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Parenting an Angry Child in Your Stepfamily

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2022 10:00 pm

Parenting an Angry Child in Your Stepfamily

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 23, 2022 10:00 pm

How do you help a lost or angry child who battles against the family? Ron Deal speaks with psychologist Danny Huerta on troubled kids in a stepfamily.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly

Give yourself grace, but pause and try to notice Papas buttons all over your house and in that'll just remind you, I just I need to look at my child's face and the look in their eyes. I need to visit their city. I can't just be focused on my own city. I gotta go to their city and see what's gonna welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most kind and Wilson and Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live or on our family life. This is family life today. I can imagine what my stepmom was by thinking to me when you know she married my dad and now she has a son yeah you know me and I was not happy you were not happy with Abby about the arrangement. She was an incredible woman but you know initially I didn't want her in my life. And so it became a difficult transition for all of us so I may not.

I think that's pretty common for most blended families and you know what to talk about that today we got Ron deal with this in the studio. Ron is the director family life blended Ron welcome the family of today. It's always great to be back with you guys. Thanks for having me yeah and so you know what you just heard me say is pretty common. I know you talk about this on your family life blended podcast which is part of the family life network. A podcast is a pretty common absolutely. It is been figuring out how you work together and agree sometimes you disagree. That was the topic of conversation that I had with Danny worked for the family life blended podcast and you know one of the things I'm thinking about is you may not be part of a blended family least in your home but you may be connected to somebody in your extended family who is in so listen for them for how you can encourage them is the other thing the principles that we talked about with Danny really apply to all marriages and families that so many times outside with Danny and I was thinking how Dan and I could use this when our kids were younger. So feel free to apply the principles to your life and your circumstances and so were going to get to listen to your conversation tells little bit about then you know you so Focus on the Family right that's right. Danny is VP of parenting and youth at Focus on the Family. He oversees their initiatives to equip moms and dads with biblical principles for raising healthy, resilient children. He is a bilingual question mentioned licensed clinical social worker. He's a great guy, good friend really enjoyed my time with him.

He and Heather have two children together, and the book that we talked a little bit about is called seven traits of effective parenting. There's parental influences, whether be a grandparent or a coparent in the other household worst new stepparent in the other house when there are people that are influencing this child that's adding confusion to their world and the child is acting out of all that confusion and here we are trying to shape and mold come alongside and deal with consequences from the past from the child's actions are somebody else's actions and I just can feel overwhelming at times just right off the batů Deal with that when what is apparent or stepparent do with that overwhelming feeling you you want to step back and figure out the real estate that you actually in that this farce emotionally and and in decisions that you make that that is so important to realize for use this analogy Ron over and over again in my practice and its analogy of cities we may talk about that a little later again.

But it's the idea that her mom is her own city and a dad is her own city and they been built over time.

Each one has no museum their own history, and sometimes we let people into our museum to know our past and sometimes we don't and and sometimes we just don't want to have have anyone know a certain part of the museum and then we've got certain parts of our city that people enter into rough parts.

Maybe fun parts. Maybe some Monday, but just creatively thinking of the and then you have two spouses that over time built highways to one another and influence one another in all sentence cut off at the same time there still influencing the little cities that are called their kids and then a new city comes in and does things differently there cultures different brand-new museum in their coming in and starting to build dirt roads to these kids both ways right is a blended family of Rose and then you had extended family to that other cities that are influencing, it becomes very overwhelming and a lot of times there's disagreement between the two cities that used to be the parents of the original kids and then you have still influence coming behind their and you have a city that's divided, which is the child and so they start to act out in certain ways, and I have here is a story Ron one that's very fresh on my mind from a counseling perspective is so complex, but it it it is a picture of many families in its that mom and dad disagree on what is best for the child so were trying to get a good relationship going for this young man for both parents. Both parents do not like each other, and one parent is the data particular in the situation is texting and saying all kinds of negative things towards the mom with the sun in creating some behaviors that are very much opposed to any type of respect towards the mom and then the child when he's with his mom tries to connect with his mom in a way that's loving and now he's developed all these other personalities fragment the personality re-has different voice in his head. He's he's lost hope in life. He feels like he can't love now because he feels so confused in this situation because what's going on with the parent so owning your own real estate. How can I love my child. Well, what do I have control over and recognizing that my child or my children need me all Lynn loving them and guiding them in a loving way to learn how to love both parents and encouraging if the bridge is out to one of the other major cities. We get to try to repair that. Yes I mean from a biblical perspective that makes perfect sense. You build that and it's healthy for the child. It may feel like you lose a little bit of love from your child and maybe your wanting a control and so you have to figure out your own city. Why are you needing so much of your child's love.

