Stepchild Issues

Divorce Sucks! If I had my own dictionary of terms, divorce would mean “when life sucks”. I went through it in the mid 90s. There was just no lower time in my life. The worst part was being separated from my boy. I mean…I had joint custody, but he primarily lived with his mother. Kids are programmed to have two parents. They have a need for both. When my boy learned of our divorce, he (5 years old) cried a cry that I will never get out of my head. It was the cry of hurt…a broken heart. I wanted to die. Being completely transparent, I made 1 attempt. Primarily I didn’t care if I lived or died. 

I say this to let you know that I was without my son “under my roof” for 5 years. For 5 years, I hated myself and only wanted to make it right. My 2nd (and still married to) wife had 3 girls from her first marriage. She also came into our relationship “not” having primary conservatorship over her kids. So when we got together, we were a broken family of 6. 

When my son was 10, he wanted to come and live with me. All I thought was “yay me”. He took it upon himself to approach his mother. Surprisingly enough, she did not fight the issue and supported his decision. Now I had my son coming to live with us. Did I mention that over 5 years, my new wife and I had 2 little ones? That is right. We were a financially struggling couple, with 2 little kids, my son moving in with us, and child support going out to my wife’s “x”.

My son wanted to be loved but kept distance between him and his stepmother. He was very smart, knew her buttons, and pushed them on occasion. He was not little Damien, but would blow her off, ignore her, or have little smart remarks. My wife, a corn fed country girl with some Irish roots had a temper. Both of us were immature, but at this time, I considered her childish. She was jealous. I had my boy, and she did not have her girls. This was not going to go well.

I got along with my stepdaughters I guess. We saw very little of them. Even with joint custody, there were many thimmes that they did not come over when they were supposed to. My wife would get calls from the girls requesting that they go do this or that with her “x” and or his family. They were not “choosing” her. My boy was choosing me. This made my wife resent what I had and was negative towards my boy. It was obvious to everyone…my parents, friends, pastor, etc. This caused a real strain in our relationship.

This went on for years. My boy became a teenager. That being said, he was now dealing with some issues with his own mother as well as his stepmom. He began to develop trust issues with women. It got to the point that I was begging my wife to “love my son”. I was desperate. It was not as if she was going out of her way to be mean, but she was cold and unfeeling to him. Our marriage started to swirl like a toilet flush. My younger 2 were seeing the strain and were fearful of their mom and dad separating. Something had to give.

To this day, I can’t tell you what happened. I knew that several people were praying for us. However, for their to be healing, one had to initiate it and the other had to receive it. One day, my wife was in the kitchen and she began to cry. Normally, I would have felt concern and wanted to fix the issue. By this point I was beginning to feel numb. My son walked in, and my wife turned to him and said, “I’m so sorry”. They came together in an emotional embrace. What just happened and who are these people? This was literally a rebound of the relation. It was not empty words, it was a pledge to a new beginning.

My boy and my wife get along fine these days. It is not an unrealistic celebration relationship, but they are good to each other. This completely changed how I felt about my wife. She may have sought to heal the relationship between them, but it healed me. All I can tell you is that there are 3 realities for me: 1. When we strive to be important or first, we come in last. 2. Blended families can have great obstacles to tackle, and it may take years to work it out. 3. Prayer works.

It is only with a lack of selfishness and greed that we can heal relationships. If you have a tough blended family situation, I can promise that sheer will won’t fix others or the situation. Humility is a must. Only when we acknowledge this and commit to putting others before ourselves can we succeed. It may take a long time. Don’t give up. Your family can rise above the situation. It can grow and become healthy. Be the best “parent” you can be.


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