The role of the Stepmother - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: How involved should a Stepmother be in her stepchild's life?
I'm a Mother and I think a Stepmother should be as involved as much as possible. 10 11.76%
I'm a Stepmother and I think a Stepmother should be as involved much as possible. 12 14.12%
I'm a Mother and I think only when the Mother is not available. 8 9.41%
I'm a Stepmother and I think only when the Mother is not available. 1 1.18%
I'm a Mother and I think according to the children's Father's wishes. 2 2.35%
I'm a Stepmother and I think according to the children's Father's wishes. 3 3.53%
I'm a Mother and I think no part of her Stepchild's life. 0 0%
I'm a Stepmother and I think no part of her Stepchild's life. 0 0%
I'm a Mother and I think it should be up to whatever the child's comfort level is. 16 18.82%
I'm a Stepmother and I think it should be up to the child's comfort level. 20 23.53%
Other 13 15.29%
Voters: 85. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been reading alot of posts in this forum lately between Stepmothers and Mothers and I'm curious as to how Stepmothers and Mothers feel about what the role of a Stepmother should be so I'm making this poll and, after you vote, please feel free to add what other thoughts you may have on the subject.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 06:49 PM
 
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I answered "other" because there are just too many variables.

I am a stepmother and I'm very involved in SD's life when she's here (mostly weekends), and will occasionally head to her mom's for things like birthday parties, recitals, etc. When she is here, my partner and I are a team -- he handles more of the direct child care, I handle more of the household stuff (with enough overlap that SD's not getting the idea that Daddy gets to play but Stepmom only cleans), but that's how the division of labor works, and it works for us. He's told her she needs to listen to me, so we both handle in-the-instant discipline, but he handles the big stuff (in conjunction with his ex, if appropriate). I'm better at remembering medication schedules, appointments, what time the pool opens, so I handle more of the schedule.

But when she's not here my involvement is limited to saying "hi" on the phone when she asks her dad to hand the phone to me, that sort of thing.

ProtoLawyer (the now-actual lawyer, this isn't legal advice,  please don't take legal advice from some anonymous yahoo on the Internet)
Spouse (the political geek) * Stepdaughter (the artist) * and introducing...the Baby (um, he's a baby? He likes shiny things).
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#3 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 07:17 PM
 
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Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)

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#4 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 08:47 PM
 
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I'm a stepmom and my stepson lives with us full-time. He's four. His mom is great with him when she puts her mind to it. She just has a hard time remembering to call him when it's scheduled and being on time for her visits with him.

I am more of a friend to my stepson than a stepmom I guess. Most of the discipline is done by my husband. I'll intervene if he's going to physically hurt himself or put himself in danger, but that's not often. I cook and do household stuff, but I don't consider myself to be in a mothering role to him. I want him to know he can count on me and trust me, but I don't want to take the role of his mom. That's what she's there for.

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#5 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 08:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)

You sound like a great stepmom!

mom to sam arlo (5), olive loretta (3)....and twin girls Annie and Ramona Jean, born 3/10.

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#6 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 09:57 PM
 
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I am a mother and answered that I thought a SM should be as involved as possible. IMO, involved as possible doesn't mean replacing me. My dd is at her dad's house 2-3 nights per week, so I would want a SM to love her and play a huge role in her life. I would also like her to look at dd's father, me and dd's SD as her partners in parenting, and look to all of us if there is an issue or if a big decision needs to be made.

(dd's dad isn't married, but has a serious GF that I am pretty sure will be my dd's SM eventually.)

