As we sat around our dinner table last night discussing a variety of topics ranging from Trump's hateful rhetoric to a discussion around racism/classicism to the cost of a loaf of bread in Washington DC, it became very clear to my husband and I that our "little" (well not so little as we share 6 children between us - 3 girls and 3 boys - 2 oldest girls are my husband's daughters and the 4 younger ones are mine) step family consisting of kids from 14 years old to 24 years old (yes we are firmly ensconced in the teenager/young adult milieu) had developed rhythms and relationships over the years that are uniquely their own. My husband and I have been consistently open to the kids' needs through the years. Sometimes, one child does not want to go to a birthday dinner or does not want to participate in a big family discussion. We have not forced their relationships, we simply invite the kids when we do things and let them each know that they are quite important to us. It was one of our sweetest moments when we watched my 19 year old son drive off with his sister, youngest brother and his step-sister on a mission to find awesome ice cream and cookies. Of course, they headed to Hello Robin. My husband and I both sat back, a bit misty-eyed, watching two-thirds of our gang of tall, smart, healthy, opinionated, unique and funny kids go off together looking for ice cream. No they are not all best friends and they surely have differences as they were raised in different homes but they have all done a remarkable job of relating to each other on their own terms.
We are so grateful for this time together. I am planning to get their picture updated this Christmas as this photo is the only one we have of all of them and it is from five years ago. Today, all three boys will tower over everyone. Time just marches on.
Are you struggling with step family dynamics? Contact us.
If you or someone you know someone who is struggling with step family dynamics, please refer them to our website. I am happy to coach families in this regard to help parents and step parents navigate these tricky relationships.