How much should a step parent be involved in the decision making process?

[deleted account] ( 21 moms have responded )

My ex-husband just got remarried and I'm a little confused as to what the role a step parent should have in the relationship - displine, medical, school meetings etc? I have custody of my daughter and she has visitation with her father and step mother.

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Etta - posted on 05/03/2011

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Ask yourself...would you be okay with the "step" parent having limitations in his/her household/family/life as far as your child is concerned???? Okay, let's be honest with ourselves...the stipulations arise from insecure ex's...insecure parents...thinking someone is going to take your place or compete with you or you really have not let him/her go and this is an opportunity to bring unnecessary strife into a home. Just stop it. A step parent is another parent there to assist with loving and rearing your child. Learn to accept that and the new parent and move on. And no, you will not agree on eveything but learn to disagree respectfully and NEVER speak ill of him/her in front of the child as this open a door of disrespect. Again, stop the limitations...you are closing doors and creating unnecessary strife.

Mischa - posted on 09/04/2012

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Your situation is very common. The parental relationship is SACRED. Judges do not take kindly to anything action that encraoches upon that. Thus my advice to you:

1. Get a parenting plan/Modification order submitted to the courts. Outline the reasons why you feel that you need to add restrictions on the visitation. things to include on the restrictions:

step mom is to cease and desist from the following;

a. do not sign any consent forms from the school, hospitals, religious centers, and day care.

b. Do not sign any enrollement forms from the school, hospitals, religious centers, and day care.

c. Do not attend conferences regarding school, hospitals, religious centers, and day care.

d. "first right of refusal" an absolute must! this prevents dad from pawinging off your children to step moms and any relatives if dad's visitation is less than 50% of the time during the time he has the child AND in the event that he goes out of town for 24 hours or more. You would have the right to take the child back.

e. step mom must adhere to all current parenting plan restrictions

f. to not bad mouth about you or about the child while the child is in your custody-even if they assume that he cannot overhear (parental alienation)

g. specific limits on any form of discipline.



You can get this modification even if you do not have joint physical or/and legal custody. The father can only do a-c if he has sole legal and his signature ONLY. But you do have say in the role of the step mom regardless of custody.



Any violation of parenting plan is subject to contempt of court hearing for the judge to reinforce the terms of any custody agreement and a very firm warning about doing it again. You have the burden of proof- so build your case. Always remeber- you have everything to gain, and he, everything to lose. Be always calm, and act maturely towards the stepmom. NO sending anything hostile in writing! even if she "deserves" it.



FYI- It helps if you get an attorney. The court has a family Law Facilitator, and also most counties have "Legal aid" which is an organization that helps with custody matters for a reduced fee or free. Plus, and your'll like this, if there is a disparity in income, submit a motion (or an attorney willing to take your case) asking the court to have your attorney's fees paid by the father. most attorneys have free consultations and from this they will see about getting fees before proceeding. So...there is no reason you cannot fight this one. do it.

Lori - posted on 05/04/2011

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Here is my opinion...My ex is remarried. When he was dating this woman, she was exceptionally nice to my kids and my kids LOVED her!!! I was ecstatic because the only problem I could forsee with my ex getting married is if the step mom didn't like my kids and vice versa.
Well...almost instantly after the exes wife got a ring on her finger, she took off the nice mask! Long story short...she wants nothing to do with my kids and will constantly find things to say (even if they are lies or rumors) to my ex to make my kids look bad in his eyes. She wants nothing more (and has said this to my exes sister) than for my ex to walk away from his kids...
Sooooo...I would think that if a step parent is willing to be involved, in a loving way, with all aspects of your childrens lives, except for making important decisions, let her do it!!
I would love for my kids to love their step mom again and vice versa!! I think it's important for kids to know that they have an abundance of love, even from people who are not blood related!! :)

Bobbie - posted on 04/27/2011

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First of all, relax. No one will ever fill her heart as you do regardless of how much in put the stepmother has.
I would suggest you bite the bullet and just assume that all parent slated school meetings should include the step if they so wish to join. Also, medical would seem to be emergency only and the easier you take to situation the more readily the step will be to call you immediately in case of emergency. This however is out of your hands, just as it is currently out of your hands when she is with her father on visitation.
This will all be new to everyone in the situation. I mean, your daughter hasn't dealt with a stepmother before, you haven't had to share her with people other than her father. My children did very well with their two different step mothers. I stayed calm, I didn't ask questions of the functions of the other household, I realized they were out of my control. I could however maintain the comfortable, always stable environment of HOME for them. So when their father requested changes in their life with him, they always had that rock called, mom's house.
Also, it will get less worrisome for you when time passes and you realize that your child is okay in care of the other person. And no matter how great or mean she says the step is, simply telling her you understand and listening to her is all she wants. Let her forge her own relationships. You will be the one that she will find peace and comfort with.
It will be okay.

Tracy - posted on 08/29/2012

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I am a step-mom and I am involved very much with my step-son's school; medical; and sports. His dad has full custody and the mom is only allowed supervised visits. Even before my husband got full custody I was very much involved, because I think that its important to show the child you care. I would feel so honored to have my ex's new partner love my child and do for them.