Mama to A born 8/7/99
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#7 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 10:29 PM
 
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I'm a mom. I stand by my current thought that the stepmom should fill the role of a "favorite aunt". Oriole hit the description on the head.
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#8 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 10:37 PM
 
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i voted "other".

i was both step-mother and mother...

as a step-mother, i had my step-child on a full-time basis. she's my daughter, through and through...after my husband and i split, i kept hailey until she was almost twenty. she calls me "mom" and her mother "carol".

my husband's woman, on the other hand...while a very nice lady...only sees my kids once per year. and it's NEVER a good experience for me...(their christmas ritual is for all the adults save one to get totally plastered).
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#9 of 43 Old 09-22-2007, 10:41 PM
 
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I'm a mom. I stand by my current thought that the stepmom should fill the role of a "favorite aunt". Oriole hit the description on the head.
Yes, I like that description.

And Oriole, you give me warm fuzzies. I wish my daughters step mother was like you.

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#10 of 43 Old 09-23-2007, 03:28 AM
 
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Yeah. I love sunflowers description of a "favourite aunt." I'd disagree with Oriole avoiding the big discussions- because frankly, I'd rather my child talked about sex and contraception and racism and losing their virginity with a sane and rational adult than with a bunch of their peers still negotiating the same milestones. It's a real privilege that those kinds of conversations are initiated at all.

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#11 of 43 Old 09-23-2007, 06:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)
Yes to all of this. Unfortunately, dsd's mother killed herself and I was thrust into the full time mom role too soon. It was disastrous and we are working things through in therapy now after 3 years of sheer hell.

The good news? Dh actually told me he was glad I (finally) talked him into therapy.

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#12 of 43 Old 09-23-2007, 05:59 PM
 
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Just found this site ,,

I feel my role in my step-son's life is to be whatever he needs me to be..
Whether that be mother, friend, teacher, nurse, counselor, the person he shoots with the lego gun he's made.

Kids are smart and as long as there isn't any disrespect , they can decide what our roles should be in their lives ...
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#13 of 43 Old 09-23-2007, 07:49 PM
 
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I think that ideally the biological parents should be the ones doing the main raising, rules, ext., and the step-parents are second to that, doing the fun things, helping with the homework, ext. It's different for every family, however. Some step-parents are more involved due to an absent bio-parent our out of necessity of the situation. Communication and understanding is absolutely essential in blended families, but I think it's very important for step-parents to know their role and not over-step it. I know that's hard when you sometimes don't agree with the way the biological parents are raising the kids, but really, it's up to the biological parents how the child will be raised. This is coming from a mother and a stepmother (although I don't get to see my stepson due to a situation between his mother and my dh-it's whole 'nother thread).

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#14 of 43 Old 09-23-2007, 11:34 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Assuming mom is in the picture, and neither mom or stepmom are psychopaths or drug addicts...

What I think my role is:

*to cook yummy things for her
*to do fun things with DSD when she is here (crafts, books, baking, movies, concerts)
*to listen to her when she has things she wants to share (boyfriend trouble, friends at school, girly stuff)
*to love her
*to help her with homework and school projects
*to make sure she knows this is her house as well
*to support her during recitals, sporting events
*to pick her up and drop her off when DP can't
*occasionally to drive her to her appointments if neither of her parents can make it and there is no other reason for her to miss it
*to assist with birthday party organization if her parents are too busy to do that (this is the case in our situation most of the time)
*to lead by example

What my role isn't:

*to give her parenting lectures
*to decide if she can have her ears pierced
*to decide if she can have a new haircut
*to discipline
*to explain to her difficult things (unless DSD asks and persists with the questions)
*to make medical decisions
*to comment on her parents’ relationship
*to tell her she should call me mom
*to do the “firsts” bras, period talks, wedding dress shopping, etc. etc. (this one is the hardest to let go, I do love her to pieces, and would have loved to be the one to share those moments with)
I also agree with this. My dsd is quite a bit younger than Oriole's dsd, so I do have to do a teeny, tiny bit of discipline-related things (And by this I mean saying things like "Please don't hit the dog."), but DF does the vast majority of it.

I also help with hygiene things, getting dressed in the morning, just typical things that she will eventually do on her own but has trouble with due to age.

I do not want to be her mom - she has a perfectly good mom. I just want to be an additional supportive adult in her family.

