I was a little freaked out becoming a stepparent even though the parent who had the most positive and supportive influence on my life had been my stepfather.
Being a stepparent has so many taboos attached to it. Hell being a parent at all has so many taboos attached to it.
For me I was not sure in the beginning what I was allowed to be for my step kids, if I was stepping on any ones tows or to what depth I was allowed to connect and be a part of their lives. And then would they even like me? What if it didn’t work out between us, what would my then boyfriend and me do?
I had to look at what kind of parent I wanted to be and would raising these children from a young age work in my life? (Hint, asking questions of your self and the universe before making big choices can create a lot of awareness)
Many people sort of stumble into parenthood and I know many other do plan. And for me I had the advantage of looking at the reality of what raising these kids would be like. I had a chance to get to know them as already in the world-developed people (well as much as a 5 and 7 year old can be). I didn’t have to birth them then get to know what having children was like. I got to experience what living with these children was like before, should I say I committed.
I had to look at what the reality of co-parenting with my then boyfriend would be like. And what more or less co-parenting with my step kids mom who was not my biggest fan, to put it mildly, would also be like. And what marrying into his family would be like. Like my stepfather thought me, you don’t just marry the person you marry their whole family.
With out the tools of Access I would have given up long before I was able to succeed in creating some of the most beautiful deeply touching relationships of my life with my step children.
Stepparents get such a bad rap; there is the stereotypical evil Disney stepmother. So often when a stepparent joins the family that stepparent receives all the already pre-existing family’s projections, expectations and so on. The stepparent has to adjust to the already existing family dynamic. I had to look at being a contribution with out loosing me in the face of everyone else’s hopes, dream, projections, expectations and judgments. Fortunately the children in question didn’t have any, I love kids that way. I had to look at what these children would face from their mothers universe and how to make it all as easy on all of us as possible. I am happy to report that it was not only possible but highly successful.
I had the advantage of having a magical stepparent, not the stereotypical one. My stepfather literally saved my life and facilitated me to have all of me in the world in ways that quite frankly I doubt few others could. Having stepchildren myself now I am only just getting the depth of commitment he made to me as a child and the sacrifices he made for me along the way.
Having him as an example of a parent gave me the strength to have the patience with me and my new kids as we learned how to receive and be with one another. Those little kids sure did teach me how to receive in a whole new way with their kind open harts and personality’s.
My stepfather taught me to never enforce my point of view on the kids but rather ask them what they wanted me to be for them. To be generous with them, with my being and money and to never make them feel like they come second. Children need to know they come first, that they are valuable and a contribution to the world.
To all the stepparents of the world who are raising other people’s children, what gift or addition can you be to your children’s lives? How lucky are these kids who get more then two parents and double birthday and Christmas?
If you are a good step parent you have mastered the art of familial diplomacy, generosity of spirit and learned to be bigger then your own personal problems. I aspire to be half as good a stepparent as my own stePfather. I know then that I will be a gift beyond reckoning to my stepchildren.
What would it be like if we lived in a world where every child was empowered to know that they know? To know that they can be and create anything they choose? A world where they are given access to the tools that would allow them to create that?
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, step-parent, sibling, someone who works with kids in any capacity, or even if you’ve ever been a child this call is for you: