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    17 May 2015

    Welcoming the ‘New’ Parent

    Gayatri Aptekar
    Guest Contributor, 
    WOM Score 19
    I am from Thane, India. Hello Mommies! I am a storyteller, writer, blogger and therapist. I began to explore my creative side after the birth of my daughter. My belief in the power of Dreams led me to quit my corporate career as a Research Associate to take the road less travelled.. A Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming, I now work with children to accelerate their learning, getting them into peak performance states and coaching them to deal with the everyday challenges. I\\\'m passionate about becoming a better parent and individual. I blog about mental health challenges in women and children and how we can create more awareness about the same. My blog, Outside the Kitchen Window is my virtual space where I share my experiences on parenting and relationships. Apart from these creative adventures, I enjoy reading, dancing, cooking, sketching and photography.
    I was 11 years old when my Dad informed me and my elder sister that he was getting remarried. He didn’t ask, but informed us about his remarriage. It was such an important decision that my dad took, but he chose not to include us in this. I felt something very strange when he told me this, but struggled to give this feeling a name. Now when I look back I realise that, I was encompassed by the feelings of insecurity. I was scared to allow a stranger in my little nest.


    However my step-mom, whom I fondly call as ‘Chithi’, made the transition smooth. She handled the tricky situations so well that my respect for her kept increasing. Over the years many friends asked me how I could adjust so well with my step-mom and I have just one answer, “We both worked together to make the relationship work”

    Death or divorce need not stop you from rebuilding your life and embracing love. However when you decide to move on and get into a new relationship, ensure that you involve your child n the decision making process. Here are few ways you and your child can blend into the new family easily.

    1. Your child’s opinion matters-  You maybe dating someone for a long time and no matter how comfortable your child is with this new person, asking your child’s opinion is highly important. When you ask your child, they feel that their opinion matters and in turn makes them feel more secure and loved.
    2. New parent-child time- If your child accepts the new relationship then take a step forward and allow the new parent and your child to spend some time together. Let them know each other, their likes, dislikes and their little secrets. This will help them bond better. Do this before the wedding to ensure smooth transition.
    3. Encourage your child to share their feelings- When my dad got remarried, some of my friends asked ridiculous questions and I struggled to answer them. I didn’t know whom to approach for the answers. It was a tough phase where my emotions were not under my control. Encouraging your child to express his/or her feelings allows them the freedom to explore and accept the new relationship.
    4. Spend some time with your biological child- You may be busy with your new house and responsibilities, however the one thing you should do often is spend time with your biological child. If you are struggling to find time, then maybe you can drop them to school one day, eat breakfast with them, watch their favourite TV show with them , take them for a movie or shopping. Use this time to communicate and connect.
    5. The connecting dot- As a biological parent, you are the connecting dot between your new spouse and your child. There may be times when you child may feel left out or unloved and that is a natural behaviour. Give the child some time to accept the new changes. Learn to step into the shoes of your partner and child to shift perceptions and take resourceful decisions.
    6. Love- No matter what the challenge, Love conquers everything. My step-mom showered me with unconditional love and it is the love that has helped our relationship to blossom over the years.
      Accepting a new parent is equally challenging for a child as it is for an adult, but if you work as a team and communicate effectively, the new relationship can bring more joy, love and peace in your life.
      That's me and my 'Chithi'. What are some of the challenges you think a step-parent can face and how can they handle them efficiently. Feel free to begin the discussion in the comments, now.
      Love and Gratitude,
      Happy Mommying!


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    Comments (3)

    profile pic
    Aparna Imam
    In a step parent, step child relationship I personally think it is the step parent who can make or break the situation. Being older and wiser, if the step parent handles each situation in a mature, kind and gentle manner with abundance patience the relationship prospers and develops into something beautiful. I say this because if a child sees nothing but gentleness and kindness at every stage, it becomes so easy for a child to embrace the new parent as her/his own. And I say this out of experience. I was 8 when my mom died. 10 when my dad remarried. 1 month after I turned 18 I walked out of my fathers home. I guess I need not say more....
    profile pic
    Gayatri Aptekar
    Thank you so much for reading this post which is close to my heart. Tilottama its again a stereotype that our society has formed and we have to break it. Today when I look at my dad and mom living happily and enjoying their life, I feel at peace. I know they both are there for each other and that brings contentment to my heart :)
    profile pic
    Tilottama Chatterjee
    This is a new and refreshing take Gayatri - too much is said and done about step parents, and I think this is rooted in childhood stories, where there was always an evil step mother wreaking havoc - Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty?!! Having said that, I think it's easy to pass judgment - I know for a fact that as much as I may think of myself as open minded, if my mum chose to remarry, given that it's been 3 and a half years since my father passed away, I would be shattered. It's a difficult place to be in, and I have much respect for both you and your 'Chithi' in handling it so gracefully!
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