As the bio-mom to an 18 & 19 year old, I can tell you from first hand I can spot manipulation a mile away – teenagers are known for it. And as parents, we need to learn from it and realize that no matter what, our kids will try it – eventually, somehow, someway.
My two step-daughters are 13 & 15, now, their father (my husband) would have you think that they are pretty close to perfect. Don’t all parents feel that way about their kids? We want to think the best of them, we want them to SHINE so all others to see how great they are. (which then shows everyone how great WE are right?) But reality sinks in and we realize that no one is PERFECT! (except Mary and Jesus) The older our kids get, the more we come to realize that they are far from perfect. And really…who wants the pressure of having to be perfect all the time? Teens have enough pressure!
The hardest thing for me to watch is when one of my step-daughters is manipulating their Father. “Really Dad, I talked to my teacher about that missing assignment. They said they lost it and I can’t make it up, there is nothing I can do about it.” Ok…I have heard that before from my own kids, didn’t buy it then, don’t buy it now. Reality – we are too lazy to do the assignment, or it was too much work and I don’t feel like doing it. But, when you don’t follow through on what your kids say, then there is no accountability to them. They can say whatever they want and get away with it, because no one checks on whether or not they are telling the truth.
Every kids lies – EVERY KID! At some point, some way, that is one thing I know for sure. I even had my daughter’s boyfriend tell me he never lied to his parents – LIAR!
I take my step parenting job seriously. God gave kids 2 parents for a reason – because it takes 2 to do a good job! So, it is my job to help my husband see the manipulation and help him deal with it – find consequences to it. If all of these kids that live in our house were both of ours, that would be the deal, we would do this together. Well, how is step parenting different? I still need to help him and Lord knows I need him to help me! That is why God put us together right?
Something else to ponder…the first real blended family was Mary, Joseph and Jesus – think about it!
Kay Berg is a bio mom of two children. Annie is 19, and Brad is 18. She is also step-mom to Bethany, 15, and Meagan 13. She has been married to her husband, Rod for almost 6 years. She is the Director of Religious Education, and Youth Minister at a Catholic church in Northern Wisconsin. Kay and Rod are learning how to blend their family on a daily basis, sometimes it goes well and sometimes not. But each day is a new day to learn and grow.