For the majority of children, growing up with a strong sense of personal worth and pride is difficult, even in the most supportive and loving family. As they grow, the values we, as parents, try to instill are challenged by day-to-day pressures and outside influences.
Six years ago I became a step parent. Already having two children of my own, I was confident about taking on another. I was excited to include this funny, talented, well-behaved child into my life. In reality, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
Children often enter a stepfamily situation still processing the loss and grief of their first family. Parents may view the process as a merger, but to children it’s more like a hostile takeover where they have little choice. For this new family to work, an understanding of and compassion for the kinds of feelings children experience is a crucial starting point.
More than a decade ago, a television character named Murphy Brown, a single career woman, decided to have and keep a baby. This hardly seems like news today, but at the time it was a scandal. Even the then-Vice-President of the United States made public statements about what a horrid message it was to send to people. Single women should not be raising children - any fool knew that.
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