Jerry and Kristy consider the enormous challenges and complexities of one of the least-intuitive constructs humans have invented: The Blended Family. Step-parents, natural parents, step-children and children from the first (or second) marriage all seem to feel the challenges, in different ways, as it looks all-too-often impossible to successfully make this work. What can actually be done to improve our chances?
| Kristy Gaisford | Hi Jerry how are you.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah.
| jsander | With things this big I want to give it over to you and say help you know so start us out talking about the topic of step parenting.
| Kristy Gaisford | Oh gosh. Um, it is a big topic I I wrote this little blog I guess I'll call it about called the secret to having a blended family and the thing I said was first realize there's no such thing as blended.
| jsander | Um.
| Kristy Gaisford | It's more like stirring up pot roast with lasagna and calling it a new dish and what I mean I know but there's nothing at least in my experience. There's nothing like blending. There's no way to blend a family. It's 2 families.
| jsander | Ah, it's so disgusting. Yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | With 2 distinct different cultures. Um different.
| jsander | So the blending is just like this aspirational kind of nice concept but it it doesn't really happen.
| Kristy Gaisford | Well I think it's a myth. Yeah I think it's it's a myth like there's no way that that a blended family really ever feels completely blended. There's always 2 identities living under the same roof.
| jsander | M. Okay.
| Kristy Gaisford | And 1 way I like to describe it is if you and your family go on a vacation with another family and you you live together for a week in ah in a beach house or something um, having a blended family is like going on that vacation and then. It never ends so you kind of look around and go oh this is what we're we're going to keep doing this huh.
| jsander | Yeah, yeah, like for eternity. Yep.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, if if if it works out right in the the best case scenario.
| jsander | Well, that leads me to pitch in this observation that blended families or step parented situations accompany second or third marriages right.
| Kristy Gaisford | Right.
| jsander | And the statistics show that the more marriages you have the more likely you are to have it fail. Ah, the rate of divorce for first marriages is about forty percent right now.
| Kristy Gaisford | Huh.
| jsander | The rate of divorce for second marriages is about 67 percent right now and the rate for third marriages is seventy four percent so yeah so you already have.
| Kristy Gaisford | So well.
| Kristy Gaisford | Really? um.
| jsander | An increased challenge on your hands just in terms of the 2 of you.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, and I think that has to do with the fact that you're coming into the marriage with so many complications I mean you have you and your your partner you have your kids Your partner's kids if they have kids you have your ex their ex or ex's. I Mean you have so such different histories you have different trauma you have a whole different way that you've done things and so many personalities that are that you're having to deal with that are kind of coming up and clashing against each other.
| jsander | Um, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
| jsander | This is exactly why I thought of it as a monster movie was is kind of like um Godzilla versus Mothra or rodin or whatever that it's hard enough you and I work all the time with couples. 1 person trying to understand and get along with 1 other person that's hard enough. That's hard enough on any given week month or year you know the ups and downs of that challenges all your communication skills your old stories how you were raised.
| Kristy Gaisford | Here...
| jsander | Your experiences with other people other breakups maybe other marriages. It's all there. But what you've just said is that times 10
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, yep, it's kind of a miracle people stay together for second and third marriage is that's why the statistics are so of divorce are so high really.
| jsander | Um.
| jsander | And we should be upfront with people and explain that we are. We are walking this talk both of us are in situations where either in your well you can say your situation I am married to a step parent and I'm the 1 with the 4 children from. The first marriage but I also was a child of divorce who had a step parent when I was a teenager so I can only speak about this as someone who was a step child and now is married to a step parent What can you say.
| Kristy Gaisford | Well I'm I'm a step mom to four children and my husband is a step dad to my four children so we have a blended family that I just said didn't exist of um 8 children and. Between us. We have 3 x's so it's it's a lot.
| jsander | Yeah, yeah, I mean if you're drawing a genogram of this you know Diagram of this. Ah, there'd be a lot of names and a lot of stories.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yes, a lot of stories. So um I said the next thing in my post was have very low expectations. In other words, a bad meal is better than nothing when you're starving, but it's no 1 ne's first choice. So. Did you ever hear anyone say I hope 1 day I grow up get divorced and end up with a blended family or I've always wanted to be a step mom. Probably not so I think.
| jsander | Yeah, yeah I don't know if anyone knew what a step mom was when they're thinking really idealistically when they're young, right.
