Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Step Parenting is not for Weenies

I had a stepmother and I am a stepmother. I have lived both sides. All I have to say is step parenting is not for weenies or spineless jellyfish. I must also say being a step child is no cake walk.

The other night I had a long talk with a stepmother. She is in her late 70's. She is having problems with her step children in their 50's

This seems to be a common complaint from the step children:
  • The step parent favors the natural children (face it, it happens.)
  • The children want alone time with the natural parent
  • The child did not want the divorce or the death. There is bitterness, anger and/or jealousy on the child's part because the natural parent is divorced and remarried or a natural parent has died and a remarriage has happened.
  • The children feel unloved by step parent
  • The child feels like the step parent will not except them.
The step parent feels
  • Left out
  • like the step children and spouse are "ganging up" on step-parent or "taking sides"
  • unloved by step children
  • anger/hurt when step kids compares "real" parent with step parent. They will say things like my real mom doesn't make the bed like that or my real dad makes better garlic bread ect.
  • as if they are not respected by child (maybe by spouse and child)
Here is another problems that I have noticed talking with step parents.
Your rules and your spouses rules are different. That causes a HUGE problem.

Here are some things that I have learned over the years. Many will not agree with my views on step parenting. I was not and am not the perfect step mom. Did I try to practice what I preach? yes. Did I always succeed? no. What I do know is these things make a difference.

  1. Never talk bad about a natural parent to the child(en)
  2. Let the natural parent be the boss of the natural children especially when it comes to consequences. As a step parent you are already the bad guy. You and your spouse can talk alone about the consequence, but when the hammer comes down it needs to be from the natural parent.
  3. COME ON PEOPLE LET the children be alone with the natural parent! What are you afraid of? Are you so insecure in your marriage that you worry what they might say when they are alone with your spouse? If your spouse and the step children gang up on you.. I hate to tell you this, you need to go to a marriage councilor. I hear this argument from step parents all the time, "why should I have to leave my house when the step kids come over ?" I answer with a question .. does that mean your house it is not your step children's home also? Go do the dishes or watch tv in your room for an hour, or better yet send your spouse and your step child out to dinner or to a movie without you. In turn you can spend some time with your natural children. If you don't have any of your own kids, go out with a friend or better yet HAVE SOME ALONE TIME, read a book, sit by the fire, take the dog for a walk. Even if you do it once a month, it is better then nothing. But let the kids be alone with the natural parent for just a little while, no matter how old the kid is 6 or 60. If you can, try the reverse. Spend some special time with the step kids. Sometimes that does not work because the step kids are so resentful. But maybe when they grow up they will see you did the best you could.
A few months ago I had a conversation with a step child. I told them how sorry I was that Mom and Dad didn't work out. I tried to be the best step mom I could and I tried never to say anything bad about the "real" parent. I tried not to favor one child over another. Some times I blew it and I asked for forgiveness. I will never be the real mom but I really do love and care about all three of the kids.

I am excited to say that this step child and I are going out to lunch tomorrow. Just us two.


ChaChaneen said...

I can certainly relate as that is our MOTTO! ha ha Enjoy your lunch and have a lovely time! I hope you make a wonderful memory!

R. Quilter said...

I love our motto! We are not weenies or spineless.!! We had a great time today !!!!!!!