Tuesday, November 11, 2003
Woman to Woman: Adjusting To A Stepfamily
Time to talk woman to woman -- so you say you've found the perfect man, you're in love, everything is great... Except for your relationship with his children. With the high number of divorces these days, more and more women are finding themselves stepparents. It can be challenging and if you're not careful, could even break up your relationship. Tonight, the keys to successful stepparenting.
(WSVN) -- We get a bad rap in the movies and even in fairytales.
The cruel and wicked stepmother.
Maybe its because stepmothers become part of a family which is often torn apart by divorce.
Lourdes Rivero says, "It's a little tough at first, especially you get a lot of my friends were kind of reluctant as to why I would get into a relationship with two kids."
Lourdes Rivero -- stepmother to two -- 10-year-old Sami and 14-year-old Alex.
She says, "My daughter told me at first 'You're trying too hard'." But it does take "work" for step parenting to work.
Psychologist, Dr. Margaret Crosbie-Burnett says it's really important for the entire family to talk openly about their feelings.
Dr. Crosbie-Burnett says, "When I work with stepfamiles and I explain to them, 'these feelings you're having, self-doubt, anger, threatened, anxious, are really, really normal in a stepfamily,' there's this huge sigh of relief."
Being a stepmom's not always easy, my stepdaughter Victoria is 12 now --- she was 6 when I married her father. I'm fortunate we have a very special relationship but most stepmothers tell us it's not easy especially in the beginning. Experts say what you should not do is try to make the children fall in love with you.
Julia Roberts character says, "I never wanted to be a mom."
Some relationship saving clues:
Forcing them to like you can only push them farther away--
Children need time to adjust and accept change in their lives...
Instead try gaining their respect.
Also remember, super steparenting doesn't work...go slow. Don't come on too strong.
And when it comes to discipline...experts say if the biological parent enforces the rules-- that's a major plus.
Dr. Burnett says, "Discipline is very tricky. Talk to any step-parent and they'll tell you they've heard the phrase 'you're not my parent'."
Today, Lourdes and the girls are closer than ever...
And the Riveros have a new addition to the family.
Lourdes says, "Now that I'm a mother, when someone really takes care of your children and cares for them, you appreciate it."
Alex says, "I feel really lucky that I have one I really like and trust."
StepchildSami Rivero says, "I'm happy because she's not like the wicked stepmother in Cinderella, she's nice."
Also remember there are no ex-parents only ex-spouses --so try as best you can to handle the prior spouse.
If things seem to get out of hand... there's plenty of help out there, family therapists and support groups.
Remember even biological families don't get along all of the time.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Step Parenting Survival Company
Hispanic Support Group
Weston, FL 33327