Stepmom Coach

A place to get resources, information and insights from someone who has been in your shoes.

Claudette is a winner of Top 25 Moms with Blended Families - 2012

What aspect of being in a blended family has surprised you?

When I became a stepmom 22 years ago, I never realized just how difficult it was going to be. I had little resources available to me back then. Internet wasn't what it is today. And yet, when I listen to today's stepmoms share their stories, they all had the same concerns I did back then. I kept wondering what was typical or normal as a stepfamily and what wasn't. Are my feelings of insecurity and of being an outsider just in my head or are other women (and men) going through the same thing I am? I was very surprised at how complicated and a lot more challenging it was being a stepmom than being a single parent. I also realized that I needed to find support and guidance, something that was not easy to find.

Effectually, I discovered that I wasn't alone and the power of sharing with others what I was going through could bring clarity and power in being a better parent, not only to my son but also to my two stepdaughters.

What's a good tip for preventing sibling rivalry?

Sibling rivalry is part of being in a family. I don't think that we can completely eliminate it. What we can do is ask questions to the children and ask them what they think is going on.
As a parent, it's important to listen without judgement (although that in itself can be very challenging), try to listen to all sides of the story and ask the kids what they think would be a good way to solve the problems.
As parents, whether you are their biological parent or their stepparent, we are there to teach our kids to learn to deal with life's issues. Teaching our kids to think about what just happened, what they would like to see as a result of the conversation and find a solution is a beautiful gift to give them. They will learn to respect each other and learn to deal with the issues at hand.

What's one piece of advice you'd give to moms who are about to become part of a blended family?

Today, there are more stepfamilies than traditional families. It's really important to understand and know what makes this type of family dynamic function differently and learn to come to terms with the idea that there are more than just one set of parents involved in raising these children.
Self care and a strong support system is what is needed to build strong family relationships, especially when entering into a stepfamily. Also, knowledge is good but implement that knowledge is even better.
When we can come together as a micro community to raise happy and healthy children, I think that society as a whole will benefit.