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Jen - posted on 03/24/2014

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I raised my child by myself for her 1st 7 years, her father ran off. His now wife found out and moved him back to our state and wanted him to have visitation. Since then she, prior to them engaged, would tell my daughter she wanted her to call her mom. She would introduce herself as her step mom to other parents. She would tell my daughter she didn't need to listen or go with me after soccer games and she would try pulling her away from me. She would text my daughter all through the day/night and when asked to stop she would say she can do whatever she wants. My daughters dad does work on the Saturdays and she does do most of the care for my daughter which doesn't seem to be ill hearted. However, her motive around me is not the same. Now she wants to go to my daughter's therapy sessions only now because her dad is going. I'm sorry but I am now in a longterm relationship with a man who has a son and I would never do these things. This is when a step parent has completely crossed the line!

T - posted on 09/04/2012

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WHEW YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD, I always say if the shoe was on the other foot what would you do? 1. A woman in a mans life for whatever time frame it is, will play some sort of role and if she is a real woman she will help in assist and make a child's life better. I myself am newly engaged and his ex wife as of the 19th of this month is so ugly and angry at me its out of control. IT IS HURTING HIS SON NOT ME! When the 5yr old need something guess what i make it happen and i am not going to allow her ignorance to separate my home. and we live in a different state. i have been his best friend for 13yrs and have know him for about 20 years. in my early 30's I have my own crap, and my own children and their father to deal with.I wish the old women would understand a woman has a purpose in the mans life and if its causing him happiness be rid of the issues, smile and allow that baby to grow they will be someones wife/husband/mother/father/friend/ teacher/ doctor/lawyer/ therapist... LET LOVE FLOW REMEMBER IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD..PRODUCTIVELY.

Bobbie - posted on 08/29/2012

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the age the child is when they come into their lives play a big role in the part they play. However, since you also have custody that cuts the step parent role down to visitations. It falls to your ex to invite her, at his discretion to his portion of the activities he now attends with his daughter. If your daughter requires medical attention while in his care the step would I assume take part in the care. Teacher's meeting and scheduled doctor's appointments, if he now attends them with you, has to be discussed as to what you expect. As far as the other issues I would suggest you bring them up to your ex prior to them becoming an issue. I mean if he is a known spanker and you don't spank it must be brought to his attention that though you can't keep him from correcting her in this manner you will not allow others to be in anyway physical with your child. If however the corrections are more along the line of say, no tv that night of visitation because she talked back and told them off, then that I feel would be healthy for your daughter to experience. In other words, discipline should be used to mold her into a good person. Tying someones hands against correcting her wrong actions I would think would not be healthy for her. Allowing her to run to you with her feelings of them being too harsh in non physical discipline would just be pitting one parent against the other and take focus off the bad behavior.

Skarlett - posted on 08/26/2012

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I had a step mom growing up, well, still do. She was/is super nice.& what not to me. I was NEVER okay with her to tell me anything my dad was always the bridge between us. We got along perfectly she could just never tell me anything as if she was my mother. I got very defensive, but than again that's just me. To this day we have a good relationship and we talk and now she has become the bridge between my father and I...IDK that's just my.insight.

Shirley - posted on 02/28/2012

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It seems as if you are fine with the stepmom, but your daughter is not. I would say that an eleven year old does not get to decide who goes with her to doctor appointments or anything important regarding her education - it's up to the parents to decide and anything like that should be discussed BEFORE the appointment.



However, negative comments about her body and being called a liar are pretty serious so I would say that you have a meeting (as soon as possible after the last 'transfer') with all three of you to discuss them. It could be that she doesn't want to like her stepmom because she feels like she would be betraying you (even if it's subconsiously), so she might be exaggerating what was said or it could be that the stepmom did say that and she needs to be aware of the impact.



I should mention I am a stepmom and have been for over 13 years. I met my stepdaughters when they were 8 and 16 and it was tough for all of us - their mom was extremely jealous of me and had her own relationship issues. We are all good now, but keeping communication open is the key to it all. Best of luck!

Stephanie - posted on 02/08/2012

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My ex-husband and I have been divorced for almost 12 years, and he has been remarried for 10 of those years. I have to say, his wife has been a great stepmother. We spoke about the rules that my two girls had to follow at home, and she respected those rules even when the girls visited with their father. Often times, my ex-husband wanted to be more lenient, but his wife would remind him that the girls should follow the same rules or discuss any changes with me. I appreciated that.



I would suggest that if you do not have an amicable relationship with your stepchildren's mother that you begin to develop one for the sake of the children.



Hope this helps.

Erin - posted on 02/03/2012

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Good Question. =/ Ummmm. I guess it really depends on the people and everything. Like I tell and ask my bf questions about his son. I even tell him things I would do and wouldn't do. But we also see eye to eye on things and he even asks me for advice as well. And I will admit I even feel at times as if I have no clue how involved or involved I am in his life.

