Relationships with stepchildren can be very difficult to navigate, especially at Christmas when emotions are running high. Younger children are particularly vulnerable and need to be given as much positivity as possible. The majority of the second spouses club members hope and pray that negative input from their exes will not dominate the festive season.
If mind games and manipulation are on the agenda, the most effective weapon is to simply pretend it doesn’t exist. The perpetrator of this insidious negativity will create their own karmic outcome. Allowing yourself to descend to their level will eat you up inside. For your emotional wellbeing please don’t go there.
One of the most important lessons is not to try to be their new best friend or new parent. You’re not either. Take time to get to know each other slowly. There may be a world of differences between you, socially, intellectually and emotionally. It is important to understand why they behave in a certain way. We should strive for the best outcome.
There is the thorny issue of where they spend Christmas Day. This should not be a battleground. Giving them different options without emotional blackmail empowers them and will enable them to see you as trustworthy. Put a positive spin on their decision. They need to know there will be no emotional fall out if they decide to spend the day with the other parent. Make the time they do spend with you count and have fun.
If your partner can have a reasonable relationship with their ex, make firm ground rules about how much each parent spends on presents. Competing with each other on who buys the most expensive present sets a dangerous precedent emotionally and financially. The greatest gift any parent/step parent can give is time and love. Sadly your efforts to build a bond may be returned with contempt. It’s a tough rule but you have to persevere. As adults we have to bite the bullet and never give up on a child.
Your child may feel depressed or weepy if they miss their other parent or have great memories of Christmas past. Be gentle with them and tell them its ok to feel sad. Ignoring their sadness or telling them to snap out of it is destructive.
To make this Christmas with all your family special ask everybody’s Angels to bring you together. With the magic of Christmas, anything is possible!