The Relationship Between Step Moms, Dads, and Step Children - “They really are a part of me”
We begin our lives being told childhood fables and stories. As I have mentioned, many of these had life’s lessons and morals in which we become better individuals. Some of the fables imparted good lessons in life, yet gave a bad impression in other areas. For instance, the word Step children brings to mind Cinderella who was made existed only to be used and abused by her step mother. I truly hope this chapter will change your mind and help you have a new vision come to mind when the word “STEP” is added to the title of any relationship.
It is very much accepted as well as expected that you could become a step parent in the present world. Most of the world is on at least their second marriage, if not their third or fourth. In spite of the fact it is not happening the way it was meant to be – we are still faced with a fact or situation that needs to be addressed for the good of all involved. If by chance you are still on marriage number one, I will wish you happiness, luck and ask you apply it to one of the many divorces you do know about.
We all begin this journey of parenthood thinking we would never be divorced, yet finding that we are. The real victims of this catastrophe are the children. Being resilient most can adapt to this and still thrive as long as we each keep out parental responsibilities up. Numerous parents find it most difficult to remain responsible for the welfare of their children.
Now enters the “Step Parent”. The terrible creature that age old fairy tales have given a worse rap than the big bad wolf. In a very different area, being labeled a “Step Child” is right next to Damien Omen. There are horrible movies about Step Dads, Step Moms and Step Children. The labeling has made the whole relationship strained before it even began.
In order to put things back in perspective, we must go back to our marriage vows. Whenever you married another person, you were to become as one. You were to love, honor and respect each other in sickness and in health, richer for poorer – etc; until death did you part. You accepted that you would love the other for the good and in spite of the bad and they would do the same for you. Whenever there was bad, you would try to help each.
Now let us put things in the right perspective. If you have become one with another, anything that is part of them is also a part of you. Therefore, any child they are a parent of is a part of them, which consequently makes them, be a part of you. So it gives truth to the saying, “You not only marry the person, you marry the children”.
Now we will get to the better for worse part of your vows. Many newlyweds are recipients of intelligent, successful, personable, and loving Step Children. In the same breath, I will tell you that many have been the recipients of children that would make an Angel run screaming while ripping at its feathered wings. You have to remember that their children become your children and you must apply the vow of, “For Better or for Worse”.
In being a parent, I have found that the easiest part was giving birth to the children. I know being a male during this process would really make this the best part (female humor injected here). One truly hard part is raising them to become enchanted spirits and responsible adults. Looking deeper you find out watching them after they turn 18 and beyond your control is even scarier than watching them go to High School. No matter who gave birth, if they are your children, you have to step up to the plate and help raise them correctly.
After reading the last paragraph, I am sure many of you will echo the sentiments of many of my clients. They come to me in tears saying that their spouse and them argue whenever they try to correct or make decisions concerning the step child. HELLO! (Female sarcasm injected here) All parents have arguments and disagreements when raising children! It does not matter if they are stepchildren, adopted children, foster children or the very fruit of your loins.
Numerous parents come to me and tell me their new spouse is abusive to their children or play favorites between their and yours. Once again, I tell you there is no difference in the situations. If they are abusive, do not come to me, turn them in to the proper authorities and start counseling. If they are playing favorites, remember this happens in natural children as well. Handle it the same way as you would with the other parent.
It has come to my attention through out the years, which the only time this becomes a big issue is whenever one or both of the new family heads start blaming it on the new marriage. It seems by blaming it on the Stepparent issue or the new marriage, they feel this gives one or the other leverage in case of an argument.
Without any frills, I will tell you the straight truth. In any relationship, you can find a reason to argue or to enjoy. This is totally up to you and how things are handled. If you will just share parenting instead of becoming a stepparent you will enjoy your new children. Remember if you are the one sharing your children, that not allowing proper joint parenting – you bring hardship and resentment upon your new family. However, the fact is if you are on a new marriage after a divorce – you will more than likely blame it on the stepparent issue instead of the more serious underlying problems. Always remember, knowing a problems exists is half the battle.
I would like to end this chapter by adding a few personal paragraphs. I have had stepchildren through many of my marriages and I have loved them dearly. Whenever the marriage with their father ended for me, the love of my stepchildren did not cease. Long after the ink on the divorce paper dried …. My love for my stepchildren lived on. All along, I kept being blessed with sons, stepsons and adopted sons.
One day I finally started getting daughter in laws in my life and then grandsons! But I found a new type of children and I feel very blessed indeed to have them in my life. They are not stepchildren but instead SO (Significant Other) Children.
This time around, I was blessed with a daughter with whom I have a very close and loving relationship. I have to thank her mom and dad for sharing her with me. Also in this same deal I received a SO son that is a wonderful young man as well. There are no strained relationships between any of us. We love each other dearly and feel lucky to have each other.
Now, I hope that you read and reread this chapter while you take notes and study what all I have said. Marrying a family is not a bad thing but can be a beautiful thing. I wish this blessing for you.
--W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965), 'Of Human Bondage', 1915
D'you call life a bad job? Never! We've had our ups and downs, we've had our struggles, we've always been poor, but it's been worth it, ay, worth it a hundred times I say when I look round at my children.
He who teaches children learns more than they do.
So long as little children are allowed to suffer, there is no true love in this world.
-- UNICEF, "The State of the World's Children" (1995)
Unless the investment in children is made, all of humanity's most fundamental long-term problems will remain fundamental long-term problems.
Rhiannon Waits is a syndicated columnist with her column published in 14 different countries and translated into 4 different languages. You can purchase "Little Lessons on Love And Life" at Amazon.com, book private sessions, schedule speaking engagements, or attend book signings by calling 850-941-4190. You can also visit her web site at RhiannonWaits.com. Rhia lives in Pensacola Florida with her life partner, Steve, and her children. Rhiannon Waits is a renowned Psychic/Medium.