From Pam Rohr, author of Blended but not Broken – Hope and Encouragement for Blended Families:
Unfortunately, it’s quite normal to experience feelings of resentment from time to time in blended families but they need not cause a breach in relationships if you address the issues and move forward. Real problems start however when you hold on to feelings of resentment. They will choke out the life in your relationships and could ultimately destroy your family. Resentment means to re-send the offense or irritation over and over again to your thoughts and emotions and it could lead to a root of bitterness. The enemy loves to help you keep resentment alive so it’s important to identify the cause of your resentment and let it go. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says Love is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs.
One mom I spoke with had waited a long to have a child of her own. Her stepkids lived with their mom and came for visits every other weekend. She liked that arrangement and it was working for them. But when she finally delivered her baby, her step daughter asked if she could move in with them. They said yes but this stepmom soon became resentful that her time was divided between her baby and her step daughter. She felt she had waited so long for a child of her own and when she finally got her, she didn’t get to devote all of her time to her. She resented the time and energy her stepdaughter needed from her. This caused a major rift between her and her stepdaughter who sensed that she did not want her there. It also put her husband right in the middle of the battle, a place he didn’t want to be.If you’re hanging on to resentment it’s time to let it go. Identify what causes you to feel resentful. I heard of one stepmother who strongly resented her stepdaughter, not because of anything the girl had done but because her husband treated his daughter like royalty. This stepmom felt her needs always came second. The root of the problem was not the daughter’s behavior, but rather the way the husband responded to his daughter. This is a couple issue: the husband should make his wife feel she is his priority after the Lord, of course, and together they can make the daughter feel loved and important.
So take the time in your couple relationship to make each other feel loved, special and a priority. Nurturing your couple relationship can reduce a stepparent’s feelings of resentment towards their stepkids. Reassure your biological children that the relationship you enjoy with them will always be important and never replaced.
Also, a stepparent could feel resentment if they are continually expected to meet the practical needs of his or her stepkids without having much reward in return. As the parent, let them know how much you appreciate their efforts and work on behalf of your kids. Also, negotiate roles and responsibilities with your partner and ensure a stepparent has time out for themselves.
Resentment is a matter of the heart. It is not of the Lord so that means it is of the enemy. Choose today to let it go and not re-send the offense to yourself over and over again. You are the one who is being made miserable by it. Make a plan to change things if you need to, you are not helpless and you can have charge over this problem. Set up the appropriate boundaries and if you are resenting your stepchild because you are jealous of them or you have not bonded with them, those too are choices. Resentment of stepkids will eventually effect negatively the couple relationship.
If you need help in letting go of resentment or setting boundaries, I am available. Contact me at www.nouveaulifecoaching.com and lets get free.
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