The importance of step parents

yeah for hawkman!! your posts and others have been extremely helpful to me (stepmom) and my husband. THanks for your words of encouragement and support.

Thank you so much for this hawkman. I understand all to well the importance of step parents. My father had custody of me and my sister and my step-mother raised us. My natural mother was not involved in my life at all until I was about 17 and even that was limited due to the abusive situation she was in. I can understand all this now. If it were not for my own stepmother, I probably would have run from my husband when I found out he had children from a previous marriage. I can appreciate more the delicate relationship that stepparents and stepchildren can have. I know how much my stepsons have been through and how lucky they are to now have two families that care about them.
I always wanted my parents to get back together and “live happily ever after”, even though I have no memories of them together. I know now, as an adult, that the life I have now could never have happened had they stayed together. Everything that has happened to me, the good and the bad, happened because it was supposed to. It happened so I would appreciate what I have now and be the person I am now. If you have a family out there that is made up of mother, father, and children, then you truly are the exception to the norm and you should be grateful. If you have one of today’s families, single parents or stepparents, I hope you may come to appreciate the balance that today’s families require and realize that you are the average family now. If you are a step-parent, you already know this and you won’t be offended when someone critizises you for caring about someone else’s children or for being a second husband or wife.
Thank you again.

stepmother…you should write a book. I love reading your comments and you don’t realize how much you’ve helped me!

Gotta agree with all this. I am a step-mom and despite the jealous hatred from my husband’s ex and the screams from her of “they are my children, not yours”, I am the one that the oldest comes to and asks about hair and make-up because the mother doesn’t wear any make-up and has a permanent pony tail, but her daughters are at that age to want to be more “girly”. I have sat up with the daughter who cried all night, every night, for what seemed like weeks in a row. As was stated, I’ve also dealt with the attitude/habits and lies sent with them from their mother’s house. When I married my husband, I knew it was a package deal and although they can drive me absolutely insane, I love those children. I know I’m not their mother and I know something about the situation as my ex is remarried and my children have a step-mom too. I KNOW she loves my children. I’ve seen her shed tears over my daughter when she was in pain. She has no children of her own, so she even calls me to ask how to handle certain situations. I appreciate everything she does for my children. I just wish my step-children’s mother felt the same about me.


As a stepparent, I am extremely frustrated by the treatment my stepchildren give their father. Thei mother has done nothing but talk badly about them since before they were even separated. I could almost understand the attitude of the youngest because at age 10, half the child’s life has been with the mother and stepfather. The other half–the first half, prior to the divorce was at such a young age that there are hardly any memories of what my husband did for them and the fun they had. It’s easy to convince her that her father was “absent”. REcently he has been trying to show his daughters the things they did together through use of video, but they act as if the videos of the family are fabricated. The oldest, nearly 14 should be able to remember what life was like prior to the divorce, but even there, it is as if they have been brainwashed. Their mom is sick, has a terminal illness, and it is likely she will not live until they are of “legal” age to fend for themselves. My husband wants them here. They want to remain where they are. It is breaking his heart and there is nothing I can do to make him feel better. They don’t see that he loves them–even to the point that he has spent money and put a major strain on us just to make his children happy. (The only time they seem happy is when he is buying things for them) The whole situation is stressful, and we really just don’t know what to do.


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As a stepmother, I can definetly relate to the fact that step-parents often get the shaft. In my case, it seems I am a wonderful stepmom as long as I am doing things for the kids or giving them money (kids are 17 and 19 now). How frustrating it is to only see them on Holidays or their birthdays. I know alot of it comes from their mom and the guilt trip she puts them on if they visit, so its easier for them not to, but it hurts my husband so much that they are this way. It is so hard to buy birthday gifts and christmas gifts for people who are never around to know what they really like. And I really get tired of the same old answer- well just give us money. Aggghhhh! Don’t get me wrong, I love my stepkids, but a little respect and consideration would be nice. My husband and I know for a fact that their mom bashes us to them and she always comes up with reasons for them to break their plans with us. My biggest dilemma is my little girl. She doesnt understand why “brother” and “sister” dont come to visit and when they do, it usually takes her about an 1/2 hour or so to warm up to them because she doesnt really know them. It breaks my heart. Anyone have any suggestions on how I can explain to my 3 almost 4 year old why she cant see her brother and sister. Also, is it right that my husband’s ex wont allow me to come to her house and see their daughter on her prom night-even when the daughter has asked me to come and take pics? Same goes for her graduation party. The daughter says to make sure that my daughter and I come with her dad to her party. But the mom says absolutely not. What do I do? I feel if I dont go, then she (the daughter) will think that I dont care about her wishes. I just dont get it. My husband and I have been married almost 5 years, I wasnt even around when they split up, as a matter of fact we hadnt even met yet. I just dont understand the hostility from his ex. She is the one who wanted the divorce to begin with. It is just so different from when I was married the first time. I had a stepson then and his mom came over for his birthday parties or we went over there. We exchanged Christmas gifts, birthdays etc… and it was so much better for everyone. I am at a total loss as to what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I am sorry to hear that your situation is so difficult. I’m sure that mine will be similar when my stepsons get older. Their mother and I have still never spoken. It’s been over a year since I’ve even seen her.
I would suggest that if thier mother doesn’t want you coming over there, and your stepdaughter wants you to see her prom night and take pictures, then her and her date need to take a little extra time and come to see you. I remember having to do this with my Senior prom. My date and I went to his mother’s, my mom & dad’s and then went to eat with his dad and stepmom. If you can’t go to the graduation party then you and her father will need to do something separately for her graduation. It’s terrible, but it’s probably better not to even antagonize the situation. If she doesn’t want you around at all, then you shouldn’t be around. Your stepdaughter is old enough to understand this and you two should sit down and explain it to her. If she’s hostile towards you, then let her be. She’s spending her time and energy on you. It doesn’t mean that you have to do the same. Let her have her way and “control” things. Maybe that is the only thing in her life that she can control…
As far as your stepchildren go, things will change over the next few years. As they start getting older and move out, their mother won’t have so much hold over them about visiting. I broke plans with my parents quite a bit at that age, but it wasn’t because of anyone but me. Their mother may have some influence over them but at that age, it doesn’t really take a lot to manipulate them.
I know that it’s difficult to explain to your daughter but maybe that situation will change also when the stepchildren get out of their teenage years. Your daughter is still very young and it’s difficult for anyone to get to know a teenager. Support your husband and your daughter and be there as much as you can for your stepchildren. Give it some time and don’t sweat this stuff that you can’t control.

