Healthy Stepparenting #5: Be Your Own Person

As we continue our series on what we can do to gain confidence in our stepparenting role, I was reminded of the need to be your own person. In other words, don’t compare yourself to the biological parent in the other home. If your stepchildren compare you to that parent or talk about your differences, it’s okay to stick up for yourself.

I remember a situation in the early years of our marriage when my stepdaughter told me I was weird because I didn’t know how to french braid my hair or my girls’ hair. I’ve never spent alot of time styling hair because it’s not that important to me. (I still don’t know how to french braid someone’s hair). But her mother was very good at it and took pride in creating different hairstyles for herself and her daughter.

I allowed that comment to hurt my feelings and make me feel bad about myself. Instead, I could have simply replied, “Your mom does a great job with your hair. I don’t enjoy spending alot of time working on hairstyles but maybe you can show my girls how to french braid their own hair when they get older.” I acknowledged the strength of her mom’s styling techniques without compromising my position on the subject or feeling inferior about it.

Being your own person also means you consider yourself an additional parent, not a replacement parent. If our stepchildren feel we are trying to replace their parent, they will resist a relationship with us. But if we serve as another parent offering love and care for them in our unique way, we will make strides toward a positive relationship.

God created each one of us with our own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. It’s okay to be different and acknowledge our differences as we continue to grow in His grace.

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