Click here for shortcuts to regional language blogs and city-specific events.
Step mothers start off with hills to climb. Before a woman becomes a step mother there are many ways in which she might predict how stressful or how pleasurable her situation is probably going to be. Sometimes women who are stepmothers start off on a wrong foot. They may have unrealistic expectations for their new family and try too hard to create a close family long before the children are ready. Being a stepmother can be extremely emotionally complicated especially in India where it is surrounded by myths. Children often resent stepmothers as trying to take the place of their biological mother even when stepmothers try to take it slowly and patiently. .
Brand &Clingempeel (1987) found that marital quality in stepmother families differentially affected male and female children. For stepdaughters, a more positive marital relationship was associated with lower levels of psychological adjustment and a less positive stepmother-stepdaughter relationship. On the other hand, for stepmother families with boys, the reverse was true.
Being a stepmother becomes stressful and there are ways she might predict how stressful or how pleasurable her situation will be. This usually depends on four areas:
The stepmother would probably be less stressed if everyone - especially herself- saw her as someone who might eventually get to be good friends with her husband’s children, but not as someone who is supposed to be like an extra parent. And the stepmother would probably feel less disheartened if she accepted from the outset that the kind of relationship she develops with her husband’s children is usually going to depend largely on factors beyond her control.
Therefore, an appropriate sign of stepmother adjustment is engaging in behaviors that are mutually satisfying to the children as well as the stepmother.
Lastly, remember that relationships take time to build and it is hard to achieve respect without a peaceful relationship. To create or establish a positive bond with the children it is important for the mother to be patient and should understand, nothing can be ‘fixed’ immediately. Determine how much the child likes or wants to be with the mother. Give them time to build a trustworthy relationship. One should work with the partner to decide roles and responsibilities; they should be aware of what they are and what they are not.
There are few points which can help stepmothers to develop a healthy relationship with their new children, such as: