Country Roads: Interracial Step-Parenting in 2015

Keona - posted on 11/22/2015 ( 10 moms have responded )

12

0

5

Hello Everyone! I am in a serious interracial relationship with my boyfriend, JB, who has a 4 year old, CB, soon to be five. We have been talking a lot about marriage, other children, and the land where our future home will sit is already underway (although is right up the street from his parents). I love his son as if he was mine. I get up to take him to daycare in the mornings or to his "Nanna's" when I'm going to work. I take him to the park, to the grocery store, and other places by myself while my boyfriend is working hard. A lot of times when my boyfriend is at home he still wants to hangout with just me. I think its so sweet.

CB's mom and dad are divorced and she's moved on with another guy. His mom now has a child by this guy and plan on growing their family even more. From the beginning as an outsider I noticed that there was a lack of interest on CB's mom's part with having him during her time of shared custody. She even "called out" of being with him on several occasions do to an emergency but social media would prove otherwise.

The main thing is JB and I both are southerns but we have two different cultural backgrounds. Where I grew up the church community (village) raised the child outside of what the parents did if the parents were busy or doing another task. The child would know to respect and obey it's elder's or those older than them. If the child didn't listen a time out was given and the bad behavior or whatever the child did was then reported to the parents for them to discipline the child. When I was younger, IF the parent gave permission the "villagers" was able to lightly spank the child within reasonable means. Again that was IF the parent GAVE permission.

With JB's family its just the internal family or the parents themselves that mainly REWARD AND DISCIPLINE the child. There are things that I definitely don't agree with that I run by him and then he'll make a decision of what to do. Culturally, there are things that does not make sense universally with others within my culture but I try not to make generalizations or stereotypes about his parenting methods. For example when I see a kid throwing a fit in a store saying they want this and that, "falling out" on the floor, and screaming to the top of their lungs as if someone is really hurting them, JB and I have similar and different issues on the matter. As southerners we both believe the child needs a belt or switch but for him there have been times when he's spank CB and still got him something out the store whether it was what he actually wanted or not. I don't agree with that. Me on the other hand, a long with thousands of other parents within my culture would AGREE that if a couple of us had seen a child acting like that in a store, we more than likely would've acknowledge the other with some type of head nod or face that would have meant, " I WISH my child WOULD act this way up in here" or "WHAT THAT CHILD NEEDS IS THEY'RE____ WHOOPED." For some reason as well in my culture, when a child is with they're parent and they see another child act up (in same culture or not) the child looks at the one acting up thinking " You better stop or you're going to get it" or "I'm not about to act up, I want some candy (toy)." The parent will also look at their child and give a look like "IF you do this, you already know what's going to happening."

For some of you some of this might be a little too much but to others like myself its everyday life. I'm just trying to learn how to be a parent and I guess "my place" as I transition roles. CB is very very very spoiled and sometimes I think he's the baddest little kid I've ever met. Other times he's the sweetest and gives me lots of hugs and kisses, he helps me clean, he'll be helpful to other kids, etc.

Keeping what said in mind I need some advice about a couple of things:

- Being future step parent
- Being a future step parent of a child from another race
- Knowing what's ok and what's not from a mother's point of view
- Interracial suggestions that work for the whole family

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Ev - posted on 11/22/2015

7,372

7

910

I am not sure what races you are talking about but from what you have said, you two sound like you believe to an extent on how kids should be minus the spankings. But in reality its the parents who need to set the rules and consequences for the kids in both households to be on the same page and to report if a rule is broken so the consequences can be done at the other home--ie....perfect world scenario. A lot of what you said about your belief of raising kids is similar to his to a point. What you two need to do is be on the same page and have the same rules and consequences for the child and keep on following through no matter what. I do not agree with giving a child who got in trouble at the store something anyhow because it does defeat the purpose of the consequences.
I think that it should not matter what the race of anyone is if they are on the same page on how to handle situations that involve the kids with the parents and step parents. That is what kids really need for the benefits of having all these people in their lives. Unfortunately most times, it does not happen that way either.
As for being a future step parent period: Just be the support system that the father and kids need. Get on the level of the child and learn about them which it shows in your post you have been doing. Treat them like your own. Remember that the parents have final say in what goes on with the kids and the decisions regarding legal matters, doctors visits, and other things. You can make suggestions to dad for things but he has to chose to go with it or not and present it to mom for her approval. Never talk down a parent in front of a child. Unconditional love. Do not expect too much too soon. Blending families is a lot of work. Do not let anyone walk over you and make sure they are at the least respectful to you. You do have to earn the kids trust.
What is okay and not okay from a mom's view: Just make sure that you do not come across as taking her place. Be polite even if you do not like her for the sake of the kids. Let dad discuss all matters where the kids are concerned.

