Trying a New Parental Style with a Step-Child

Part of my life, now, is being a parent. Finding some meaning in being a mother is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Before I had my daughter, I hadn’t reflected on exactly how much impact I can have on another person’s life. I hadn’t even really taken that into consideration when I married my husband and became a step-mother. I figured I could just be another figure in my stepdaughter’s life and that I wouldn’t really have that much impact. Until I heard my half-brother tell me about the impact my mom had on his life. I won’t go into details about my brother’s story because it’s not mine to tell but, from what I know, he had very few positive role models in his life and, although my mom has her flaws, she made a positive impact on him. I want to be a positive impact on both of my children.

I have been reading about attachment parenting, gentle parenting, and evolutionary parenting (from what I gather, they’re pretty much all the same thing with a different name attached) and I have been trying to learn about these different parenting styles because they differ so much from what I ever knew of being a parent. These new styles emphasize attachment, being responsive to your child’s emotional needs, empathy, allowing a child’s independence to form without pushing independence, viewing your child as a being separate from yourself, etc. I have been practicing these things as much as I can with my 8 month old, but it is difficult to follow these styles with my step-daughter. I have grown accustomed to “parenting” by controlling and it is hard to break free of that mindset. I don’t want to be one of those “because I said so” parents. I don’t want to stick to my guns because of a sense of pride or because I’ll feel like she got one over on me if I allow something that I have no reason to say “no” to anyway. I’m learning. And I’m hoping that, by making an effort to change the way I approach her, that I will make a positive impact on her life. I hope that I might make a lasting impression on her and how she raises her children when she becomes a mother.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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