Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

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Hot2na
Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

I know there are many step parents amongst our GUG family. I would venture to say that most have MySpace pages as a result of such. But lets get into a different area of being the "Step" parent. What are your secrets to successful step-parenting? Do you possess the strength to not allow the real mom or dad to interfere with your step parenting techniques. Are you fortunate enough to have a great friend type of relationship with the other parent?

I had a step-mom or two ....more like seven, growing up. She/they were real moms in a real mom role. However, we (siblings and I) never called her "mom." I feel that title is earned.  Even though several did earn that in some cases, it just didn't feel right. Almost like a betrayal. My mom earned her title by giving birth. Do your step children call you mom or dad? or equivalent?  Mini me (who is mine) watched the movie StepMom with her bff whose parents divorce was final this week, and we all sat on the couch crying and laughing. Mini me and I have watched it many times before, but we wanted to open bff's eyes and mind to what can be a great experience.

What are your step-parenting success stories? How did you break the ice or is it a constant struggle?

   

nvrsaynvr
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

well i've got a 14 year old stepson. and of course, his mom and i have our issues. which we (actually, let me say I) do not air in front of him. it is not healthy for him to have the open resentment. so i am careful never to say anything negative around him. i know when my parents were divorcing, that all the mean things one parent would say about the other, only left you resenting the one who was actually saying the mean things.

on another note, i am lucky to have a cool stepson, who is into a lot of the same things i am. we enjoy a lot of the same music, go to concerts together, i took him to his first general admission experience recently, and we got to like three rows away from the stage...awesome. we like the same movies, like we saw dodgeball together, while my husband rolled his eyes and passed on seeing it altogether.

so it's nice to be able to say things that i know his mom or dad would ever say, like "so did ya kiss her?" or "that teacher is wrong", and be able to give him an outlet, someone to talk to, when his mom and dad are very strict and traditional. example: he gets a B+ in english, in a VERY difficult private school, and he hears from mom "a B is not an A", instead of "i know you've been struggling with the english concepts this semester, great work on the B+" OR he get's detention for cracking into someone's email account at school (teehee...told ya he was into the same stuff as me) and he tells me because he's terrified to tell his parents. it's very frustrating....he's such a great kid, with so much potential, and there is very little positive reinforcement.

so, i try my best, and teach him to speak his mind, even if it's not what everyone wants to hear. have an opinion. say what you mean. money isn't everything. all of the things that SOME people would never bother to tell him.

ok, i feel better to have vented a little here...Smile

waborita
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

Here is my story.  I have been a step-mother for 17 years.  My husbands 2 girls were preschool age when we began seeing each other, and now the girls are 21, and 22.  When the youngest was 13 she lived with us for 4 years.  Even though we lived 3 hours from the girls when they were young, my husband  never missed having them over during any of his custody times (except the Wednesday evening ones)   This included the weekends that fell twice in a row from being the 1,3,5 weekends of the month and holidays that were ours.  I grew very close to these girls, as I did not have a child of my own until they were 10, and 11.  I NEVER asked them to call me mom and they never did, although I secretly wished they would sometimes at least refer to me that way, to their friends in our town, as in "my mom is taking us skating" etc.  This wish became even more pronounced when the 13 year old came to live with us.  But they never did, and me being the adult, just figured I needed to deal with  myself on this issue. 

I tried to be the best stepmother I could be, filling the mother role in the ways I needed to, and the friend role every once in awhile.  At least half the time I was the one driving the 3 hours myself to pick them up or drop them off.  And when the younger one lived with us, I was a volunteer mother at school, at many events since she was on the drill team.  Im not going to say I was a saint but I tried very hard to keep any evil step-mother schemes from playing out.  (I think the worst thing I ever did was unplug the phones one weekend when my husband did not realize it was his weekend again, because the previous weekend we had had them also, the 5th then the 1st weekend thing-had my reasons for this but another long story)

Now here I am going to try to keep my personal feelings aside and be honest.  The mother has a wonderful personality but has always been very selfish and quick tempered.  This is why the youngest came to live with us because of the whippings etc, with preferential treatment by the mom going to the oldest.  When the mother was the one having weekend visitations she only showed up once a month or so, always dropped the child off around midnight, knowing she had to be up for school by 5:30 am.  Ok enough ranting.  My point here is that the MOTHER is the MOTHER in my case no matter what.  I have never had a Mother's day card or call, and very few birthday presents or calls.   My husband being the kind person he is talked to them against my wishes, to me it is not the same if they are being made to do it.  But still nothing after that year, and never any real respect.  They have been kleptomaniac's since they were young, and I never realized it until they were older, even defended them to friends and family who would find things missing, until I opened my eyes and realized it was happening to me with my jewelry and clothes, and once i saw the truth tried to do a discrete bag search before they would leave each weekend.

