Thursday, May 24, 2007

When Stepmom Gets MAD!!!

Anger is often the product of unmet expectations. I expect X to happen, but insted Y actually happens. That is the formula for anger (or a whole host of ther negative emotions).

Stepmothers are in a life situation when expectations are not often met. Stepfamily life is complex and often times unpredicatable or even illogical. It is a context in which an expectation getting met might feel more like a game of chance than act of intention. In short, stepfamily life offers multiple opportunities for anger to emerge.

So, what do you do when you get angry?

Here are a few tips:

1. There are no bad feelings: Anger is an unpleasant feeling, but it is normal and even necesssary at times. Recognize that a negative feeling does not make you a bad person.

2. Reject the guilt: Most stepmothers choose a goal just a little higher than absolute perfection as their criteria for success. Anything less is failure - including getting angry about soemthing. You must confront your guilt head on. DO NOT punish yourself for getting angry. It only leads to more anger (or anxiety or depression).

3. Make a Decision: People get into trouble with anger not because they feel anger, but because they do anger in destructive ways. Feeling anger is merely the emotional portion of the equation and is contained within the person. Doing anger is a behavior, an interaction between the person and someone or something else. Be intentional about how you do your anger. You might even decide now, when you are not angry, a few stock options of what you can do when you are angry. The cliched thing is to count to ten. It actually works for some people. It's not the only option, though. Some people just say, "I am getting angry." It gives voice to the anger without being destructive. Other's talk it out and still others write it out. Some people let it cool off over time, but that only makes it worse for others.

Your personality wil guide your way of doing anger. But whatever the decision you make, it needs to be constructive or neutral. Never destructive.


Anonymous said...

My stepkids are in our household about 280 days out of the year. They went to their mom's for summer vacation the other day. The very first time she called, she was "jokingly" saying my "husband" dresses her 11 year old son like a "dork". I knew this was really an affront to me and at first I felt really angry. "How dare her?" I thought to myself. "When "I" am the one that faithfully cares for her child, sends him off to school each day, etc.? Then, my husband reminded me that she only says these things because she is jealous that I am the one that spends the majority of time with her kids and this makes her feel somehow needed to feel that she is more fashion conscious than I am. This led to my prayer for her as a woman who does not seek God's way and cares more about the material than we do. ;)

Anonymous said...

I am beating myself up today. My stepdaughter is 19 years old. I finally blew up at her after being around her for 8 years (3 1/2 being my stepdaughter). She was working at a bahr wearing what most of her would consider too skimpy of clothes. Her boss toucher her in an inappropirate place and she quit. I agree that was the right thing to do, but, she had another one of these situations a couple of months ago. She told me last night she thought she was just average looking but now she knows she is pretty because these situations have continued to happen to her everywhere she goes. To be honest, she gets too much (she has a brand new car she was suppose to make payments for and has made maybe 2 or 3 since December. She has had 4-5 jobs since she has been back from Florida (where she got kicked out from the Disney program and her dad went down to get her). I am mad and I don't feel like praying for her or her mom because they are always selfish. My ex husband pays child support for the children he had and I put that in a general account. We spent that and more on his kids to keep car payments up. My son is 17 y/o and he doesn't want to drive. I am not pushing it because we don't have the money to do for him as they did for her and her brothers.

Anonymous said...

