Have you ever considered your family and stepfamily relationships as works of art in progress with you as the master artist? I hadn’t either until I confronted my widowed father’s remarriage. As an adult stepchild, I faced many challenges. Some I handled better than others. If you are part of an adult stepfamily, perhaps you feel similarly. Stepfamilies provide a testing ground of your core values. The first few years tend to be the most trying. Whenever you confront a challenging situation, remember that you cannot control the behavior of your parent/stepparent or child/stepchild, but you can control your own. Thus the power lies within you to paint the masterpiece of your dreams.
My work of art did not always reflect my desires. As the artist, I learned that I possess characteristics that yearned to be used to develop a loving relationship with my dad and stepmother. It requires effort to subject my emotions to my desires. The results include positive interactions, peace of mind, and a happier me. You, too, possess traits that can nurture harmonious relationships, though they need to be practiced.
Your masterpiece emerges through your day-to-day interactions. With love as the medium in mixing and blending kindness, understanding, and compassion, your masterpiece becomes apparent. Just as the master artist projects feelings into her work of art, you project feelings into your relationships. The observer in tune with the artist feels what the artist wants felt. Likewise, family members in tune with you experience feelings you’re projecting through your verbal and nonverbal behavior—strength, stamina, love, bitterness, anger, tenderness. Determine what you want to portray, then act accordingly. Circumstances are a product of behavior. If you are dissatisfied with your circumstances and want to paint a different relationship, then change your behavior. Harmonious relationships, like a true masterpiece, develop gradually. Expertise in this process is usually learned through trial and error and observation of master relationship artists.
To help you paint your masterpiece, When Your Parent Remarries Late in Life offers practical solutions for dealing with financial issues, family rituals and traditions, loyalty conflicts, potentially offensive behavior, among other issues. It discusses the evolution of stepfamily relationships beginning with laying a foundation of trust during dating and courtship to figuring out your role in this new family configuration to holding your head up high and being proud of your behavior with your parent/stepparent or child/stepchild when the marriage ends in death or divorce. The book includes experiences of individuals which depict some of the challenges confronting adult stepfamily members, how the challenges were handled, and consequences of different behaviors.
Begin today in painting the masterpiece of your dreams and enjoy the journey of nurturing new friendships.
*Adapted from When Your Parent Remarries Late in Life, Copyright (c) 2007 by Terri P. Smith. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications, Inc Co. All rights reserved.
What do you do, when your husband put's his adult children ahead of you the wife? He has a son that will not work because he is a Pastor ( small church ) and say's he is not suppose to work. Has a wife and 3 children, so my husband pays his rent plus other things. He moved into my home when we married almost 3 yrs. ago, and borrows money from me so he will have money for his 3 adult children. I am also a pastor of small church, so they think I am suppose to take this emotional abuse from their Dad. I don't know what to do. He has already left me one time because I said no about something he wanted to do, so I gave in. I already suffer from clinical Depression. Having a real struggle, do you have an answer?
#2: by Belissa on 09.17.2012 @ 01:26pm CDT
Adult stepfamilies are about balance. Any parent who remarries and rolls all their attention to their own family does a disservice to their stepchildren and spouse. Stepparents who undermine existing healthy parental relationships out of jealousy or insecurity hurt their partner. Parents who allow their spouses and their children to supplant their own children are selfish. As a child, I want my parent to be happy and fulfilled, but I also want my parent to want that for me as well. If your parent remarries and does not honor your relationship by allowing their new spouse to control interactions, you are simply better off without your parent or new stepfamily. It is not worth creating a power struggle. If our parent has made their choice to choose the spouse, you should respect it and walk away. No reason to put yourself out with cards, visits or hospital calls for someone who will not do the same for you.