The Stepfamily Definition of Stupidity

stepfamily, stepchildren, stepmother, stepmom, remarriage
What If There Was a Beautiful Stepfamily and You Couldn’t See It?

They say that the definition of stupidity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.  If we were to be honest with ourselves, do we do the same things?  Do we avoid the hard work associated with change?  Do we want to avoid any vulnerability to our stepfamily members? Do we just want things to be the way we think it should be rather than seek to understand?

As I was thinking these thoughts, I happened to get an email/blog post from Seth Godin.  Seth is a successful entrepreneur, author, marketer and speaker.  Although many of his writings are directed towards business people, the message still holds.

The Hard Work of Understanding by Seth Godin

Sometimes, we’re so eager to have an opinion that we skip the step of working to understand. Why is it the way it is? Why do they believe what they believe?
We skip reading the whole thing, because it’s easier to jump to what we assume the writer meant.
We skip engaging with customers and stakeholders because it’s quicker to assert we know what they want.
We skip doing the math, examining the footnotes, recreating the experiment, because it might not turn out the way we need it to.
We better hurry, because the firstest, loudest, angriest opinion might sway the crowd.
And of course, it’s so much easier now, because we all own our own media companies.

from Seth Godin

Seth’s message applies to our stepfamilies as well.  It is way easier to bitch about the bio Mom than to take the time to try to understand her.  It is way easier to gossip than to engage with her.  It is way easier to assume that we understand what is happening than to recognize that our information sources may not be reliable, eg. our partners, community gossip, even stepchildren.  I would even suggest that we may be afraid to understand and hear the truth because it “might not turn out the way we need it to”.  When Seth mentions above that we are all media companies, he is referring to our social media lives.  Now, we really have an excuse to not take the time to get to know anyone.  We can just tweet our opinions or post it on Facebook.  Are someone’s Facebook posts a window into their soul?

Why not take that scary step and truly spend the time to understand your family members.  Ask why.  Why are the kids so nasty?  Why? Why? Why?  Go deep and take real time to get to know them.  Relationships were not built in a day or in a year.  Give people time to grow, adjust and develop.  All in their own time.  Fortunately or unfortunately.



3 Responses to The Stepfamily Definition of Stupidity

  1. This is such a thought-provoking piece. It is so difficult to accept that the “bio” might be a good person, that the child’s bad behaviors might not be a reflection of that particular biological parent. I think, in this regard, some of us are probably failing to separate this person from your significant other’s ex.

  2. What if we do understand the bio parent….and time lapsed events events that led us here? So you have done all you can, talked and talked to your stepchild. Yet still, they don’t have a clue! You give them every explanation and give them a method of reasoning. Yet, they don’t understand. They hate you at this point because in their mind you are the bad guy. You have talked so much sence in them that they are convinced that you are against them. What then???? I am at that point to where I need some guidance, I have not been here before and yet I am ready to give up. Not on them, but myself…..

    • I don’t know how long you have been working at it and I’m also not sure what your want them to understand, but what ever you do – do not give up on yourself or them.

      Sometimes letting them see who you are through example is better than telling them. We all can hear, but if we don’t see with our own eyes it’s hard to believe. This is true even with adult bounus children (my name for step children.

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