I just need help. I have been a stepmother to my 4 stepsons for 14 years. They have always lived with us and they've seen their mother maybe 5 times in 14 years. They were 4,6,8,& 10 when we married. My 2 children were 3 and 5. The 2 oldest stepsons are married and out on their own and we finally have a nice relationship. The two younger ones, now 18 and 20 are still living at home..not following any of our house rules..blowing money like there's no tomorrow..refuse to go to church and my husband refuses to discuss any of their actions with them, let alone shell out any consequences for them. The youngest at home is 17, my bio son. He will probably have his rebellious days, but so far he follows the rules, is disiplined with his money, and is faithful to church and the Lord. My husband will ignore the indiscretions of his two bio children, but will explode at the smallest things that the youngest does. Like last week, the 20 yr old stayed away for 3 days straight...we had no idea where he was or who he was with, and in 8 days spent $800 with nothing to show for it. The 18 yr old decided to walk out on his 4th job this year, without so much as a phone call to his employer (the same way he left the previous 3 jobs), and we "caught" him with his girlfriend in our home...which is an absolute no-no. My husband said nothing to either of them. But, when the 17 yr old was needing to get ready for church camp Sunday evening, and realized he still needed to do a load of husband got mad and yelled at him because he "should have done it earlier in the day." It is tragic to see the brokenness he causes my youngest son...because he sees the other 2 get by with much more without a word being said....WHAT SHOULD I DO?????

Anonymous said...

I feel like i'm a terrible stepmom. My stepdaughter is 5 and i've only really known her about a year. She has been really weepy and stuff lately and I can't seem to find anything I can do with her that she likes that she won't cry all the time. Not only does she cry but she fake coughs and people around us always think she's sick. That makes me angry and i've been trying to at least get her to stop the coughing thing. I've also been trying to teach her letters and numbers since she doesn't know them and i'm getting so frusterated that I don't want to anymore. I have gotten very angry with her several times and now i think she is scared of me. I am not sure what to do to repair our relationship I just wish I could back off but my husband works nights so i'm stuck with her during the day. Its really frusterating too because her mother and grandparents over there are very doting and spoil her they also do not do things that they should but to her its like paradise. We potty trained her this year for instance after they had just been putting pullups on her and treating them like diapers. Anyways I don't know what to do I don't want to make things worse but I feel like i totally blew it and i'm not sure where to go from here.

ESM said...

First of all, I am new to all this blogging, so I am uncertain if I'm doing what I am supposed to do. I am begging for some help here from some stepmoms who have made a go of this whole thing. I have two step kids (3 years married), 15 yr old son with ADD and a 14 year old daughter who is as stubborn as all get out. They ahve no hobbies , no interest, are completely apathetic to life. I cannot deal with them being constantly in my face whenever they are around (we have them 50% of the time). I am expected to entertain them, feed them, raise them. Yet now our daughter has come home failing all her academics (a normally straight A potential) and is using her parents' divorce as an excuse (it's been almost 6 years). My input (I've raised and home schooled four Godly children of my own) and I call nonsense. My husband is no longer speaking to me and I want out. Can anyone give me any advice?

Will said...

to esm...How much does you husband actively participate in parenting his children? I have three step children who are 10, 13 and 16 year old boys. When dad is not around they are disrespectful, ignore me, and do whatever they want. When he is around they are near perfect. I have told them all that if they need something they will have to ask him. I will not be ignored, then asked to do for them at every turn. I have told their dad he will have to be home when they are here and be the primary disciplinarian. They respect him more and so far this is working for us. I am not as angry with them or their dad. I love him dearly and his kids are the ONLY thing we have EVER argued about after six years.

stepmom3 said...

to esm...How much does you husband actively participate in parenting his children? I have three step children who are 10, 13 and 16 year old boys. When dad is not around they are disrespectful, ignore me, and do whatever they want. When he is around they are near perfect. I have told them all that if they need something they will have to ask him. I will not be ignored, then asked to do for them at every turn. I have told their dad he will have to be home when they are here and be the primary disciplinarian. They respect him more and so far this is working for us. I am not as angry with them or their dad. I love him dearly and his kids are the ONLY thing we have EVER argued about after six years.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for everyone... My husband's ex constantly tells me that I am just my stepdaughter's "friend". Do you agree with this?? My husband and I have my stepdaughter 80% of the time. I am the one who is with her in the afternoons right after school - when I'm off work. I drive her everywhere, do her laundry, cook her favorite meals, talk to her about everything, host parties, etc. I don't try to do the "firsts" like first bra, etc. - but I feel like so much more than a friend to her. I'm certainly not her mother even though she's here so much, but I'm not just her friend either. I have 3 biological kids, and I treat all of them the same way. My husband treats these 3 the same way he treats his biological daughter. This came to a head last week when my stepdaughter's mom asked the coach to remove my name from the team roster because it "just wasn't necessary". She said that only her name and contact info, as well as that of my husband's, should be included. She said, "You're just her friend." I take offense at this since I am with my stepdaughter 80% of the time and have a great, parental-like relationship with her. What does everyone think???

