Lessons Learned about Stepparenting from Tim Tebow

If you’re a football fan (or even if you’re not), you’ve likely heard the ongoing publicity surrounding Tim Tebow. Tebow is currently the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos and has made a name for himself with his unorthodox QB skill set and frequent display of religious devotion.

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He’s a guy that’s easy to like with his tenacious spirit and committed attitude toward living for the Lord. But in addition to being a good guy, his life demonstrates some takeaway thoughts related to stepparenting. Here’s a few:

1. Prayer can turn bad into good.  Tim Tebow’s mother contracted amoebic dysentry while a missionary with her husband in the Phillipines, and was treated with strong antibiotics before realizing she was pregnant. Her doctors advised her to abort, assuring her the baby would be severely disabled due to the drugs.

She refused to abort because of her faith and, instead, prayed for a healthy son. Tim Tebow was born August 14, 1987, reportedly malnourished, but healthy. Nothing is too big for God.

2. There’s more than one way to reach success. Tebow has been criticized for his awkward throwing motion, his inaccuracy in passing completions, and his unorthodox method of playing. But you can’t deny his quarterback success as his team heads to the AFC Divisional Round this Saturday night.

In similar fashion, stepparenting success is reached in different ways. There’s not only one way that works. Determine the techniques that will bond and strengthen relationships in your stepfamily and execute them.

3. Don’t give up, regardless of what others are saying. If Tebow had listened to his critics at the beginning of the season, he would have never won a football game. Instead, he continued to believe in himself and work toward his goals, despite the opposition.

Stepfamilies are given a bad rap. Statistics tell us that 60% of second marriages and 73% of third  marriages end in divorce. But those statistics don’t have to apply to us. Believe in yourself and your ability for long-term success in your stepparenting relationships and don’t look back. Refuse to quit even when it’s hard.

Tim Tebow is not perfect but his example gives some thoughts to ponder as we relate it to stepparenting challenges. 

Do you agree? What are your thoughts?

Related Posts:

Character that Counts

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

When Stepparenting Isn’t What You Expected

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

  

Confront Conflict Head-On

My daughter just returned from a cross country Spring Break trip with six other girls who go to college together. Toward the end of the week, the girls started having conflict and one girl began manipulating the others with rude comments to get her way. Unfortunately, the girls allowed her selfish behavior to dictate what they would do instead of confronting her.

As I talked with my daughter about confronting her friend, she said, “She’ll just get mad and won’t listen.” That may be true, but if a friendship can continue with this young lady, the other girls must express their feelings about her behavior and how her interaction is harming their relationships.

While reading an article at http://www.beingastepparent.co.uk/, I came across a statement I completely agree with. “Some family problems remain unsettled for years because no one speaks up, but by doing this, family members deny themselves the chance to develop and maintain close, loving bonds with those nearest to them.”

In other words, if we don’t address the problems we’re having with other members of our stepfamily, we will never be able to develop a loving relationship with them. Anger, bitterness, and resentment are the result of pushing our feelings under the carpet or using the silent treatment toward others, instead of addressing those who’ve hurt us.

The longer we wait to resolve the conflict, the harder it gets. But if we choose to lovingly approach the person with “I” statements of how the interaction made us feel (as opposed to “you” statements that singularly point the finger at the other person), we can begin to resolve the issue at hand. It’s not easy and it requires  concentrated effort toward healthy communication, but the end result allows the relationship to positively move ahead.

During my stepson’s adolescent years, he used aggressive anger toward me to control my parenting responses. Until I confronted his hurtful behavior (with my husband at my side), his angry speech manipulated my reactions as I cowered at his remarks.

When we began enforcing consequences for his angry outbursts and disrespect, he started changing his behavior toward me. It didn’t happen instantly and it required a great deal of prayer on my part to love him despite his anger toward me, but I knew that time and patience were on my side.

Ignoring conflict doesn’t make it go away. In the heat of the moment, it may be necessary to take a break from volatile emotions and come back later to address it. Or you might need to find your spouse for support if the conflict involves a stepchild. But don’t bury your head and hope the conflict will take care of itself, because it won’t.

Do you have unresolved conflict in your stepfamily that needs to be addressed?

New Beginnings

I love the first day of a new month. I can look at what happened last month and celebrate the highs. I can also recount the lows and commit to a better month from the beginning.

For those of us living in the South, March marks the end of Winter and beginning of Spring. This morning my 10-year-old son rode his bike to school in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt. The promise of nicer weather lifts my spirits while I tackle the challenges of life.

