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NEWSLETTER ARCHIVES

STEPMOM CHAT ROOM: THE GOOD - THE BAD - THE UGLY

For stepmoms who do not have access to stepfamily support groups, chat rooms are a lifesaver. They provide quick and easy access to others who have been there and are prepared to share their successful strategies with others.

Points to Consider

When you join a chat room, there are a couple of points to keep in mind.

First, as you read and respond to another stepmoms, keep in mind that there is more than one side in any given situation : the stepmom, her partner, the stepchildren and the ex-wife. You are only hearing one part of the story.

Secondly, providing emotional support does not mean you must blindly agree with another stepmom's actions. It is about remaining non-judgmental - neither condemning nor condoning - her actions while validating or recognizing her feelings.

Lastly, if you carelessly agree with another stepmom's perspective, you may unwittingly encourage her to become entrenched in her position.

Become a Stepmom Mentor by offering thoughtful comments and practical suggestions. This way, you become a part of a more effective support system for the troubled stepmom.

Chat rooms with several Stepmom Mentors are the most helpful. Chat rooms or forums that are characterized by vindictive venting, labeling or criticizing other stepmoms are not so helpful.

Enjoy the fellowship, peer support and camaraderie of other stepmoms and choose your chat room carefully.

10 Ways to Avoid Tripping on Chat Room Traps

  1. Do use an alias to protect your identity.
  2. Do not provide identifying information about your stepchildren or other members of your extended stepfamily network.
  3. Be careful what you disclose and ensure your comments will not come back to haunt you.
  4. Use language carefully.
  5. Do not label or accept labels being applied to yourself, your stepchildren, your spouse or his ex-wife.
  6. When offering support to other stepmoms, realize that you do not have the complete picture and gauge your comments accordingly.
  7. If you do not agree with someone, do so gently and offer alternative ideas for the individual to consider.
  8. Understand that your situation might trigger memories and emotions in others that may color their responses to your posts. Do not take these comments personally.
  9. If you are attacked, do not respond in kind. Take the high road and avoid the war.
  10. Report chat room violations or potential stalkers to the chat room's moderator.

Take Care!

Dianne Martin
Birth Mother, Stepmom, Certified Stepfamily Counsellor
November 23, 2013
This article first appeared in the July 2013 issue of StepMom Magazine