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How to Fight Jealousy in Step-Families

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Where to Begin Fixing Problems in Blended Families

Jealousy is often the root problem causing havoc in many blended families. The husband and wife may be jealous of each other's exes, as well as, the relationship their partner has with their own children. His, hers, and their children may not only be jealous of each other, but also, of the way the parent or step-parent treats the other kids. The need for attention runs rampant.

Everybody needs to know that their individual relationships are safe and secure. Everybody needs to feel important and loved. Instead of harboring ill-will toward each other, the whole family has to pull their green-eyed monsters out from under their beds and work together to eliminate the slimy substance before it snuffs the life out of the unit.

Boy and Mom

How to Repair the Broken Family

Start with empathy. Go back through your childhood and recall the emotions you experienced. Was there a time when you felt alone, misunderstood, invisible, or unacknowledged? There may be a time when you were sure nobody loved you; or, perhaps, you remember somebody ignoring you when you spoke or did something worthy of attention or approval. Sadness and sometimes anger engulfs people when they don't know how to express their feelings. 

As an adult, you may think it was ridiculous for you to have felt that way. Of course, you were loved. You were not alone. You know that now. That's why the person didn't acknowledge you that particular time. However, try telling that to the child you once were. You can't. Therefore, it's imperative that you use those memories to help you imagine what the children in your family are experiencing. If living in a healthy, loving family is the goal, everybody in the unit has to vigilantly consider how their actions or non-actions will affect every other member of the group.

Schedule Family Time

Keep in mind that most people want quality time with the people they love more than anything else (whether they know it or not). The parent and stepmom or stepdad can break down the walls of jealousy between the children by directly addressing each child in a positive way every day. Both parents may not have time to spend an hour of one on one time with each child every day; however, it probably wouldn't be too difficult for each parent to spend ten to fifteen minutes of one on one time with each one. They might share an interesting fact about something or someone the child likes, or, share a funny video clip, help with homework, or dance around the living room while listening to oldies, like in the movie, Stepmom. 
Balloons and Bubbles with the Kids

In addition, the family as a whole could benefit from spending a considerable amount of time once or twice a week doing something fun or challenging together such as going bowling or learning ballroom dance or some other skill. YouTube has videos covering many different skills or talents people can learn like painting or drawing, for example. When the biological parent observes their spouse interacting with their stepchild, it often helps disintegrate the envy that creeps in when the spouse interacts positively with their own child. Likewise, when the children work together toward common goals, perhaps, on a bowling team against the parents, they become less envious of each other. 

How to Stop being Jealous of the Ex

When the bond within the integrated family grows stronger through mutual respect and consideration, insecurities regarding the exes begin to slip away. Furthermore, as relationships grow stronger between step-parents and their step-children, the step-parents may stop seeing the biological parents as threats. As a result, they sometimes form a friendship based on their mutual love for the children, as well as, the desire to nurture and guide the children to emulate their own best qualities. As a result, everybody's stress levels will be lower. Most likely, the children will not only behave better but they will laugh more readily and grow to be thoughtful, well-rounded human beings. It's also good to remember that they will be adults someday and they will remember how they were treated and how their parents and step-parents spoke about each other. If that's not motivation enough to stop the jealousy, what is?