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  • Writer's pictureKate

"Well you're not my mum..."

You asked us:

We have become a blended family and I’m struggling with the ‘You’re not my mum’ comments. I’m not their mum but I am the adult and we are living together so I feel like I deserve to have some respect.

Here’s what Amity has to say:

This is a sticky one isn’t it, when we feel disrespected we also feel unappreciated and taken for granted too. Those are not the ingredients for a happy family life. Family life doesn’t always need to be happy but ‘ok’ is reasonable to aim for we think. Respect and good communication are what’s needed. You need to be clear with your partner where your boundaries lie and what pushes your buttons, for example, talking to your partner about how if feels for you when your step child expects you to take them here there and everywhere but isn’t prepared to show gratitude because their attitude is…well that’s what parents do. But then throw the ‘you’re not my mum’ one liner at you when you ask them to tidy their room!

What might make it worse:

  • If you just go for, ‘I’m the adult and you have to respect me’

  • If you don’t try to understand what the child’s struggle might be

  • Not showing respect for the rules/wishes of the parent who is not resident in your home

  • Not being open with your partner about what support you need from them

  • Getting into blaming matches, who behaves the worst kind of scenarios!

What might make it better:

  • Showing empathy, being compassionate, showing the kindness you’d like the children in your home to learn from

  • Keep honest dialogue open with your partner about how you are feeling and how you are both dealing with parenting the children together

  • Try to remember that they are just a child, they are trying to figure things out too. You don’t need to pull rank, but nurture trust. Try to talk to them about your feelings and theirs, be honest about the things you are struggling to adjust to as well, they will really appreciate your openness.

  • Be clear about what your boundaries and expectations are in a calm and reasonable way and be open to discussion and others thoughts.

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