"Anti-breeder" is now a Step-Dad - Page 2 - Mothering Forums
View Poll Results: Do you really love the step-kids?
Yes! 14 45.16%
They are growing on me. 5 16.13%
I like them a lot. 3 9.68%
I tolerate them. 9 29.03%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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#31 of 37 Old 12-08-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cakoala View Post
Again, this has been a very rewarding thread for me. I heed the warnings, and the mother and I are "feeling out" the relationship. I will propose that there are personality types that love children easily. Many of you are exactly that type. I will be curious to see how my own emotions evolve over time. One thing is clear, the bio-dads are not coming into the picture again. So, even if I leave, the male influence won't increase. Also, Mom was not looking for a life mate when I showed up, so it is unlikely that another male will be easily brought in.

Breeder, thank you so much for the terms. I am glad I have a break between classes right now to get "up to speed" on this parenting subject. A crash course is usually very effective for me.

And for the rest of you that have blessed the relationship, Thank You! It is blessed beyond my wildest dream. Somehow, I think the "kid" issue will work out fine. In fact, the teenager and I seem to have better repertoire than her and her mother. The mother finds it comforting that someone can 'talk to her.'
I think you've set up a false dichotomy here. I am a person who easily loves children, but becoming a step-parent was wrenching for me. In most ways, I believe that my "breeder" personality made becoming a step-parent MORE difficult, not less, because I had expectations about the kind of relationship my SS and I would share. It took me years to accept the relationship that WAS, instead of trying to create something that SS didn't need.

I have been married to my DP for over 8 years now, and neither of us loves our step-children in a way that resembles the love that we have for our own children. I love my SS in the sense that I am concerned that he gets his needs met and has the best life possible. I am willing to sacrifice for him and take care of him, but we don't have a bond like I have with my biological children. We have a pleasant relationship most of the time, but we don't seek each other out for companionship. He doesn't come to me with his problems, though I believe he would if neither of his parents was available. In general, it's a relationship with a much looser bond, in spite of my desire in the early years to be close with him.

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Originally Posted by cakoala View Post
I congratulate all of you who have stable, and loving children. It is quite a feat.
No, it's not. There are a million ways that it can go wrong, but a trillion ways for it to go right. It's not science and it doesn't require any specialized training. Raising kids is about living life. If you're living with integrity, love, and compassion, the kids will obviously have a better life than if you're not. What "system" or "theory" by which you choose to parent is far, far less important than those attributes.

Look, I get where you're training is taking you, but regular folks with zero psychological training successfully raise kids all the time. Attachment parenting is very simple: it's about taking kids seriously and trying to meet their needs for love and discipline in a responsive way. Books and research and theories can help, but experience is the only real teacher. I read all the books about becoming a step-parent, and I still made a huge mess of the whole thing. You very likely will, too. Kids will bounce back if they know that the adults in their world really care and as long as they have at least one person who is passionately in love with them (always assuming there's no major dysfunction going on).

I'm concerned that you're setting yourself up to relate to your new SCs from a place of fear. The only worse foundation for any parent/step-parent relationship than fear is guilt. Think about: right now, millions of kids are thriving in blended families of all different styles and with parents and step-parents with all kinds of personalities.

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#32 of 37 Old 12-08-2008, 04:37 PM
 
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As the mother of a child raised with a non bio father, I wouldn't accept a partner that didn't love my kids. Especially when the bio father is not in the picture. Period. All the psychological talk is entertaining but bottom line IMO is that ideally kids are raised by people that love them. And since the kids were in her ( and my ) life before I met my partner I had a duty to make sure I brought a person into the family that loved them.

Your descriptions of these children in your OP makes it seem like you view them as easy experiments and tests for your training.
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#33 of 37 Old 12-08-2008, 05:53 PM
 
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Attachment parenting, to me is about learning and growing together. It's about me learning what my child wants/needs are and doing what I can to meet those wants/needs as much as I can. It's about being present as much as I can, wanting to be with them, nurture them, enchance their lives, live, grow and share with them. When you're dropped into the situation mid-stream, it may take some time to catch up, but as many have explained, it can happen. The only question now is do you want it to?

Ultimately, these children are a part of your finance. Perhaps if you spend some time looking at them as an extension of her, you'll find the love and fondness you have for her can also be extended to them. Parts of what you love about her are parts that have been created because of her love and experience with them. Those same wonderful things you love about her are also very likely, found inside each of her children too.

