No Shortcuts in Step-Family Dynamics

Recently I have been in the middle of setting a lot of new technology for my business.

Recently I have sworn a lot and cried more than usual.

Those two things are directly linked.

The big problem, as I eventually discovered, was that I wasn’t following the steps I needed to in order to achieve my goal. I thought I could just wing my way through. I thought I knew what the different bits of the site did. I thought wrong.

It’s been very hard to have to go back to basics, to start right from the very beginning.

I’m not going to lie. I don’t like it!

I’m older now, I know a little about a lot of things, and usually this knowledge is enough for me to fumble my way through things.

This time it was not.

So I started at the beginning. I watched YouTube video after YouTube video. I had to go back many times and rewatch, because I had zoned out or played with my phone, or otherwise disengaged. I’m not used to have to pay that much attention to get the gist of what I am watching. It’s a source of great amusement to my family that I listen to movies while I play games on my phone. This time I needed to really pay attention and focus on what was being offered and taught.

Coming into a new family dynamic can be a similar experience to learning a new skill.

We think we know what we need to know. I mean it’s family, right?!? How hard can it be?

Turns out, it can be very hard. It can take us to the point of swearing a lot and crying more than usual. It can be very humbling to discover there are many things we didn’t know we didn’t know.

There are some statistics floating about that state it takes about 5 to 7 years for a step-family to integrate and form a new, functioning family unit.

It will surprise none of you who have read this far that I thought I could take short cuts and make it happen a lot faster.

Spoiler alert: it did not.

No amount of me deciding it would be different made it happen.

There were no shortcuts.

People need time to adjust. People need time to grieve for what they have lost. Step-families are founded on loss of another family unit. It takes time for people to get to know each other and find common ground, then appreciation, and finally sometimes even love.

And just like I am having to accept when it comes to grappling with unfamiliar technology, maybe there might be some new learning and doing involved to get to a place of it all functioning well…there is also some new learning and doing involved in establishing a new family culture that works. Sometimes we need to bring in some expert help, sometimes we need to reach out to a support group. Sometimes we just need to accept that things are not going to happen on our arbitrary timeline.

Is it time for you to reframe your expectations about how your step-family is evolving? Is it time to reach out for some professional help?

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