How can I be a better step mum ?

Truth be told, I resent my step children. They’re spoiled and lazy, my husband runs around after them like a headless chicken. It’s hard because they have everything and more, my own children have had to go without those things due to living a different life and they have to help out with chores too. My husband’s kids drive me nuts. It causes lots of arguments. I just want to be a better step mum and not feel like I have to stay out of their way just to survive the weekend. My husband thinks I’m being petulant and I expect that’s how it looks. Jealousy. Which there is. I’m jealous that I can’t provide my kids with everything they could possibly want all the time but it’s more then that. I feel like the villain but I've tried not to be in the past. Whenever I try to interact I feel like they’re mocking me, the eldest especially makes me feel uncomfortable. She’s the type of girl that would have bullied me at school. She’s not very nice to anyone including her own parents, but we’re all supposed to welcome her with open arms?! How do I behave like the bigger person, like the adult instead of like a child that’s jealous?
Asked by Poppy

Hi Poppy! 

Thank you for reaching out. I can tell that on some level, you do care about your step children and your relationship with them just because you asked this question. 

Everyone raises their kids so differently and it can be really difficult to adapt to those differences. I know you are seeing a lot of the negative sides of this, and that's completely normal! The challenge is trying to see it as not the right or wrong way to raise a child, but just a different way. 

Easier said than done, It know! This is going to take some practice, Poppy! You have to start talking to yourself differently. Instead of your thought being something like, "well my kids had to do chores and these kids don't! That makes me angry!", try to transition to something more like "This is not how I raised my kids, but there is more than one okay way to raise a kid." A lot of how we feel and how we see things is based on how we talk to ourselves. 

Another technique to try is considering what you can do to help. That word, "help", is VERY important for your thought process. Thinking of it as changing the kids or your husband is not helpful because we cannot change other people, but we can help them. Remind yourself what it means to you to be a part of a family. Ask your husband what you can do to make things easier. Get involved with the kids, spend time with them and find some good things about them. If you can see a few positives about them, that might help you to have more positive feelings towards them. 

A good way to start is by writing these things down, and then transitioning into telling the kids the positive things you see in them. This can help them to see you as a friend, and in turn after time, can lead to them having more respect for you. 

As far as the jealousy goes, keep in mind that they are children and cannot help how they are being raised. I understand that feeling and it can be so overwhelming if we don't take control of it! Don't be afraid of your oldest stepdaughter. If you feel like she is mocking you, don't take it personally. Remind yourself that they are kids and you are the adult. Are there consequences for her mocking you? If not, is that something you can set up? Even you personally without your husband being involved. For example; providing a reward if the children are kind and respectful for the day. This can be as simple as a sticker chart that leads up to a small prize, or it can be an activity that you do with them or whatever reward you see as appropriate. This needs to be something you have control over and that your husband is not involved with. The kids need to see you as someone who is an authority figure and that will help to teach them that! 

I hope some of this is helpful to you, Poppy! Stay strong and remember that you are in control of your thoughts and feelings!