Being a step-parent can be extraordinarily thankless but I am trying to view it as giving a gift. You don’t give gifts (or at least you shouldn’t) with any expectation in mind of receiving something in return. Be consistent, be interested and be their friend and eventually they will see you for who you are. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for my stepchildren to be pulled between two people they love so much and not wanting to hurt either of them. In our case because they live most of the time with mom and, dad has me in his life and mom is only dating. Because of this I think they feel she “needs” them more - or at least that’s what she’s managed to convince them of, when it is convenient for her.

Being a parent in general can be a thankless job. I believe that some days my husband would like to quit. What my husband and I have started doing is to make sure that we point out to the boys if they are being ungrateful. They come upstairs for supper, they want to complain about the food and immediately to take over the TV…we make sure to remind them that they did not want to be involved in the decision of what to have for supper or in the making of it so they really have no right to complain. We have also made sure they realize that we are the adults and that we were not really put here to serve them…that usually gets their attention.
Don’t worry too much about that mal, it may very well come back to bite her. My husband’s ex is going through much the same thing…her and the current live in recently broke up which has been very difficult for the boys. We believe that they may be getting back together which is even more confusing for them. While going through the separation and divorce she made the oldest son her best friend and now she is having problems with him not being involved in everything. My husband had to remind them that anything with their mother and her boyfriend was really none of their business.

We have an ex who treats the under 10 yr old like a small adult, consulting her on every decision from whether she wants to go away for a weekend to whether she wants to attend a church function to whether she wants to have Father’s Day with her father. We treat this little girl like a little girl and act like adults who make the majority of decisions and don’t give in to her whining and tantrums like mom does. Unfortunately this has and will continue to be very confusing for her to have parents who treat her so differently.

I have been on both sides. I was with a man for 5 years that had 2 girls from a prev marriage that I was mom to… I am still mom to the youngest even though we havent been together in years :slight_smile:

My kids have a step mom… She made the ex choose between her and the kids a few years ago. She said that paying support and paying insurance was enough. He chose the kids but when I would not go back to him and be a family he got back with her. He has not acknowledged our oldest 2 since March of last year and has not seen the baby since oct of last year and didnt even acknowledge him for his 1st birthday.

They had a baby together last week and didnt even bother to let his 3 kids we have know she was preg and never bothered to tell them that she is here.

Can’t blame it all on her though cause he did sneak over to my moms to leave money for my child that is not his and to let her know he will pay off the oldest’s car he got her although he wont do nothing for the 17 year old.
Sometimes I dont understand parents let alone the steps lol

Vicki Stanley

I wish I had a step parent for my kids like you guys. I am a stepmom and a mom. I try my best to be there for my step daughter without over stepping my bounderies, I feed, care, and love her dearly and that is what I expect my kids stepmom would be like. Boy my expectations were wrong. I understand it is hard and at times you almost feel left out but my exes wife has tried to leave me out. She makes the kids call her mom or they get in trouble, she told the kids that they came out of her belly when they were born, she would keep things from me like report cards and pictures from school, she would put me and my husband down saying they were the best parents because they have more money than us and they are funner. I understand not all stepmoms are like this beccause I am surely not but I guess I just want to vent!!!

Lisa Ayscue

I’m putting this under parenting issues as there are several individuals I feel need to be educated about a few things. First off, If you post a question on the internet, you’re asking for a myriad of answers, so be prepared to get an answer you might not like. Most of the poeple on this site try to give straightforward & honest advice, even though they’re not lawyers. Sometimes the attorneys do not answer the questions, so be thankful someone took the time to answer and try to help you.
These “several” individuals however, I’ve noticed claim they’re not seeking “revenge”, yet they either add very relevant info such as claims of abuse, etc., etc., or their previous posts betray them after they don’t get the answer they were looking for.
A comment was made regarding some “posters” parenting styles. First off, like any good parent, I take great exception when someone questions how I parent my children when they don’t even know me.
Secondly, Whether you like it or not, step parents are a part of a lot of our kid’s lives. The step-mom from Cinderella is dead and gone. You should be thankful that someone is willing to love, care, and cater to your child considering they aren’t theirs. They put up with the bad habits/attitudes/manners and such that you sent with them to their home. They give hugs & kisses, make boo-boo’s go away, and make our kids smile, just like mom and dad do. The tears they shed for our children are just as real as your tears. They are a part of or kids lives wheter you like it or not. If you don’t like it, then you need to start looking inside,instead of criticizing them. It only shows how shallow you are to criticize some one who is trying to help the kids heal the hurt after a divorce, and try to show them that their lives still can still be happy, but just with another person who loves and cares for them.
Get over yourself, you are still the mom or dad, and the step parent isn’t trying to “replace you”, they’re just trying to help your kids.