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  Category: Articles » Home & Family » Article

"I Want To Be Heard!"

By Jo Ball - The Stepfamily Coach

A common gripe in a stepfamily is that people feel they're not being listened to.

We're all busy and there is often a lot to be communicated in a stepfamily. It's really important for everyone to have a say and be listened to. Equal amount of airtime can makes a huge difference too.

In our family, the after school, evening mealtime is the first time the four of us came together in the day. This means that we all have things to tell each other or ask and, in the past, it often resulted in everyone interrupting and bitty, unfinished conversations.

After eating we'd clear up and put away (our children have always been involved with this) and we'd all leave the kitchen. I often felt frustrated or fed-up at being interrupted and unheard. Most nights I also felt exhausted.

So my partner and I decided to make a few subtle changes. Rather than something that we just wanted to get done and out of the way we made our dinner a more social experience.

We asked them to lay the table, including glasses and a water jug and we decided to serve the food at the table.

To encourage a decent conversation we each wrote on a small piece of paper something that we wanted to talk about over dinner. The paper was folded and placed in a bowl.
Then one by one we pulled out a note and had a conversation about it. We decided we'd go around the table twice to see what everyone thought or felt about the subject then drew the next one out.

It worked wonderfully, having everyone focused on one topic at a time. We had a lovely time. Everyone engaged and felt listened too.

An amazing unexpected benefit also occurred. We found that at the end of clearing up everyone was in less of a rush to get away. We felt like we'd had a enjoyable social experience as a family and were all really contented.

Having the children be involved with things that are happening in the home is a great benefit. If you want to have your children be more involved than they have been be sure to make any changes subtly and gently.

Let them know it's going to happen in advance and avoid dumping things on them last minute and show respect, by making them feel part of the process when you can, by discussing changes with them before they happen - if they are old enough.
Over to you - how could you use the information in the newsletter to benefit you and your family?

Want more help?

It doesn't need to be hard going in a stepfamily. You don't need to feel pulled in every direction or be confused over how to deal with issues that come up. I can help you build strong relationships and a happy home. To find out how visit
Wishing you a happy month.

About the Author
The Stepfamily Coach offers support and guidance to divorced and separated parents who are blending their family to a new family. Grab your free report "7 Secrets For Blending A Family Without The Stress And Strain" from

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  Some other articles by Jo Ball - The Stepfamily Coach
How to keep your relationship healthy and happy
When you entered into your relationship I'm sure you didn't fall in love with the children and think 'I must live with these children and their mum/dad's not too bad either. I guess ...

How to talk so your partner listens and your stepfamily thrives
Lots and lots of us in stepfamilies find it difficult to talk through sensitive issues with our partner. Sometimes it seems impossible to communicate without arguments over the children or the ex ...

Christmas With The Not-So-Wicked Step-parent
Christmas can be a magical time of year for families - decorations, special food, school plays, parties and bags of excitement - but for separated parents and ...

How to Win Friends and Influence your Stepchildren
Okay, so I admit it, I adapted the famous title of Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People, a book that contains powerful messages from great leaders about how to have others like ...

How Stepparents can prevent jealousy from damaging their relationship
Julie Andrews in the sound of music is the vision of the perfect stepmother. Devoted to the children, making play clothes from curtains, singing songs and putting on shows ...

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