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous "just a friend" - No. No parenting figure is "just a friend" - each parenting figure has a deep responsibility to make sure the child is raised "properly" with whatever morales and values you and your husband agree upon. Therefore, just keep telling yourself in your head - I'm a "Step-Mom" - not an evil Step-mother or anything, but the woman whose married to their father and is responsible for teaching kids right from wrong.

To Anonymous - 4 stepsons, sit your hubby down and explain to him that this is a serious issue for you - you two need to work this out and possible get counseling - but most important you need him to parent your child lovingly and teach his children responsibility and not worry if they "like" him.

To Anonymous - terrible stepmom:
If all she gets at her other home is 100% attention and no responsibility of course you'll be dealing with tears and issues. (I do) What worked here was to explaing "this house" rulse, make a list of activities she had to choose from, and letting her know that I just wanted to have fun - it was up to her and her attitude whether we have fun or she gets timeouts.
Find ways to make the alphabet and numbers fun 9her favorite TV show or animals) and remember that she's greiving a change in her life that is not easy and it's not personal to you.

Anonymous said...

Im a 13 year old step son and absolutley miserable when i come to my dads for a visit. The nicest thing my step mom has done for me is taken me to the pool. I think this was only because she wanted me out of the house and out of her way. My dad makes these shitty escuses about it. They are different every time. SHe ignores me all the time. I really am starting to think that she hates me. So when i come to my dads i just stay out of the way by staying on the computer talking to my friends in new hampshire. My step mom has harrased my mom so this leads me to full out hate her but not do anything about it. My step brother garret calls her names and shit and treats her badly. And yet im still the horrible one for doing nothing. I hope this helps for step moms out there to not be horrible. Maybe your step kids disrepect you because you arnt doing your job right. Please help me though i have no idea what to do with my situation.

Anonymous said...

I am a stepmom of 8 years - my stepson has lived with us 100%, visiting his biological mom once a month at best. He is now graduated from HS and enrolled (barely) in a JC. He is very disrespectful, refuses to get a job - "collecting" applications but never turning them in. He says he doesn't "want to work there" and I say you don't have the luxury of deciding that - get a job and prove it and look for the job that "becomes you" after you have some income flowing in! I feel he should be helping pay his way with car/insurance/gas/TICKETS yet he does nothing. I am at wits end with him. We ask very little of him other than keeping his room clean and doing his laundry, but we always end up doing both.

I was raised much stricter than my husband so we have a conflict on this in a big way. I try defaulting to him to govern this since it is his son, but he won't follow through on the small things until it blows up.

Tonight it blew and my husband told him to get out. He has no means of supporting himself - yet I always hear of tough this it? Lock him out?

Anonymous said...

My step daughter was 3 when we got married. She was also very spoiled by her mother. She would throw tantrums that had the neighbor two house down over to see who was "dying". She is 9 now and I thought her to read, ride a bike, swim... But the most important thing she learned was to trust God. We both love swimming and horse, I found that using those things as rewards helped her control her fits. To teach her make up silly games. She in loved to sit on my lap and do starfall (google it, it is a free reading website). We would make up silly sentences with flash cards. I read my little pony's bedtime tale until the binding wore out. But her favorite thing is for me to play with her. Try baking together her favorite treat. The crying thing is annoying but it is hard for her to live in two different worlds. May God give you patience and bless the two of you with a special relationship. Give her your time.