3 Steps to Being an Effective Stepmom – When You Don’t Get Along with the Children’s Biological Mother
Is your new life as a stepmom not what you thought it would be? You’ve been raising your own children (wonderfully, you might add), you’ve read all the books, perhaps you’ve even sought counseling to help you navigate the transition to step-motherhood with grace.
Ok, I’m ready, you think. I will be the mother that these children need me to be.
But then, despite your best efforts, you cannot get any traction with your new kids. They remain closed to you, or perhaps they outright challenge you. In the majority of cases where the best intentions of the new parent are met with indifference or outright resistance, the source can be traced back to the biological mother.
I encountered this with my own remarriage. All my attempts to connect with her were initially met with silence, lies or manipulation.
If you’ve read this far, you’ve probably experienced something similar. Perhaps you attended a school function for your new children, and the mother whispered dramatically to her friends, allegedly about you. Or worse, she told outright lies to the kids about you and your motives.
Ladies, don’t take it personally. Dealing with this deep of a situation is hard but simple.
Here are 3 ways to be the woman and mother God has called you to be despite these difficult circumstances:
- Realize the children’s allegiance will probably always be with the biological mother. The sooner you can come to this realization the better. No matter how manipulative or ill-behaved this woman can be, the children don’t want to see it. They want to see their mother in a positive light. They want to see her as good.
- Make your goal to gain respect, not Super Mom status. Do not provoke or challenge your new children, but they do need to know that they need to respect you. Yes, while respect is earned, there is a level of respect that needs to be given immediately for the position. You can build it further by establishing trust.
- Don’t take anything personally. Let this passage from James 1:2 guide you: “Consider it pure joy, my sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” If your child’s biological mother is making your life unnecessarily difficult, you are going to be tempted to retaliate. RESIST. You are dealing with greater demons than the flesh and blood in front of you.
The first demon is fear—the fear that someone is stepping into their role can send some women stark crazy. I believe the crazy has just been lying dormant, but in any case, the fear drives people to do some very irrational things that they are completely blind to.
You may be saying, come on Kris, she knows exactly what she is doing! That may be the case, but when the devil works in someone often times they are nothing but a puppet for him and they actually believe what they are doing is in “the best interest of the kids.”
The second demon common in these cases is jealousy. Oh she may walk around with her chin up in the air with a big phony smile on her face, but all the while she is struggling with an intense jealousy she will never admit.
Jealousy makes people do very wicked things. When you encounter jealousy, know you are dealing with a very insecure person.
My heart goes out to you, it is very difficult to cultivate any kind of relationship with a person like this. Sabotage and competition will most likely be her focus no matter what you do.
I hear some crazy stories about how women try to compete and “one up” the “new wife”, some I have to work hard at not chuckling out loud at.
So how do you handle it? Just be yourself. God created you for this man and these children and He has you here for a reason. Don’t be moved by her deliberate actions to try and upset your new family. Remember the demons you are dealing with. God will deliver you from all of them!