Stepparents and stepchildren often experience their shared journey
as a treacherous trail of unexpected, hairpin turns.
Destructive feelings and behaviors baffle us — we each want
the joy of family, but joy eludes us. The way is uncharted and
the outcome is uncertain. Sadly, some would-be-mothers grow
to doubt that the trip merits the effort, and quit before
reaching the summit. They often leave stepchildren behind with
baggage in their backpacks and rough climbing ahead.
Stepparenting adds special demands and challenges for both parents
and children. No one grows up saying "I want to be a stepparent"
or "I want to be a stepchild."
This book strives to be a marker
along the path that says, “Take heart and keep traveling!
You are not alone — hold
on and make room for God to work. He promises treasure down
the road, and it’s well
worth a sprained ankle along the way.”
of the sprained ankles we endured are shared by other unsuccessful
stepfamilies that allow personal
agendas to rule in their homes. We don’t offer our experience
as the perfect blueprint for blended family success,
but we do understand that much can be learned by example.
Instead we hope to offer a snapshot
in God’s photo album of stepmothers
and daughters who have learned how to smile in the face of difficulty and press on against the odds.
is the difficulty and how great are the odds? According to professional family-counselors they are numerous and treacherous. Here is a partial list:
Children and surviving parents are torn between a need for new
love and a need to be loyal to the memory of a lost loved one.
- Jealousy: When
a traditional family is disrupted the green-eyed monster often
breeds competition between ex-spouses and new spouses, and between
children, stepparents and stepsiblings.
of failure: Parents fear judgment from former spouses (living
or deceased) and are frequently alarmed and overwhelmed by their
inability to be both father and mother.
The word wicked applies when stepmothers assert even the
gentlest discipline. Not surprisingly, the wicked ones see disobedient
children as unruly, manipulative brats.
A stepmother who hopes to make a difference is quickly
discouraged, frustrated, and confused when her husband undermines
her authority and her stepchild rejects her love.
Our story is aimed
at the preservation of stepfamilies — particularly
those where frustration has the upper hand. We offer hope
to stepparents who are ready to call it quits and listen
to the earthly advisors who say, “Get out of that mess.” Our
chapters reveal countless times when we screamed, (and
our readers will echo) “Enough already.
This is never going to work.”
Thankfully we did not listen to those
voices; we listened to God instead.