Weekends are an especially tough time for kids and teens who are transitioning from one household to another. It is also difficult for parents. I am especially concerned about stepparents whose feelings and concerns are often overlooked in the complicated web of the weekend.
Stepparents on both ends of the weekend, those who are dropping children off and those who are having them for the weekend, deal with similar issues. These include:
1. What to do if you dislike the parents at the other home.
2. Rules across households.
3. Level of involvement in conflict between the divorced parents.
4. Feeling dismissed by the visiting stepchildren.
5. Feeling like an outsider in your own home.
These are issues brought to me again and again by stepfamilies. I recommend:
1. Be patient with the stepchildren. Patience will get you tremendous long term-results.
2. Develop consistent rules across households to the best of your ability.
3. Try to be supportive of your spouse without being in the midst of the conflict. The role of being in the middle is difficult in any situation.
4. Be cautious not to talk badly about the parents at the other home. I promise that that will be too costly and not an emotional debt that you want.
5. Be present and part of the family by behaving in a supportive and kind manner. This type of behavior yields great dividends.
Have a nice weekend!