How much of a role should step-parents play in parenting decisions?

When you share custody of your children and there are step-parents involved, it can sometimes be frustrating trying to get all the parenting tactics on the same track. But creating a stable environment for your children no matter what home they're in is essential. How much of a role should step-parents play in making parenting decisions? How have you found and established good compromises to ensure your child's smooth transition between households while respecting the rules of each one?

35  Answers

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I believe they should have just as much as the biological parents do. If it weren't for my step dad(which I firmly believe he is my REAL FATHER) I wouldn't have no direction or discipline in my life. He has been there since I was 6 months old. But I think the step parent should have just as much say so :)

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i hope my stepdaughters feel that way someday.

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First and foremost, prayer is absolutely the key in maintaining a positive and loving attitude toward the step-children and also, your spouse. Being in a blended family is very trying and it will test your patience to the limits; however, with perseverance, hard work and lots of love, everyone can come together, if nothing else, to respect and appreciate each other. I have been married going on 14 years; we have four adult children between us bringing two each into the marriage. While only his son lived with us for the first three years until he graduated and attended college, our other three children (girls) were out on their own. There were times I wanted to give up, but by staying on my knees (literally), we have managed to weather the storms. I realized early on that it is not about them loving me, but about me displaying the character of Christ to them even when I didn't receive it back in the process. I cannot tell you how much I cried and poured my heart out in prayer asking for help, strength AND wisdom in responding to the children. Everytime I prayed, God answered. One of the greatest joys was when my stepdaughter was baptized at our church. She told me that I was just like a mom to her.

Also, I am all about fairness so when gifts are given for birthdays or Christmas, everyone gets the same amount spent on them. I know that I will never be looked upon as their mom and to be honest, I don't expect to; but I want to go out knowing that I loved them as Christ loves them and I did my job well.

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Amen to that Judi. I recently spoke with a friend who grew up in a blended home. I wondered how she felt about her step mom and her relationship during and now after being out of the home. She told me she was horrible to her step-mom and regrets it. Her step-mom was a Christian woman who showed the love of Christ even when this friend treated her horrible. She respects and loves that woman today and is grateful for her. I worry often that my kids will grow up and leave and not look back at me fondly. I am a complete 180 of there mom. She is super sweet and does everything for them and I have been compared to a wolf mother, readying my kids to be out of the den. I love them surely, but I also will not do everything for them, not out a lack of love for them but rather because I love them. My children step and bio each see this other mom who does everything and I worry about them not having felt nurtured and loved. Your message sent a good message to me, to pray and trust the Lord. I know that my mom had expectations of me in our home and I didn't like it when we I was young and regretted being so horrible to her later. The thing my mom always showed was an unconditional love and a love for Christ. That has served me better than anything else in my life.

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Unfortunately, it is not always as simple as it sounds. My step children come from a household where their mother has given them virtually no rules. Calming bad behavior and limiting the vast amount of freedoms they are allowed to have with their mother is never smooth. Though the children are almost always upset with our rules, we take the time to explain why we are making them follow through with our rules. As a step parent, I am as much involved with decisions as my husband and vice versa since there were kids on both sides. After all, if you marry with children already involved you not only marry to that person but, their children as well. Sometimes, there are no brilliant answers for making children see the importance of what your asking if it is different.from their other home. Open lines of communication and making yourself available is at times the best you can do. Failure is always going to happen for a while but with consistency and reassurance you can get to a good place.

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Hi there i have the same problem my step-son age 5 gets away with murder at his mums house and his father and i find it really hard as he does have rules and boundaries here which he hates and it really makes him unhappy to come and visit as he doesn't get what he wants all the time. We have actually stopped overnight visits because it was just to much for all of us. as a step parent i have no say in what goes on but then again neither does my husband. I think step parents (given they have been around a long time) should have at least an in-put sadly it doesn't work like that for us

