Whose Idea Is It Anyway?

Chloe and Theodore

Almost two years ago we adopted a brother and sister, Chloe and Theodore. Their parents are no longer in their lives. The Pretty Lady and I are now the only parents they have. I remember when we first brought them home how they kept to themselves and would hardly leave their room.

It was several days before they felt comfortable enough to venture out and become familiar with their new home. At times their behavior at best could be considered independent and at worse downright rude. I wish they were more obedient. Like come when you call them but I’ve learned,

“They only respond when it’s their idea.”

Like most kids they do come to us when they’re hungry or decide they want our attention, but again it’s when they decide to do so. Despite all we’ve done for them Mother’s Day and Father’s Day came and went for them just like any other day. Just a little acknowledgement and appreciation would be nice.

Next month will be two years since we adopted our two lovable tabby cats: Chloe and Theodore. Chloe is a sleek grey and black mix. Theodore is a majestic golden color. I grew up as a dog owner but I’ve grown to love my tabbies despite the occasional nasty hairballs, cat hairs on our clothes and random sibling fights at all hours of the day and night. I think their behaviors are fascinating and their unpredictability adds an element of excitement to our household.

Stepparent’s Dissatisfaction

I’ve listened to stepparents protest about rude and disrespectful stepchildren. I’ve heard complaints about their enabling and overly permissive parenting of their spouses. I’ve become intimately familiar in painful detail with all of their spouses’ and stepchildrens’ flaws, character defects and misdeeds.

I’m in total agreement with the stepparents on how much better things would be within their blended families if their children were more respectful and accepting. How their relationship would be not be a jaw tightening labor of love if their spouses weren’t enabling and more authoritative with their children. While these changes would certainly improve the dynamics within their blended families neither the stepparent nor I can impose or force changes on them.

It Needs To Be Their Idea

Like my tabbies your wife and stepchildren are only going to change when it’s their idea. Your insistence on them changing to meet your expectations is actually interfering with their ability to change. As long as it’s your idea it can’t be theirs. You must let go of your expectations to allow them to accept changes in their life as their idea. Understanding and accepting this fact will bring a new level of peace and serenity into your life.

Change Yourself

Rather than focus on the flaws of your blended family which you are absolutely powerless to change instead if I can dare say focus on your own flaws, sins and character defects after all that is only thing you have true control of. Your example in addressing your own shortcomings may serve as the catalyst that will motivate the changes you desire within your blended family members.

Also, train your mind to focus on the positives. Overlook the minor faults of your wife and stepchildren and instead focus on their strengths and the things they do well. I’m not asking you to overlook faults that would be considered morally wrong or evil. When you compliment and praise your spouse and stepchildren for their strengths you will be less likely to notice their weaknesses and faults.