Dawn-Marie Potter

Home schooling mother of 3 amazing children, life coach/public speaker specializing in positive parenting of special needs children.

3 years ago I was married and officially became a step-mother to 2 girls. Going from one child to 3 was a monumental change. But it wasn’t just a big change in the ways that I had imagined.

There were other changes I’d never expected. Such as how I would randomly praise/compliment the kids. Praising kids in a blended family  is different (at least it was for me) than when I only had the one. Then I could say “You are the most amazing child ever! I’m so glad I was blessed with you” Now that same sentence directed at my son came across as hurtful to my step-daughters.  I didn’t realize at first that it would, then one day shortly after I was married I said it. I don’t even remember what my son had done, but it was something sweet and I was touched so I stated my almost automatic response to his sweetness. Then I caught sight of my eldest stepdaughter’s face out of the corner of my eye. It was a split second flash of sorrow, exclusion, and hurt across her features. It was gone before I even fully turned to look at her. But its momentary existence did not make it any less real or make it affect my heart any less profoundly.

I felt terrible that I’d hurt her, it didn’t matter that it was accidental on my part. I didn’t want to take back what I’d said and hurt my son, so awkwardly I explained that I thought she was amazing as well and that I was blessed to have her in my life as well. My son’s face then mirrored the same expression I had just seen on her face and I realized to him, I was saying he wasn’t as special anymore. Meanwhile she was looking at me with an expression of vague disbelief as if I was simply spouting off words but that they had no true meaning or sentiment behind them.

It was then that I realized I was going to have to come up with another way to shower my kids (regardless of whose DNA they shared) with sincere compliments and heartfelt sentiments from me. But the question was how?

It was then that I remembered hearing someone once saying to her children that they were the most *insert name here* ever. I realized it was definitely worth a shot to see if it would work with mine. So the next time I wanted to tell one of them how amazing they were, instead of “most amazing child ever” I replaced the word child with their name and voila it was personalized, they felt special and recognized and no one felt left out or as if they were less important than the others because I was no longer accidentally comparing them to each other. I was no longer unintentionally stating that one was better than the other, even if I was only managing that because none of them have the same name I’ll take it! I truly want each of the 5 children that reside in my home (part or full-time) to know in their own hearts and minds that I really do cherish them, I honestly do feel blessed to have them in my life and they are special to me!

What do you think?

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