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Parents step or biological should have equal rights to decision making. The decisions I make with my oldest daughter will affect the next four children growing up in our family. If I step out of the roll of parent because a child is not my biological child you are only asking for problems with the boundaries for any children in your home. I am mother to 5 children, 2 are biologically mine and 3 are from my husband's previous marriage. We have custody of my 2 and split custody of the other 3. I came into the picture when my step daughter was 12, the divorce was still fresh and we got along but I didn't live with her dad. When we got married and were in a home together her and I instantly started butting heads. She, like many teenagers (step or not), didn't like chores and rules and we constantly heard it wasn't fair. She was very disrespectful to me on numerous occasions. My husband and I entered counseling for blending our family. The answer was we allowed her to move to her mom's house at 13. It took less than a year and she realized that our home although a little crazy at times and even with all of it's rules was a happier place to live. She is 15 now and still lives with us full time. Children want to be guided and disciplined, they just don't know it. Did I like it growing up? No! Do I appreciate it now? YES! I try to treat her as I would any of the children and remind myself that it was harder for her than the younger kids because I came into her life when she was older and her and her dad already had a system going that I disrupted. Doesn't mean I let her get away with being rude to me. If she is, I point blank let her know that isn't okay and that she hurt me. She calls me "Mother" when she is mad at me and I simply state "Your right I am your mother, your step mother and I love you but you won't talk to me that way." She knows my boundaries and her dad's boundaries. If I don't set boundaries with all of the children equally there will be a rivalry and a I believe a rift in the home between the kids. There will always be certain things beyond my control, I can't decide what her mom allows her to wear at her house, on the other hand I can decide it wont be worn while in our house and why I have set the rule. For example at 13 her mom bought her a string bikini, I found it in the wash. She came home that evening and we let her know that it couldn't be worn in our home. I don't want to have to set different rules for different kids because they come from different parents. So we bought her board shorts and a tank top to cover it when she is with us. We explained why and that was it. I have also had to learn to pick my battles and make sure there is time for her and her dad to still have their time. I loved my time with my dad, why should it be any different for her. It was hard at first, but then I realized biology or not she is my daughter and I love her. That is really what it boils down to.

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Dawn, I know what you mean. I have been with my boyfriend for almost 2 years and I have been battling my battles too. He has 3 little ones and I have 3 teenagers. Our kids ages range from 20,17,16,9,6,4 and we have 3 boys and 3 girls. When I came into the picture, his kids were very disrespectful to him and didn't care what they said to him. Well, I raised my 3 kids alone and my kids didn't disrespect me. I spend more time with his kids because of his job so I have been disciplinary more than him. When I would discipline them, he would get mad at me. But after a few months he said that I was doing the right thing. Now, his kids want me more than their own mother. She tried to get the kids to hate me real bad. I have told the kids that I am not their mother but I am a friend, who loves them and will always be there for them. I love all the kids the same.

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Hmm, where to start. After reading the last post, I feel attacked as the "other" parent. First ~ the fairy tales gave "step" a bad name and most of us are still dealing with "Wicked Step Mother Syndrome". The fact is when there is divorce, there is potential for other "parental" figures to come into our children's lives. That's just how it is. The main objective remains the same. Making sure the kids have a safe and happy home in EACH home they are in. The word Mom or Dad doesn't mean biological parent. I went into my relationship knowing that he had little ones. I knew that would mean that I would need to love them unconditionally, no matter what, that's what ALL children need. And I made that choice. It is very hard to be the "other" mom. You are constantly being ridiculed by the other because you simply care and love their children. It's so unfortunate because in the end, it's the children that hurt. You are good enough to pick them up from school, watch them when the other parent can't (etc) and help pay for everything they need but NOT good enough to make decisions in their life because they aren't biologically yours. If blended families would work together for the best interest of their children, and put their own personal issues aside, (like who gave birth to whom) we would have MUCH happier families in this world!

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truthfully none, its not their kid unless the child lives in the home with them.

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a big thumbs down to this reply

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My daughter lives with me and my husband (her step dad), however she also spends a lot of time with her dad and his wife (her step mom), and thier other children. Each household is different, each situation is different. But in my opinion, "yours" or "mine" just doesn't seem like the best way to go, I prefer "ours". All four of us are equally important in her eyes, all four of us are involved in some aspect of her life, so all four of us have a say of what goes on in her life. Yes, our rules are different in each house, and yes, we don't always agree. Sometimes we have agruments, sometimes misunderstandings. But in the end all four of us are raising her, so all four of us have a say of what goes on in her life.

