Dealing with Children´s Step-parent Jealousy
When a blended family is formed, things change dramatically for everyone. Most of the time, members feel like they were taken out of their comfort zone. Times are stressful, especially for the children, who sometimes do not even know how to feel. All they know is that their parents divorced, went separate ways, now they are forming new families, and they are caught in the middle of it all.
As a parent getting into a blended family, you must realize that there are many issues you will have to face. Jealousy is one of them. Understanding why children get jealous of their stepparent is not hard to understand. This is an emotionally stressful situation that nobody taught them how to deal with. This is a new person coming into their life.
The following are some tips to help you deal with stepparent jealousy:
Evaluate your Attitude
Dear step-parents, jealousy has to do with the fear that something that belongs to you will be taken away. We have this child that is afraid that his parent will love his new spouse more than what he does them. He fears that the love he must be devoted to him will be turned towards this new person.
Maybe you should assess your own behavior. Do you have this sense of over entitlement? Like you feel you deserve all your partner´s attention? It is always good to spend some time with your children too. Make them feel relieved that you love them and there is nothing that will ever change that.
Do not Try to Substitute
Acknowledge that your relationship with your partner is very different than the relationship between you and your children. It is significant and special in its own right. This relationship is not one that can be replaced or substituted by what you have with your children.
You have new kids coming in. Chances are they will not like you. As an adult, you should work on developing a good relationship with them. Remember that they are now a part of your life.
Look for the Bright Side
When your partner's child sees that you are developing a special relationship with their parent, it can cause them to feel jealous. They feel that you are taking their other parent's place. Now, this is true, you are. But not as a parent, but as a spouse. So, maybe you should both work on trying to surface the bright side of things.
You have heard it before and it might even sound cliché at this point, but make sure you express how you are not trying to take their parents place in their heart. But also, point out that you are now married to their parent and that you have to invest in making it work. This in no way has to substitute what they have with their parent. Mean it.
Jealousy can be trouble and cause unnecessary friction inside the family. In this new relationship, remember that you are the adult. So, don´t expect a 12-yo to work on a solution. That is your duty and you are the one entitled to make this work. Live a happy and prosperous life!