Jealousy is often a by-product of a blended family. How to deal with jealousy in a blended family can be a huge challenge. Find out how to deal with it and have a healthy blended family.
In a blended family, siblings may notice that one of their parents is spending more time with the other children. This causes feelings of jealousy and resentment in some siblings. This can lead to very difficult behaviors in the sibling’s interactions with their parent as they may act out from this jealousy and resentment.
Kids are resilient but like us, they have to learn how to adapt to their new normal.
Their parents aren’t getting back together and since you came into the picture it only solidified what they didn’t want to come true. No reconciliation for their Dad and Mom. It’s a hard hit.
They already struggle with jealousy because they feel like if they are nice to you they are betraying their biological Dad/ Mom creating an emotional vacuum they get pulled into.
And this happens, even if they like you. They keep it secret because they don’t want to hurt their other parent.
The vortex of their emotions is strong as they navigate what their relationship looks like with you as a step-parent and their loyalty to their biological parent.
They feel divided. The struggle with jealousy underneath the ugly stuff manifesting is deep-rooted insecurity and how they are supposed to act towards everyone after divorce.
5 Tips To Help You Navigate The Murky Waters Of Jealousy In A Blended Family.
Society places significant weight on whether or not families are “traditional.” But despite whether a family is traditional or not, blended families are becoming an increasingly common trend. While not all blended families have the same experiences, most contain some degree of stress.
The most common stressor in a blended family is the adjustment to a new family dynamic. A step-parent is often considered an outsider to the children, and may be viewed as a “rival.” This may cause them to act out in ways that are difficult for a step-parent to deal with.
A step-parent should always try to set clear expectations for her children so that they know what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are unacceptable. Setting expectations like this will also help children know what they can expect as well.
The goal is to be a happy blended family, not a fragmented mess. These five tips will help you reduce stress and minimize jealously.
Tip 1.) Don’t Take It Personal.
The rejection you feel isn’t even about you. Everyone in a blended family is trying to gather and collect their emotional tools to figure out how to navigate all of the changes.
Maybe you ask: Where do I fit in their life and how do I show them I care without coming on too strong and fast?
Learning how to take ourselves out of the equation, as odd as that sounds, will help you find solutions in a more timely manner. By removing your own emotions you can see clearer.
Removing yourself from the center of it by seeing the situation from their perspective and from their position will help you to be more understanding.
Change can be overwhelming. Rejection points are high. Recognizing them in the family is helpful.
The kids may resent you because if you weren’t in the picture their parents would have been able to give it another try, now that you’re married to their biological parent it ended any hope of that. That reality is a hard one for them to accept.
They struggle feeling like they don’t get as much attention since you are in the picture. It seems to them you get all the attention and all the affection, even if that isn’t the case.Making it a point to remove yourself and have alone time with each of the children will help minimize feelings of jealousy. Reaffirming love is vital with emotional transitions. Click To Tweet
Making it a point to remove yourself and have alone time with each of the children will help minimize feelings of jealousy. Reaffirming love is vital with emotional transitions.
Also striving to parent the kids in the same style and showing equal amounts of attention and time dispensed between the kids will minimize insecurity and jealousy.
Let go of expectations of what you thought your new blended family would look like.
Accept everyone’s flawed perception of what they thought it would look like too and start putting in the building blocks to remove things that breed jealousy.
Remove favoritism. Reaffirm how everyone is learning how to adapt and extend grace. Realize bad attention is better than no attention if someone is acting out.
Be gentle even when you have to be firm. Stay in unity with your spouse as you navigate the murky path of jealousy.
Tip 2.) Strive To Create An Atmosphere Where Each Child Is Celebrated For Their Uniqueness.
Unique traits being pointed out individually to a child create a special feeling for a child. They see their worth. They sense they have something special to contribute. They feel more courageous. They see their quirks as gifts and an asset, not a liability.
Their light shines because you removed the basket from dimming it. It creates a foundation of security. They feel celebrated. They aren’t afraid to be daring and use their unique ability.
This can feel challenging in blended families. In truth in all families. The temptation that comes in the snare to compare creates a breeding ground for jealousy.
Measuring ourselves by others. Watching to see the response they get from Mom or Dad.
How much they are celebrated seems maximized with the child who isn’t struggling with jealousy. But the child comparing themselves to the sibling feels less than, not unique because he sees himself as insignificant.
Especially when MY Mom is going over the top about your gifts or strengths. It gets personal and territorial.
Insecurity rears its ugly head and that green-eyed monster of jealousy makes it hard for them to recognize and celebrate their accomplishments.
The child struggles while they secretly want their step-sibling to fail. Their insecurity can’t handle another defeat.
Over and over they have heard everyone go on and on in the family about how talented they are, how smart they are.
This child feels invisible and on top of it feels even worse about what they secretly wish would happen.