She is my only child, I tend to be a bit overprotective at times, I also tend to be a bit layed back from a discipline standpoint. I have found , as a mother, that many of the things I feel strongly about, really aren't as important as they seem, but more about control and maybe even a bit jealousy. I have had learned to let these things go. When she is with them, she is thier child, she can wear what they allow, eat what they allow, and do what they allow. I have more trust in thier love for her, than I do in thier respect for me, I know they will not allow her to do something that would harm her. I want my husband to be respected, I know how much he loves her, so I show respect for them in hopes that they will return that respect to us. And in situations where a decisions need made that will impact her life, all of our opinions are important. Saying a step parent should not be entitled to be a part of decision making would be the same as saying adoptive parents should not have the right. It's not right. My daughter has four parents, two moms and two dads. The quicker we all realize this the better off our children are. They did not chose these situations, we did. If we continue to argue over mundane things, disrespect each other, or label one or two parents less important, how will our kids learn to respect and love? Explain to your children, that the rules are different in each household and continue to remind them of that when situations arise in which they need reminded. Let go of your own emotions, and make it possible for your children to have 4 strong relationships with thier parent rather than just one or two.

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I agree to some extent. None, but you do play a part as the wife/husband of your spouse. No higher role exists not even parent.

People are just going to feel a certain way. You don't expect me to send them home when they are sick you expect me to fill in as a parent. You expect me to be there in a pinch. You expect me to be a good role model. You expect me to take care of them and not make the feel different. You expect me to tend to orchids and protect them. Feed, and make sure they are clothed ad clean when in my care. I should do all that is good by the children but when something goes wrong you expect me to "step" a little to the right so you " two people who had sex and made a baby" can activate you" ownership voucher. I call that pulling rank and using people for when it suits you!!! You didn't want us to be here, you should have worked it out!!!! I had to learn to stop bending over backwards for people, then you won't be upset when you get no respect. Let those insecure parents do it for themselves. You Be the Bonus!

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I can understand this position. It is amazing that the step parent is expected to patiently endure many of the "storms" of these kinds of families, and yet, just as we chose to marry the person with the kids, they also knew that there would be possible difficulties and should rightfully deal with and referee (if I can use that term) all the relationship conflicts fairly. The bottom line is that the bio parent is the glue that ties everything together so it is largely on them to ensure that they have their finances in order to support two families, and set exes and children in their place and, yes, even the wife. But make no mistake his first priority must be his wife. If that relationship is in tact and they are on one accord things will more likely than not fall into line. If not, we all have only one life...so get on with it. ~My two cents...

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Parenting is for the parents. Step-parents may absolutely have a voice however the ultimate decisions rest on the child's parents. I know that at times a step-parent and biological parent may make the better decisions. I was a step-parent for roughly 12 years but I did not push myself on the children or my opinions on their mother. Their father and I would discuss things and then he would discuss with his x-wife. THEY would decide. If my thoughts were considered or not, I was not offended because the girls were not mine. I respected that they have a mother and father. The transition was easy since I explained to the girls that I was not there to be their mom. They have a mom. I want to be their friend and an adult they can trust and confide in. I was there to take care of them and keep them safe when they were with us. I was there because I was with their dad. I would have never known them or been a part of their lives had I not been with him.

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I myself have just learned this is the right way. I really wanted to meet my husbands ex before we got married, and my ex was such a deadbeat that my husband IS my children's father in every way. I would not feel comfortable telling him he has no say in my children's lives. We discuss it and we decide. Now my stepdaughter issues, we discuss them then he decides how to handle it with his ex-wife who disliked me with ever seeing me. She is very insecure about me "mothering" her child and has even tried to flirt with my husband just to see if she still could, so I keep it business only with her. She is also remarried.

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I think its very interesting that all the posts below are from stepmothers. I was a stepmother. My husband got custody of his son when the boy was 7. As he was out of town a lot with his job, I was the main caretaker of his son. We also have 2 children of our own. When my stepson was 15, my husband cheated and left our family. All the children were hurt by this but my stepson was really caught in the middle. He had gotten used to my rules and expectations of him (though it wasnt easy) and came to realize very quickly that I was the only one with rules because I was the only one that cared enough to do the work of parenting, and thats not always about rules. Its about guidance, and teaching him to drive, and helping him with homework, signing him up for football and driving him to practice everyday, sitting all day in the hospital when he needed surgery. I was the only one there with him. At 19, he came back to live with me to help get him on the right path in adult life, even though I have no legal claim as stepmom anymore. So, I understand what everyone else has said.

However, I also understand the other side of the coin. My children's stepmother is the woman who had affair with my husband. That is hard for both my children and I to deal with. She does not live up to the standards of parenting that I expect. Usually, I can deal with that. My children aren't too young and they dont spend much time with her. However, there have been times when she has blatently disreguarded my wishes and authority as their mother. In at least 2 instances, this created what could have been a serious safety issue for my young daughter.