Why is that what's going on in your city that you're trying to repair through your children that you've lost from your spouse potential and that's for you need to go get the help you need and surround yourself with people that can help you repair within your city so you not relying so much of the input on your kids in not able to encourage their connectedness with spouse and other certain situations right rough.

That's yet other spouses in the really bad spot that you don't actually want to curse. I cannot write right that's so good. I was just thinking, there's another application of the bridge analogy if the other major city is the one of the.

The parents maybe it's a former spouse. Maybe it's you parent or stepparent in your own home. Whoever you're married to, and there's been a rift between the two of you get a rebuild that bridge to so that the two of you are more on the same page and not putting the kid to back to your example putting the kid back into a situation where you're manipulating or playing games through the child that's gonna just constantly keep that child in a state of I don't know who to please if 11 mom I come not pleasing data from 11 dad, I'm not please and mom so repairing that mom, dad, connection, or parent stepparent. Whatever the case is seems to me that would be very important. I agree Ron. Otherwise the child city is going to look like awards because you're trying to get at the other parent to let the other parent know how much how much they hurt you or how much you hate what they did and and and the child is one that suffers, and if you going to their city. There's confusion in their buildings are half built there. There's a child that is hurting and and parents can't see that because they're just wanting to get to that other city to attack and so yeah you're right that bridge is key and that his heart yes are okay so I want to pull back for second, I want to chase what you just said the child is hurting Danny one of the things that I hear people do sometimes when they talk about blended families is talk about all the bad news and may throat stats and they just leave the stat sitting there and I gotta tell you, it is if you are a parent or stepparent in that situation you would feel hopeless things like kids and blended family that this is true only preface what I'm about to say to the listener. This is true but working to get underneath about why it's true and that's what's can be important or say things like kids and blended families compared to children in two biological parent homes being raised by their biological parents, kids and blended families have higher rates of aggression and depression, and behavioral problems and do a little more poorly in school academically on the whole, in general, compared to kids growing up in a biological nuclear family. We just leave that there as if to say, this is all kids. This is why blended families are bad, or in a all his judgmental messages that come through that that are inappropriate and wrong because the quality of the relationships in any home single parent home biological home adoptive family home foster family home blended family home.

The quality of relationships at the end of the day has more to do with why we see some of those things in children. It's not the structure of the home that is going to equal when you have a messed up kid right. I think that is a that is an inappropriate use of those stats, but what I think is more important to do is to get underneath and go okay so sometimes kids and blended families have a reason to be a little more depressed than the average teenage kid and it's I think related to the kinds of hurt that they have experienced the kinds of transition that's created some instability in their world and their life a parent whose God is involved or engaged as a result of parental divorce.

For example, and just the sadness and the hurt that comes along with those changes, transitions, unwanted transitions, and so we gotta get inside that I think it's easy for stepparent whose kind of new on the scene to look at their spouses kid going man that you got a messed up child right there knows get underneath it. Like why is that kid hurting what's going on, what's the back story and then what we do with that.

Okay, just reacted at Danny and it does that is at fitting is a good place for us to start. It is, I call those that wasn't supposed to happen. Moments was a design that went think about that wasn't supposed to happen moments. His parents just a regular day. You have reacted in STS and when you have that wasn't supposed to have happened moment that's so big it really creates a big reaction. A child's life when their life is lived off of emotions rather than experience. They don't have much experience to draw from and they assume that life is always going to be this way they think in terms of wonder if my parents let her ever to get back together.

I wish they would get back together. I wonder if my dad still loves me because he's gone. I wonder if my mom still loves me and so they're wondering these things behind the scenes in interpreting life from those questions right in there looking for data right there looking for information to help them with all this interpreting that's going on.

On top of that they have the other pressures and then they they notice the kids. I have things in tact.

They don't naturally compare themselves with kids that have similar situations.

They want that but they usually notice how much better other people's lives are and they unfortunately don't get as much of the bids for connection responded to by the parents. They bid for the connection.

I like a pay attention to me on I'm hurting and out over time they have this helpless feeling that yeah my mom she said I don't want to upset her or my dad.

