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How to Break the "Evil Stepmother Syndrome"

Aug 29, 2008
Do you remember all those fairy tales that you heard when you were younger that that dealt with a wicked stepmother? Stepmothers have always gotten a bad review from storytellers and history alike.

In the fairy tales, Cinderella's stepmother made her clean the house and act like a servant. Snow White's stepmother literally tried to kill her. Unfortunately, these stories were a reflection of the times long ago when they were first told. In the past, many women died in childbirth and most children were raised by their father's second or even third wife. In the world of the powerful and wealthy, this second wife looked after the interests of her own children and was much less concerned about her stepchildren.

This was especially true when large inheritances were involved. A man's eldest son usually inherited the father's possessions. While this son may have felt obliged to take care of his full-blooded brothers and sisters, this loyalty did not always extend to the children of his father's second marriage. Oftentimes, these youngsters received little or nothing at all.

Thus, many second wives exerted as much authority as they could to ensure that their husbands provided monetary allowances to their children as well. Other women went as far as to persuade their husbands to eliminate the children of the first marriage from their will, ensuring that their children inherited everything.

When thrones were at stake, women of second marriages could be ruthless. In ancient times, it was not unusual for a second wife to kill the children of her predecessor to gain the throne for her own offspring. Others imprisoned or exiled these rightful heirs to remove them from the scene.

In today's society, the picture of the evil stepmother still exists. Many children resent the presence of a new woman in their father's life. Others display the hostility that is felt by their own mother towards this intruder. In many cases, a new stepmother is seen as an obstacle towards the reconciliation of the children's mother and father, although this reunion is often based on unrealistic dreams.

If you are a new stepmother, you should expect not to be particularly popular with your stepchildren. You will need to understand the children's feelings and allow them to adjust to you at their own pace instead o pushing the issue.
If the children's resentment is based on hostility from your husband's first spouse, he should discuss it with her so that they can reach some kind of agreement that will be beneficial for everyone concerned. It is probably not a good idea for you to speak to her, as you are not her favorite person, either.

If the hostility is a result of the children's dreams of a parental reconciliation, your husband and his first spouse should talk to them and explain the impossibility of this scenario. It is more effective if the children hear this naked truth from both parents which will make them more likely to believe it.

Stepchildren can be difficult to deal with at first. By exerting a little effort and a lot of patience you may find that you can develop a close and loving relationship with these youngsters.
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Find helpful and creative ideas for parents and grandparents while you shop our affordable kids furniture. For more information, visit this article on wooden toy boxes.
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