I wish you all well along this journey.
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#34 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 04:07 PM
 
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I just finished reading "Ex-Etiquette for Parents: Good Behavior After a Divorce or Separation" by Jann Blackstone-Ford, M.A. & Sharyl Jupe. While all of it might not be applicable, it is certainly full of very practical advice for every adult in a "blended" family situation. What I like is that both voices are present in the book - the mom's voice is there (Sharyl Jupe) as is the bonus-mom's (Jann Blackstone). I appreciate their wisdom as people who have been there, done that, and survived to tell the tale.

Having read many, many books about divorce, step-parenting, co-parenting, blended family, etc., this is by far one of the easiest to read and easiest to apply. The fact that it doesn't read like a lecture but more like some advice from a trusted friend is definitely a plus as well.

Good luck with your foray into this new adventure!

Dissertating wife of Mr. Amazing Man, mother to Boo Bear ( ) Captain Knuckle (13), and The Professor (5). Expecting Penelope Rose 5/10/2010 via planned c/s.
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#35 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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My step father never wanted children of his own. He didn't particularly care for children. He and my mom have been together for 20 years now and I am closer to him than I am my biological father. I was 12 when he and my mother started dating and my brother was 9. I think my brother had a more difficult time initially because he was a child who always fought hard for our dad's affection. I think he didn't want to hurt our, mostly uninvolved, father. I think he loves both fathers equally at this point but respects our step dad more.

Anyhow, this man who never had the breeder gene, and still doesn't (though I secretly thought he would gain it at some point because he is 12 years younger than my mom and I assumed that once he "grew up" he'd want to procreate), has been an incredible father to me. He approached things on a respect level more than anything. He talked to me. He found out what I wanted and worked with me to get those things out of life. He never, ever tried to overcompensate. He didn't buy me things to "prove" that he cared about me, he didn't disagree with my mom just to make me feel like he was on my side.

Today I feel as if he loves me. He has helped me in times when nobody else was there for me. More than that, while he never did get used to "handling" infants, he has been the most amazing grandfather to my children. Somewhere, though the breeder never emerged, he found a place in his heart for these crazy little munchkins who aren't always well behaved, often make a mess, and occasionally claim to be from another planet. When I ask my children if they want to go visit grandpa they don't ask "which one?" because there is just my step dad. My younger 2 just recently met my father, though he lives only a short distance from me. He had the breeder gene...he just didn't have the be an active part of your childs life gene.
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#36 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 09:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UptownZoo View Post
I think you've set up a false dichotomy here. I am a person who easily loves children, but becoming a step-parent was wrenching for me.
:

I'm the person who always wants to hold the baby, walk with the toddler, etc etc... but that hasn't made me more loving toward my stepdaughter. Unfortunately I find her irritating more often than not. However, I enjoyed her a lot more during the younger years, 3 to 6... at 10 she's getting that pre-teen attitude.

I think that the fact that we rarely see her makes it hard to form any real connection - if your stepkids are with their mom most of the time, that will be different for you.

My stepdad was the main father figure in my life and I felt that he loved me like a daughter - not exactly the same way but similarly. He married my mom when I was 7.

For books, I recommend Playful Parenting for stepparents, because I think that the approaches in it help to keep things light, when they can escalate really easily with step dynamics.

HTH.

 Twin Boys born August 16, 2014
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#37 of 37 Old 12-10-2008, 11:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just read the book "Discipline" By Dr. Sears. It is supposedly the primary reference for attachment parenting. I enjoyed the read, and saw that Dr. Sears patterns most of his advice after good psychological methodologies based on the stages of ego growth. I dog-eared a couple pages. On a side note, Dr. Sears is definitely a breeder - 8 kids - makes my head spin.

Wende,

Thanks for the bright spot. I suspect that I will end up like your "dad." They are growing on me even after 8 days.

Laggie and Sostickenhappy,

I will add your books to the top of my list. Working on getting a copy of Stepparenting" first.

Arduinna,

I am sorry if the postings sound a bit dry. And perhaps, I don't have the innate sense of parenting that some others have. I do love my partner and cherish all that she cherishes. I am positive that she made her decision with all do considerations, just as you did.
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