Positively Paula

A Great Bonus for Stepparents Who Want to Change Their Mindset!

Thursday, January 05, 2012
For stepmothers who may be struggling with stress or depression and for stepparents who have lost all hope of being happy or at peace in their stepfamily, my RemarriageWorks.com radio show, "RemarriageWorks: Stepmom's Prerogative, Changing Mindset" on January 2 featured a special guest, Mindset Coach and author of Life As An Onion: The Journey Back to Your Core, Renee Canali. During the interview, Renee made some great offers to help those of you who are looking to step into 2012 with a fresh perspective in your stepfamily life. Now Renee is offering even more tools to help you at no cost!   

Renee Canali and I explored how our stepchildren reflect back to us what we need to change or adopt in our relationship with them, and she shared some exercises to help you shift your mindset and help you think about you and your role in your stepfamily from a different perspective.

During the call, Renee graciously offered a FREE 30 minute coaching consultation by phone, and for those who buy her book, Life As An Onion: The Journey Back to Your Core she offered her free report. 

Now it gets even better than that!  I invite you to listen to the show and take advantage of Renee's valuable offer, including a coaching consultation at no cost from Renee.  Plus, for those who leave feedback in the comment section under the podcast or right here (below) in this very blog, you will receive a complimentary downloadable pdf copy of Renee's ebook, Your Greatest Asset is Your Mindset, based on a presentation she gave at the National Institutes of Health. 

If you've been wanting to feel better, improve your stepparenting, and/or look at things in your stepfamily in a positive way, I hope you take advantage of this! I've personally been a client of Renee's, and it has made a tremendous difference in my life. (By the way, I am NOT being paid for this endorsement.) I want more stepmoms and stepdads (or even future stepmothers and stepfathers) to know about a resource which can help them work through some challenging stepparenting times. It's free. Why not give it a shot?

2nd Wedding Wednesday: Your Second Wedding With Kids

Wednesday, July 06, 2011
For the 65% of remarrying couples who have kids of their own, deciding whether to have children at the wedding is often a no-brainer. Instead your dilemma often revolves around how to include your kids in the second wedding celebration.

First, if you have or want a great relationship with your children or stepchildren-to-be, I highly recommend that you don't exclude them from your wedding. I have heard stories about couples not including their children, and I truly believe your kids should be a part of your wedding event in some way, the very least of which is to be invited. After all, when you get remarried with kids, the reality is you are bringing families together; there is more to consider than just you and your spouse.

"One of the most complicated aspects of stepfamilies is figuring out the issues of belonging - who feels 'in' and who doesn't," according to Jean McBride, author of Encouraging Words for New Stepmothers. Assuming the children want to be included, here are some ways to include them after you get engaged to remarry:

  • Create opportunities for parents who are about to become stepparents to spend time with their stepchildren during the wedding planning phase (e.g., enjoy a make-up session or spa day; shop for wedding attire together; have a pre-wedding picnic; let the "guys" in the newly forming family have their own version of a "bachelor" party on a paintball excursion or golf outing, etc.).
  • Let the kids help sample the wedding food from the wedding venue beforehand. Allow them to create a kid's menu to enjoy at the wedding reception. Have a cake designed just for them that celebrates a new family coming together.
  • Include unique second wedding favors for them. Consider having entertainment for them. When I remarried, we had an antique fire engine on which the kids could take rides, and it presented some great photo opportunities, too.
  • Encourage your kids to participate in your wedding ceremony. Older children can recite a reading or a poem. Or, your entire stepfamily can participate in a sand layering ceremony.
  • Present your children with a wedding gift or keepsake so they can be recognized and have a treasure to help remember the day.  
  • Have a special dance with them. For many kids, they will want to feel connected to you on that day.
You don't have to have a traditional second wedding or reception. You and your children can make it as bold and creative as you would like. Brainstorm with your kids beforehand and discuss the planning with them. Taking these steps will go a long way in setting the foundation for a happy and healthy stepfamily. 

Is Your Stepfamily All-Inclusive or Exclusive?

Thursday, October 28, 2010
The other evening I listened to a live webinar hosted by the non-profit organization, Stronger Families, called "You're Not My Dad." It featured Gil and Brenda Stuart, authors of "Restored and Remarried." Gil and Brenda provided a lot of helpful advice for stepfamilies based on their experience of raising a stepfamily with seven children. And, yes, they are still smiling! It's a joy to listen to them.

Not too many things surprise me anymore about stepfamilies. But, I was really intrigued by something they said.

Gil and Brenda said that a couple of months after they got remarried, one of Gil's children got married, and the adult child did not want Brenda at the wedding. Brenda said she didn't go to his wedding. 

Then another person participating in the webinar noted that they follow a rule in their stepfamily household. If an event is centered around a particular child, the parent and stepparent leave it up to that child to determine whether the stepparent can attend. And, if it is an event that is more of a family event, both parent and stepparent attend.

I guess this really surprised me for a couple of reasons. First, I haven't personally run into any stepparents who have a similar rule. And, secondly, right or wrong, my husband and I have always participated in events in our family together. Obviously, every stepfamily is different and there are a lot of extenuating circumstances.

I decided to contact Brenda personally to discuss this topic. I was curious and wanted to know more about how this works in her family. (By the way, Brenda did grant her permission to share her personal thoughts.) She pointed out that while being excluded can hurt, it doesn't have to offend. I can see her point. Many stepparents take things too personally; I, myself have been guilty of that.

Brenda also pointed out that timing is important. Just two months into her own remarriage and with her family's personal circumstances, it just made the most sense for them. She pointed out that many times stepparents have to ask themselves, "Who is the adult here?" Another valid point!

Some could look at it another way and say, "We are the adults here and we will decide as parent and stepparent what we are going to attend." I'm even more curious now and would love to hear more input! How do you handle who will attend what events in your stepfamily? And, why? Comments are most welcome.

Note: The video broadcast, "You're Not My Dad," hosted by Stronger Families featuring Gil and Brenda Stuart will show again on November 1, 2010, 7-8 pm PST. 

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