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The STEP portion of parenting
Parents have it hard with raising children. Yes, raising children is hard work, I will agree with that, especially when they try to test your boundaries.
There are many thing that children need from their parents.
To be loved but not coddled
Taught what is right and wrong but they also need to make their own mistakes
Heard but not judged
Encouragement and compliments and for you to never yell or lose your temper
For you to show interest in their interests but not get too involved
Spend time with them but not too much time
Ask them about their future but don’t nag them about it
Give them independence but still parent and don’t neglect them
Be nice to their friends but don’t be their friend’s friend
Give them food, clothing, and shelter because those are the expectations of bringing a child into this world
Brag about them but never complain about them
Tell them that you love them because every child needs to hear this from their parents.
Children need all of these things and probably more to live a healthy loving lifestyle and you as parents feel that you must give it all to them.
That is what being a parent is all about; they want what is best for their children.
Parents want to give their children everything that they themselves had AND didn’t have growing up.
What if I said that this is also true of stepparents?
OOOHHHhhhhh, WWWwwwhhhhhaaattt? Wait, just a minute.
Yes, stepparents feel this way about their stepchildren has well. They also want them to have a healthy loving lifestyle and grow up to be amazing people.
So as parents are dealing with just being parents, stepparents are dealing with the ‘step’ portion of parenting as well as parenting. (Even if they don’t have their own children)
This is why stepparenting is harder than parenting.
Here are some of the added on responsibilities that stepparents have to hurdle over.
Love at first site?
A relationship can take years to develop between stepparent and stepchild.
This does not happen overnight.
Some divorced parents think that it does but it does NOT.
It’s not like the day your child is born, the first time you look into those eyes, it’s love at first site.
Your world, at that moment, has changed forever.
This does not happen when the person you are dating sees your child for the first time.
Let’s be real, a relationship takes time to build.
Eventually, yes, your significant other will grow to love your children and want what is best for them but it does not happen at first site.
Following the love comes the high expecttations.
Living up to your partner’s high expectations can be exhausting.
The expectations that I’m talking about are for you to jump into the role of that missing parent so you can all be a ‘real‘ family.
The problem is, in the beginning, you start to feel this unwanted pressure from your partner.
They may want this to happen sooner than you or the children are ready for.
These high expectations are not healthy.
Sometimes a stepparent needs to take a step back before negative feelings and resentment builds.
More forgiving of a parent
Forgiving my parent is so much easier because they did not distill the punishment on me. Yes, this is what your stepchildren are thinking.
They were not getting punished as bad or as much before you came into their life.
Even if they have been getting punished the same, it’s so much easier blaming someone that they don’t know as well.
The higher level of tolerance
I believe this to be true because the parent raised the child since day one.
What I mean by saying this is; every fault of that child is their responsibility.
They have been showing them what is right and what is wrong in this world from day one up until you walked in.
They are more tolerant of putting up with the misbehaving’s that they may have or have never taught them up to that point.
You are coming into the picture and may feel that they should have already learned that lesson and don’t know that they haven’t.
When you say anything about it to your partner they will feel put down because in their eyes you are saying that they weren’t doing a good enough job at parenting.
Who are you to tell them that they have been doing a shitty job at parenting when you don’t have kids and don’t know what you’re talking about?
This can be an issue that blows up fast between you and your partner.
Never knowing when to speak up
As a stepparent do you know when the right time to speak up is? Is there a right time?
We, as stepparents tend to throw the sheet over our heads and hope not to be seen for fear of getting told,
‘you don’t have children of your own, you don’t know what you’re talking about’
‘You haven’t been around since they were two, you don’t know how they operate’
No stepparent ever wants to hear this, no matter how short or long you’ve been dating.
We were a kid once too; we know the ropes on what kids like to try and get away with.
So why is it that we hear, we don’t know what we are talking about? Have they been a parent before they had these children? A.K.A. another lifetime.
Do they know exactly what they are doing? No, they don’t.
When the relationship is new you should more than likely keep your mouth shut but if you live with your partner or are married, then you need to start speaking up.
Early on in the relationship it is not your place to say how the kids should be raised. If a certain situation is really bothering you, have a talk with your partner.
And as time goes on discuss with your partner about how much you would like to be involved in the children’s lives.
The child wants to be parented by their parent, not their stepparent
This is one of my biggest pet peeves at times, but I get it.
When I was younger, if I wanted to do anything, I would go to my mom before my stepdad any day of the week.
- It’s a natural instinct
2. (I felt) my mom was more opt to let me do what I wanted.
My stepdad came into my life when I was about 7 or 8 years old, you would think that when I was in high school going to him would be just as natural, but it’s not.
It really doesn’t matter how much I loved my stepdad and got along with him I always knew that mom was the softy.
Don’t get me wrong, there were times that she put her foot down too but again, I felt it, wasn’t as often.
Don’t take it personal when they don’t come to you first, for the most part it will always be that way.
The unhappy ex
Ah, yes, the ex.
This one is always fun; having an unhappy ex discouraging the kids from having a relationship with you.
Your stepchildren are the ex’s little spies; telling them every little detail down to the bio parent kissing evil stepperson in the kitchen.
God forbid, one of you be happy.
I know that this is a hard one to get used to but unless it’s physically harming you, let it go.
It’s not worth the drama.
Just do your best and your stepchildren will eventually grow up and see what is going on.
You are the Saint that was there for them even though you didn’t have to be.
So this is why stepparenting is harder than parenting.
Stepparents get the blunt of everything and from everyone.
Step into a relationship to help raise someone else’s child.
Often times give up their own happiness for a child they didn’t conceive.
Are portrayed as monsters even though they are saints.
Wait and hope for the day that they will be accepted, appreciated, and acknowledged but that day never comes.
Are parents who stepped up, stepped in and gave a shit about someone that they didn’t have to.
Stepparents are there because they want to be not because they have to be.
I am step-parent, hear me roar!