| Kristy Gaisford | No, or if they did it was because they didn't want to be 1 right because they had 1 Um, but I think that sometimes when you get out of ah a marriage A bad Marriage. You have such high hopes that you're going to do things differently and it's going to be better this time and. Maybe you found the love of your life and you've never been happier and until you try to blend the families and then it it quickly becomes evident that everyone else in the family is not as excited or happy about this as you and your partner were.
| jsander | Yeah, can you explain that more that that difference in excitement level.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, so you're you're thinking like I found the love of my life and you can't wait to start new and your kids are thinking who is this guy and I don't want to live with some strange guy and who are these kids that I'm supposed to. Share a house with that really feel like strangers and or and vice versa who's this woman who is now with my dad and is taking his time and attention that used to just go to me and my siblings and why are they so Weird. You know why. Why do they do things so differently and I think people don't know what their roles are I mean I know when I first became a step mom I had no idea what my role was supposed to be with these kids like should I just kind of stay out of their way and let their dad. Do it. They had a mom and a dad. Didn't need another mom and or should I be more involved or I mean it's it's hard to figure out your your role with these people.
| jsander | Like yeah yeah, I've been reading Patricia Papernow's book surviving and thriving in step family relationships and she makes the point that step parents frequently are the step outsiders.
| Kristy Gaisford | So.
| jsander | And they feel invisible. They feel unseen and rejected and that parents are the step insiders but they look around and see everyone around them upset the child's upset, the step parents upset the x. Wife or husband is upset and they feel torn between the people they love and feeling totally inadequate.
| Kristy Gaisford | That describes it So well I mean sometimes I'll be home with my kids just my kids and my husband and he feels like an outsider like how I'm I'm living with my wife and her kids.
| jsander | You you.
| Kristy Gaisford | And then the very next day I might be there with him and his kids and then I feel like how did I end up in a different family. Where's my family.
| jsander | You know? Ah there's a degree of honesty about that about the outsider status thing. First of all, it kind of raises the question how well do parents ever know your own children fully. Ah, what's pretty clear. Is what stephen porges said ah she quotes I'm saying we have a new neuro expectation that people close to us won't turn away in other words, parents and children are kind of hardwired to recognize each other and be there for each other no matter what I mean. Ah.
| Kristy Gaisford | He.
| jsander | Ah, noticed this when I was coaching soccer believe it or not I Coach soccer for like 8 seasons and I was and I didn't like soccer but I loved my kids and wanted to do it with them and for them. What I noticed was when I was shouting things like um, go downfield and their parents would shout. Move on up. Um, they would listen to their parents because they would hear their parents. They were hardwired to hear their parents and kind of respond to their parents not an outsider and I think there's a degree of reality there.
| Kristy Gaisford | E.
| jsander | That when the kid comes into the house and sees the parent and someone else How are they else? How are they ever going to get that insider status.
| Kristy Gaisford | Totally and it goes the other way too. So as a parent you naturally have more empathy and love for your own child than you do for your stepchild and you you feel at least I felt guilty about that. But.
| jsander | That yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | I Also is it's just a fact I don't think I think we should all admit that fact and just own it because the more you try to say no I I don't do that you know because the thing is your your it comes up every day like my daughter would take.
| jsander | You know? yeah. Right? I Love them all equally right.
| Kristy Gaisford | Something of mine and I wouldn't think anything of it and my stepdaughter would take something of mine and I'd think why why did she take my stuff you know and then I'd catch myself like well that's not fair, but it feels different both ways. For for your own children and your step for your stepparents.
| jsander | I Mean it makes me think that maybe the path forward is if everyone was able to acknowledge Boy this is an awkward weird created constructed situation isn't it. It's not a natural anything.
| Kristy Gaisford | A.
| jsander | It's ah it's almost like here. We are all thrown in together.
| Kristy Gaisford | Totally There's nothing natural about it honestly.
| jsander | So maybe the expectations maybe the expectations of a happy family. You know again, these are second or third marriages and the expectation of a happy relationship with the person you've fallen in love with um. Maybe that needs to be extended into the realm of and I don't know how it's going to go with these other folks because they're sort of new to me. Um, rather than and we're all going to be happy together.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah yep, and I think if you can give each other a lot of space and room to figure it out instead of thinking. It's just going to go well if you can just say it's going to be awkward. There's going to be a lot of growing pains. I mean I always say to my husband this is the long game remember like long gaming meaning like 2030 years they might might say you know what I am grateful for this family but you can't expect it anytime soon.
| jsander | Yeah, yeah.
