In Disney’s lovely live-action remake of “Cinderella,” (reviewed here) viewers aren’t disappointed in the evilness of the stepmother and stepsisters. We expect villainy, and we receive it when Ella’s beloved father passes away and she is left in the care of a woman who has taken her disappointment and channeled it into hatred for a girl who only longed to call her “Mother.”
In this particular rendition, Ella is much more compassionate than the Cinderella figures of the past. Though she is mistreated, she still acts kindly. She truly cannot understand why she would be so hated by this woman and asks questions to try to figure that out.
In real life, the evil stepmother, like the sharp-tongued mother-in-law, rarely exists. Most step-parents simply want to build relationships with the kids of their new partner and, though I have no statistics to back this up, I would surmise that a majority are successful.
I speak of that with which I have no personal experience. But I would guess that how a child responds to a parent’s new love would depend on the circumstances. Are they very young and lost a parent to death? Are they from a fractured home where one parent plays them against the other?
Are they teenagers in great need of the love and support of a missing parent? Have they been involved in the dating process of their father or mother?
So much depends on age and circumstance, that I don’t think there is any way to say that something works but something else doesn’t. I have a sweet friend who married an older man who was already a grandfather. She became not only an instant stepmom, but an instant grandmother as well. Her husband’s children and grands love her.
I have another friend, the one who suggested this topic in fact, who is about to embark on step-parenting a pre-teen girl. I can guarantee there will be challenges there, because there are challenges with parenting a pre-teen girl when you’re their biological parent.
Love covers a multitude of sins. Communication, unity between parents, and lots and lots of love covered in lots and lots of prayer will help any step-parent do the best that they can do.
Does it guarantee success? Well, since children have free will just like adults do, no. But you can be confident that if you walk with Jesus through the journey, your relationship with Him will bring greatly needed peace.
images from: imdb; youtube.com; usatoday; picture lights