Raising children isn’t easy but, throw in divorce, feelings of resentment, fear, jealousy, custody schedules, and shuffling between homes and your children can start to feel like they have lost their family.
Helping your children remember that they will always have a Mom & Dad even if they don’t live together is important for them. It can be difficult at times to remind them and encourage them when their other parent is not your favorite person to put it nicely.
That is where my number one Golden rule comes in, Your feelings come last. Yes, I know it’s crazy hard, maybe one of the hardest things you will ever do but it’s also one of the most important rules to a successful co-parenting relationship and raising happy, healthy, children. Their needs and feelings must come before yours.
Once, you have started practicing the Golden rule you can begin focusing on raising your children in a setting that supports family. I remind my stepdaughter on a regular basis that we are all a family even if we don’t live together. This concept was very easy for her to understand at a young age. She related it to her grandparents being family but not living with her. So, why wouldn’t Mom, Dad, Stepmom, Grandma, and Grandpa all still be family? They would. They just don’t share a roof.
We also created a family tree to show her how we are all connected to her as a big happy, complicated, but awesome family. She really enjoyed making it and being able to look back at it when she needed to remind herself how many family members she has that love her.
Another good way to encourage and remind children of their family is to create a photo album. Encourage them to include pictures from their “pre-divorce” life and “post-divorce” life. I found some photos of my stepdaughter with both her Dad and Biological Mom to include in her album. I also try to take photos of her with both her biological parents at special events like the first day of kindergarten. This might not be the easiest thing for me to do but Golden rule says my feelings come last and my step daughters feelings come first. I know its important for her to know her parents are both there to support her so if I need to swallow my feelings for her I will. As her Stepmom it’s one of my responsibilities to help foster a positive healthy relationship between all of her parents.
Do you have a unique way of reminding your stepchildren they are part of one big family? I would love to hear your experiences and ideas! Please, share below.