Being a Stepdad, I’ve seen my fair share of fights. When I changed this one thing, it REALLY made a difference!
Going from being single for 40 years with no kids to being married with an instant family of three was a HUGE change. I was an instant stepdad learning the ropes and boy, was I ever screwing up in those first few years. It would seem like my relationship with my wife and kiddos was a constant battle and even in the fights I would “win”, I lost,…BIG TIME!
I had to make a change. I hated fighting and I wanted peace.
Being new at this husband / stepdad thing, I began to ask around and read up, but nothing seem to work out. I tried all the usual stuff like waiting until I cooled off, then talking about things, but that only worked after the big fights and I wanted to stop them before they started. Something had to change and change quick, or I would become a statistic.
Then it hit me. I was working with the “perfect family portrait” in my head. I had a Norman Rockwell family painting that my real life wasn’t matching up with.
When we are little, the only thing we have as an example of marriage and family are our parents. Good or bad, they are our “baseline program” of sorts. For the most part, I had a happy example of how a marriage “should” operate and how a family should be. When real life came into play, it was like vandals came in and spraypainted my perfect Norman Rockwell painting I had hanging in my mind.
This stepdad had to change the painting,…no,…I had to take the painting down!
When I got rid of expectations of how a family was supposed to behave, act, be,..however you want to phrase it, things immediately started to get better. I started to see changes in my attitude towards my wife and kiddos. Things that would have sent me over the edge didn’t bother me as much (hey, I’m not going to lie, they did bother me, but it wasn’t WWIII). I’m not going to say that it was peace all the time in our household, but man-o-man, IT REALLY HELPED!
So, to sum up stepdads, get rid of that supposedly perfect painting in your head and work with what you’ve got. Trust me, the outcome is far better.