One reason we love our stepmom

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This Christmas, my siblings and I decided that the economy was working in our family’s favor.  Because no one has the money to spend on lavish or extravagant gifts for our parents, we opted for a simple, heartfelt (and affordable) gift accompanied with a card outlining the reasons we love them.  A spin-off of the teen movie, “10 Things I Hate About You,” we chose to each write “10 Things I Love About You.”  With 6 total children, I was sure each list would have a lot of interesting things.

After we all made our submissions, we reviewed the final draft for each parent.  Reading through my stepmom’s list, I saw I was only partially right.  There was one very interesting thing- a strong common theme.  In one way or another, we all emphasized that we love her because she loves and supports our dad- no matter what the challenge.

My dad was always very good about focusing on us, and we never felt in any way replaced by his new wife or life.  So, there was never any animosity about that.  To her great credit, my stepmom also recognized that she would have much greater success if she approached us as a new set of friends (we made sure we let her know that she was never the wicked stepmother).  As a result, we were not blinded by frustration or bitterness, but were able to see how she poured herself into making the relationship with our father work well.  And apparently, that mattered.

Children need to feel continuous love from divorced parents, but they also need to see remarriages thrive.  It is important for them to see that a new stepparent isn’t there to stir things up.  Instead, they are there to do what needs to happen for the parent that is so loved by his/her children.  That garnishes respect and ultimately love.

Angela B. Bradford, MS, LMFT

Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative

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