I had the privilege of attending the first “stepmom retreat” this week-end in Dallas, hosted by http://www.blendedandbonded.com/ with Laura Petherbridge speaking. It was a wonderful time of connecting with stepmoms from around the country, meeting stepmom friends I talk with on Twitter and FB, and hearing some nuggets of wisdom from long-time stepmom Laura Petherbridge, co-author of The Smart Stepmom.
I want to share a few thoughts I came away with that spoke to my heart in hopes of encouraging you in your stepparenting role. Many I had heard before but they were good reminders for me.
1. God can teach me how to love kids who are hurting me. I ask Him to help me see them through His eyes and He does. “Chosen” love is still love. I can choose to love my stepchildren.
2. Children are fiercely loyal to a biological parent, even if the parent is unkind, abusive, detached, or emotionally unstable. The more dysfunctional the other biological parent is, the less likely the stepchild will bond with the stepparent. I can’t control that.
3. All stepfamilies are formed due to loss. Re-marriage is viewed as another loss for children and the children are at least two years behind the parents in the grieving process. Give them time to heal.
4. Money is going to be tight. My husband is OBLIGATED by God to support his children (I Timothy 5:8). They didn’t choose a stepmother or more siblings.
5. The children who do the best after divorce are those who maintain a healthy relationship with both parents. Stepchildren need alone time with their biological parent, without the stepparent.
6. God will reward your efforts. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
There is so much more I could share, but instead I encourage you to read Laura’s book. She has walked the path and offers reality with encouragement through her writing.
Do you need encouragement today? What nugget of wisdom spoke to you?