Raye - posted on 11/24/2015

3,761

0

21

I am white... plain, pale, white. My husband is 1/2 white, and 1/4 Native American (Choctaw Indian), 1/4 Arabic. His ex is white and blonde, so the kids are fair haired and white. My husband's dad is white, but his wife is black (granny C) and they have a daughter (my husband's half-sister) who's obviously bi-racial. One of my husband's foster brother's is black (Uncle H) and another foster brother is 1/2 black (Uncle J). My husband's full-sister married a white guy and they have white kids. My husband's mom (1/2 Native American, 1/2 Arabic) is married to a white guy. Our son also has a close friend that is African American and calls him family (either brother or cousin depending on the day). So our kids have grown up with mixed families and we try to raise them not to see color. People are people and should be treated the same as any other.

Unfortunately, not everyone is that way. My SS was the only white kid on his basketball team last year, and was teased a little by some of the boys. That was really the first time he saw race as an issue. But a good friend of his on the team kind of took up for him and put his arm over his shoulders and the others mostly left him alone. So, "looking different" should not be an issue if they're raised right. CB seems to love you, and any kids you have with his dad will be his half-siblings. So, he will love them, pick on them, and go through all the other normal family stuff that kids go through. The color of one's skin shouldn't play a part in it, if there's love and respect.

As far as your "darker skinned" sister, your parents probably weren't treating her differently strictly due to her skin color. They were treating her differently because of her insecurity. She felt different than her other sisters, and that made the dynamic change. Insecurities should be addressed, and sometimes that will lead to different treatment by parents, but it should be only to help the child grow out of that insecurity and then be treated like everyone else. But that's my opinion.

Me and my half-sister on my mom's side grew up together 24/7 in the same house, same bedroom. She's blonde hair, blue eyes... and I'm brown hair, brown eyes. I felt she got treated better growing up because she was the oldest, but she felt I got treated better because I was "the baby". The only bickering that happened over looks was when she would make me mad and I would pour my milk over her head and ruin her hairstyle and makeup. Siblings can have rivalries no matter what. My mom says she must have been pretty fair if we both thought the other was the favorite. I guess that's one way to look at it.

Raye - posted on 11/24/2015

3,761

0

21

My husband and I don't have any children together, and it's not going to happen for us. Hopefully someone else will chime in on that part of blending families. Other moms here have done it. It's my understanding, if the children are all treated with love and aren't made to feel like they're being replaced by the new baby, then the jealousy should be at a minimum. My step-kids are full biological siblings, and they get into these arguments about "fairness" ("he got that, so I want this, it's only FAIR!"), but really there is no such thing. You should try to be fair, but the child's age and circumstances at the time make it nearly impossible to be completely "fair". But treat them with love and make sure they feel their concerns are heard and considered (even if you don't give in to what they want). If you have a baby with CB's father, try to get CB involved in little ways with the baby to promote bonding. Spend time with him individually and with the baby/as a family. Every family has it's ups and downs, and blended families have many of the same issues as traditional families. Try not to get bogged down by it. Do your best.

Raye - posted on 11/23/2015

3,761

0

21

I am a step-mom of two, and my husband's ex is similar to what you've said of your BF's ex... cancels on her visitation days, brings the kids back if she can't deal with them, doesn't help with their homework, basically ignores them when she has them. It is so hard when there's no consistency across both households. But you have to let go of whatever the mother does. Neither of you can control her, and no amount of wishing will make her more responsible. Women like that are too selfish to see how they're hurting their children. But the child deserves to know both parents, and the child will realize at some point that mommy is not a good person... and she will have done that to herself. Try not to have much interaction with the mother, but try to be as kind as you can muster to her for the sake of the child.

Evelyn is right about being on the same page as your BF. Ultimately it's HIS child and he has the legal responsibility of raising him. You and he need to come up with the rules and consequences, and both of you need to follow through with them, every time, no giving in. I also don't think the child should have gotten a toy after throwing a fit, but that's something you could have talked to your BF about later to find out why he thought that was appropriate, and come to a better understanding. When you and your BF disagree, you should speak with him in private and determine what the plan will be moving forward. By talking to him when you both are calm, you may be able to show him he probably should have done it a different way.

Waiting until later to address my concerns is tough for me sometimes, because I am a strong-willed woman. If I would have done something differently, I have to bite my tongue in the moment and remind myself "not my circus, not my monkeys". Their father is the main Ringleader, and I just help train the little monkeys according to the established rules. Sometimes being a step-parent means taking a step-back and letting go of a situation so the bio-parent can deal with it, whether you think they're right or wrong.