In another situation, a friend of mine, a nurse, shares custody of her son with her exhusband. Her son has been diagnosed and is receiving treatment by a doctor for a medical condition. The stepmother, an educated woman but not a medical professional, decided he didnt need to go to the doctor appointment that she had agreed to take him to. She also has decided he only needs to take half the dose of medicine prescribed by the doctor. The mother and stepmother have had surprisingly positive and friendly relationship until now, but the stepmother thinks she is smarter, knows better and everything should be her way; on this and many issues. We can all see that this particular example is unreasonable, but what about when it comes to curfew or privileges or responsibilities. Who gets to decide if its OK for a 14yo to mow the grass or spend the night at a friend's house, have his own cell phone, get her ears pierced, get her nose or tongue pierced, go with a date to the school dance or the movies? When the natural parents are involved and offer an opinion, that opinion should be honored whenever possible. This is an issue that should seriously be considered by anyone thinking about becoming a stepparent. This is an area where you will not have control; you do not get the final say; you will have to compromise; it is hard work with very little reward or recognition; and, as hard as you may try, things may not be fair between stepsiblings. No matter how much you disagree, the parent gets the final word. If there is a disagreement, it should be settled between the 2 natural parents. A stepparent is there in a supporting role, as long as the parents are present and involved.

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Recently, in fact last night, my husband and I had a conversation about what you talk about in your last paragraph. I stated that even if he allowed his daughter to wear a certain item I didn't agree with, my daughtersi wouldn't be allowed to wear it until they were 18. We have tried very hard through counseling to overcome the differences in our parenting. I will admit that I am a bit overzealous when it comes to rules and he wasn't very zealous when we got married. Recently though we had this discussion and I hurt his feelings because I say my daughters wont be doing that. We spent a great deal of time trying to come to a compromise about some shoes that my step daughter bought to wear to christmas dance, I thought they were trashy and inappropriate for a 15 year old girl and he said they are just shoes. I said that is fine if you and your ex-wife believe that is okay, that is your choice but I want this to be clear, my daughters (meaning my 2 biological daughters) wont have the choice to wear those shoes. Now I understand where he got upset, he hates it when I say my daughters (something I am still working on), but like you said I really don't think other than an opinion, when it comes down to his choice and it is his daughter, that I have a final word on the matter. It is a difficult area to say the least. I have my input/opinion but yes the final say is his. I really don't think that is much different than a lot of marriages though. Even when I was married to my daughter's dad there was a final say person for different instances. A lot of time with that relationship it had to do with control issues, but I believe in healthy relationships it has to do with compromise and respect. I respect that it is his choice, and likewise I expect that respect when it comes to our 2 daughters that were mine. I compromise in most situations as does he, but there will always be some places that that just doesn't work; and yes you are right my opinion counts to be heard but really beyond that, if his choice is different than mine someone is going to have to give and I wouldn't expect it to be him when it comes to his daughter. I am just glad that we see eye to eye on most things and agree that what they do at there mom's house we have no control over but we can have different rules entirely at our home and expect the kids to abide by them. Thanks for your different perspective and insight on the matter.

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Being a step parent is probably one of the hardest jobs out there, even more difficult then being the biological parents because we have to deal with more than just the children, we also have to deal with the other parent or the ex. And in my case both were and sometimes still are after 10 years one of the most hated battles in my house. My step daughter gets away with EVERYTHING at her moms. Her mom treats her like a friend, best friend at times and not a mother or parent. I know it is nice to be friends with your parents, but I believe that there is a time and place for that, and before the age of 18 it shouldn't be there.

When my stepdaughter comes over, we have rules, dishes need to be done and your room needs to be clean. She is only here four times a month (every other weekend), and all she does is sit in our basement (or her room) and plays either on her computer or plays video games. She drinks pop like the world is going to end and leaves her cans everywhere. She will only eat when something she likes is here or when someone else is making something. Oh, forgot to say she is also 16 years old. We had her here for a month this summer, she stayed 2 weeks before she asked to go home. Why?? because I made her do dishes, vacuum, clean toilets etc. She had to earn her keep, as everyone else does in my house. We have two small children together, and when they are old enough they too will have chores and responsibility.

Parenting decisions in my house when it comes to my step daughter and her mother, are mutual between my husband and I. I know what he wants and he knows what I want. Whenever they ask for more money, it needs to be justified because my step daughter does have a job now, which we advised her was so she has spending money for herself and learned the value of a dollar. It is never an argument over support and stuff like that because we stand firm.

