Making the transition from parenting kids who live in our house to parenting them when their adults, well, it really doesn’t work out too well if you don’t have a strong relationship with them in the first place. To make things even more interesting is to add a blended family on top of that!
We’ve had the whole blending family dynamics too, so I empathize with you greatly if you are in the same boat! It takes a special person to be a great step-parent.
Today we’re going to chat about what to do if you have the following dynamic:
- parents are divorced
- they have kids
- one or both parents have remarried
- the kids prefer one set of parents over the other
- the relationship between the kids and one biological parent is very strained
If you are the parent who has a strained relationship with your kids then this is for you! I have seen parents try to keep ahold of the proverbial reins and let me just say…it does not go well. When our kids hit adulthood they know they should have a lot more freedom in their choices and we as parents would be wise to respect that, especially if you aren’t doing to well with your kids.
Here’s what I have seen work many times:
- let the set of parents who do have a good relationship with your kids take over the “parenting” role
- that means you get to take over the “let’s have fun” role
- you keep quiet about their choices unless you know they want your opinion
- if they ask, be gentle about it
- if they don’t, be patient without letting on you’re bugged by it
- pretty soon the kids will be wondering what you’re thinking, so they will ask your opinion
Now this may take years just to be fair. It is extremely dependent on the state of your relationship now and your behavior in the past. If you were a tyrant then this may take years, but it’s really your only shot at making this better.
Your objections may be:
- if I give up all say in their life then they’ll make horrible decisions
- I don’t want them to get hurt
- I don’t want them to feel like I don’t care
- I don’t like what their other parents tell them
- I have good things to say
These all could be true, but guess what? Our kids don’t really care. What they do care about is not being controlled. Not only do they want and need some freedom, they want and need to be taken seriously. How can that happen if we can’t shut up?
Think about someone who has been or still is controlling of you. Do you like it? No. Do you want it to stop? Yes. Give them the same respect you would like and see what happens.
If you MUST intervene in some situation where they are making a terrible decision ask good questions instead of telling them what you think. If you are kind in the way you ask the questions they may come to the conclusion that this is a really dumb idea as they hear it come out of their mouths. That’s what usually happens! LOL
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!