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If you were a stepchild...

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
Please tell me, what do you wish your stepparent knew when you were growing up?

Serious and sweet comments are equally welcome.


-stepmom in training
post #2 of 56
clarification please.
post #3 of 56
Thread Starter 
I mean something along the lines "My stepmom always used to say ..., and I really wish she kept her mouth shut!", or "My stepmom never knew how much I appreciated ..."

post #4 of 56
My step mom referred to the children that lived with her as "my children" - this was my bio brother (her step-son) & 2 1/2 siblings, and me as her "step-daughter" because I lived w/ my mother.

Not the nicest thing to say.
post #5 of 56
My Stepfather treated his son like "his" and me and my two other siblings as "Anne's (my Mom's) kids". And it especially showed at Christmas and on birthdays when it looked likt the livingroom had thrown up with gifts for my youngest brother, and the rest of us had to sift underneath for our smaller, more generic gifts. We just wanted to be treated equal and treated like we were as important as his "real" son.
post #6 of 56
I wish my second step-mom had known how devastated I was when she and my dad split up.

I wish my step-dad would have taken an interest in my extra-curricular activities.
post #7 of 56
I wish my stepmom had forced my dad to step up and make me at home. I wish she had confronted me when she found my teenage demand letter asking that my dad make me feel more welcome and had talked to me and done just that. I wish she and I could have been closer when they were married (now divorced for almost a decade, I love her more than I was ever able to then and see her several times a month even though she's out of town). I wish she had set aside her jealousy issues with my mom while they were still married- I understood them, but they made it all the harder. I wish she'd asked for or even insisted on counseling for her and I alone....We'd have been where we are now much more quickly. I wish she had understood that comments about my dad giving me $$ were my way of coping with the fact that he was more apt to pay child support than bother to follow through on promises of visits (we lived 2 hours apart).
post #8 of 56
My first step-mom had it rough. We didn't like her at all since we viewed her as a marriage wrecker. My second step-mother is wonderful even if we had our ups and downs (my dad married her when I was already 18). Since I have no relationship to my bio-mom, I call her mom and refer to her two children as my siblings, only clarifying the true relationship when really necessary. However, as to our downs - my step-mom was jealous of my relationship to my father and didn't like it when he spent so much time with me when I came home to visit. I never complained, but my dad did finally figure it out on his own. I just wish we could have talked about it before he passed away. Now it's just a moot question.
post #9 of 56
Thread Starter 
thank you for the replies!

I would love to here more
post #10 of 56
I never had a "stepfamily" issues, but I did have issues with the people that my parents married. So, I wish that my PARENTS would've picked sane people to marry. It's not okay to marry a man who traps you in a basesment, leaves your kids to starve, does crack and tries to kill you and said children. Literally. That doesn't make a bad stepparent, it makes a bad person. Marry good people, parents.
post #11 of 56
I'm subbing . . . I also appreciate the replys.
post #12 of 56
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
My Stepfather treated his son like "his" and me and my two other siblings as "Anne's (my Mom's) kids". And it especially showed at Christmas and on birthdays when it looked likt the livingroom had thrown up with gifts for my youngest brother, and the rest of us had to sift underneath for our smaller, more generic gifts. We just wanted to be treated equal and treated like we were as important as his "real" son.
I agree. My sdad wasn't too bad about this. But his family was awful about it. Made sure that I was an outcast, as well as my brother who was his but out of wedlock.
post #13 of 56
I wish my stepfather (and everyone else) would have never said the words...he treats her like his own. I also wish they hadn't changed my last name (not adopted, they just gave me stepfather's last name after they married) and I wish stepfather didn't encourage me to sue my bio father for all the unpaid child support.
post #14 of 56
I've had a really bad experience, my dad cheated on my mom with his wife (NOT my stepmother) and she's been in our lives since I was 11 and my sister was 7. It's been really hard, but I try not to let that cloud the fact that many of my friends have had the opposite experience, including my DH who has a wonderful stepmom.

I'd say realize that in many situations, the kids are JUST beginning to deal with their parents divorce and do NOT need to immediately be introduced to the new person in their parent's life. That's not to say the parent can't spend time with them- but it feels like a slap in the face when the first time you see your father's new condo is the first time you meet your soon-to-be stepmother.