When we first got together 10 years ago, both my stepdaughter and her mother would walk all over my husband. They would call and he would come running, even when the mother had a long term boyfriend who could change a tire or fix something. He was a door mat for them and sometimes still is.

As for the discipline in our house, I have just as much say as my husband. And sometimes I am referred to as the Step Monster because I have rules and it does cause conflict between myself and my step daughter and her mother at times. But like many of you have said, it is my house, so if you don't like it then don't come. We have actually said that to her on several occasions, but if she doesn't come then her mom thinks support will end. At first I tried to be her friend and stick up for her on occasions, and then I got slapped in the face with a huge lie and it made me feel horrible, so I stopped. I guess you could say it was a trust issue after that point. My husband would like my step daughter to live here with us and go to her moms on the weekends, but I don't feel like that would be healthy for our relationship, because I would be the bad guy all the time and we would fight constantly.

So to all the step parents out there, stick to your guns, because you have just as much a say in how these children are raised as the actual parents. You are a mediator when a mutual decision cannot be reached and sometimes a friend.

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As a Step-mother, of two boys age 13 and age 11, it's hard! Their mom has virtually NO RULES for them. My husband and I have rules on the other hand, which isn't liked much by both boys...And as a Step-parent, I do make the calls at times, and i do have an in-put when my husband is deciding what to do. I've been with my husband since the boys were 4 and 6 yrs old. My youngest son, lives with me and my husband while the oldest lives with his mom because he likes doing as he pleases. My oldest would act out if he were told no or if he got in trouble for doing wrong, it got to the point that there was no peace in the home. So we felt it was best to allow him to live permanently with his mom, and we kept the youngest. The youngest calls me mom and visits his biological mom every other weekend, and the oldest comes to our house every other weekend but not overnight bc he refuses to. Its not easy being a step-parent, especially when your step-kids mom is bad mouthing you or putting negative things in the kids head, it makes it harder on the kids and makes step-parenting hard too...I do not agree with step-parents stay out of it, if you married someone with a child or children, you accept those kids, and if you are partners, you work together even when dealing with the kids. I see it this way, if i am fit to care and provide for the child i'm able to parent the child, i do everything for my son as if i gave birth to him therefore it's only natural to parent him as well, especially since my husband and i have a daughter together that's younger, so i cant have different rules for my son (b/c he's not biologically mine) than i do for my daughter (who is biologically mine), thats crazy, they all have the same rules, they are all my child in the end...My husband and I NEVER speak negative of the kids biological mom, even if she does about us, we choose not to put the kids through that. All, I can say is if you have step-kids, and the parent they live with has rules, try applying those rules to your house or at least respect those rules, my husband lectures the kids on the phone, if he talks to one and hears one be disrespectful to an adult while on the phone, he tells them that's not correct and that that backtalking or disrespect needs to stop, and he states that it doesnt matter if the adult the kid was yelling at is their mom, they need to show her respect too, so they know we will honor their mom and be respectful too, but it works better when the other party is willing to do the same...all you can do is try your best, be positive, never speak negatively about the kids other parent especially infront or around the kid...Good luck to all the step-parents, it's a hard job that not everyone can do....

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As being a step parent myself I believe that we should have equal rights. I have been raising my stepdaughters since they were 4 and 5. We have had custody for the past 7 yrs and have had ups and downs. I have been told by a judge to butt out and let my husband deal. But how can that be said when they live with you and your husband works. They should have to listen to you in your house and be respectful.

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it takes a lot more to being a parent then having the child , just because you have the child doesn't make you a parent. it's what you do that makes you a parent. Anyone can be a parent to a child , you don't have to be the biological parent. most of the time they are the least of parents. i know pleanty of them. not everyone should have children , just bc you can doesn't me you should. i have two of my own, but it's my actions that makes me their parent.

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It is vital for the original parent to establish the authority of a new spouse right up front. They should agree on what the rules are and what the consequences are. It's actually best to decide these things BEFORE getting married. It is essential for children to have respect for all adults in the house and for the adults to have respect for each other. What goes on at the other parents house is out of your control but if you and your new spouse stand together on the issues things will be a lot better in the long run. This of course is not always easy, especially with older kids or with an undermining ex.

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I remarried when my boys were 4 and 7, we then had a daughter together. This has always worked for us. When the boys got to the 16 year old "your not my real dad" phase, we just kept on as we had. They are now both young adults and have a very close relationship with my husband.

