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Here are the truths that no one tells step parents
Did you jump into being a step parent only to find out that it’s harder than you thought?
You are not alone!
Trust me, there are thousands of step parents out there that are trying to understand. No one is telling us what to expect or how to handle the situations that we come across.
Here are some issues that you may come across that no one tells you about.
“All your stepchildren need is a friend”
Eeeaarrccchhh!!!! NO! They do not need a friend, however they do need someone that they can trust.
You can be a friend to them but you can not JUST be a friend. You need to be an authority figure, role model persona that you have to portray with them.
No, you are not there to be a replacement parent but you are there to guide them along their journey of life.
Your relationship with your partner must come first
Yes, make your relationship a priority over the kids.
This needs to happen because if you and your partner can’t make your relationship last then why are you even reading this post?
Your relationship needs to be strong and supportive of each other in order to
1) Survive all the bumps in the road and
2) Show your stepchildren what a real relationship is all about.
Putting your relationship with your partner first is for the benefit of your stepchildren.
Your stepchildren love you for just being you
They don’t love you because you brought them into this world but because you are you. Eventually, yes eventually, they will grow to love the person that you are.
Your self-esteem will be put to the test
The kids will ignore you even if you did something nice for them. They can be cruel little people (especially when they hit the teen years).
At first, anything that you do will be judged by the ex no matter how long your partner has been divorced or separated.
Do not let them get you down though; you are a great person for taking on the task of helping raise someone else’s kids.
The ex will always be there to affect your relationship
The ex can affect your relationship in many ways but don’t let them because most of the time, they do not know that they are affecting your relationship.
This can happen through your partner or through the kids. Get used to the ex being in the picture because as long the kids are alive, so is the ex.
Parenting isn’t instinctive
Dating someone or marrying someone with kids does not necessarily mean that you will get those parenting instincts that everyone is talking about.
I’ve been with my husband for over 7 years and those instincts still haven’t showed their beautiful faces yet.
For instance, a child standing on a chair. You know they shouldn’t be up there as you watch intently but your reaction isn’t going to be the same as a biological parent’s is.
This does not mean that you don’t care about them or what happens to them, it’s just different.
Balancing the demands of your stepparent role
Remember when you were in high school and how awesome it would feel to be included? That is how you will feel when your step kids come to you instead of your spouse.
However, this is not always going to be a good thing. Your step kids tell you something that you should probably tell your spouse but you don’t want to break that trust that the kids have in you.
Do you say something, try to handle the situation on your own, or keep it to yourself? You have to make your best judgement call on this. If it is life or death, then yes, you need to say something.
Just be careful because kids can be tricky, they may be testing you as well.
You don’t have to love them
Falling in love with someone doesn’t happen overnight. Love takes time to grow.
It is not a prerequisite to being part of the family. You should however, be kind and thoughtful and act in loving ways.
If love does happen, that is a bonus.
It doesn’t matter how long their parents have been apart
How long their parents are apart won’t matter because the kids are still going to dream their parents are going to get back together someday.
The kids are still going to push you away and the ex will still show hate towards you no matter how nice you are to them.
Planning family get-togethers, let’s be serious
Unless the kids are younger and there is a set calendar, good luck!
This can be very difficult especially if you have a large family. Trying to find one day out of the year that everyone is free can be a huge challenge.
You not only have yourself to think about but your partner and the kids have to be free that day as well.
If the kids are in sports and those sports go into the holidays and weekends, oh and I can’t forget, or they just don’t tell you that they have an important game or meet that day you scheduled your family Christmas 6 months ago.
Why can’t they just look at the calendar and let you know? Because I know the phone is attached to their hip anyway, right?
Be prepared to be in a relationship with more than one person
You are not just in a relationship with your partner but also the kids and the ex.
Everyone has a say, whether it is about how the kids are raised or disciplined, especially if they aren’t at your house.
Making dinner can be a challenge
When I was a kid, I was a really picky eater and most kids are. This is not the only challenge with making dinners though.
If the kids are a little older and in sports, dinner is going to be more of a hamburger helper kind of night.
Making that time to sit around the table and talk about the day gets to be very difficult because of schedule conflicts.
Well there you have it. Most people walk into being a step parent and think they have it all figured out but soon realize, they don’t.
It’s not easy and it never gets any easier. Everyone is always going to have their challenges, the good days and the bad days.
Just remember to take everything with a grain of salt. The most important thing that you should remember is that you are amazing for helping raise someone else’s children.
For more information check out The 3 Golden Rules to Step Parenting