When your step-child is worried about their 'worlds colliding'

Children who are a part of two families that don’t ever collide, either on purpose or by accident, can find this emotionally difficult. When a crossover could be the case these children can show apprehension.

My stepdaughter had an appointment at the dentist last week and I was dropping her off.
Her aunt, whom I have never met, was going to be there to take her to the actual appointment and then back to her mum’s. My stepdaughter was visibly nervous about it, as this was one of the very rare occasions when her “two worlds” would collide.
I was previously due to drive her, which would mean dropping her outside while she jumped out of the car and I drove away, but as my day had got busier I chose public transport. This meant I would be walking her to the appointment.
Her feelings of apprehension when she realised we were not driving were almost instant. We travelled on the train together and chatted normally. When we got to her stop she suggested rather than me leaving the station she could walk to the appointment herself.
I assured her it was fine and that I would prefer to know she got there safely before I went about my day. It was a good job I did because when we walked out of the station she was unsure of which way to go!
I walked with her to the appointment and on seeing her aunt I greeted her no differently than I would anyone else I was willing to leave any of my children with, step or biological. My stepdaughter gave me a hug and we parted, looking forward to seeing each other the following day. 
I have subsequently spoken to my stepdaughter about the apprehension she felt. I reassured her that there was no need, which she was reassured about having now experienced this first hand. But this got me thinking about the feelings that children who are part of two families can at times feel. 
If you believe all you read it would appear that the stigma of divorce is finally lifting. People are realising they do not actually have to be part of a couple to have a successful, happy life. Also, people are realising that others do not actually care whether you are divorced or not. Life happens.
It is interesting to see the attitudes of the next generation who themselves have divorced parents or have friends with divorced parents. Being a part of two families is simply the norm for many children now. They do not feel any stigma, which is a good thing. 
There are some situations, however, where children who are a part of two families that don’t ever collide, either on purpose or by accident, can find this emotionally difficult. When a crossover could be the case these children can show apprehension, which is understandable.
There is certainly an element of sadness that a child should feel this way. They are simply a part of two families through no fault of their own yet they are trying to deal with all of the adults involved and manage the feelings of others, as well as their own. In many of the situations I have come across it does not need to be like this. 
Children can show this apprehension by saying they feel sick, have a headache or simply through anxiety. As a parent, biological, step, foster or other, you should be aware of this. Some children may feel they are torn between both families especially if there is no proper communications between the adults. Some children don’t have 1 parent who cares for them let alone, 2, 3 or in some cases 4 when both divorced parents have new partners.
So if you are lucky enough to have more people who truly care and look out for your child, and also, more importantly, help to parent them, you should have a relationship with these adults. Put aside your own feelings and make the situation an easier, healthier and happier one for the child to be brought up in. This will also help you to deal with the situation better. 
So take a good long honest look at your situation and realise the benefits of working together in parenting your child. Not all stepparents are hands on so if you have some that are you are lucky. 
Acknowledge any anxiety or apprehension in your child and work together to eliminate any conflict between the adults in order to guide your child through life with no anxiety. Their world is hard enough as it is. 
Written by Kathryn Maile. Originally from Ireland, Kathryn moved to London over 20 years ago and worked in the Finance Industry in the City. She became a Stepmum in 2006 to three lovely children and became a mum to a wonderful son in 2012. The children adore each other which is just wonderful to see and experience. Read more on mystepmumandme.co.uk.

Kathryn Maile

Kathryn Maile is stepmum to three children and mum to one of her own. She will happily share more 'food for thought' on step-parenting and the challenges faced throughout in her blog.

Read more by Kathryn
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