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I think once married, the step parent should be just as much involved in decision making as you are. When you marry someone, that makes you a family, the whole of you, so decisions and everything like that should be equal, just as if he was the real Dad.

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I am not a step-parent yet but my boyfriend and I are going to be getting married. He gets his kids every other week for the whole week. When I got into the picture, his kids were really terrible. His kids wouldn't listen and be disrespectful to him and me. I am with the kids more than him because of his job, so I told the kids that they were going to respect me. I have raised 3 kids without a father and my kids didn't ever disrespect me like his kids did at the time. Now, his kids love me and listen to me and respect me. At their mother's house, she does everything for them. So they expect that from their dad and me, I tell them that they are old enough to pick up toys and clean their rooms. I have disciplined them by putting them in their room for timeouts for as long as their ages. I feel that if I am in the house then I get to tell the kids what is going on because it's my house too.

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Zero my ex and I had the kids we are the only ones to make decisions for them. Maybe not for every situation, I had full custody and my kids were free to go to their dads when they could. She did try to discipline my daughter once she hit her with a hair brush. She got a divorce for that.... I did not date while my kids were little because I never wanted to go into a Step situation. When I finally did date I met a man with children the exact same age as mine. Loved that man to pieces couldn't stand his kids.......single!!!

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The short answer is none. I've already been through this and my daughter is now 29 and mother to my two granddaughters, 6 & 8.

I remarried when my daughter was 6. I was very involved in her school, dance and Girl Scouts. When I met my second husband he seemed to be everything I could ask for. Once we married, he changed and became critical of everything she did. The counselor we saw said he should let parenting and discipline up to me; that he should be courteous and friendly. We attended a STEP (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting) class, which he didn't adhere to the principles of. Unfortunately, he was verbally and emotionally abusive, so it didn't work. I didn't know anything about this kind of abuse, so I didn't know how to handle it. She ended up attempting suicide and I had a breakdown. I knew him for 18 months prior to marrying him and never saw his temper until we were on our way to our honeymoon. A 6'4" Texan, he was a big man with a big voice. We ended up being afraid of him.

I remarried while still mentally ill; a huge mistake. My daughter was 15. My 3rd husband turned out to have borderline personality disorder, as Ted Bundy did. I immediately scheduled counseling and that counselor told my husband the same thing , that he should be courteous and friendly, but he should not establish rules, nor discipline my daughter. Fortunately, this marriage didn't last, as my husband was a nightmare and took control over my life; and cheated twice in 1 1/2 years. I had to get my daughter out of the house while he was there and she lived with my parents.

My daughter's father had moved to Florida not long after we separated. He was an alcoholic and refused treatment. In fact, he was in denial. So I was the only parent involved in decision-making and discipline. Because of the interference by both stepfathers, I overcompensated. The stepparent and parent can discuss things, but ultimately discipline belongs to the parent alone.

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I think it depends on how involved the parent is with the child. My husband is more of a father than my daughters father is. Therefore he should, and does, play a major role in parenting decisions. My ex-husbands wife has no role in parenting decisions.

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Nicely done.

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Stepparents are NOT equal parents. They didn't create the child, and divorce easily breaks that title. While I do think that there should be some boundaries set up between the parent & stepparent, it should be the biological parent carrying it out. I believe that there should be respect from all sides, but a marriage certificate does not make you a parent.

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Neither does a birth certificate.

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I believe that the step parents opinion DOES matter, but the step parent needs to talk to the biological parent first before making serious decisions for the children. Step parents are parents too. Blood has nothing to do with it. Step parents can love the children just as much. As long as they communicate with the biological parent first and come to terms with agreeing on how the child should be raised, then it should work out just fine.

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Ok I hear you on that. My daughter lives with me with her two other sisters. My oldest two girl have always been on honor roll. MY yougest dauther just turned two and my daughter and his wife trys to take over my role as a mother. Yes it was hurtful when I found out that both of them were teaching my daughter to call her mom. She won't let the father come around near my house. She has a problem when we go to the doctor's together for her check up but she wants to say how my daughter should be rasied. I'm 42 her dad's is turning 53 in Nov and the Step mom is 56 or 57. Believe me I know she has experience cause she has 2 older children by her ex- husband. I feel they both don't give me respect as a mother who took care of her the 1st 1 1/2 cause he di not help support her. If I'm wrong please tell me. I want to do right by my children.

