Step-Mom Talking to Dad about His Kids; Who's In Control?
Oct 12, 1998
What's the best way to handle talking to Dad about his kids (my step-kids) in a positive way? It seems that each time I bring up issues about them he gets very defensive and we end up having a huge fight about his belief that I don't like his kids and we never actually end up talking about the issue that I have a question about.
I actually do like his kids and we have a pretty good step relationship, which he knows, but I end up feeling left out in the cold and never getting my issues resolved. I tend to ask a lot of questions about them and about how things will be handled which it seems he does not like. I feel it is necessary to make our relationship work. (He has 2 kids and I have none).
Thanks for all your help and any reply is appreciated!!
Bring the issue out in the open at a neutral time (not when one of the children has done something) and insist that he clarify and discuss the issue. He owes it to you as his wife, and to his children. You may find that all he really needs to do is think things out when he's calm. With a clearer concept of how you should proceed he might be able to accept your questions when they arise.
It will help if you reassure her, through words and deeds, that you not only really love her now, but will continue to do so forever. From a mom's point of view, she'll always look at you as her child. She will need to reach the point where she accepts you as an adult; but that doesn't have to mean that you stop honoring or respecting her advice. (I'm not assuming you would.)
A big issue for American parents is that their children often separate, and no longer listen to the parents after they're grown. But does it have to be that way? If the parents continue to love the children, and the children continue to love the parents, then why shouldn't the children continue to honor and respect the parents? The real problem is that the two-way relationship of love between grown children and their parents is often quite weak.
It's natural for your mother to worry about these things. Perhaps you can demonstrate that your love for her as a daughter of 'filial piety' won't change, no matter how old you are -- even 88!
She'll probably relax then, and realize that no matter where you are in the world, you're still her lovely daughter.
Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”