As I recount the previous month, I focus on what I did right in my stepparenting relationships and what I need to do differently. I’m thankful as I reflect on an incident with my stepson that I handled better than usual.

This past Sunday, my stepson spent the afternoon with us. He was complaining to his Dad and me about several relationship issues he’s struggling with. I quickly identified what I felt the problem was and wanted to blurt out his faults and how he’s contributing to the issues. Instead, I kept my mouth shut and began to pray for my  husband as he counseled his son. I know that my husband has much more influence with him than I do. And although he might not make the same suggestions I would, he has a good understanding of his son and how to help him.

Stepparenting requires us to discern when to talk and when to keep our mouth shut. More often than not, we need to voice our opinion in a private discussion with our spouse, and let him/her address the issue with his/her child. The blood bond that the biological parent shares with his child allows him a greater chance of success in correcting behavior without alienating the child than the stepparent. 

It’s also important to pray for our spouse, and pray specifically for wisdom, on the parenting journey. I love the reminder in James that says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

I’m thankful today for a new month. I pray it offers you a new beginning in your challenges.

Do you need to focus on a n fresh start in your stepfamily relationships? 

Related Posts:

PositiveThinking Results in Successful Stepparenting

When Our Thinking  Becomes Distorted

Parenting From Your Knees

The Effects of PATIENCE in Blended Families

I love the beauty of Spring. Flowers planted months ago begin to show their delicate blooms. The effects of planting, fertilizing, and watering can be enjoyed as perfectly shaped flower petals emerge. It’s a process that requires work and patience. But the end result can be enjoyed for months or years.

The same is true of relationships in blended families. The process requires work and patience. But the end result can be enjoyed for years.

Today we continue our focus on the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22, 23: PATIENCE. It’s a difficult quality to attain but a necessary one to possess in blended families.

Patience is defined as “bearing or enduring pain, difficulty, provocation or annoyance with calmness; capable of calmly awaiting an outcome or result; persevering.”

It’s interesting to see the words calmness and calmly both listed in the definition. As we calmly wait for change to take place in our relationships,we practice patience. Good things can happen while we wait. I wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago describing the positive apects of waiting.

Stepfamily experts tell us the average stepfamily takes seven years to integrate. A complex stepfamily (when both parents bring children to the marriage, like ours) can take longer. Ugh. Seven years can seem like an eternity when you’re in the middle of it. The importance of patience appears obvious.

So, what are the effects of practicing patience in a blended family? For our family, it has been life changing. My stepchildren were taught early on that I was the enemy. They resisted any kind of relationship with me because I was criticized and belittled in their other home. It was a discouraging situation that I couldn’t change. It was only through God’s grace that I was able to patiently continue to pursue a relationship.

As years passed, my stepchildren began to form their own opinion of me. They opened up their hearts to the possibility of a loving relationship. We engaged in meaningful conversations that allowed a connection to occur. It was a long process that seemed to include one step forward and two steps backward, but the walls began to come down that were built up years before. Finally, we were able to engage in healthy relationships with one another.

Patience in a blended family requires setting aside our selfish desires and doing the work required for a positive result. It means facing our fears and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in our relationships. It doesn’t happen naturally or easily, but can have life altering benefits.

So, where do you need to exert more patience today in your blended family? Maybe it’s with a stepchild or perhaps it’s with your spouse. It could even be with yourself. Identify your weak spots and commit to practicing patience daily. And on those days it seems too hard to keep going, remember the long-term benefits you will reap if you don’t give up.

Good Things Happen When We Wait

It seems we have to wait for so many things. We wait on God to answer our prayers. We wait on test results to come back from the doctor. We wait for Winter to end so Spring can begin. We wait on a good relationship to form with our stepchildren. And on and on.

But good things can happen when we wait. As we wait on God to answer our prayers, we can learn trust and dependence on Him. We can seek out Scripture that is meaningful to us. We can develop a stronger character as we wait that will carry us through difficult times.

As we wait on relationships to form with our stepchildren, we can gain understanding and patience with one another. We can dare to choose risk and make ourselves vulnerable, even if our stepchildren don’t. We can commit to investing ourselves in a loving relationship, regardless of the outcome.

We can still enjoy life while we wait. We can distract ourselves with other activities to make the waiting easier. Or, we can take the next healthy step to speed up the waiting process. However we approach it, if we choose to keep a positive outlook on the situation, the waiting will be easier.

Waiting is hard and few people do it well. But if we believe the Promises of Scripture, we can trust the process and know the Lord will see us through.

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40: 31