76 29

when I meet my husband, him and his ex-wife did not get a long at all it was very stressful on their son. I played the middle man for awhile and didn't like it. My husband took her to court to up hold his rights because bio mom was will to compromise with anything. with the court thing she realized that that we cared more about the child than anything with at too she came to understand that everything she wanted could/would effect both houses. she didn't like that we could or would affect her so now we all talk about the thing that need to be addressed with my step-son I give my opinion and then let them talk it out. this is okay for me. As I told her 5 years ago all I know is how to be a mom so I needed her to let me know if I step on her toes and the same for me. she has given me a lot of help with my step-son hell even with my own son form time to time.

to answer the question step-parents should have their option taken in to concitoration do to the fact that it can or will affect then too.

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377 19

We have different rules in our house, so when my stepdaughters visit, they typically get a quick refresher. These are rules for our household, that apply to all the kids including my son and our son together, so they are rules that we have both agreed to.

That is, however, about the extent of 'parenting decisions' that I make regarding them. If I wins up watching them alone while Dad is at class or work, I will naturally make decisions with regard to discipline and such.

Now, we live a couple of states apart, so I honestly don't know how involved I would be if we were closer. I guess it would really be determined by what their mom was comfortable with.

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63 81

I feel it depends on the involvement of the step-parent. If they are around the kids, spend time with them, and you do things together as a family, then I feel it is important for them to be involved in parenting decisions with what goes on in their homes ONLY. I am a step mom, and I love my two SC like they were my own, and they know that. I have always made them feel welcome and reassured them that my home is also their home. When it comes to making decisions in my husband and my home, they are usually together. My husband and I both feel that just because he is divorced and has children living with him part time from a previous relationship does not mean that just because they aren't my birth children, that I have to give up my rights and rules in my own home. My husband designated me as a person to make decisions about the children when they are in our custody on his behalf when he cannot be there. Other than that, when we need to make decisions, we do it together and not in the presence of the children.

His ex wife and him have joint custody and both share rights on parenting decisions.. it has been rare that they have had to make a decision about the kids together. Usually, we make decisions that affect our home and family and she does the same in her home. Other than that, we just follow the decree and inform the other of what is necessary.

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I think it depends on the age of the child when the step-parents joins the family. If the child is say around 5 or younger it would be alright to have the stepparents be a bigger part of the process. Where if they are older it will be harder to accept someone coming into a authoritarian role. First and foremost it should be talked about by both biological parents and the children so everyone agrees and is on common ground. thats the only way you will get good results.

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Depends on how much of a connection they have with the child. In my opinion, stepparents should be gradually phased into a parenting role by following the child's lead - if the child sees them as a parent, then they are. And if it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen. You shouldn't have a stepparent assume parenting duties when the kid hasn't accepted them yet, but neither should a stepparent who shares everything except blood be left out of parenting.

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Fellow Moms, Bonus-Mom's, caretakers, etc
I wish there was a book, there is not. The courts do not offer any relief with this as most parenting plans are vague, and my experience would be just used as a weapon in the battle of control. My husband and I have 6 children together. We have made a decision to classify them as older/younger to assist with labeling. It doesn't matter what either of us say or do, there will be judgement from the relatives of these 6 children. In our situation we have on parent who has little contact with any of the kids with the exception to comment on how they are doing something, or if they post something on facebook that is considered unacceptable behavior. We have another parent who has completely abandoned one under-age child, while maintains active (would not call healthy) weekly custodial relationship with other children. In both of these scenarios, the custodial opinion is the "Step Parent" has no rights in the decision making process of the children. Ultimately it is the children who loose, who are labeled, who are left with the biggest scars. They never feel like they fit in anywhere, in our case acceptance is based on biology. The real tragedy is these children did not have a choice, however their are choices made and sometimes "Not Made" without their input, or real thought to what is really in their best interest. As I am a STEP CHILD, wife, ex-wife, bio-mom, bonus-mom, daughter, daughter-inlaw, ex-daughter in-law, current inlaw, and a ex-inlaw. The pain never goes away, you never feel accepted anywhere, and the tragedy of this epidemic continues, with the result being children who are the targets, and burden the most in this battle without any voice. It is impossible to have a voice in this debate as the real victims are never allowed to participate in the debate. My advice, if you want real change, real decisions, real relief, create change in your sandbox, ever give to much information about your situation

