Listen: Relationship expert and neuropsychotherapist, Joanne Wilson shares her strategies to avoiding step-parenting chaos
Relationship expert and neuropsychotherapist Joanne Wilson is sharing about the importance of celebrating step-parenting.
What Joanne often recommends is “each person make a wish list of three things that they would like to change in regard to parenting… or if you’re starting up a blended family, what that’s going to look like”.
Joanne shares “I absolutely love to prioritize the children that I will never meet. It is such an honor to work with couples, to make sure that the children continue to feel connected and attached to their primary caregivers for their mental health, that they can then be launched into a wonderful life ahead”.
“You can’t assume that your partner knows exactly what is in your head.” so Joanne shares some important questions to ask and discuss with your partner.
- What techniques do you use for dealing with your children’s behavior and consequences?
- What do you find works well and what doesn’t? I know we can’t anticipate everything that the child will get up to or the challenges we will have, but it’s good to have age appropriate consequences that you can both back each other up as a united front.
- What behavior is typical for your children?
- What’s not normal?
- How do you be a good parent to allow time for self-compassion?
- How can we do that for each other?
- How do you get your children to listen to you?
- What frustrates you about parenting and how do you deal with your own frustration?
- How can we work better, better as a couple?
Joanne also shares some common step-parenting myths that couples can often fall into because they love each other, and the child/ren involved.
Myth #1: The other family members will also love each other.
“That sometimes takes a bit of time and encouragement to find common ground with step siblings.
Myth #2: We’ll do marriage better this time round.
“You can’t just assume that it’s just going to all fall into place, and we have to hope that you have had some amazing growth from your previous relationship that you can take into your next better one myth.
Myth #3: Our children will feel as happy about this new family as we do
“…but this is not always the case.
The assumption often is that “stepparents will quickly bond with the children and act like the other parent. It’s really helpful to have some strong boundaries about who is a disciplinarian for whose child and what are the consequences, what happens when the other parent isn’t around, and what does that look like so that we don’t fuel resentment about the stepparent”.
Myth #4: We’ll be able to easily form a new family.
“No, it’s not easy. It is tricky. It’s tricky for any family. It’s really helpful not to push the relationships and not to have high expectations but ensure that you allow that time for growth to develop as you spend time with your children.
“Find a counselor that can support you. Make sure that you develop that closeness. And as I mentioned, our priority is to create magnificent step-upspring. That’s what they deserve. You will also flourish in the meantime knowing that you have impacted generations with your positive behavior.”
Listen to the full conversation in the player above.
For more from Joanne Wilson tune in each Saturday from 12pm or find more from The Relationship Rejuvenator online.