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very short comment i heard the other day

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
A friend told me this about HER stepkids:
"I couldn't raise them as if they weren't my own kids-I don't know how else to do what's best for them than to treat them exactly like my own."

It impacted me a lot as a stepmom so i thought i'd pass it along. . .although easier said than done (at least for me)
post #2 of 36
post #3 of 36
She hit the nail right on the head.
post #4 of 36
Nice comment but ohhhh the pressure . . .
post #5 of 36
That's how I feel and how I have always treated DSD. I don't have any bio kids yet, but I can't imagine treating anyone different just because of that. They are all children that need love, nurture and guidance.
post #6 of 36
We do get contradictory messages as stepparents:

1. "Don't you dare treat them any differently from your own or they'll feel left out and unloved."
2. "Don't you dare treat them as your own or they'll feel as though you're trying to replace their real mother."

We also get:
1. "You can't possibly love them like your own because they're not; you didn't gestate or give birth to them and they don't share any of your DNA."
2. "Of COURSE adoptive mothers can love their adopted children like their own because they are! It's not gestation or birth or DNA that really matters."
post #7 of 36
You brought up something that I have alwayes wondered on, ProtoLawyer, but was always afraid to ask... Why can't step-parents love their step-children like their own if adoptive parents can? Isn't it the same? We entered a commitment too.
post #8 of 36
Simple:
When you adopt you are taking on complete care and responsibility of said child. You are the parent.

When you step parent the child still has two parents. The child is loyal to his/her parents. Add divorce, animosity/competition between spouses ( and that's just the tip of the ice berg ) the list goes on the dynamics of a blended family are complex. Navigating the emotions, of the stepchildren, exes etc. :
I married a man with two children. I took on the committment of this man in my life. His children have two parents that are committed to them already. I do the best I can but I am not Mom # 2. My 'commitment' is different than that of a parent.

If really serious love happens. (The kind that I feel for my own children) Great! If something in the middle happens. ( Akin to what I may feel for my good friends children) that will suffice.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
We do get contradictory messages as stepparents:

1. "Don't you dare treat them any differently from your own or they'll feel left out and unloved."
2. "Don't you dare treat them as your own or they'll feel as though you're trying to replace their real mother."

We also get:
1. "You can't possibly love them like your own because they're not; you didn't gestate or give birth to them and they don't share any of your DNA."
2. "Of COURSE adoptive mothers can love their adopted children like their own because they are! It's not gestation or birth or DNA that really matters."
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by anitaj71 View Post
Simple:
When you adopt you are taking on complete care and responsibility of said child. You are the parent.

When you step parent the child still has two parents. The child is loyal to his/her parents. Add divorce, animosity/competition between spouses ( and that's just the tip of the ice berg ) the list goes on the dynamics of a blended family are complex. Navigating the emotions, of the stepchildren, exes etc. :
I married a man with two children. I took on the committment of this man in my life. His children have two parents that are committed to them already. I do the best I can but I am not Mom # 2. My 'commitment' is different than that of a parent.

If really serious love happens. (The kind that I feel for my own children) Great! If something in the middle happens. ( Akin to what I may feel for my good friends children) that will suffice.
I second that. I always say that I don't expect my DSS to love me. If he can grow up and in retrospect feel like I added some value to both his life and his dad's, then I've done my job.
post #11 of 36
But what is so wrong with having 3 or 4 parents that love you and would do anything for you?

I'm sorry, I just don't understand how it could be a bad thing. I'm not talking about replacing biological parents here... I'm talking about adding to it. Being another positive parental figure for that child to go to when they need to.

I honestly can't see that as a bad thing.

And some step-parents do take a commitment in doing all the caring for, etc. When DSD is with DP and I, we take care of her together, but a lot of times, bathing, dressing, fixing meals, doing her hair... that's all my realm.
post #12 of 36
I don't think it is a bad thing for all the parents to be able to love a child. I feel resentment from Dss's mom is what keep this from happening. All people love differently and add different things to a child's life. I could add the fine arts and love of reading to my Dss's but it isn't encouraged or allowed.
post #13 of 36
JSMa, I think there's a certain ownership quality about kids to some parents. My step kids (4) have 3 different moms. Moms 1 & 3 - are the "these kids are mine" sort (that's just an iceberg tip/generalization really, there are alot of abuses strewn by these two). Mom 2 is the "it takes a village sort" and is glad that at least her girl's stepmom is caring and involved, and has no problem sharing the parental responsibilities (if we lived closer, that would be alot more doable, of course). I can very much understand the "mine" versus "village" it's hard to allow someone else to take care of your kids, and even harder still to watch them form a parental bond with another person, but IMO a parent who's not selfish would want what's best for the kid and be happy that they've got an additional person to love and support them. But I know it's hard, I go between "village" and "mine" with all the kids. I just have to remember that "village" is best for them and calm the two year old inside of me that says "MINE!"
post #14 of 36
That's a really good point, Teenytoona! I love the village analogy. *nods*

I think I am lucky that DSD's Mom and my DP are getting more and more comfortable with the "vilage" concept. They want what is best for DSD, and they both respect me. I know from reading here I have it easier than most in this situation.