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55 32

I am a step mother to three beautiful kids who i truly love like they are my own. They all live with there father and me full time. The two oldest see there mom every second weekend. My youngest step child has no contact with her mom and likely never will. With her its easy. She calls me mom. Im the only mom she has ever known. I have custody of her just like her father does and the near future i am going to adopt her. The two oldest live with us full time also. To me i dont really think of any of them us my step kids. I am more involved with there lives then there mother is. I feel my rights should be as equal as hers if not more. After all I am raising her kids. I hear alot of parents saying that step parents have no rights but i disagree with that especially in a situation were you are raising the kids. How can anyone say that if the situation is what it is with me. Even if the children didnt live with us full time i still think that a step parent has some kind of rights after all they have chose to love and parent someone elses child. If a step parent truly loves a child or children then they should always have some say in the childs raising. I guess you really dont know how to feel about this topic until you have the chance to be someones step parent.

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I believe that a stepparent should have equal say in decision making pertaining to the children. I have a step family and the one thing my son says is that we "always cosigning with each other" which of course is not true because what he doesn't know and isn't any of his business is that we don't always agree with each other and we discuss it in the privacy of our bedroom.

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I have to say this. Being a step parent is hard. Children dont even understand this. You have to love your step children as your own. If you cant love them as your own , then dont try to set up rules for them , rather leave it to their biological parent. Some step parent like my husband . WEll he can never ever be a loving parent to my kids. He is too ciritcal at all times and this causes alot of arguments and tension. So we came to a conclusion that he must steer away from my kids. and I will do all the disciplining, as long as everyone respects each other.

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i have been with my partner richard 3years.i have a little boy who is 5 and his real dad havnt botherd with him since he was 6months old and was only 2 when i met richard, richard also had a son 9 at the time an who is now 12 and we have a 10 month old together both my kids call him dad as he is there for them an always will be he is a brill father to all three boys but from the first day i met richards son i have never tryed to be his mum just a good role model as he was older enof to understand and didnt want to push him into thinking im taking his mothers place and he has always been very respectfull to me and his dad but not to his mother who also has 3 girls by somebody else and thay have now split and she is now with somwone else an now my step son tells richard and i that he wants to come an live with us,we both sat him down the other day an asked him the reasons y he wanted to leave his mother an 3 sisters an he replyed because he feels left out at home his mother an new boyfriend are all for the girls he stayes in his bedroom alot and the money that richard gives her every month for his son goes on the girls she takes the girls everywher an tells my step son to go to his nans and every weekend we have him an we pay for everything we take him on every holiday an she dont give her son a penni to go with me an richard also pays for his uniform trainers hair cuts day trips his classes and we still pays child maintenance and i have never got involed in his mother an fathers parenting but at this point i feel the need to but dont no how to go about it because i dont want her to stop me an my partner seing him. she is walking all over me an my partner she gets benifits for him so what does that go on, i have my own two kids to provide for and im realy upset that she wants us to pay for everything an still give her money every month for her to spend on children that are nothing to do with us that money is for richards son not her other children and something is not rite for her own son all of a sudden dont want to live there anyone got any good advise please.

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If you're tired of bending over backwards, you should stop paying for everything. But if you Partner feels this is his job, you should support his decision. Maybe all of you can sit down and divide the monthly obligations. Discuss it with your partner 1st. The child maybe feeling " the grass is greener on the other side" syndrome, especially a teen. All teen rebellion is not so obvious. You have to "allow" mom to step up. But let her know you will be doing so, as not to drop the ball on the child involved.

201 11

They live at my house, I have just as an equal role as their father does. Hopefully, they will not have to stay at their mothers, since her home is chaotic and unsafe.

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it depends on how involved the biological parent is. my kids dad, and my step kids mom have nothing to do with any of the kids. so my husband and i are the only two available to make any decisions when it comes to any of the kids. we have been together for 11 years. the kids are now 13,14,15 and 18. we support them on our own and we make all the decisions together.

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3 32

Hi there, I think the best step to take as step parent is be legally adopted.

That takes the load of you because he or she loves you enough to take the
responsibility off you but that doesn;t mean you don't check him or her what they
might do to children.
I have gone through this stage so I know what I am talking about.

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How nice you know what you're talking about. As a father, I would never allow it.

4 83

i have not found tactics yet,as we dont have access alone with my stepson,but when we do get him there will be rules that he will be abiding by,the same as my own children..

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3 32

I don't know How old your children are. I do understand that before you get too involved with your partner you have to consider these things very carefully whether you are getting together for the sake of your children or just for your yourselves.

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