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Normal

 

by Terri Smith

 

            Knowing that Sharon had read When Your Parent Remarries Late in Life and was recommending it to others, I called Sharon on the phone and introduced myself as the author. “Thank you for writing the book,” she said. “I learned that my children’s behavior is normal.” Sharon proceeded to tell me how relationships with her children improved after she sent them a copy of the book.

            While interviewing adult children and remarried parents for my book, I learned what Sharon did. My dad’s behavior was typical of men, his wife’s behavior was normal for women, and my reactions were common for adult children. I had tried hard to be civil, yet I know that at times my behavior and words must have offended as well. My new understanding helped me to realize that I wasn’t being singled out to exclude from the family or targeted to offend. Upon applying the lessons I learned from others, my attitude improved as did my relationship with my dad and his wife. 

            Misunderstandings occur frequently when we assume that our parent or stepparent doesn’t care about our feelings, or when we misjudge the intentions of a child or stepchild. Learning that most men are slow to share social activities or even engagements with their children, that women remodel their husband’s house to make it their home, or that adult children struggle emotionally when mom or dad remarries helps us to overlook assumed unkindnesses and to forgive offenses.

            At the beginning of this new year, take time to understand your parent/stepparent’s behavior or your adult child/stepchild’s reactions. Resolve to do something that will improve your relationships today and tomorrow.

 

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Terri P. Smith is author of When Your Parent Remarries Late in Life which is useful for both adult stepchildren and adult stepparents.

 

 

 
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