A reader recognizes the importance of a young adult child’s role in the
household of a grieving family.

By the way, if you have a “stepparenting a grieving child” question or
comment, you can feed it to me one of three ways:  comment on this
blog (click here to learn how), send me an e-mail at
info@dianefromme.com, or fill in a comment form on my website

The reader whose comments I’m featuring today filled out a comment
form, which goes straight to me and only me, FYI.

This reader is a new stepparent in a grieving family. The kids are
older: 19, 20, and 21.  They lost their mom ten years ago.  Two
children still live at home, one of whom is a girl. 

Two things about this reader struck me. 

One:  When she contacted me she was actively looking for resources,
and fast!  I admire the presence of mind of someone who realizes she
is in a situation that could mushroom beyond her range of life
experiences. I have to say that I didn’t act this quickly when I, at 31,
became a stepmom to grieving children.

Two:  In my e-mail dialogue with this reader, she mentioned that she
had already recognized that the girl still living at home was the lady of
the house, and that she wasn’t going to try to compete with that role. 
Bravo to you, dear reader!  You have just saved yourself a boatload of
additional tensions that could stem from the “Who is more important
to Dad?” challenge.

I’ve heard that the boundaries around stepfamily roles can be clearer
when your stepchildren are older from the start.  Older children can,
without fear, be more direct and challenging about their positions in
the family. 

I entered my stepfamily when my stepkids were six (a girl) and four (a
boy).  Yet I do know that coming on strong as your husband’s special lady
misses the point.  Today’s reader situation emphasizes the importance
of having a simple awareness of a girl’s feelings about daddy after
mom has passed away.

Thanks for reminding us about one of the family dynamics we
stepparents can honor instead of fight.

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her book,
Stepparenting the Grieving Child, go to



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1 Comment on A Reader Writes: Lady of the House

  1. Mama J says:

    Just a quick follow-up to this post: this reader contacted me after the post and said that seeing her situation in print reminded her how poignant her situation has been and continues to be. Something about seeing her story written up helped her immensely.

    If it would help you to share any comments or stories, you may contact me privately at info@dianefromme.com

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