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#15 of 43 Old 09-24-2007, 12:45 AM
 
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I hope it's okay that I'm responding. I'm a step child, not a step mother or mother with an ex.

There are so many different step mothers and step children. As a step child, my step mother is wonderful. She has treated me as her own child. Helped send me to college and is more of a grandparent to my children than my own mother has been. She is their grandma. She is at each game, each school event. If I call or they call, she's there.

But I haven't always wanted that. I have a mother and whatever issues we've had, she's still my mother and I do want that to be respected. It's complicated, as it always is and it's everybody's fault. For awhile I blamed my stepmother for the kids liking her more, but really, she's just being who she is, and that's a loving person. I'm lucky and so are my kids. So if I were to vote based on that, I'd vote that the stepmother should be completely involved.

But I work with a woman who is ugly and mean and I've felt awful for her step daughters over the years. When she was pregnant with her older ds I had to tell her to stop her behavior because she kept telling the poor sdd's that they couldn't touch "her" baby's stuff, etc. So if I was voting based on her, I'd vote that there should be limited involvement.

It varies. Widely. In the general population, as a sweeping generalization, I think that step parents aren't so hot. It takes a special and not-the-norm person to wholeheartedly love someone else's children. As this group here is self-selected, I don't think that applies. But what I see out here in the suburbs is less nice on the whole and I worry. And I know that I really won the lottery.
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#16 of 43 Old 09-24-2007, 01:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by angelpie545 View Post
I think that ideally the biological parents should be the ones doing the main raising, rules, ext., and the step-parents are second to that, doing the fun things, helping with the homework, ext. It's different for every family, however. Some step-parents are more involved due to an absent bio-parent our out of necessity of the situation. Communication and understanding is absolutely essential in blended families, but I think it's very important for step-parents to know their role and not over-step it. I know that's hard when you sometimes don't agree with the way the biological parents are raising the kids, but really, it's up to the biological parents how the child will be raised. This is coming from a mother and a stepmother (although I don't get to see my stepson due to a situation between his mother and my dh-it's whole 'nother thread).
when my step-daughter moved in with us...my husband and i discussed how we would handle discipline and all of that jazz. it was decided that i would be completely in charge, just as if she were my flesh and blood.

and so i was. school, doctors, college, dates, dances, movies, talks...i did it all. i taught her all her life-skills...and have always treated her just the same as my blood-children.

when my husband and i split, hailey had just turned sixteen. she was placed in MY custody...where she lived until she was almost twenty. *crosses fingers* she might be coming home in january...

we didn't treat her a lick different...since i was already in charge of OUR girls...it made sense to just add her right on in. (probably helped that dh didn't WANT to be much involved). my family would have fell apart if we had different rule sets for each.



i guess my point is that there's a different dynamic for each and every family...and each and every one has to come up with a plan that's comfortable and right for them. there's no "one size fits all"...what worked for us might not for others, and vice versa.
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#17 of 43 Old 09-24-2007, 01:26 AM
 
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when my step-daughter moved in with us...my husband and i discussed how we would handle discipline and all of that jazz. it was decided that i would be completely in charge, just as if she were my flesh and blood.

and so i was. school, doctors, college, dates, dances, movies, talks...i did it all. i taught her all her life-skills...and have always treated her just the same as my blood-children.

when my husband and i split, hailey had just turned sixteen. she was placed in MY custody...where she lived until she was almost twenty. *crosses fingers* she might be coming home in january...

we didn't treat her a lick different...since i was already in charge of OUR girls...it made sense to just add her right on in. (probably helped that dh didn't WANT to be much involved). my family would have fell apart if we had different rule sets for each.



i guess my point is that there's a different dynamic for each and every family...and each and every one has to come up with a plan that's comfortable and right for them. there's no "one size fits all"...what worked for us might not for others, and vice versa.
I think it makes a huge difference if the mother is involved in the childs life. Ideally, if she is involved at all...then the things you stated above don't seem like they would work to make everyone feel respected in their roles.

