Being a parent is hard. Being a step-parent is even harder. When relationships break down because of an alcohol problem, many people go on to be a step-parent. In this episode, Chip and Veronica discuss the challenges and pitfalls.
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With rising divorce rates, step-parenting is becoming a much more common scenario.
It’s also one that both Chip and I have experience with, although on different ends of the spectrum.
When I married my husband, I became stepmother to his two adult children. As an only child to a single mother, the prospect of having a new big family was exciting for me. Since then, I feel very fortunate to say we’ve become a wonderful blended family.
First off, I give complete credit to how my step-children were parented by their mother and father. By the time I entered the picture, the divorce was already done and dealt with and I joined an amicable situation where the children were already well-adjusted adults.
From my end, by the time I met my step-children, I was already in a good place in my recovery where I wasn’t triggered by my husband’s close relationship with his kids.
For Chip, it was a much more difficult situation.
As a father of two, Chip’s wife joined his family as a stepmother.
His wife became jealous of his son who was around four or five at the time and Chip reacted to that friction by taking on a peacemaker role.
Looking back at the effect it had on his son, he wishes he would have done things differently.
These step-parent situations are fraught with a lot of very powerful emotions. – Chip Somers
Step-parenting is an extremely difficult landscape to navigate with many different complications and triggers along the way.
Between the separation itself, the new dynamic with the step-parent, and the ongoing interactions between the separated parents, there are a lot of places for anger and bitterness to grow and that’s what ends up damaging the children the most.
As the parent or step-parent, the burden is on you to figure out how to navigate your children’s needs versus your partner’s needs.
When we look at the dynamics of falling in love, being a single parent, and also adding in being in recovery on top of that, there are so many layers to work through.
The main message we have for you is, whether you’re in a relationship or want to be in a relationship, the first step is to do that deeper work around emotional sobriety and attachment issues.
That’s how you’ll arm yourself so you’ll be in a good state to be in a relationship with someone and successfully manage to parent as well.
The deeper emotional work that we talk about all the time doesn’t change. It’s in every kind of situation but it’s especially important when kids are involved.
If we go into these situations willing to put in the work and with awareness, then we have a fighting chance of making it work.
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