| jsander | You huh like you're setting yourself up for a lot of hurt if that's the expectation from a step parent.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah I think so and I think a lot depends on different people's personalities like I know my husband I give him a lot of credit because he was more ambitious for our family like he really threw his heart. And time and attention more into our family but then he also felt more rejected by it and I took more of a hands-off approach a little bit and and I think maybe that was hurtful in other ways but it also.
| jsander | Um, you. Um.
| jsander | Yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | I was less hurt by it. So I'm not saying there's a better way but people have different personalities and so it does affect the way things go I think so I think introspection and insight into. Into yourself goes a long way though. So You know how you're affecting the people around you.
| jsander | In her Book. She pointed out that there was this commonality. She found that steppars when it came to discipline and things that step parents were the ones pointing towards a more authoritarian parenting style like you need to. Get a little more disciplined and tough with your kids when the natural parents were oriented more towards permissiveness like we need to really show some love to these kids that this was like a known factor.
| Kristy Gaisford | And that is the 1 hundred percent true ah step parents it but it went it goes back to what I said about step parents have less empathy and less love and so they see things and and in some ways it's more clear. It's like cut and dry like why are you letting.
| jsander | What? Yeah. Um.
| jsander | Then.
| Kristy Gaisford | This kid get away with this or this kid needs some discipline but the parent loves them and has so much empathy. They're thinking. Yeah, but you don't realize what they've been through and you don't know how much they're hurting and how how hard this has been for them and set So some I mean.
| jsander | Right? right? That's right.
| Kristy Gaisford | Sometimes the step parent is actually more right? like maybe they do need more discipline but it has to come from the parent not the step parent or it doesn't seem to work very well.
| jsander | Me.
| jsander | Right? or else the kids pick up on Dad's changed. He used to be nice. You know and now now you know she's she's changed him. You know she she wrecked him or something um, all kinds of stories can get set up. But.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, no.
| jsander | We sort of got away from the thing you wrote you had more things you wrote um, go ahead with that. Yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, um I I said okay so have a thick skin. Don't get offended when your kids tell you they don't like stew mixed with Lasagna. Don't expect them to thank you for introducing you to such an interesting and exciting new meal. They didn't ask for this blended family. They're not excited about it. So don't expect them to be all excited just have a thick skin fourth accept this fact, right away. And I kind of said this but your spouse will never have as much love and empathy for your kids as he or she does for their own and you will never have as much love and empathy for your stepkids as you do for your own. Don't fight this fact it will never change.
| jsander | The.
| jsander | Um.
| Kristy Gaisford | Just be aware of it and try to be as fair and understanding as you can last play the long game the very long game like I said if you get discouraged with the daily ups and downs. You'll never make it in the words of the British keep calm and carry on.
| jsander | Um.
| Kristy Gaisford | Maybe your kids will never thank you. But at least they'll have the peace of mind that you have a spouse you love who loves you and they won't have the burden of watching you grow old alone Finally when there when there are good moments celebrate. You've just witnessed a miracle.
| jsander | Um.
| jsander | Wow, That's so well said we're definitely putting that on our web page. That's definitely the blog. Um, yeah, it's I mean it's a thicket. It's a.
| Kristy Gaisford | He.
| Kristy Gaisford | I I.
| jsander | Thicket of stuff and how to not lose your partner in this is very much on my mind kind of it takes a lot to really lose your kids. You know they're used to some rough spots with you.
| Kristy Gaisford | See here.
| jsander | But it is possible as we see from the divorce statistics to lose your partner and I was thinking about how I was thinking about emotionally focused therapy eft and how they put forward the idea.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah.
| jsander | That you look to your partner to know that you're safe and okay in this world. You know that? um, you're not alone in ah in a brutal cold unfeeling world that you've got someone who loves you and cares for you but that there are things that sort of.
| Kristy Gaisford | Here here.
| jsander | Break those connections you know and when those are broken we fight and we fight for those connections you know, basically please make me feel safe and okay again and if you get a parent who's caught in between.
| Kristy Gaisford | He hit.
| jsander | Paying attention to their own kids and you know quote taking the side unquote of the step parent. Um, it can feel like real rejection and alienation to the step on the step parent side. It can feel real lonely. And and it can feel real exasperating being the parent in that situation.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, and I think you know you think about first marriages so many couples really fight for the marriage and stay together because of the kids and if if the kids are what are pulling you apart or the the kids are making it harder.