Of course, you can be in charge of your home and the rules in it.. but specific rules to the child should be a joint effort between the parents. If they want to involve you, and have it be open communication involving all of you... then thats great!

Obviously your situation was different and the mother chose to not be involved much so might not have cared. I dunno..

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#18 of 43 Old 09-24-2007, 01:28 AM
 
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I'm a step-daughter too, and my stepmom has been a part of my life for almost 30 years.

The way I see a successful stepmom/stepchild relationship is to follow the lead of the child. My stepmom did not enforce houserules, though all kids were expected to follow the same houserules. My dad enforced them with me and my brother, and my stepmom enforced them with her kids. My dad and mom decided on consequences regarding broken rules if they were overarching both homes (poor grades, etc) but for rules that were house specific, my dad and stepmom made the rules, but my dad enforced them.

However, my dad and mom never put my stepmom in the position of having to parent without the authority to do so. I like the aunt analogy as well. My brother and i were expected to give my stepmom the respect and authority given to any family member, but when the chips were down, my dad and mom made the final decision.

And, now, my stepmom is my son's grandmother, not his step-grandmother. i know this whole blended family thing is so complicated. After 24 years of marriage, my dad and stepmom are still negotiating some aspects of their relationships with their stepkids. i am still shocked that my dad isn't leaving any inheritance to my stepbrother and stepsister, but it isn't my place to say anything...
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#19 of 43 Old 09-24-2007, 01:36 AM
 
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I think it makes a huge difference if the mother is involved in the childs life. Ideally, if she is involved at all...then the things you stated above don't seem like they would work to make everyone feel respected in their roles.

Of course, you can be in charge of your home and the rules in it.. but specific rules to the child should be a joint effort between the parents. If they want to involve you, and have it be open communication involving all of you... then thats great!

Obviously your situation was different and the mother chose to not be involved much so might not have cared. I dunno..
yeah, we didn't see her much for a few years...originally, hailey started staying summers...then i made an agreement with her mother...i'd continue to pay full child support if she would allow hailey to live full-time with us. she agreed, and we didn't see her but twice in four years.

when hailey was sixteen, she started coming around...she'd take her out for an evening, buy her some clothing...and then take her home. at seventeen, she moved to our state. now, they have a sort of friendship...and are finally starting to heal. that's a GOOD thing, hailey needed that peace.

it's strange, now she buys MY kids things...in sort of a repayment for all of the child support that i paid her, i guess. she's changed a bit, grown...and we all have a positive relationship that works to the benefit of our grandson.

i can't tell you how scary it was when she first showed up on my doorstep, without warning. it was so very hard to let her in...to let her take hailey for a bit. but hailey was ready, and apparently so was she...and things have been good.

i never cared if carol would have approved of my rules, since she had no bearing on my family. my husband, on the other hand...was another story. we discussed regularly how i was handling things, and he was in full approval.

now, she's a beautiful young woman, 22, and a mother herself. i've been truly blessed.



that's where i was going, you know...each family is different. each mother and step-mother have a different relationship or lack there-of. each child has different needs. hopefully, we're all pushing for the good of the kids...whatever that may be.
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#20 of 43 Old 09-24-2007, 01:41 AM
 
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This is a great thread. My SO and I have been talking about this lately. I have a daughter with my ex and he has two children with his.

Our plan is love 'em all to pieces. I know it's more complicated than that, but really that's the base of it all. As long as they know they're loved and they're happy in our home, it's all good.

