's exactly what I've learned to do: let go and let God. It's not always easy and somedays I do it better than others, but it's obviously the answer. Thank you for your kind words. Hope all is well with you and your family.


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