| jsander | Yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | To be married instead of the opposite I know with me if if if you're dealing with step Kidss and kids that are unhappy and all these factors and you're not getting along with your partner. It's easy in a step family to say like why am I even doing this.
| jsander | Who.
| jsander | It's right.
| Kristy Gaisford | What why am I even doing this I think that's why so many people just walk away because you're only going to put up with all of this if you and your partner are solid and really loving each other and getting something great out of the situation. So.
| jsander | That yeah, then the strategy has to recognize at least 1 of you recognize and help the other 1 when the connections being lost and this is the kind of thing I Want to talk about during our weekend workshop that we're planning. Um, how you both don't need to go down a rabbit hole at the same time that who's ever standing on solid ground can help the person who's fallen down the rabbit hole. Emotionally.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yes, it's so important that somebody remembers um because I think the other thing that happens a lot is if you're a step parent. You're dealing with rejection on a daily basis.
| jsander | Say more about that. Yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | Um, you're just constantly with kids that don't appreciate you and and and you're trying like you're you're doing things to try to be a good parent or step parent and the kids don't really care. They really like. I guess 1 way to say it is you do feel invisible and they just want their real parent and so it no matter how hard you Try. It's not like they say Thank you so much for being here I Just love having you in my life like you're just pretty much invisible.
| jsander | Um.
| Kristy Gaisford | And um, you have to really have a thick skin so that you don't get offended and then start acting that out somehow and causing more harm like that's why I think expectations are so important like. I'm in this for the long haul I'm in this for my partner. Not for the not for the kids to appreciate me if they never do I'm doing this like I I I'm giving them things they may never see but by loving their father that.
| jsander | Um, that is a type of detachment from outcome that strikes me as quite healthy which is you know I'm going to do what I can to be the best step parent I can.
| Kristy Gaisford | That gives them something. Maybe maybe you'll never see.
| jsander | Kids will either come around and really Someday express appreciation from it or join in with me or they won't in either way I'm going to have a really good connection with their parent right? So if they don't that's a loss.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah.
| jsander | But it's not a um, an insurmountable loss.. It's not an assault on our relationship. You know it can be a disappointment. It can be that the parent had hoped for X Y and Z but it doesn't matter if the 1 person hopes for it. The kids who are often grown. Young adults can defeat a parent's hopes for a family to be a certain way.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah I think it's important too to listen to your kids like once you're a blended Family. You're not a traditional family and the the beauty in that is that you can create and make it any way you want. So. Sometimes like what we've done is taken weekend trips like just me and my kids and my husband will do something with just him and his kids because sometimes you just miss the original family unit and I think it's okay to give yourself permission to. Separate sometimes and then come together sometimes and it's okay to to kind of keep reinventing what works for your family because every family situation is different.
| jsander | That's that's an interestingly radical idea that you don't have to do everything together. You don't have to perpetuate that illusion like we're 1 happy blended family. Um, you don't have to.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yes.
| Kristy Gaisford | And and you know what? it's okay to admit that you miss the original unit or that sometimes you just the comfort level is different because you're you're all blood related. You've shared this whole history. Yeah I remember when when we first got married my kids and I we were all sitting at the dinner table everyone and their family somebody said something and they all started laughing and none of us laughed. We just looked at each other like why is this funny.
| jsander | And.
| Kristy Gaisford | And then another time the reverse happened where we're all laughing and thinking something so funny and they're like this isn't funny and it it just highlights what it's like to to put these families in the same room like there's always going to be differences. So.
| jsander | I Mean. And.
| Kristy Gaisford | But other times we can all be laughing together and it's this great shared moment. So I think you have to really make room for all of it and kind of take your ego out of it if you want to survive.
| jsander | It's not all about you. It's not a judgment about you. It's not a verdict about whether you're a good parent or not. There's so many variables in this situation. That's why I keep saying it's a thicket I made a list I made my own list. You know you had five or 6
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, it's here. Yeah I love it.
| jsander | You ready is it's actually like a recipe. It's it's a recipe. It's a little wordy but it's there's 7 part. There's 7 ingredients. Okay, so here's the first ingredient.
| Kristy Gaisford | Okay.
| jsander | All the vulnerabilities that come from being raised by your parents who may or may not have done the best they could. But who certainly had their own faults and blind spots right? That's ingredient number 1 just ingredient number 2 add in.
| Kristy Gaisford | Mean.