He's busy. I don't want to bug him and they don't see their motions is that important. So they step back and they start to try to deal with it in her own world and that that wasn't supposed to happen. Moments start to pile up and unfortunately some kids. Rhonda one thing to mention is that suicide rate is also higher and I think anyone hope the size always can be this way and then they that they have about parents.

afterwards, saying i didn't see this coming. whether it be drugs or other things and it's because they were so involved in their own world that they missed what was happening in that child's world listen to a clip from our family life blended podcast with ron deal enron you get something coming up is pretty exciting that you know every year. family puts on the blended and blessed lifestream event. people can attend from around the world. it's live in houston texas. so if you happen to live in that vicinity. would love to have you join us saturday, april 2, 2022 but you can lifestream it from anywhere to your home or to your church.

churches gather people together and lifestream it so that they can experience the day together, worship and praise and talking about the practicalities of blended family living.

by the way, the event is lifestream in the spanish again this year.

i'm so excited about that.

so literally around the world. people will be tuning in. you know, david, and it's new every year and we will ask me.

so is it same as last not a new theme new speakers.

new subject matter, and you know were try to give people practical information to strengthen their blended family.

much like you were doing in this conversation with danny, ryan, dave and i had the honor of being at a blended and blessed conference and i have to tell you we were so impressed not only by the speaker. the communicator is a authenticity, but the practicality and how you guys make this doable in our homes and if you want to sign up for that. you can go to family life today. bids for connection for somebody who's not familiar with that terminology explained that a little bit yeah a bit for connection is is is really what it sounds like somebody bidding for connection with you wanting a connection point with you so can be a smile that could be a bit for connection, it could be a wave, it can be a tug, and our new daughter 13.

she has adhd and some other things going on and show, just stare at you, that's a bit for connection like i am here. can you potentially suck so have to literally stop look at her. hey, what you need for me right. i'd love to meet that if i can or hey can you give me two minutes. i need to finish this and then i'll be all in with you. i know you want to connect you want to talk about something clearly and so let's talk interest apparent. being aware enough, but you know i've noticed a lot of parents lose appetite.

they are trying to navigate a job, a new job and many hours of work. they're tired there exhausted, then they have the emotional reality of the other spouse potentially doing some things and then trying to connect with new kids and new spouse and it's so much that they said i just i miss those bits for connection.

my child is giving me these hits and i miss them and so for you. it's give yourself grace, but pause and try to notice papas buttons all of your house and and that'll just remind you, i just i need to look at my child's face. i need to look in their eyes. i need to visit their city. i can't just be focused on my own city. i got a go to their city and see what's gonna driving vibrant and waving at the city is not the same as entering the city by going into the park and sitting down to go on a what's gonna and it connected with that. no, that's so good and i think the other side of this. the parents need to understand is that in the midst of the confusion and transition and change kids often in my clinical experience and i'm curious what yours as well. kids of all ages, young, old teenagers, even adults are recognize that mom's under a lot of pressure moms trying to figure stuff out mom's guest if it were covert, still in the air. mom trying to figure how to be a stepmom to my stepsiblings. now i don't want to burden her. i want to bother her or concerned that she's already irritated with me.

i don't make it worse.

so i don't really make overt easy to understand bids for connection, i either do nothing and hide it and just get isolated and feel more alone or i do a bid for connection in anger something irritating. do you see that in the can you work with what you are acting out. yeah, i mean it can be in school acting out that they don't know how to handle the fact that they're not able to bid for connection with somebody that they love and unfortunate. many teens there it's for connection go to other friends and other places. over time, and then a parent laments the fact that they don't have very good connection, 13's, but that's where the bid for connection comes from the parent and you have to be persistent and steadfast, and that not give up because you already experience rejection and spouse yes potentially right.

that's not all blended family that in the case, that's real that the reality that some people are. some spouses are rejected you, mary experiences feels a rejection than years experience it with your teens 14 and then you have to bid for connection putting those fears of rejection aside because your persistent understanding that it's not personal. this child is trying to find connectedness somewhere, instability, and maybe is finding and friendships, which is totally normal. normal developmental stage, but you you can really step in intentionally and have those bits with your child planning some consistent things and over time, your child will will enjoy those. we have to be patient with swelling overseen here is both prevention and intervention prevention for those families that are listing going well really have a kid is acting out, but moving toward your child with seeing their bids for connection, creating opportunities to connect with them even when they don't seem to be asking for is prevention because that is at the end of the day what our kids want most from us.

they just want to sit in the park with them throwing the frisbee being in their city and being a part of them. this is also intervention for families who do have a kid there struggling with. it's always a good idea to move toward that child emotionally, physically.

sometimes they got a stiff arm out the really angry and i do let the end because of something that's happened there's a repair that's needed.

but in general danny would you say to somebody who struggled with each outlook.

always look for the opportunities to move toward yes yes even when there's pushback rejection drug use withdraw when they're bragging about everything that they can brag about their bit then did their own different way and personality.

they're looking and they desire. deep down that pursuits that connection and affirmation.

they're looking for sense of belonging, a sense of competence that i'm good at something and and so just recognize that as a parent i figure out what your own triggers are.