 Now I have 3 step grandkids and a 4th on the way and the situation has not changed except when they need something, like money.  I guess this post caught my attention because the youngest called tonight, hinting for money.

In summery (i know this was long) I think that there must be a good combination of how the natural mother treats and talks about the step mother, and genuine affection of the step mother to the children for the situation to be rewarding.  And visa versa if it is a step-father :)

 Good luck to all of you step-parents.  Hang in there.  I once counted the days until they were 18, and now I realize it is a life sentence.

Normal people worry me

GoldenGirl
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

I just recently became a stepmom to a wonderful 8-year old boy. I don't agree with a lot of things that his mother does and says about things, but because she is the mother, I go along with it. In the end, her word will (and should) prevail, even though I don't agree with her or her behaviors. 

But that's why I vent on LJ Laughing

I don't have any bio-kids of my own, but I will treat them the same way that I treat my stepson because I love him like he's my own. Does he call me "Mom"? No he doesn't--not only because it's not comfortable, but I believe his Mom constantly reminds him that I'm not his mother and he shouldn't call me that. However, he's very fond of me and we're pretty close (which I'm very thankful about). In Hawaii, it's local-style to call the step-parent "auntie" or "uncle".

Some are lucky and get along with the bio-mom/dad without problems, but we (my husband and I) have problems with bio-mom because she parents differently from us and she tends to want to control how we "parent" her son. All I can say is that it's never something to be brought up to the child, no matter what the situation is. I never complain to my stepson about what his Mom has been saying, but I don't hesitate to remind my husband to talk to her about some issues that concern my stepson.

KellyW
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

Oh, I'm the monster.  Even though I came into the picture 5 years after the divorce...  To the in-laws and step children, I am the reason my husband and the ex never got back together!  Go figure!  I just want to scream, "get over it, they've been divorced 10 years now!"  But back to the children, they don't come around us.  The children call my husband on his cell, but that's it.  My husband and I now have a child and my MIL is the only one of his family to ever see her!!  I really don't know what to do about the situation, but if people don't want to be around me and my child I won't force them.

Green
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

I am a stepmom to a beautiful 11 year old daughter who I love as if she was my very own biological child. We have had some growing pains in our 9 year relationship. Unfortunately, I am not liked much or should I say at all by her bio mom. But, that's ok I don't have to be. Her mom's like or dislike for me will not change my ways of building and bonding on the feelings that my stepdaughter and I have for one another while in my home. I am and have always maintained respect even when it was very hard to give. I have stepped aside during the times that her "bio mom" loyalty has kicked in and I am sure I will see many more during her teenage years. After all that is her mother. I will never step in the middle. I just have to remind myself during the not so perfect times that this too shall pass and in the end I am not just in this child's life for the time she is a child. I am here for all of her life. Even the adult days when she is a mom and maybe a step mom herself. I hope and pray that when she looks back on me as a stepmom she will say that I never overstepped her mother. But, encouraged their relationship. My stepdaughter and I have created our own interests and memories with each other and it has taken time to get to where we are. I made sure it wasn't work but natural. I think the key is to never force yourself on a child. Always let them know that you are here and that you care.. walk away after saying those words. They will come to you. Mine did.  I grew some thick skin. I "gave her my permission" when she asked me if she can love me while she's here and hate me when she's not. I told her "yes, you can if thats what you *need* to do" Now that she is a pre-teen she tells me she remembers that and she never hated me when she was not with me. But, those in her other home did and do. She has told me how very much she loves me and misses me even if she can't share that with her bio mom. We have had alot of conversations about my role in her life. I have asked her not to try to "convince" her mom that I am not that bad of a person. I tell her all the time that her mom just needs more time to accept me for who I am in her life. Maybe that time will come someday or maybe not. Either way with or without her mother's permission I will love her the same.

 I had the right to remain silent... but I didn't have the ability.

fannie
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

[quote=Green]