| jsander | All the experiences and disappointments you had from growing up and dating and the vulnerabilities of your own attachment style like neediness patterns of avoidance boundary problems. Okay, that's a second ingredient Third ingredient. Yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | Okay, that could be.
| jsander | Need a big blender for this third ingredient is whatever happened to your hopes and dreams upon getting married or never getting married before this person realistic expectations unrealistic expectations that the relationship is going to be the 1 that truly makes you happy. Okay, that's a third ingredient.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | A.
| jsander | Fourth upset over x's and or failed marriage that preceded this 1 fifth ingredient needy or resentfully withdrawn actions of your own children.
| Kristy Gaisford | In this.
| jsander | Who are hardwired to connect automatically with their biological parent above all else Sixth I think ingredient is the presence of other people's children who may not even like or acknowledge you.
| Kristy Gaisford | In.
| jsander | Who blame you in some illogical way for the breakup of their parents idyllic marriage and seventh. The final ingredient is the social expectation of holidays birthdays and special events mix and enjoy.
| Kristy Gaisford | Next.
| Kristy Gaisford | Ah, well sign me up.
| jsander | Ah, ah, that's why I think you you got to just put on your seatbelt and kind of hope for the best and have some diminished expectations. This is a lot so real lot and the statistics show that 1 out of 3 children under Eighteen.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, it's a lot.
| jsander | Lives in a step family and 1 out of 3 children under 18 and 1 out of 4 new marriages creates a step family and forty 2 percent of american adults are currently in a so.
| Kristy Gaisford | Well how many could you see it again. Oh wow.
| jsander | Step relationship. These are huge numbers and it seems very much of a piece. You know we have these 2 workshops planned the the dates 1 the love after divorce 1 which is really relevant to this topic.
| Kristy Gaisford | Wow.
| jsander | Is in January. We're going to do that january twenty second Twenty Third last I look but the step parenting 1 is going to be in February nineteenth and twentieth they seem related because we're talking about not just surviving these events. But. How can you create these to be opportunities and make your life ever better. Even though it's hard I think we're interested in spending pretty much most of a weekend helping people talk about this with other people who are going through it. And getting real about what you can do what you can't do. There's not a lot of opportunity to really talk about it out loud with honesty. You don't see it on social media really.
| Kristy Gaisford | And what works and what doesn't work.
| jsander | About how incredibly difficult This is how unrewarding step parenting feels the the wedge it can drive between the adults who who love each other. Um, it's. It can be brutal.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, and that there's like the complication we didn't even mention yet of if you share kids and you're and you're doing something for your child. It's for both of your child. It's yeah, it's both of your child and so it's like oh thank you for doing that for our children. But if if it's only 1 of your children then it it does create this like you're always doing stuff for your kids and the other person is more left out of everything and that happens in in all these families because. When you don't share kids. It just creates this divide and it as the step parent too. It's so tricky to not be too overbearing or intrusive and but on the other hand to not be too withdrawn or walled off Or. Or distant. Um I had a conversation once with my oldest stepdaughter and I just said I Just want you to know that I ah haven't gotten very involved because I'm trying to respect your boundaries and I don't know if that feels like I don't care. And she she said I'm really glad you told me that because it felt like you didn't care and and you know I felt really bad but I was so glad we had that conversation because it's so tricky to know.
| jsander | That's right.
| jsander | It's tricky tricky but you don't have to get it perfectly right? It's almost like any effort to connect even in the midst of these situations is better than no effort to connect so you know ah I think if and and you and I have.
| Kristy Gaisford | I Totally agree.
| jsander | Both We'll talk after the recording but you and I have both had experiences that you know we know what we're talking about with this stuff but we've had experiences that we would have loved to have interrupted somehow with some wisdom and connected with our partners more directly And. Ah, it said That. Ah, only afterwards can you see that but we can learn from it and what I'm understanding is that if I can find even a moment to connect with my partner and say listen I see you I'm here for you I'm here for Us. We're We're good. We're okay, we're going to talk about this later and I've got your back if even if that sounds hokey or flawed it's something. It's something that I see you, You're not Invisible. You're not just yeah.
| Kristy Gaisford | He he.
| Kristy Gaisford | Totally.
| jsander | Yeah, plenty of work to be done. You are my person where you don't go away and you know what? Um, even all these kids.
| Kristy Gaisford | You're You're my person. Yeah, and and all of this yeah, all of this is worth it because I love you.
| jsander | They're all different from each other even the natural siblings. The 1 from a father and a mother they can be pretty different from each other. We can't even you know so you've got in your case, you've got 8 different personalities. You know, not it.