Being a step-parent is hard, I don't think race has much to do with it. People of the same race have different backgrounds and opinions also. You just have to know that the child needs a mother figure that cares enough to teach him what's right and wrong. You will probably feel very unappreciated at times. Don't get defeated. You just do your best, and I'm sure it will be good enough.

10 Comments

View replies by

Keona - posted on 11/24/2015

12

0

5

Thank you so much. I try to keep in mind how to try and be fair when the time comes but I'll never no until time takes me there. CB says he loves his little sister and continues to ask his dad and I when are we going to "go get" the other siblings. Then he'll say things like "Its a lot of money? Daddy has money! He can buy my baby brother (or sister) at the doctor when I get out of daycare?" The first time I heard that I was like What!!!?!

He seems to think you can purchase a baby from a doctors office. I think he must've heard saying a baby (or himself) is expensive or a lot of money. Plus he first met his little sister in the hospital so I can only imagine his thoughts.

From what I hear he gets along with her fine. I don't know how it will be in the future but right now they are good. My main concern is how he will act with his siblings later on. I know that is too far ahead to even think about but I wonder how they will get along because by the time we plan to have kids he will be 6 turning 7 or 7 turning 8. Then there is the "blended look." I wonder if he would take up for his sibling if someone tried to pic on them because they "look different" than he does, or if he would dislike his sibling because of it. There were issues even within my own family because how me and my sisters look. My younger sister always felt like she was treated differently because she "darker skinned" then me and our older sister. This is partly true. She wasn't treated worst or was neglected because of it, she actually got received way more love and care. It was brought to our attention that our mother felt that it was necessary in order for her to feel like she was the same as us. That still doesn't make any sense to me. It's very very sad and I don't believe in that crap. I believe everybody should be treated the same way.

I plan on doing that with my own children and CB, but at the same time, CB might feel left out. I'm going to try my best to not do anything to make him feel that way. There are so many things that I think about when it comes to CB and his future siblings but I can't let myself get stuck on it. Life just has to happen.

Keona - posted on 11/24/2015

12

0

5

I haven't heard CB said "you're not my mom" yet but I know is going to come one day. I hope it doesn't. He has told me he don't love me or he "don't want me" but then other times he'll hold my face look, look in my eyes, hug me, kiss my cheeks, and say he loves me. Then he'll hold me like I hold him sometimes. Yesterday when I wasn't feeling well, he came in the kitchen and told me to "sit down on the couch, it's time to take a nap." I told him that I would in a minute because I was washing the dishes. The kept going back and forth pulling on my telling me to "go night night in your room" but I knew I wasn't going to. It was the sweetest thing.

I can't let concerns of what she's doing affect the way I'm co-parenting. I just need to know that what I suggest to JB is for our family's best interest whether he actually goes through with the suggestion or not. Plus we have a lot of other things going on like clearing and getting the land ready for our future home, pin pointing a school that CB will attend next fall, saving money for the next BIG move and our wedding, and since I relocated to this area, finding a local job so I don't have to keep driving back and forth which is 1hr and 5-10mins. I just have to keep on doing the best I can.

Mrs. Ramsey, I know that you said you are the step-parent of two, but do you and your husband have any children together? If so, how do your step children interact with your biological child?

Raye - posted on 11/24/2015

3,761

0

21

I know what you mean about it being hard when the child doesn't want to go with their mom. A little over a week ago, my SS *begged* to stay with us instead of going to his moms. Broke our hearts to make him go. But that is the arrangement, and the kids don't understand why it has to be that way. My SS is often displeased about going to his moms unless her BF's sons are there for him to play with, because she basically ignores them and he's bored. He has told me he feels like I am more of a real mom to him. I interact with the kids and tuck them in at night and discipline them when they need it. It's the mother's own fault if she doesn't do the same. I don't do it to be vindictive and say "ha ha, I'm a better mom than you!" I do it because they need it and I care. I can't turn that off. One day, when I get the "you're not my mom" defiance, I'm sure it will hurt, but it can't be taken personally. It means I care and try to prevent them from making mistakes. I know it doesn't mean that they don't love me, just that they're upset. They'll get over it, and one day look back and understand.

Keona - posted on 11/23/2015

12

0

5

Thank you so much Mrs. Witt and Mrs. Ramsey. Both of you have given me really good insight. Mrs. Witt, I get your meaning. Even though I don't care for CB's mom's ways, I think my boyfriend just hate her guts because of how she does their son. I told him to stop saying things like that. I mean I've honestly thought some things but not that. I do need to let what she does go. Today when dropping off CB at daycare he wouldn't get out the car. I told him to hurry up or we will be late. He then says, "I don't want to go with Nanna and Mommy I want to stay with you." I told him that he couldn't and he insisted that daddy come pick him up and he come back to the "department" (apartment). I told him that daddy was at work and couldn't come and explained to him that today was monday and mommy picks him up on mondays. He got mad and said "okay I DON'T want you," meaning, I denied him so many times that he now wants someone else. It made me sad a little but before leaving he called my name and said he love me and gave me a hug and a kiss. I think he was slobbering. Hahaha.

