Yes, I said it. I will not treat them like my own and the sooner you stop telling me and other parents too, the happier we will be. It’s a hypocritical statement and adds further pressure to an already strenuous situation.
I was raised in a blended family. I assumed all blended families were like ours. In our situation my mom and (step)dad were very much able to practice the “treat them like your own” mindset. Why? My mom’s first husband was completely out of the picture minus the random phone call once every couple of years. My (step)dad’s first wife, though a little more involved, never desired or asked for custody. She was fine with the occasional holiday and gave my mom the reigns and full “go-ahead” to raise her children like her own.
This raising resulted in my mom’s children calling her new husband “dad”, and my (step)dad’s son called my mom “Mom”. It irks me to even have to put (step) before his name just for clarity here. They were Mom and Dad, they had all the say, they handled everything. If they made us angry there was no “I’m moving to Mom’s/Dad’s”.
I assumed this was the natural order of blended families. When I became a step parent at the age of 18 I learned I was very much mistaken. My girls aren’t all that much younger than me for one. Something I thought would be a big problem, but turns out, the older they get the more I can appreciate that. My step son was 7 when his father an I got involved. 7 years old boys don’t care about much other than what were doing or where we are going so it seemed simple enough.
Here’s where I became confused. Their mom, his ex wife, was very very very much involved with her children. She had full custody and he had them every other weekend and holidays. I had heard of these schedules from friends but had never experienced them in real life.
A few years go by and all the children move in with us for a while. At which point I have given birth to my own bio-child. I began to see the backwards suggestion of “treat them like your own” at this point. Over the years of having them around I would just notice little things they did that would be deemed disrespectful by my parents or my own standards. I would think to myself “Do I say anything? Maybe their mom doesn’t see it that way?”
Once they moved in it all fell apart. The girls were entering the teen years, those extremely volatile drama filled teen years. I was only in my very early 20’s myself. They would act like I didn’t know anything when in fact I very well knew because I had JUST been in their shoes. One particular morning we had a knock down drag out fight over them intentionally missing the bus for the 5th day in a row. We yelled, we pointed fingers, we nearly came to blows. An inlaw showed up to diffuse the situation and she made the comment “If this was your child you wouldn’t talk to them like this” She was right. I would not be yelling like this because if it were biologically my child, I would have had the parental right to drag him by the hair of the head to bus stop. He would know better at this point than to miss it intentional or even accidentally. I decided I would never treat my step kid like my own at this point. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I was not allowed to.
Even now with another one teen still under my roof I have to remind myself everyday that there are lines. The world doesn’t seem to see them though so they just prefer to point the fingers. When the school calls to tell my bio-son has been disrespectful I can punish him any way I deem fit. You all will hail me a good parent, a caring parent. When the school calls to tell me my step son has been disrespectful, I then integrate a equally age appropriate punishment on him then I am the evil step mom, I am playing favorite, I am bullying him. I have to walk such a thin fine line to know what is ok. Will this punishment cause problems between us? Will he get angry and pull the “I’m moving to mom’s!”. Will he try to cause problems between his father an I? All these things have to be considered with a step child, yet my own child nobody has any say and deems me wonderful for doing anything.
It’s hypocritical. I love my step children. I value how open they are with me. They can freely discuss things that most wouldn’t with their own biological parents. The girls are grown now and I love our relationships. They admit they were a bit rough on me in their early teens, but God has blessed them each with daughters of their own so I’ll just give them time to get their payback.
The step son and I get along wonderfully. I enjoy spending time with him. I truly truly love him. However, I am always one wrong disciplinary action away from being shut out. What can I do? Ask his dad to handle it? Hahahahahahahahaha……gasp…. Hahahahahahahaha. My husband has zero discipline will power. He’ll take your ps4 and cell phone today, then give it back tomorrow and treat you to a shopping spree to say “sorry”. I love that about him though really, he’s a softie. It wont affect our youngest because I’m all the backbone they’ll need, but doesn’t seem fair to his oldest.
In the end my step children will always be treated BETTER than my own. Never less, never equal, but better by the views of others.
Don’t you dare sit there behind our computer screen and go on about, “My house my rules” either because this is not MY house. This is our house. I don’t want war in our house. It’s not worth the turmoil all for the sake of being deemed “boss”. There is so much more to a blended family.
Please just stop telling step parents to “Treat them like their own” because the minute we do you’ll all be crying abuse. Those of you who yell it the loudest are the same ones who bash your exes on Facebook saying things like “His new girlfriend isn’t allowed to touch my child!” or “I hope she ever hurts my child’s feeling. It’ll be then end of her!”. Get off your high horses and walk one day in our shoes.