Include the kids in the wedding to the extent THEY are comfortable with. Personally, I know my sister and I had ZERO desire to attend or participate in the nuptuals, but it would have been nice to tell us they were getting married, instead of my Dad coming back from a trip to the Caribbean announcing that he eloped. Not good.

Don't make every single holiday about the step-parent's family. We NEVER go with our Dad to see his side of the family on holidays now. Every holiday is taken up with her side. So we choose to go elsewhere, and that's sad, because then we don't see our Dad much over the holidays.

Let the kids have time with just their parent, sometimes. And don't manipulate phone calls, either (ie, sitting in the room commenting in the background as if you're part of the conversation). If I leave a message for my father, let HIM return it.

Money. This has been the single most divisive issue. The parent(s) should be allowed to decide, within reason, where, when, and what to spend on their children. Within reason means not going into debt beyond your means, not having to take on extra jobs, and not spoiling the heck out of the kid. It means that if a parent has the money, and wants to buy their child a car, pay for college, help them out with bills, or WHATEVER- that' s their right as a parent. The spouse can certainly have input, but not control. This is different in each family because of finances but in my situation, where there is more than enough money to go around, my stepmother wants it all for herself. Not exaggerating!

Overall, if you don't like someone's kids, or at least, aren't able to be nice to them and not interfere with their relationship with their parent, you don't belong in that family in the first place! Being a great step-parent isn't always possible, but as the saying goes, if you can't be helpful, at least don't be harmful, and that's what I wish my stepmother could have understood.
post #15 of 56
My step dad was really good to me. He didn't have biological children and he sees me as a daughter (even though he and my mom are no longer married).

My step mom is totally inappropriate. She constantly compares her kids with my sister and I. She horns in where she's not welcome and likes to play the mother role when it makes her look good. She lives in a fantasy world where she forgets that we have a wonderful mother who raised us. She also tends to forget that we're my dad's kids and that he was our parent before she knew us.

fwiw, Stepdad came into my life when I was ten and step mom when I was nineteen.
post #16 of 56
Thread Starter 
I can't thank enough to everyone who replied. Please keep them coming.

post #17 of 56
my mom married my stepdad when i was 17. from the start he treated me like his own (he didn't have his own child until a year later) -- both in that he loved me but also he had expectations of me. he took an active interest in what i was doing and what i thought. he always respected my relationship with my dad and never said anything negative about him.
post #18 of 56
I love that my step mother always asked first if we were comfortable with stuff. I love that she always honoured our family traditions and planned to include them, even when she thought that they were silly. I love that she knows she will never replace my mother and doesn't try. I love that she still finds ways to be incredibly involved in my life. I loved that she would sometimes be on my side against my father. (I got my ears pierced for the second time at 14 because of her.)

I didn't like that she used to fight quite a bit with my father when we were younger. I didn't like that instead of working out new family rules, we were expected to live up to both parents very different expectations.

However, I love that we are truely a family, and I love that she calls my son her Grandson, and I love that we have always been treated fairly, to the point where it's almost ridiculous. (Financially and time wise)

I'm now crying, and think I'm going to include a letter of thanks with her Christmas gift.

I'd also like to add that my situation is a bit different. My mother died when I was 11, my Dad met my SM when I was 12 and we all (Me, my sister, my dad, our dog, my Step mom, my step sister, her daughter) moved in together when I was 17.
post #19 of 56
My step father always treated us like his own children. He has two of his own who are 5-7 years older than me. But we were all one big family. Not necessarily happy, but I think that had more to do with the dynamic created between my sister, my mother and I.

Although we never called my step dad "Dad," we desperately wanted to, but it just always felt awkward. My Dad was pretty much absent from the time I was little although he didn't move out of state until I was 13. I feel more like my step dad's daughter than his though. He was there for all of the really bad stuff and the really good stuff.

When referring to my parents, I am always talking about him and my mother. He calls our children his grandchildren even though they are not his biologically. Our children call him "Grandpa" and see him more than their biological grandparents.

I'm sure there were bad things that I could talk about, but mostly they would be just like complaining about a bio-parent, not a step parent.
post #20 of 56
I wish that my stepmom realized that my dad had 2 children with his first wife (my mom) and that we weren't going to just disappear. I really think my stepmom thought we were almost grown and wouldn't be part of the family anymore. She wanted to have her own life with my dad without us in it. I know that sounds crazy but it was ok for her to be close to her dad, but she didn't want us to be close to our dad. She really wanted us to just go away. She should have never married someone that had children.
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