I am a stepmom to a beautiful 11 year old daughter who I love as if she was my very own biological child. We have had some growing pains in our 9 year relationship. Unfortunately, I am not liked much or should I say at all by her bio mom. But, that's ok I don't have to be. Her mom's like or dislike for me will not change my ways of building and bonding on the feelings that my stepdaughter and I have for one another while in my home. I am and have always maintained respect even when it was very hard to give. I have stepped aside during the times that her "bio mom" loyalty has kicked in and I am sure I will see many more during her teenage years. After all that is her mother. I will never step in the middle. I just have to remind myself during the not so perfect times that this too shall pass and in the end I am not just in this child's life for the time she is a child. I am here for all of her life. Even the adult days when she is a mom and maybe a step mom herself. I hope and pray that when she looks back on me as a stepmom she will say that I never overstepped her mother. But, encouraged their relationship. My stepdaughter and I have created our own interests and memories with each other and it has taken time to get to where we are. I made sure it wasn't work but natural. I think the key is to never force yourself on a child. Always let them know that you are here and that you care.. walk away after saying those words. They will come to you. Mine did.  I grew some thick skin. I "gave her my permission" when she asked me if she can love me while she's here and hate me when she's not. I told her "yes, you can if thats what you *need* to do" Now that she is a pre-teen she tells me she remembers that and she never hated me when she was not with me. But, those in her other home did and do. She has told me how very much she loves me and misses me even if she can't share that with her bio mom. We have had alot of conversations about my role in her life. I have asked her not to try to "convince" her mom that I am not that bad of a person. I tell her all the time that her mom just needs more time to accept me for who I am in her life. Maybe that time will come someday or maybe not. Either way with or without her mother's permission I will love her the same.

 I had the right to remain silent... but I didn't have the ability.

[/quote]

I have to honestly say as the "bio-mom" in the relationship I was very inspired by your comment. I wish that all step parents were as loving and confident as you sound. Your step daughter is a very lucky little girl to have such a wonderful step mommy. :) Thanks for a great post. 

"The devil in training..."

Anonymous Visitor
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF
I have to tell you that as the bio-mom,I think you are a great step-mom.My son who is an adult now but still lives with his x step mom, does not share the compassion and giving nature that your step daughter has been able to recieve from you.on the contrary,his step mom has done everything she can over the yeas to keep him from my family and any contact with me.My son an I have always stayed in touch and even though she would never let come to see me or my family,he has always been able to talk to me and now m here close by and he wants to live with me.I have always appreciated what she has done for my son,and have always tried to be agreeable to her.Not so on her side,and now that she considers me a threat to her,it is becoming difficult for my son,since he fears her and has trouble standing up for himself as an adult.Ive always only wanted whats best for my son,and I can see how un happy he is with her.There are Two familys here that all love my son and want to be in his life.How wonderful it would be,if more step parents thought as you did, and were willing to come together for the sake of the child,or in this case, the adult .
Green
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

ah thanks annm75.. I also am the bio mom to 3 other children. One from a previous marriage and I am the custodial parent. I think that this gives me an insight to what I would want if my ex-husband were to remarry. Being a step-mom is probably the hardest and greatest emotional challenge I have been faced with so far in my life. Something kinda funny to share is when having child birth and labor pain conversations with other women I always tell them that my "step-daughter" was my longest labor. I say "Yep, 9 years and counting" I usually get a laugh

 I had the right to remain silent... but I didn't have the ability.

lyndeeluwho
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

Well I am not a step-parent but I am a step child. My step-dad is possibly the most wonderful man on the face of the planet. Him and I are really close but I still call him Bob. I might add he and my mom weren't married until all the kids were out of the house (he has 3 and she has 3 ((and I have a half brother from my pre-adoption days, yay big family lol)). M

 

My step-mother on the other hand............is a c**t. That's right I called her a C-word. I'd call her alot more but there aren't enough words in the dictionary to do that slutty plastic surgery loving skank. Her and my dad started living together when I was 11 and that was when my relationship with my father fell to sh*t and back. My mom actually tried to encourage a relationship between us but I wouldn't have it. She is the epitemy of evil. Thankfully my dad filed for divorce a couple of months ago, but it is going to be a long, drawn out and UGLY divorce. I'm already putting it out there that I will testify agaisnt her for ruining my dad's relationship with me and my brothers. Uggh, I can't even begin on all the reasons why she's so horrible I just want to say mean nasty horrid things. Maybe I'll come back in a little while and let all you step-moms and future step moms know what not to do. I will say though that is amazing that she failed so horrible with my mom (can't say bio-mom, I'm adopted lol) trying to force me to like her the whole time. Well until she insulted my grandpa (mom's side)and then my mom was like f*ck you too then and has pretty much encouraged all forms of hate towards her since then but it was too late, everyone already hated her, she did that all on her own .

*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*~~~*

"True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all

GoldenGirl
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

[quote=lyndeeluwho]

My mom actually tried to encourage a relationship between us but I wouldn't have it. She is the epitemy of evil

[/quote]

It's nice to see that there are some BMs that actually encourage you to get to know the stepmom. The BM of my stepson always has those "She is not the mother of my child" deal, or "You better not be replacing me with her". It's really ridiculous. I always remind my stepson that he always has one mother, but I treat him like my own because I will treat his future siblings the same way.

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