Parenting & Pregnancy

Stepmother’s Guide on Dealing with Stepchildren

stepmothers-guide-on-dealing-with-stepchildren
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At long last, you’ve found the man of your dreams! He’s smart, funny, financially stable and a widower with kids! You say, “What the hell, I love him, that’s why I’m marrying him anyway, with or without his kids!” But after the ceremonies held in cloud nine, you went back to reality. To the marriage, the kids, the house, the memory of the former wife, the “witch” image commonly associated to stepmothers.

Just when you think that loving the man is enough; you discover the exact opposite and the hassles of marrying a widower with kids. There is the guilty feeling of taking him and the children away from their departed mom. The main problem would stem from the relationship of the new mom and the kids. “Kids may loom as a constant reminder of your husband’s physical and emotional bond with his first wife.” You also may be seen as one who will erase the kids’ memory of their mother. Or, in case where the kids have lost their mother when they were still small, you have to deal with the way they are used to having only one parent and their independence stemming from that kind of parenting. They may not take orders from you any more than they would from their neighbors.

It doesn’t stop there. There’s also jealousy and competition over the affection of their father, your husband. The father, in turn, is divided among his kids, you and his loyalty to his first wife, not to mention his job, the financial backup needed by the household… etc.

But more importantly, or even almost critically, the first hurdle to clear would be on how you would win over the kids without making it seem to them that you are throwing their mom’s memory to the dustbins and without hurting their relationship with their dad. There’s also the feeling that you are expected to find the kids adorable but you realize later that you don’t even like them.

Also, it is natural with newlyweds to give out a sexual aura on the first few weeks and children may not welcome the different, romantic atmosphere. Then, there is that feeling of isolation among the kids whenever you tend to be a bit show in your affection. They may feel isolated – an outsider in the love you share with your husband.

It’s not easy, but counselors, psychologists and people’s specializing in the field of second families provide some helpful ways to give you an initial push needed for the big hurdle.

Continue Reading Part 2 here.


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2 Comments

  1. Stepmother’s Guide on Dealing with Stepchildren | Part 2 | A Healthy Us.

    […] Read the first part here. […]

    May . 05 . 11
  2. Shameena

    I am a step degthuar and step-mum to 4 great children, 16, 14, 11 and 9. We have them 50% of the time, week about.I was not the nicest of step-degthuars to my new step-mum when I was 19 – I resented her being in my dad’s life, in place of my bio mum. In my silly logic, I believed my parents would re-unite, if only my step-mum wasn’t in the way. I used to fantasize about her dying, can you believe it! It took me 10 years to get over myself and have the maturity to let the childish resentments go and appreciate her for the love and longevity she has given my dad – they just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in their 80s! While I will never be as close to her as I am with my bio-mum, we have a warm and respectful relationship. So I understand what it is like to be a step-child and the myriad of conflicting emotions and loyalties involved.My partner of 4 years is incredibly supportive, we back each other up and are completely aligned about parenting styles, discipline, manners, expectations etc.Where we continue have issues is the children’s bio-mother, who continues to try to get to me or him by manipulating the children to be defiant, unhelpful, rude and unco-operative around us. This strategy has been highly effective with one child to date, he recently moved in full-time with his mother. For now, our household is a lot more peaceful and calm, without his disruptive influence on the other children. However, I am concerned that the bio-mum will just continue with her ways and turn the remaining 3 children against their dad and me. She outright lies about him, undermines him and is generally very toxic. She refuses to communicate other than in writing or email and will not discuss anything to do with the children. I think at least the oldest child can see what she is trying to do and is quite balanced in his view of the situation. Time will tell about the younger two.My advice is to not react to your step children or partner/spouse in anger or resentment, but also be as straight and honest as you can, so you don’t hold onto those resentments or feeling ‘used’, as they are cancerous to yourself and your new family.I do think step-mums have it tougher, as they often have to manage the household, care for the children in the absence of their father and generally litigate daily issues and arguments. And step-mums have a lot more cultural ‘baggage’ to overcome from myths, fairytales and the lies bio-parents perpetuate!I think step-parents deserve medals!Reply

    February . 02 . 12

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