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#21 of 43 Old 09-25-2007, 07:43 PM
 
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Originally Posted by loriforeman View Post
when my step-daughter moved in with us...my husband and i discussed how we would handle discipline and all of that jazz. it was decided that i would be completely in charge, just as if she were my flesh and blood.

and so i was. school, doctors, college, dates, dances, movies, talks...i did it all. i taught her all her life-skills...and have always treated her just the same as my blood-children.

when my husband and i split, hailey had just turned sixteen. she was placed in MY custody...where she lived until she was almost twenty. *crosses fingers* she might be coming home in january...

we didn't treat her a lick different...since i was already in charge of OUR girls...it made sense to just add her right on in. (probably helped that dh didn't WANT to be much involved). my family would have fell apart if we had different rule sets for each.



i guess my point is that there's a different dynamic for each and every family...and each and every one has to come up with a plan that's comfortable and right for them. there's no "one size fits all"...what worked for us might not for others, and vice versa.

Like everyone else is saying, I think it makes a huge difference if the mother is involved, and to what degree. It's wonderful that worked out for you and your family, but I think that is unique situation that you don't see very often.

In situations were both biolgoical parents are involved, I think that parenting role should be entirely up to the parents, not the step-parents. When the biological parents are absent and the step-parents are up to the role, more power to them, I think it's awesome-but when the parents are there, then the step-parents should know their place and step back.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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#22 of 43 Old 09-28-2007, 08:10 PM
 
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Ok, I'm the odd man out here, so don't shoot me.

My two dss live with my dh and I, and visit their mom on the weekends. Their mom is a great mom, very involved, very loving.

Dh and I work as a team, sharing in the discipline of the boys. I'm a SAHM and around them more than their mom or dad. I enforce rules. I lecture when appropriate. I teach them how to ride bikes and how to swim. I take the boys to their medical appointments because their mom and and dad work (although their mom is always informed, and invited along). Last night, younger dss asked me for help with cleaning his penis: . I refered him to his dad. But I love that he feels comfortable enough with me for that.

I go to school conferences with their dad and their mom. I get school emails like their parents. The three of us plan birthday parties together. With major decisions, I say my part but allow mom and dad to decide together.

I love my dss. I sometimes think it would be grand, though, if I could tell dh to just 'take over' more. Then I see that their toe nails are really long and need to be clipped, or I see some behavior that needs to be stopped. Dad doesn't check homework, so I do. Dad overlooks some things that I think are important, and so I say something.

I'm far more involved that most stepmothers, but that's the way it works here. I have an 11 month old daughter, and my goal is to be the same parent to the boys as I am with her, if possible.
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#23 of 43 Old 09-28-2007, 10:49 PM
 
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As a mother and someone who was a stepchild my whole life....all I really want for my ds is equality. His dad has a serious gf who has her own daughter and I want my son to be treated the same as her daughter. Same standards, same rewards etc. When I went to my dad's home my halfbrother and halfsister got huge xmas presents and I got a teeshirt. They got a college education paid for and I got squat. I think that regardless of where the child lives they should get the same things in that sense. I hope no one ever says to my son "Well you live with your mom so get her to buy it."
That being said I hope ex's gf is as invloved with my ds as he would be comfortable. He is so young that he doesn't really grasp the concept of "step-parent". My partner does all kinds of things for ds. Makes him breakfast, plays with him, helps him, watches him when I need him to, some discipline if I am not handy etc. If we have more children I fully expect my partner to treat my ds exactly the same as his bio kids.

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#24 of 43 Old 09-29-2007, 09:59 PM
 
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I voted that it should be up to the child's comfort level how involved they are. But I know SD's BM would probably not agree with me!
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#25 of 43 Old 10-21-2007, 11:49 AM
 
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It's really no wonder we are so confused about what our role "should be" as step mothers... One mother says "I want her to treat them equally to her biological children" and another says "don't you dare treat them like they are your own."

As for my own opinion, I think it does make a difference what the situation is: how old your step-children were when you came into their lives, whether or not there are other children involved, how the children feel and act, what the custody situation/schedule is, how much or little the mother is in the picture, how the mother feels about you, etc. I really don't think there is a "one size fits all" role for stepmoms. Unfortunately we all have to find our own way to some extent, a lot of it through trial-and-error.

Just my two cents...