This life is going to be a challenge. I just have to keep being strong. I get a some insight from my own step-mom. The first thing that I told her was, "I understand now Mommy" but she just laughed. There have been times that she was definitely closer to me than my own mom. I loved my mother but my step mom had such love as an outsider that it couldn't be explained. She always told people I was her daughter. If the questioned her then she would say my step-daughter but other than that, we're close. They're somethings I don't ask her. Maybe because I will jog her memories and hurt her feelings or its too personal, but as an adult there are definitely some things that I have to figure out on my own.

I'm really appreciative of the advice and encouragement. It really means a lot to me.

Ev - posted on 11/23/2015

7,372

7

910

Sounds like its going to be a long haul with his mom. Just do the best that you can. As for races American-African is a race as is white. White trailer park trash is not a race but just a name for undesireables from a trailer park. Red neck is not a race either but a group of people who are using a culture anymore rather than it just being a nick name for a group. Race is what you call yourself--White, HIspanic, Native American, Latino, Asian and so on. European is also. But when you use the names of countries that is more a nationality than race. For example Europeans were mostly white race until the last half of the last century when more movement became the norm between countries or nations around the world. American is basically that because we embody several races from around the world that have become citizens of this country. American is a nationality. I hope you get my meaning.

Keona - posted on 11/22/2015

12

0

5

Thank you so much! I really needed to hear that. I missed your post because we went out to dinner and we watched a movie at home. He acted up in the restaurant a little bit but then CB got it together. I knew he was tired because he didn't get a nap in today and he does at daycare everyday.

I talk to JB a lot about what I'm thinking, sometimes I try to stay out of things but it's hard to because I love CB so much. I advise him of things needing to change now because he'll be in school next year and we don't want him getting kicked out of Kindergarten for things that he didn't learn early on.

One thing I do is make sure that I don't talk down about CB's mom in front of CB and I'll always use a line like "Don't you think Mommy will like it if you're being nice and not giving_______ a hard time?" or "I bet mommy would be so happy if you stopped______, because it makes her said when you do." I know when he is behaving badly he'll always want the opposite person or another close by. Sometimes its hard to say things to him but its frustrating to see him get his way a lot.

CB's mom doesn't really discipline him or have good structure for him in his home. She constantly gives up her time to spend with him. If he don't want to go to daycare she'll call JB or JB's parents to come pick him up because she "don't want to listen to that all day." I was first confused because I thought since when does the child dictate when they are or aren't going to daycare when she can just simply drop him off. The second thing I didn't understand was even if he didn't go to daycare THAT day, you can't be with him and spend quality time with him? If he was mine I'll be with him every chance I get. For example: I'm off work tomorrow and I could keep him with me all day but it's not my place to do that and since he started daycare very late in his life with little learning at home, he needs all the learning and structure in a school like setting that he can get to prepare him for school next year. I read books, do number and letter games, and he learned how to spell bag today but that's as much as I can do. I'm not mommy and you are right about the roles to play. It's just hard sometimes because JB and his ex don't agree in their household either about discipline, or I should say she won't really tell us that much. She also have handed her son back over to us several times because her fiance "can't take the whining" and has to "get up for work" or something. That's not when you give your time away with your child, that's when you set up a plan with the other parent to get him listen and do a little bit better. It's also the time when you tell your fiance to not influence you to send your kid off like a post card and if his in this when he'll need to learn a little more support, patience, etc. This was one of the first times that I've really sent what it's like to be a "dead beat-mom." I didn't know it even existed. She keeps mistakenly buying him 3T or 4T clothes when he wears a 5T and shoes that are two small. Then he's always sick when he leaves from there.

I think I went off a little bit in the deep in but I thank you so much for your reply. It means a lot to me. I will check back tomorrow to see if there was anything else.

By the way I'm African-American and he's of European and Irish descent. CB's mom is of European descent and JB said his ex is a mixture of white trailer park trash and white red neck descent. I've heard him say that several times but I tell him please don't go that far. Definitely not in front of CB. I'm mean she's several years younger than me but I don't think I would call her that myself even on her worst day. Its just uncalled for. I'm just repeating what he said. I just wan't her to really wake up because not only does she have CB but she has another child as well and I hope that she don't do the same with that one.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms