As I listened to my husband on the other end of the phone with his daughter, I knew something bad had happened. He handed the phone to me and said, “She wants to talk to you.”
Through tears, my stepdaughter, Adrianne, relayed that her boyfriend of six years had broken up with her. When she was home over Christmas, she had told us she thought they would be getting engaged in 2013. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.
My heart is breaking for her. I know she’ll work through her sadness but at 27 years old, she’s invested a lot of time in a relationship that’s come to a halt.
I’m thankful she has reached out to us during her difficult hour. She asked if she could come spend next week-end with us. Of course, we’re happy to have her drive the three hours to our place and visit any time.
Here’s the paradox of stepparenting. During her adolescent years, we had the typical stepmom-stepdaughter relationship — highly strained the majority of the time. Research shows the stepmom-stepdaughter relationship is often the most difficult. Our relationship was no different.
However, as she matured through her young adult years, Adrianne began reaching out to me more often. She began asking my opinion on issues and calling us more regularly. She made it a priority to attend family vacations with us and create stronger relationships with her stepsisters.
Well into the second decade of our marriage, Adrianne and I have a wonderful relationship. I’m thankful we’ve been able to connect and can now enjoy our time together, instead of walking on egg shells when she’s around.
Does it have to take that long to bond with your stepchild? No! Some stepparents connect easily and find stepparenting a joy. But many do not.
The adolescent years of stepparenting are tough. It’s easy to slip into thinking that the relationship will always be strained.
The teen-age years may take a heavy toll on your relationship. But kids do grow up and often recognize the value of their parents when they leave the nest.
Don’t give up on finding success on your stepparenting journey. Maybe you won’t find it in the first decade of your marriage. Maybe it won’t happen until your stepchildren leave home.
But it’s never too late to enjoy the success of a thriving stepfamily relationship when it happens.
Is it taking longer than you hoped to find success on your stepparenting journey? Will you share about it?