NOTE: Due to its timeless nature, this article from the Ohio Family Law Blog is being republished from May 10, 2008.
Naturally Mother’s Day is a special day for families and especially for mothers. In this day and age however, there are often multiple females who may play a key role in a child’s life. Stepmothers and grandmothers raising their grandchildren as their own are now quite the norm. These women need to be recognized on Mother’s Day.
Stepmothers are often portrayed in a negative light. It is important to look at all sides, as a step mom often has to walk the tight rope. She has to carefully navigate the road so that she is an integral part of her new child or children’s lives, while still respecting the child’s need to honor and love their own mother. Grandmothers raising grandchildren as their own child has been an increasing occurrence in our society. Across the United States, more than 6 million children are being raised in households headed by grandparents and other relatives. In my opinion they should be nominated as saints! In addition to a child’s natural mother, a stepmother or a primary care giving grandmother can play a pivotal role in a child’s life.
Kate Fogerty has written extensively about the challenges of blending families. In a piece she wrote a number of years ago, Kate offered these valuable tips for new stepparents:
- Look for the positive things about each child.
- Support the discipline practices of the biological parent.
- Avoid assuming the role of a strict disciplinarian – rather, act as a guide or friend depending on the given situation.
- Be prepared for children to express conflicting loyalties.
- Listen to children with your full attention.
- Don’t use unkind words; instead use positive communication and affirmation.
- Don’t expect too much at once; do not expect instant love.
- Don’t get discouraged. Patience is the key!
I hope that all of you Mom’s and Step Mom’s and Grandmothers have a wonderful Mother’s Day! You deserve special recognition for all that you do! Raising children is the most important work as there is on the face of the earth!
To read more of Kate Fogerty’s suggestions, click here.
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Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.