Hello! My name is Krystal Taylor, and I am a Prevention Specialist in Putnam County Florida, where I teach alcohol literacy to local students and facilitate active parenting workshops to the community. My husband and I celebrate 13 years, and together we have four amazing children: ages 19, 18, 10 and 8. I am a custodial stepmother to my two oldest, having the privilege of helping to raise them for the last seven years.
Our large family has a few quirks that can prove challenging, as many families do. All four children have a special need of their own, my husband serves in the military, and I’m still finishing school. Managing therapy and doctor’s appointments and deployments and term papers can be challenging, especially when adding in the “blended” dynamic of stepfamilies. I often end up wondering how we make it through each day alive, and I know my husband and children feel the same way at times.
One thing that has helped me learn to tame the chaos, is to let the children handle more themselves. It seems obvious, but often we’re in such a rush that it’s just easier to handle the small tasks ourselves. In doing so, it becomes a disservice to our children, because that takes away from our children learning independence and responsibility. It’s also a disservice to us as parents, because it creates stress and arguments.
Sometimes this means you must let your children fail. Failure is a frightening word, but failure is also a great teacher. I stopped fighting with my children over simple tasks and let natural consequences rule. For instance, if they choose not to wear a jacket when it’s a little chilly, I’m not going to lecture them about it. They are old enough to know better, and when they get cold and realize that they probably should have grabbed that jacket on the way out of the door, they’ll make a more logical choice the next time they leave the house on a windy day.
It doesn’t always work, as nothing is a perfect system. But it has helped and there’s less fighting in my home. As far as I’m concerned, that’s always a win.