From Pam Rohr, author of Blended but not Broken – Hope and Encouragement for Blended Families:
We all have pressures and things in our lives that we wish were different. None of us escape. Some seasons are easier than others and sometimes we may enter a season of life that is so good that we hope it never ends. But as the saying goes “All good things must end.”
That’s how Sara felt when she married Bob. She felt she had found the most wonderful man in the world and she was excited to become Amy’s step mom. She would have a real family. She made plans to cook meals, to drive Sara to her after school activities; she would make a home. It would be wonderful. Sara had made a point of having “girl time” with Amy often so they could begin to develop their own relationship. They would go shopping or to lunch or get their nails done. At first, Amy responded well to Sara. She seemed to want to have time with her and she said she liked Sara. But soon some changes in attitude in Amy happened which puzzled both Sara and Bob. Amy didn’t want to do anything alone with Sara anymore and she would barely speak to her or respond when asked a question. Sara began to feel like a failure as a step mom even though she has tried to show Amy nothing but love and acceptance. Sara cannot have kids of her own so Amy is someone she wanted to invest in and be part of her life.
So what might be going on with Amy? And notice, none of these reasons have to do with something Sara is doing wrong.
- Amy’s age, she is a young teenager and teenagers begin to break away from the family.
- Loyalty to her birth mom may stop her from wanting another “mom” relationship
- Her birth mom may be jealous and putting pressure on her
- She’s feeling pressured (from her father perhaps) to have more of a relationship with Sara than she is ready for.
Whatever the reason, what can Sara do? She can focus on the negatives of the situation or she can choose to focus on all of the positives in her life. Her life is not perfect, the relationship with her stepdaughter at this time is not what she had expected or wanted but she has many blessings she can focus on and enjoy.
Sometimes we can get consumed with the one negative in our life so much so that it consumes all of the good in our life.
So it’s a choice. What am I going to focus on? Some people think they can’t help what their mind thinks about. But that’s not true. We can choose where we let our minds go, we can actually decide to feed our minds “good food” rather than “junk food”. Think about what your thinking about. And if it’s not positive, if it’s not bringing you peace and joy, then refocus.
While Sara is focusing on the positives in her life, she can continue to pursue Amy. She can continue to invite and try to engage in conversation. But she should not take offense when she doesn’t get the response she’s looking for. Amy must be respectful to Sara but she really shouldn’t be forced to have a relationship beyond what she is ready for.
To give hope to Sara for her and Amy’s future relationship, I have seen it time and again that once kids grow up and leave home, they realize the blessing of their parents and want more of a relationship. That includes step parents, especially step parents that show an interest in them and are approachable. I have a great relationship with my step daughter now that she is grown, but I must say, our relationship during her teen years was not what I would call close.
If you are having difficulty focusing on the positives, write down five good things in your life right now. And focus on them, keep them before you and create an attitude of gratitude for each one.
If you are having a battle in your mind to get past something painful or just can’t seem to focus on the positives, call me. Life is too short to let the blessings slip by while focusing too much time and energy on what’s not right.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
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