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Having Realistic Expectations

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 8 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Realistic Expectations Children Family

Most people enter into their marriages with high hopes, which is a good thing, but there is a big difference between healthy optimism and unrealistic expectations.

For those who marry someone who has children, visions of blending seamlessly into a warm and loving family may be the dream and while that is certainly an honourable goal, real life isn’t always quite so neat and tidy.

Winning the Hearts of Stepchildren

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to think that if you love someone, you’ll likely love their children, too. The problem is that kids don’t always welcome a new stepparent into their lives quickly or willingly; some need quite a bit of time to develop affectionate feelings for their parent’s partner. Because the children may express hesitancy to accept a stepparent, it can be hard for the two generations to bond in the beginning. As long as stepparents are patient and are willing to continue making the effort to build relationships with their step-kids, though, they are likely to be successful; they just can’t expect too much too soon.

Roses, Romance, and Reality

Newlyweds have oodles of time to spend sharing candlelit dinners and taking romantic evening strolls, or at least, those who do not have children at home might. Stepparents often spend the evenings of the first year of their marriages attending school events and reading bedtime stories, and though these activities are enjoyable, they aren’t necessarily the stuff they make movies about.

Ideally, all couples would go into their marriages with realistic expectations, but it can be especially important for those who are taking on the roles of spouse and parent at the same time, so that they can avoid feeling letdown later. For those who take on the role of stepparent without ever having had children of their own, the realities of parenting can be quite different from what might have been anticipated.

It helps a great deal if a stepparent has been given ample time to get to know the children before saying their vows, allowing both generations to grow comfortable with one another and establish a good rapport. The disappointment that can result from realising that reality doesn’t meet expectations can be minimised with a little forethought.

Happily Ever After

Everyone wants the fairytale ending, with happy people walking hand in hand into the sunset, and the reality of a happy stepfamily can be had. Couples need to communicate their needs clearly and listen when others offer their input, deal respectfully with the children and other family members, and above all, remember that with effort, any issues that come up can be handled in such a way as to bring people closer, rather than divide them.

Everyone has hopes for themselves and their families, but since no one can predict with certainty what the future will hold, it’s wise to keep an open mind and have a willingness to rewrite plans as we go along. Part of the pleasure of living comes from considering the possibilities, but even greater joy is had by letting go of our expectations and simply enjoying the ride.

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I have been remarried now for 2 years and it has been terrible right from the beginning.My husband has (2) biological kids from a previous marriage and (1) stepchild from his first marriage.The first child who lives in another state is a problem and always has them.Calls all the time with drama.His other two kids are in college and do nothing to contribute to the house.They DO NOT CLEAN and are not expected to.My husband says, the only wants them to go to school and that's it.He cleans their room when they leave from a weekend stay over and they have never even cleaned the kitchen, a plate or swept.I am in shock.My kids do clean and contribute with a many things but my husband complains and never thanks them for a thing.When we were dating he always placed his kids on the pedestal, that they were great but all I have seen is lazy and disrespectful.In my two years, I have never even seen them get their Dad a Fathers Day card or even a little $1 gift.NOTHING!I am in shock at what I am involved and living with but more importantly I can stand to be around them.I have no clue what to do.
alittleoff - 8-Jun-17 @ 12:49 AM
I have been remarried now for 2 years and it has been terrible right from the beginning.My husband has (2) biological kids from a previous marriage and (1) stepchild from his first marriage.The first child who lives in another state is a problem and always has them.Calls all the time with drama.His other two kids are in college and do nothing to contribute to the house.They DO NOT CLEAN and are not expected to.My husband says, the only wants them to go to school and that's it.He cleans their room when they leave from a weekend stay over and they have never even cleaned the kitchen, a plate or swept.I am in shock.My kids do clean and contribute with a many things but my husband complains and never thanks them for a thing.When we were dating he always placed his kids on the pedestal, that they were great but all I have seen is lazy and disrespectful.In my two years, I have never even seen them get their Dad a Fathers Day card or even a little $1 gift.NOTHING!I am in shock at what I am involved and living with but more importantly I can stand to be around them.I have no clue what to do.
alittleoff - 5-Jun-17 @ 10:00 PM
Frustrated stepmom - Your Question:
My husband and I got together when my sd was 3 and my ss was 7 and I took on the responsibility when their mother wanted little to nothing to do with them. Typical of a narcissistic ex wife she made the first years of our marriage miserable and it got worse when she found out my sd started calling me mom she then realized she had kids. Since then she has remarried and had more kids but has now turned my st and ss now 17 and 13 against us and is always texting rude text messages to my husband about how a poor excuse of a father he is and how the kids dont ever want to come back because they hate me. The kids have come to tell us they want to stay at their mothers because they have no rules no responsabilities and no co sequenses for their actions tbey do as they want when they want they spend little to no time with her and we on the other hand do not allow them to sleep overs, they have chores they have responsabilities and time spent is as a family since we only get them on the weekend after all these years with the way they act now I have come to feel resentment towards my step kids, I have stopped trying and we simply just coexist when they come over.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. It may be that your step-kids are acting as typical teenagers and rebelling against what they know. Our 'teenager' articles may help you, see link here. The fact that you have been in their lives for so long holds for a lot and they may be rebelling now, but they may also see the error of their ways in years to come. Any parent, step or otherwise has to deal with such teenage issues, I can only advise you to hang on in there until as every teeneager does; they come out the other side.
BeingAStepParent - 25-Aug-16 @ 11:09 AM
My husband and I got together when my sd was 3 and my ss was 7 and I took on the responsibility when their mother wanted little to nothing to do with them. Typical of a narcissistic ex wife she made the first years of our marriage miserable and it got worse when she found out my sd started calling me mom she then realized she had kids. Since then she has remarried and had more kids but has now turned my st and ss now 17 and 13 against us and is always texting rude text messages to my husband about how a poor excuse of a father he is and how the kids dont ever want to come back because they hate me. The kids have come to tell us they want to stay at their mothers because they have no rules no responsabilities and no co sequenses for their actions tbey do as they want when they want they spend little to no time with her and we on the other hand do not allow them to sleep overs, they have chores they have responsabilities and time spent is as a family since we only get them on the weekend after all these years with the way they act now I have come to feel resentment towards my step kids, I have stopped trying and we simply just coexist when they come over.
Frustrated stepmom - 24-Aug-16 @ 3:02 PM
I have a step son who is eight years old. He is verbally, mentally, and physically abusivd to me, and my daughter. My daughter is 12. He does not bother my boys quite as much but will say rude, mean things to them. We have had him in our home for two full years and it seems like things have not gotten better. He is hard to handle. Very manipulative and does most out of sight and ear shot of his father. His father makes excuses for him non stop. He has no remorse for anything he does. He laughs at things he shouldn't.
Rigitoni - 18-Aug-16 @ 10:35 PM
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