| Kristy Gaisford | Very.
| jsander | This is why it's so hugely challenging? yeah. But you want to emerge from it all not just having been there for your kids but showing your kids the importance of a really good relationship that works with your spouse.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yep.
| jsander | And 1 that has intimacy and 1 that allows for mistakes getting repaired.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yep, and I think that can be done with a lot of respect for the life that your partner lived before you you can't just come in and change everything and be a part of everything and.
| jsander | Who.
| Kristy Gaisford | You just have to really respect each other's past and think.
| jsander | Yeah, yeah, and that they're not taking the easy way out the easy way out might be bailing on the whole thing you know? Um, yeah, so the fact that they're hanging in there with you having rough times. Even.
| Kristy Gaisford | Oh yeah, definitely.
| jsander | That's not an end to anything.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, and they're putting up with your kids which is no no easy task either. You know it's It's not. It's not easy. Yeah.
| jsander | And you yourself and you yeah and you yourself I mean a lot of a lot of men I'll speak for men ah get caught like deer in the headlights like um when we get caught between. Wanting to be there and nice for our children and wanting to answer the needs of our spouse we end up in some middle zone where everyone feels like we're not fully present because we're just staring into the headlights.
| Kristy Gaisford | No well I think women feel the exact same way. We want to be there for our husbands and our children and we don't want anyone to feel neglected and there's only 1 of us to go around and not enough time for everybody.
| jsander | Which is yeah.
| jsander | So what? So what happens you just kind of shut down and get quiet or.
| Kristy Gaisford | Well I'll tell you the best thing is when my husband is very emotionally generous and says I know your kids need you right now. Don't worry about me I'll be here when you when you're back and you have time and then it takes an immense a tremendous amount of stress off of me.
| jsander | Yeah, that's great.
| Kristy Gaisford | Thinking Oh he's he's going to be upset or when he can be generous like that it's It's such. It's just beautiful for me.
| jsander | That is that is and that is emotional money in the bank. Actually that's an investment that is generous and he has every right to expect that come back in his direction as well that that's it requires.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yep.
| jsander | Not taking everything personally.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, yeah, you you won't survive I don't think is ah a blended family will survive people taking a lot of things personally because there's too many opportunities to be offended and hurt.
| jsander | Move.
| jsander | Well I'm I'm sure there are as many variations on the story as or our stepparents and I really welcome that weekend in February when we're going to let people give voice to what they've been through and then hopefully identify. You know their own losing strategies. What clearly doesn't work and what makes things worse and then what makes things better. Is it possible to do this better.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah I know I would love I Can't wait to hear everyone's experience and and learn from each other.
| jsander | Um, totally agreed Well good Christie any any closing thoughts about this. Oh.
| Kristy Gaisford | Well I just wanted to ask you a closing question as as a child of it of a step family. What advice do you have for step parents since you experienced the other the other way.
| jsander | Um, try and see the moments of opportunity that even though the kid may be a bit snotty and defensive. There's actually a hopeful part of them too.
| Kristy Gaisford | He.
| jsander | That's hoping for new experience. Um, they don't yeah, they don't really know you but there's some small hopeful part that maybe you'll be fun or cool or bring something to everything that even there. Mom couldn't bring.
| Kristy Gaisford | Well, that's really that's really nice to think about.
| jsander | It's not often evident. You can't you know they hide it pretty well. But it's there. It's there that optimism is there too. It's easier to pick up on the Judgmental snotty stuff. But.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah.
| jsander | In my case Anyway, the optimism was really there to it. Good.
| Kristy Gaisford | I Really like that it's kind of like you just have to keep trying no matter what they look like on the outside.
| jsander | Yeah, and you have to be the adult I mean you have to be the more emotionally stable mature 1 and that gets exhausting I do understand it's exhausting being an adult you know? yep.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yeah, it sure is being an emotionally mature adult is exhausting but it pays off.
| jsander | Guess's why so many? Yeah so many people choose the opposite you know? Ah wow Yeah, and that and it's exhausting for their kids I mean you're supposed to be doing most of the work and and let the kids.
| Kristy Gaisford | Yes, which is also exhausting.
| jsander | Be kids and then they'll get their turn you know, well well till next time I guess I don't know we're talking about. Yeah good talk Christy I see you next time.
| Kristy Gaisford | Is she.
| Kristy Gaisford | Till next time. Yeah, you too. Thanks Okay, take care.