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#26 of 43 Old 10-21-2007, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post
It's really no wonder we are so confused about what our role "should be" as step mothers... One mother says "I want her to treat them equally to her biological children" and another says "don't you dare treat them like they are your own."
That's part of the reason why I started this thread- I can't for the life of me figure out what my Stepdaughter's Mother wants from me. One day she's asking if I can watch Katherine for a day because she can't and Katherine's Dad can't either and the next day, she's flipping out because I didn't blowdry Katherine's hair after her bath! I never know what's expected.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#27 of 43 Old 10-21-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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There are alot of variables...but if the childs biological mother and father are active members of the childs life, It is pretty clear that those are the parents that need to handle discipline issues together.

In most cases, step parents arent successful in disciplineing a step child. The child is more likley to see them as "trying to replace their real mom" and that dynamic doesnt work. kwim?

Jenny
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#28 of 43 Old 10-21-2007, 03:00 PM
 
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I couldn't answer the poll b/c it won't allow multiple answers.

I'm a mother AND a stepmother, and I think both should be as involved as possible. My son's dad got divorced last year, and he now spends one day of his "dad weekends" with his stepmom, and the rest of the time with his dad.

When they were together, she did most of the meals, activities, deciding when he'd spent enough time with the TV, etc. If he were to act up, I certainly would want her to help him figure out a better way.

They do a lot of fun things together, with her ds, too, and I'm glad he has someone else who cares for him, and keeps him well while I can't be there.

We certainly don't agree on everything parenting-related, and I don't always like her way (or my X's), but the same can be said of the schools, KWIM?

Dp's DD is here for long stretches during the summer, and I'm not going to sit back and let her do whatever she wants all day while her dad's at work. So, yeah, I do some of the discipline stuff.

I work on Saturdays, and Dp is in charge of whatever kdis are home that day.

I don't see how it would work in a day-to-day way if each kid was only to follow the rules of, and be disciplined by, the parent with the biological connection.

On the long-term decision-making stuff, yeah, the majority should be done by the actual parents, but when it impacts the steps, they should have a say. For example, if dsd's grades are as bad this year as last, I'm absolutely going to tell dp that we shouldn't pay for her extra-curricular activities until she fixes the situation. With my son, my dp has way more of an interest than my X, as well as being more directly affected, especially in the day-to-day.
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#29 of 43 Old 10-21-2007, 03:03 PM
 
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I guess I am confused by what is meant by "disciplining" because I have read a lot that it is not the stepparents' job to discipline the children. I most definitely "discipline" my 5yo stepdaughter-- I set boundaries, enforce rules, decide when and what she can watch on TV, etc. I stay at home with the kids, and it wouldn't make any sense to me to adopt a "wait 'til your father gets home" attitude for her (and not for her two siblings) or to expect that her mother would play a part in imposing some sort of consequence for something she did while at our house. I parent/teach/guide/discipline in the moment with logical consequences... I am at a loss to imagine it working some other way. Maybe I am misunderstanding what people mean by "discipline." I really am imagining that I'm being told that if my stepdaughter pushes her little brother over I am supposed to call her mother or my husband to deal with it...

I'd love some clarification... Can I have some specifics on what disciplining step-parents shouldn't be doing?

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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#30 of 43 Old 10-21-2007, 03:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by transformed View Post
There are alot of variables...but if the childs biological mother and father are active members of the childs life, It is pretty clear that those are the parents that need to handle discipline issues together.

In most cases, step parents arent successful in disciplineing a step child. The child is more likley to see them as "trying to replace their real mom" and that dynamic doesnt work. kwim?

Jenny
??
The only way that would work is if the child is never alone with the stepparent(s).

Especially if there are more kids in the house.
If they are all getting up to something, and the stepparent can only tell her kids they need to do something else, or sit and relax for a bit, or whatever, and meanwhile the stepkid gets to continue whatever was the trouble, it's going to cause serious issues in the family dynamic.
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