They wish they could be acknowledged for their gifts even half as much as this one in the family. The favoritism is obvious, at least to them it feels that way.
Overcompensation often happens with the Step-parent wanting to make sure they are encouraging and showing up for their step-child by being over the top in praise, which breeds jealous feelings.
If the parent could come back to a genuine celebration of each child’s gift, whatever that is, and make it known to others in the family it would help diminish jealous feelings.
Praise them for how they do certain things well, in front of all the kids.
If you know one of the kids is feeling particularly insecure, spend a little extra time confirming to them how proud of them you are.
Point out their strengths. Their good character qualities. Help them overcome their struggles of low self-esteem and comparing themselves to the other kids.
Adults and kids want to go where they are celebrated not tolerated. Celebrate who they are.
Tip 3.) Encourage The Step-brothers And Sisters To Try To Find Things They Have In Common.
Allow them to build their own relationship don’t force them to become best friends or instant siblings.
Even though you’re in the same house together it takes time for everyone to connect and bond. Some kids do quick but others are a slow go.
They are still trying to build trust and rebuild their normality again.
Allow time to bring them together. Encourage this, not by force but through simple things like enjoying a movie together or a family game night.
Allow them to get to know each other without feeling thrown together.
They already have been introduced to sharing a home together now allow them to build the relationship without parental coercion in making it happen.
Maybe they will enjoy playing video games together or riding bikes together.
If at all possible having their own room would give them space and opportunity to have alone time as they process all of the new togetherness with a new family.
This is not a place to isolate constantly but a place for their own space as they process all the changes in their life and all the additions with new family blending.
Tip 4.) Don’t Major on Minors And Waste Your Energy On Things That Do Not Matter
Another way to put it: Overlook Mole Hills So If You Have A Mountain To Deal With You Haven’t Wasted Energy Addressing Things That Work Themselves Out.
You have to ask yourself if this is the hill you want to die on? We can choose to carry a bucket of water to a fire or a bucket of gasoline.
The one slowly douses a situation that has the potential of getting out of control and the other can further ignite a situation. A situation can be turned into an explosion if not handled wisely.Discernment is key in knowing if something is minor and will work itself out. Is the squabble with the kids a molehill that will help them learn how to resolve conflict and solve problems? Click To Tweet
Discernment is key in knowing if something is minor and will work itself out. Is the squabble with the kids a molehill that will help them learn how to resolve conflict and solve problems?
This could be a necessary skill they need to develop. Their skill in problem-solving is more important than them getting on your nerves.
Save your emotional energy for the mountains and the hill that is necessary to die on to keep long-term peace in your home. Some sibling rivalry isn’t worth it. They will work through it.
Tip 5.) Be A Grown-up. Parent From Above. See It From A Higher Perspective
It’s tempting to get down on their level. To lower your standards and start acting like a child yourself. Emotional immaturity can show up through some of the pitfalls of learning how to deal with jealousy in a blended family.
It hurts at times. Things are said that sting. Rejection settles once again as it’s triggered by a statement made to you. You might feel like you’re circling around the same mountain multiple times without progress.
What if you could climb out of your body and stand 50 feet above your life and blended family? You would see a hurting child lashing out because He can’t find peace within.
He challenges your love while you keep extending it. Often your perception of your child or step-child is skewed.
You might see ungrateful but the reality is they push the boundaries to see if you love them as much as you say you do. Especially when they are acting unlovely.
It’s tough because it seems they emotionally throw up on you. The person they feel safe with. Even if it isn’t said, they question if you love them as much as the others.
Especially the one who has you at your wit’s end. Consistency from you in their worst moment will provide the security they are looking for.Parenting from above enables you to not have emotional responses but stay proactive in your challenges with this particular child. Click To Tweet
Parenting from above enables you to not have emotional responses but stay proactive in your challenges with this particular child.
You and your spouse are united and have a united front so outbursts from the child don’t work. A higher perspective can give you insight and wisdom to know how to respond.
Final Thoughts on Dealing with Jealousy in a Blended Family
Let’s recap the 5 tips on how to deal with jealousy in a blended family so you can be proactive. Tools help us instead of being reactive when faced with the challenge.
- Tip 1.) Don’t Take It Personal.
- Tip 2.) Strive To Create An Atmosphere Where Each Child Is Celebrated For Their Uniqueness.
- Tip 3.) Encourage The Step-brothers And Sisters To Try To Find Things They Have In Common.
- Tip 4.) Don’t Major on Minors And Waste Your Energy On Things That Do Not Matter
- Tip 5.) Be A Grown-up. Parent From Above. See It From A Higher Perspective
Applying these tips can help you make progress as a blended family. You’ll be more understanding of each other and be a strong blended family because you’ve learned how to overcome these obstacles.
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