I'm a 43yr old step-mom How can let my stepchildren know I love them without coming across like I'm trying to replace their mom?

Mom - posted on 08/22/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )

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If you have any suggestions Please reply. Thank you.

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Jane - posted on 08/22/2011

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1) Don't require them to call you "mom." Let them if they want to but otherwise devise some other term. My SIL is called by her first name by the step-kids, or is called "Swamp Monster" as an endearment (she is from Louisiana, and the initials SM are the same).

2) Always be pleased to see them.

3) Listen when they want to talk. Also, try to have some one-on-one time with each child every day they are with you, if only a few minutes.

4) Keep your promises, but don't be a door mat. Enforce the rules of the house but defend differences between your house and your mom's house simply by reminding them that different houses have different rules. Don't insist your rules are better, but do be consistent.

5) Never talk badly about their mom. Don't try to challenge her choices or defend them other than to say that she is their mom and she loves them and wants what she believes is best for them.

6) Tell them you love them just like their mom does, and just like their dad does, because they are worth loving. Also, you might remind them that love is a funny thing - you can have too little love, but you can never have too much, and that the more a person loves, the more love they have to share.

7) Always treat their mom with civility. If possible, develop a friendship with her, but at the very least act as if you know she loves the kids, even if you don't agree with how she shows it.

8) Share good news directly with kids and mom both, but let dad share bad news.

9) Tell them you love them.

Anne - posted on 08/24/2011

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Never try to undermine or one-up their Mother. If at all possible, try to keep a positive relationship with their Mother. Because you're not their natural mother, take a parental interest in them and their activites and keep communication open. Encourage them to discuss their interests, school projects/activites, friends, etc. and let them know that you enjoy being such an important part of their life and let them know you will be there for them if they need you.

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Shell - posted on 12/27/2012

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Once he turned 5, I told mine that I was never going to try to take his mothers place but that I was going to be the BEST step mom that he has ever had! I've been in his life since he was 1.5 and we got married when he just turned 4... so he does call me Mom and he does this as he has said because it's just shorter than Step Mom. He knows how he gained me as a Mom and how he gained my family as new additions to his family. And no matter that I can't stand his Biomom, I never say anything bad about her, I always tell him we just do things differently and that's ok. When he says he wishes that he stayed with us the amount of time that he stays with her and spend the amount of time he gets with her instead, I tell him we would love that also, but that she would miss him then! Regardless of whether I truly believe what I'm saying to him... I never say anything bad. And yes, simply put treat them as if they were your own and you can't go wrong!! Good luck!

Carolyn - posted on 09/26/2011

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Treat your stepchildren like you would like to be treated..respect and assure them you are there if they ever need anything but reinforce that you are not replacing there mother.. and when holidays come by..make sure you take the children shopping to pick out a gift for there mother and never give them a guilt trip about what they chose..Just be there for them and make sure you make food for them.. treat them like you would like to be treated.

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Jane Seno puts it very nicely... I will add just one thing to her list: let DAD make the decisions. You can, of course, have input (& should!), but the final decision is DAD's. Your role is not a replacement mom or sub-mom, it is a supporter of Mom & Dad. I TRULY hope Mom & Dad are committed to working together for what's best for the kids; that's so important, and so rarely seen in step-families.

Jenny - posted on 09/12/2011

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You've gotten some great advice so far. Mine would be just to let you relationship develop naturally. Be there, show them you love them through your actions and when you feel comfortable, tell them. Treat them like one of your own and don't force it. It will happen, let it.

Delia - posted on 09/10/2011

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Being a step-mom myself.... it's not easy. Both my stepsons were told I was not there mom and I wasnt going to try and be, however, with that they still had to follow the rules of the house and treat me with respect. We do stuff together as a family, I have one on one time with the boys and we never treat it as a mom's house dad's house type of deal. I have never had to "let" them know I loved them, they just grew to know it. I do not treat them any different than my own and we have grown to become one big happy as it may be family :)

Tatjana - posted on 09/08/2011

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Okay i think you should let them find out they can trust you and that you respect them as a person ... never talk bad about their mom ... show them you are proud of things they do right ... secondly make sure your husband and you pull on one string ... and tell them that you love them as much as thier parents would but that you would not replace their mom ... and as someone else sayed ... let their mom play an active roll in thier life ( if this means you have to go out of your way to make sure she does sometimes distance can be a barrier ) ... Let them have private time with their mom ... meaning dont stand by and listen in on conversations between them ... sit down with their mom and have a talk on how you can support her and what her wishes are in the raising ... ... dont come inbetween their moms leave all channels of communication open ... be friendly even if it is hard ... and take it slow let them find you and make sure you are consistant...

Myriam - posted on 09/08/2011

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I am a stepmom too. The way I do it is whatever mom says goes but i will always be there for them. :)

Grandma Grandchild - posted on 09/04/2011

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Everything that Jane said was pretty much right on....the only other advise I would say is ....just be yourself. Best wishes!

Cherie - posted on 08/30/2011

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Ditch the step title. Give them the love and understanding you would give any child. Be supportive of their biological mother's rules (if they are appropriate). No child ever was hurt by having too many moms unless they compete with each other. Don't make it a competition and let the relationship develop naturally. It'll happen if you are sincere. Good luck and enjoy your expanded family.

Pamjstinson - posted on 08/28/2011

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treat them like they are yours.. even when they are sassy, rude hateful and you wanna pinch their heads off. they will come around. I know Im a step mom, a real mom and a adopted mom and no one goes un loved..hope this helps

Diane - posted on 08/24/2011

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just let them know you care for them and let them feel safe to talk about there problems with you.

Hannelie - posted on 08/24/2011

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Love them, do stuff for them, be friendly any time of the day, show them that you care, try to be their friend and not their mom.Bake them stuff, make them nice food and even let them help you...

Louise - posted on 08/23/2011

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Depending on how old the kids are to how you react to them. If the kids are more than 7 years old then you should wait for them to come to you for that sort of relationship. The best way to achieve this is to be friendly reliable and a approachable. If a child knows you will not judge them they will be more relaxed with you and they will let you into their life. Try not to smoother them with affection they need to get to a point in their life that they trust you enough to let you in.

My advice is to be supportive, and to just be there if needed . They know you are there for them by the things that you do for them. If these kids are older then tell them that they can always come and talk to you if they ever want to chat and leave it at that. Feeling comfortable with someone can take a long time.

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