C is for Curry [The A-Z of Step-Parenting]

In our house a good curry, whether home cooked or bought in, is the precursor to a difficult discussion or an enjoyable evening.

It is the only way to get everyone round the table to sit down for more than a quick meal and a brief conversation. My advice is to get something similar that you can latch onto immediately on moving in with your step family: a Chinese meal, pizza, fish and chips or nachos.

How does it work? As long as it is seen as a treat your step children will be suitably relaxed and in the mood to at least be conversational. It also softens them up to take on board anything you may want to raise. Care must be taken not to fall into the trap of thinking they care though – care must be taken not to confuse conversation and caring.

After a long(ish) courtship and taking our time to ensure I was introduced to the lads slowly and in a careful manner, I decided to ask my partner to marry me. Unfortunately my wife’s father died many years ago so I couldn’t ask him for her hand in marriage. Therefore the most obvious people to ask for permission, should permission be needed, were the lads.

This is where the power of the ‘Conversational Curry’ comes into effect.

Me: Erm, are you going to be in later?

Them: Why?

Me: Fancy a curry?

Them: Yeah.

You see extended conversation doesn’t come naturally in our house. So there we all are sat round the table, bottle of wine open, gentle music in the background (Wolfmother on this occasion – their choice obviously).

Me: Lads, I have something to ask you – would you mind . . .

Youngest: Pass the onion bhaji!

Me: Ok, so would you mind if . . .

Eldest: Onion salad please.

Me: No problem, would you both be happy enough to let me marry your Mam?

Eldest: Yeah great, can I have the mango chutney?

And that was it – all that worry, all that thinking through if they would be happy enough to make it concrete was solved by a conversational curry. A little later on in the night the youngest piped up with, “I’m not having your surname though as it sounds silly!”

This is part three of the “A-Z of Step-Parenting” series by Paul Nevitt, a 33-year-old male with plenty of experience of living with stepchildren. Visit his adoption blog too.

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