Pamelia - posted on 05/17/2011

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My mother was 100% engaged when it came to raising, praising and disciplining my step brothers and sisters. That is just the way it was. The word "step" did not have a place in our home. We were one family. Mom, Dad, Sisters, Brothers. All 13 siblings respected that it was the way it was suppose to be - no second guessing authority.

Connie - posted on 05/12/2011

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you should try and do what is the best for your daughter, as long as she is a good person be happy you have another person to look out for your daughter and keep her safe. Maybe try and talk to her so the two of you know what is going on and keep in touch as what is going on when she is with her father. If your daughter knows you will get upset with things she does with her father and step mom she isn't going to be open with you and tell you how her visits go. You have a long road ahead so try and be friends for your daughter.

[deleted account]

I want to thank everyone for all their comments. However, I want to make it clear that I do not badmouth my ex or his wife....in fact we have gone out for coffee on occasion to discuss things. I am not one of those "insecure" people who doen't want to share my daughter with another woman...I wish my daughter would feel more comfortable with her, but she doesn't and I don't feel like his new wife is trying to "take my place". I come from a family where there is no divorce....my parents have been married for 60 years, so I don't have any knowledge of step parents etc and was simply asking what the involvement should be. I would love for everyone to get along. However, there has been things said to my daughter on occassion that I absolutely disagree with eg: she lies about everything (said in the company of my daughter). I know that I can't control what goes on in their house (nor do I want to) but when she comes home upset that she's been called a liar over and over again and making negative comments about her body (about losing weight) - she is eleven. I am also finding it difficult because we all have different upbringings (hers very strict) and mine not....so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Erin - posted on 05/03/2011

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I think, in an ideal situation, that step parents should be just as involved with a child's life as the child's blood parents. For the following reasons:

1. Creating a united front of all the parents is very beneficial to the child. They feel loved. They don't feel uncomfortable bouncing between all the parents.



2. When the parents are united, they can easily communicate about things like health care, discipline, etc.



I suppose I am very fortunate. My daughter's dad's girlfriend and I constantly confer with each other about my daughter and my fiance is just as much a parent to my child as I am. This is something that can be a very ugly situation, but grown, mature adults can choose to make it a good one. If I were you, I would set up a time when you can all sit down and discuss what you ALL feel is ok and what is not. And you have to be willing to compromise. If you feel your wishes have been disrespected after laying out all the ground rules, then you have a right to be upset. But no one can read minds or remember everything you've said. Everyone has to be willing to meet in the middle.

Louise - posted on 04/28/2011

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I think this very much depends on what you want her to do. If you are full time carer then she has no need to be involved in school meetings and such. She should however have power of displine in her own home. So if she steps out of line and dad is not around she should be able to deal with your daughter should she need to. Other than that it is up to you and your daughter what role you want her to have. it is wise to encourage your daughter to get along with her because she is part of her dads life and not going to disappear. A friendly relationship is what is required here but as far as decision making goes she really has no say at all.

Sherry - posted on 04/27/2011

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I would say that if you are uncomfortable then you should try talking to them and establish some sort of agreement. Such as, maybe the step mom will help with discipline at their house, but she isn't involved in medical decisoions and minimally involved in school meetings, if that is what makes things more comfortable for you and your child. If your daughter does not like her, is it because she sees her as the reason you are not together or is it something about how she treats her? Try to be diplomatic though, as it could be a delicate subject.

Melanie - posted on 04/27/2011

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I, myself am a step parent and it depends on what the child is getting disciplined for, and what your husband and his wife does to discipline. Your husband should work with you on everything....if, at the dr.'s more things were said, then your ex should have notified you before he did anything else. As for the school meetings, as long as you are fine with the SM, their shouldn't be any problem.

[deleted account]

I do get along with his new wife. My daughter is not particularly fond of her though. I am not comfortable with her being at medical appointments etc and have voiced this to my ex. There was an occasion that my daughter had a doctors appointment and my ex was to take her. His wife also went with them and the dicussion before the appointment was that I was not comfortable with her going. While at the appointment her step mother was having a conversation with the doctor about our daughter saying that she complains that she is tired all the time etc. so there was blood tests ordered etc. This was all done without me knowing it. When I questioned him why she attended the appointment he said that she wife asked our daughter if she would be okay with her attending and she said yes. I just don't think that that was a decision for her to be put in a position to make. Because of this I am a little leary about things...does this make sense?

Chantal - posted on 04/27/2011

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hi Vickie, i have 5 children one of them been my stepdaughter she is 13 her dad and i split in january and she did not want to go and live with him so she stayd with me,i will discipline her as she will get treated the same as my children,i have been to school meetings without her dad and nobody questioned this.i think it is important the stepparent treats the step child as they would their own and get involved as much as u would allow her to.i am more involved in my stepdaughters live more than her own mother or father is and i feel so sorry for her as she has been through a lot in the last year .i have tried to keep things peaceably with her dad but that is impossible at the minute.just wondering do u get along with his new wife??

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