KAREN LEÓN

Updates from the Central Gulf Coast on News, Technology, and Education.

The Positive Influence and Rewards of being a Stepmother

In the article “Stepmothers Face Challenges Raising Stepdaughters in Blended Families” Maritza Lastra of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., shared her personal experience raising her stepdaughter for twenty-two years. Mrs. Lastra’s stepdaughter Bianca Lastra recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from St. Thomas University in Miami, Fla. “This was a big accomplishment for Bianca because she did not put her full effort throughout middle school and high school.  Unfortunately, during her junior and senior year of high school Bianca had a reality check because her GPA and SAT scores were low. Bianca had to buckle up and take it seriously because if not she would not have graduated and that was not an option in our home” Mrs. Lastra said.

Soon after she graduated high school, Bianca enrolled in college and knew she wanted to pursue a career as an educator or dance instructor.  When it came to selecting her college courses, she would prefer to speak to her mother or Mrs. Lastra for guidance.  As her stepmother, Mrs. Lastra said, “I encouraged her but knew that ultimately, it was her decision to choose her career path because I did not want her to recent me. I have always expressed to my stepdaughter that she needed to choose a career that she would enjoy doing everyday because it is her life.”

Maritza Lastra is currently reading  the novel "Stepmonster" by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D. "This novel is a must read because it provides a true insight into the lives and experiences of so many blended families" Mrs. Lastra stated. (Photo/Karen León)

Maritza Lastra is currently reading the novel “Stepmonster” by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D. “This novel is a must read because it provides a true insight into the lives and experiences of so many blended families” Mrs. Lastra stated. (Photo/Karen León)

Mrs. Lastra expressed there are often times when she has not agreed with the choices Bianca has made, but unfortunately all she can do is be supportive. Mrs. Lastra stated, “I can listen to her, express my concerns, but in the long run it is her decision because I do not want to overstep my boundaries as her stepmother.”

Currently, Mrs. Lastra is reading the novel Stepmonster by Wednesday Martin, Ph.D. and expressed she is enjoying reading it because Dr. Martin is realistic and she does not sugar coat the role of stepmothers in blended families.  No two families are alike, but when one chooses to marry into a blended family, stepmothers need to have a strong relationship with their spouse and boundaries have to be in place. There is no reason for stepmothers today to take the back seat in raising their stepdaughters.

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