I guess I try to understand the thought behind the "step-parents aren't real parents, the child already has parents..." Because I don't think anyone can ever really have too much love or caring.
post #15 of 36
I can see how ex tensions, emotions, and everything previous posters said *can* (and often will) get in the way of a parental bond between stepchildren and stepparents...but I don't think it's necessarily inevitable. (And I like what anitaj said about if the big love happens, that's great, and if not, that can be good, too...spot on.) In my own situation, one of the nice things I can say about SD's mom is that her non-traditional views of marriage, monogamy, and so forth means she has no problem with me treating SD as my own (whatever that means), because her ideal would be communal child-rearing anyway. She has expressed more generalized problems with me "living her life," but not specifically in regard to her daughter. In that way, I am lucky.

I understand the genetic and evolutionary programming we have to be very attached to our biological mothers, but beyond that, I don't think we're imprinted with "we can only love one mom and one dad, period." We know that's not true--nobody here, at least, would argue that a child with two moms can only be attached to the one who gave birth to her and the other is at best, an "auntie."

But are we programmed to love only two parents, period? I don't know; I'm not a psychologist, anthropologist, or for that matter, a theologian.
post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
But what is so wrong with having 3 or 4 parents that love you and would do anything for you?

I'm sorry, I just don't understand how it could be a bad thing. I'm not talking about replacing biological parents here... I'm talking about adding to it. Being another positive parental figure for that child to go to when they need to.

I honestly can't see that as a bad thing.

And some step-parents do take a commitment in doing all the caring for, etc. When DSD is with DP and I, we take care of her together, but a lot of times, bathing, dressing, fixing meals, doing her hair... that's all my realm.
It's not a bad thing, to have several parents that love you, unless you don't want that! My SS is profoundly dissatisfied with any care that I provide him. He is visibly upset to see me in the parking lot at the school, or to find out that I'm the only parent available to take him to a doctor's appt. He doesn't dislike me. We have fun together, we talk, he loves to come with me when I walk the dogs. But I'm not his parent, and he does not want me to be.

And I'll be completely honest - I don't love him like I do my other children. I love him, I'd just as soon take a bullet for him as I would for the other kids, I passionately desire the best life possible for him. But it's not the same. The day I accepted that, my life got 1000% easier. I let go and let myself see him as I would see a beloved nephew - someone to whom I am responsible, but for whom I do not bear ultimate responsibility.

Works for us.
post #17 of 36
I also agree that treating Madison like I treat my own girls is essential to a happy home and life for all of us. Not sure if it makes a difference but I think that because the 3 girls are all so close in age, it is even more important as differences would be very very obvious.
post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
But what is so wrong with having 3 or 4 parents that love you and would do anything for you?

I'm sorry, I just don't understand how it could be a bad thing. I'm not talking about replacing biological parents here... I'm talking about adding to it. Being another positive parental figure for that child to go to when they need to.

I honestly can't see that as a bad thing.

And some step-parents do take a commitment in doing all the caring for, etc. When DSD is with DP and I, we take care of her together, but a lot of times, bathing, dressing, fixing meals, doing her hair... that's all my realm.
This is exactly the way my DH treats my son. We've told my son that he's very lucky... he's got two set of parents who love and care for him. His dad is currently in Japan (he's career in the Navy), and has remarried, so there's one mom and dad. I have custody so my DS lives with me and my DH. He calls both of his dad figures "Dad" and neither of the dads have issue with it. I told him that if he ever really gets to know his stepmom, and decides to call her "Mom" I'll be fine with that too. My DH loves my son as though he were actually bio related to him, and treats him that way... complete with all the frustrated worry that happens when 14 y.o. boys do stupid things. They go do things as father and son, which has been a great thing, since my 1st husband (being military) wasn't around much to do those things. The best thing of all this... this transition occured when my son was almost 11. He's never thrown the "You aren't my real dad, you can't tell me what to do" bit at DH. If he rebels, he rebels... doesn't matter whether which of the two of us told him to do what.
post #19 of 36
That is very wonderful to hear Laura. Sounds like your DS is very lucky to have such loving and open parents.


We tell DSD that she is very lucky too. She is so young that I think going into it like that, that is what she will know as she grows older. We tell her she is lucky to have two homes and two sets of parents that love her very much. She will even say it herself somtimes.

For instance, yesterday when I picked her up from school she was actually in a really happy mood. She was babbling away in the backseat, like she sometimes does, and out of nowhere she said, "Jen, I am very lucky to have two homes. A very lucky girl."

It makes me happy when she says that.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtoLawyer View Post
We do get contradictory messages as stepparents:

1. "Don't you dare treat them any differently from your own or they'll feel left out and unloved."
2. "Don't you dare treat them as your own or they'll feel as though you're trying to replace their real mother."

We also get:
1. "You can't possibly love them like your own because they're not; you didn't gestate or give birth to them and they don't share any of your DNA."
2. "Of COURSE adoptive mothers can love their adopted children like their own because they are! It's not gestation or birth or DNA that really matters."
I love this post... So true.:

If even adults can't figure it out, how in the world are the kids supposed to know what's ok to feel towards their stepparents?..
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