what we've learned here
Maybe we should each take a few minutes to write what we've learned here about the perspective of the "other side" in our step lives. I've been on this forum about year and I've noticed a few positive shifts in the way some of us view the issues, and I'm including myself in that. Not mentioning any names, but it does seem that a few have us have learned to empathize with a few things we may not have thought about before, thanks largely to each other (if not necessarily the "other side" in our own lives). Let's focus not on reiterating our OWN troubles/perspectives but let's sincerely try to view it from the other point of view. Okay, I'll start, with what I've come to understand about SP's:
-It can be extremely intimidating to a new step-parent to come into a blended family situation, easy to feel like "the outsider"
-If a new SP is already feeling like an outsider, it can be very difficult and powerless-feeling to be told they have no say in anything that happens
-It can feel like a real thankless gyp to be stuck in the role of primary caregiver for a stepchild if spouse is away at work all the time...
-...especially if you have no say in discipline
-Custodial SPs have a much bigger load
-Deadbeat bio-parents can really, really suck and if SP is told they still can't co-parent, I can understand the feeling of "all the responsibility and none of the say-so, or even any of the 'glory' of parenthood"
-Noncustodial SPs don't have near the same "workload" as custodial SP's but it can be harder for them to rise above feeling "invaded" by visiting SKs and there is often not the compensatory bond that can make custodial SP-hood eventually rewarding emotionally
-I don't think "parental alienation syndrome" is as widespread as many SP's would think it is, but no doubt it probably exists for some, and if so that really, really stinks for everyone involved
-If you have a partner who simply cannot accept ANY negative feeling on an SP's part & who thinks of such as completely taboo, that could be very invalidating and breed resentment. It's not to condone an SP treating an SK badly, but SP's hould at least be able to be honest about their feelings in private with their partner so they can be dealt with in a healthy way.
-If *you yourself* are the sort of person who would harshly judge and condemn yourself for not being Mr./Mrs. Perfect Ever-loving Insta-parent to your SK's, it's not a good situation either. SP's should at least allow THEMSELVES to privately acknowledge their own negative feelings. When they don't (b/c they are too condemning of these feelings) then sadly, it is likely to come out in far less healthy ways and the kids are likely to be the targets.
-It is okay for some in the blended family to dislike each other... as long as there is a baseline level of mutual decency/civility and everyone abides by certain house rules and state & federal laws!
-btw, rules can really be your friend. Rules get a bad rap, especially if a new SP is laying them down. But as long as the rules are fair and not gratuitously excessive or power-mongering, rules clarify mutal expectations. Without such guidelines, people 'screw up' and/or hold grudges when other people 'screw up' and nobody understands why there's so much resentment all around. Grudges unfortunately are often not shared with anyone until it's too late and resentment runs too deep.