Question: Step-Parent Rights?

Amber - posted on 08/08/2012 ( 7 moms have responded )




I've been reading alot on here about step parents.. I'm a step parent too two kids, in addition to having two kids of my own. We are a blended family. I see that alot of people on here feel step parents should have the same rights as bio parents. Why is this? A step parent has no legal right to their step kids. If the marriage fails the step parent most likely won't see the children again unless they have a half sibling.. I guess I'm just asking for clarification? I feel like a child should respect and listent too the step parent and that the step parents need to set a good example for them and treat the children like their own. But ultimately its the bio parents who should take first priority. I am personally on both sides of the coin and because I think the way I do my stepkids mom and I get along great. Thoughts???


Ev - posted on 12/14/2012




I am glad to see someone who says the things I think. Where I live, legally speaking, the step parents have no rights where the kids are concerned. The kids though should show respect to the step parent and react accordingly. The step parent needs to treat the kid or kids with respect to as they are blending into the kids' world. THere should be mutual respect between the adults but that is in a perfect world.

In my experience, my kids have had two step moms. The first one lasted 14 months. THis time its been 7 years. But, this step mom has not shown any real interest in my kids. SHe wants to have her say in things that concern only their father and I as far as decisions that have to be made. SHe thinks she can tell us when we have visitation set up and when we do not. She thinks she can do things with my kids that only a guardian or parent can do ie...homeschooling.

Julia - posted on 11/21/2012




Amber, What beautiful insight! I think you can see it this way becasue you are a blended family and you came in with your own children. Unfortunately I think there a lot of step moms who don't have kids yet and they want to play house with the spouses kids from the previous mariage. I heard a step mom call it all the reponsibility with none of the glory but as a BIO mom I see it as all the benefits non of the responsiblity. I also think there are some step dads out there who want to step in and be dad or at least feel competitive with the exspouse and want to show they are a better dad or disciplinarian or whatever. I think if there were more step parents out there like you there would be less strife. I also think there are a lot of BIO parents who can't let go of the angry at the spouse and it oozes onto the step parent too.

Dove - posted on 08/08/2012




I agree with you. Step-parents (in MOST cases) have no legal rights whatsoever. I think they should be respected in their own home and respected in regards to how much of an actual ROLE they play in a stepchild's life (ex... seeing the kid 2-3 times per year vs. living with the child if their spouse is the bio-parent with custody... and anywhere in between). But any and all major decisions about the child should be made between the bio parents and the bio parents only. The step-parents role in that case is to give support and suggestions to his or her spouse.

Now, if the step-parent and the other bio parent have a civilized relationship (as in your case) there is nothing wrong with THEM also talking together and working things out, but if there is hesitations or discomfort on ANY side... the step-parent needs to step back and let the bio-parents discuss their own kids.

I don't come at this from both sides exactly, but I have a brother who was DAD to his stepson (raised him from 2.5, bio-dad had nothing to do with the kid from age 8..kid is 19 now) and I came from a bio-mom in a very complex 'step-parent situation.' Yes, it's great when all parties can be mature and work together for the sake of the kids, but I am witness to say that, unfortunately, sometimes that just isn't possible and the kids lose out when the bio parents are not 'allowed' to work together for the sake of their kids.


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MaryAnn - posted on 06/01/2015




In regards to what happens in the home of a step parent- the step parent should have equal say. The step parent and their bio parent spouse are life partners. Children come into our lives- we do not come into theirs. Particularly in regards to discipline, the step parent should never have to tattle in order to obtain peace, order or respect. The step parent is an adult. Teachers do not needto ask for permission to give detentions, do they? As for everything else... like someone else said... it is role dependant. We cant just make blanket statements about step parents. Their roles are exceedingly diverse.

Amy - posted on 05/28/2013




seriously? a benefit? yeah that is exactly what I thought at first! it is a responsibility! some step mothers totally care for their step kids and Bio moms do NOTHING. that's just freaking crazy.. honestly its MORE responsibility then my children and one is severly autistic and the other has severe asthma allergies and a seizure disorder! its wayyy more then I thought

FoxyMom - posted on 12/17/2012




I agree also and would love it to be like this except the bio mom of my step daughter is always trying to stir up drama in our family, I've been able to take her BS but i'm going to reach my boiling point soon. Her latest BS was becuase we let the child sit on a donkey and came down hard her the father becuase the child "might get fleas" and also because we let the child play with a leaf.

Ashley - posted on 12/16/2012




i agree with you. if more people thought this way, there would be more step parents and bio parents that would get along great. i think the bio parents should take the step parents into consideration and at least listen to there opinions. but i also think stepparents should not overstep there boundaries. once they do, it all goes downhill from there.

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