Bonding with Your Step Children Through a Minnesota Divorce and BeyondMar 15, 2023
Society talks quite a bit about the toxic aspects of divorce. We hear about divorces in the media regarding celebrities, horror stories from our friends, and even see it play out on TV shows. What if we flip the script and talk about how your post-divorce life in Minnesota can be transformed into a healthy home for families, children, and new relationships? These were some of the conversations I had with Keith and Sheila Hittner on this week's podcast episode.
To begin, Keith went through a divorce after nineteen years of marriage, with five children. Sheila had also been married to someone who didn’t want children; when she did. Sheila believes God intervened and gave her exactly what she asked for, just in a different package. A marriage with lots of children, 5 to be exact. Sheila came into Keith’s life, and they married when Keith’s youngest child was only seven years old. While his children were going through the trauma of divorced parents and a problematic relationship with their mother, Sheila did her best to bond with them and create a new healthy household.
They share a story about when Sheila came into the family it was a lot to swallow at once. She was overwhelmed and then Keith walked in with a new dog. She thought, “Another dog? Are you crazy?” Sheila truly had no idea how much this dog would change her life. Keith really wanted Sheila to understand bonding. Sheila said that dog became her baby. Sheila noticed that when the kids went to their Mom’s; she would ignore the family dog and dote on her own. She then realized she had been thinking of the children as Keith’s and not thinking of them as hers.
Now we all know from past guests that a stepparent can never take the role of the parent, but they can take the role of stepparent and bond and love their stepchildren as their own. The role may be different but the love is the same and significant. Both Sheila and Keith are strong believers in talk therapy for themselves and their children. Sheila shared an important insight she learned from her therapist. She taught herself to remember that sometimes the kids are just upset or dislike the role of Stepmother…not the Stepmother. This brought her comfort through the process. Now Keith and Sheila are living a beautiful life and loving THEIR grandchildren!
With their own experience, they have created a program called Our Healthy Homes, which focuses on helping families put down roots, become established in their communities, and help families discover lifestyle choices that will make their homes healthier. Your home is central to your family life, and they are an excellent resource to reach your goals. Below they share their four pillars of a healthy home.
Every family should have the ability to have a pleasant and safe place to live. This means a home that fits your budget and needs without feeling deprived or struggling to make ends meet.
Understanding what products families use, how they clean their homes, and how the house is maintained is essential for a healthy home. Using products that are safe for the family and non-toxic is a huge priority in keeping everyone healthy. There are so many toxic ingredients in household cleaners, so eliminating and shifting towards natural products is key.
Ensuring that families are eating healthy, focusing on exercise and mobility, and getting enough sleep is another essential pillar of a healthy home. When we feel good physically, we have the energy to do more and have the capacity to focus on what's most important to us.
Prioritizing your emotional and spiritual well-being is the final pillar. This can include having a solid support system and social circle, focusing on your faith, and meditating to keep your mind healthy.
Creating a balanced, healthy home is vital for the success of any family. All of these pillars must be worked on and spoken about. When any of the four is lacking, the roof will start falling. If you want support to create your ultimate healthy home, reach out to Keith and Sheila today so they can steer you in the right direction.
As always, I am here to help navigate divorce through mediation. Remember, there is the option to work through a divorce without fighting it out in court. Let’s partner to create an amicable agreement regarding the division of assets and what is in the best interest of your children, so you can move forward to create your own healthy home.
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