if you feel certain motion towards your child that this connection from figure out where that's coming from and maybe talk with a friend about it, or process that journal about it. your role is to visit that city consistently and go in and ask questions and have curiosity say i wonder what's going on in your thought bubbles unite i'm seeing all these other things what's going on your thought bubbles. i love the cm i can't see him. i have to reline you tell me all about them and i'm sure there are a lot of telling me, and i'd love to hear about that whole thought world. maybe we can meet up at the train station are trains of thought can have a have a meeting somewhere we can have an appointment in and of the train station of our trains of thought we can we can meet up together. i'd love to hear what's going on in your thought world we been listening to ron deal interview danny, which as they talk about this man some really really good stuff in the family blended podcast talked about these bids for connection that our children toss our way. but what keeps parents from hearing the bid and responding yeah you know that last comment he made was really about connecting but it's when we don't hear the bid where we don't connect with our kids there looking for time and energy from us and it happens and sometimes it just happens because i do know were busy in our minds or elsewhere, and in our hearts are good that we just sort of don't hear it but other times it's because were for distracted and i think we all know, one of the biggest distractions these days is technology our phones. there's a new terminology of her techno fear and see you know hey it's a real thing. 65% of moms admit that a device regularly or fairly often interrupts their play or their behavior management fire child. my wife is said that's true in our marriage. i i'm taking my phone. i hate to say it, but for kids the new sibling. they have a little rivalry with is our phone now right and so we just don't hear when they walk in the room and just sort of sit quietly and look at us. that's a bid for connection. we just didn't catch it because we're looking at her phone wouldn't quite understand when they sort of pause around the topic and have some emotion. we didn't actually see the emotion or see the little tear in the corner there i receive them.

you know hear them clearing her throat because were sort of distracted in the something that were involved in this like yeah we've got to discipline ourselves so that we don't miss those little opportunities to connect because here's the thing david and if we repetitively miss those connections are children here a big message of your not important. i have better things to do than listen to be, and be with you be in tuned with you now. that's not a message we want to sent and they're gonna they're going to go somewhere else i could get that they need connection. no go find it somewhere else.

we don't want that. you don't text and drive. i say don't text and parent yeah that's a word right there that above the door in our kitchen really don't text and parent lasting around what we get here tomorrow from daily in our earlier.

he talked about staying in control of ourselves. when we feel disrespected when a child is doing things that really concern us well tomorrow dave is going get very practical about how we actually do that. how do we come down. how do we stand in control. so we respond better.

the transition that can come with navigating not only yourself but also your family through something like blending all of a sudden finding yourself with new spouse. new step kids in a new situation. it can be difficult and danny cortez helped us to understand and navigate that difficult transition was denying that it's difficult at all, but being persistent, being caring, being christlike in these situations is often what goes the farthest distance. we just need to keep looking for opportunities to move towards not only our new spouse. but our new kids as well.

blending families is unique, but it's also a tremendous blessing. i come from a blended family myself and i'm really excited to tell you that the 2022. blended and blessed live stream and live event is coming up this april 2, you can attend both live at houston's first in houston, texas, or you can stream it from anywhere in the world in both english or spanish speaker lineup this year are people like ron deal kathy lipp gayla grace willie and rachel scott for more information about the blended and blessed conference and lifestream event. you can family is the kind of ministry that wants to help you not only in areas like blending, but also in your everyday life what it means to pursue the relationships that matter most. We hear from you regularly about how important it is for resources like these conversations like these that help all of us think wisely, biblically and compassionately on subjects like blending we just want to say thank you to the listeners who make these kinds of conversations possible for all of us.

Those of you who are regular partners who donate monthly to support family life to a and for those of you just make an occasional contribution. Every donation we receive helps extend the reach of this ministry, making it possible for us to regularly interact with more people more often around important subjects like this you can go to our website. Family life to to make a donation of any amount and when you do. We love to send you a copy of the power to bless as a way to say thank you for your donation to this ministry the power to bless shows you how to craft a positive, faith filled blessing to the people closest to you in life and even perfect strangers.

We as God's children are blessed in order to be a blessing. So again, if you head over to family life to and make a donation of any amount. We will send you a copy of the power to bless as a thank you or you can give us a call at 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life, and then the word today, we look forward to hearing from you. If this content today or any of the family life programs have been helpful for you. We love you to share today's podcast with a friend or family member, and wherever you get your podcast you can really advance the gospel effort of what were doing in this ministry. If you scroll down and rate and review us tomorrow to hear more from Danny Square to, as he points us to the fact that the Holy Spirit can guide us when were reacting to our kids how we can love them well in the context of disrespect and bad behavior that's tomorrow. I hope you can be with us again on behalf of David and Wilson.

I'm Shelby Abbott will see you back next time for another edition of family life, family life today is a production of family accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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