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Their parent or their friend?


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sbozarth23 May 7, 2008


What do you think? When it comes to your stepchildren should you be a parent or a friend? Which role did you choose and why?


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MSMomm May 7, 2008


I do not have stepchildren, but I have two children of my own. My husband has been an excellent stepfather to my son. There are a lot of factors that go into a relationship between an adult and a child who have been brought together by marriage: age, gender, relationship between child/ren and biological parent, needs of the child/ren. I honestly don't think a stepparent should choose one role and stick to it 100%, no matter what. Stepchildren will guide the stepparent, letting them know what role is needed at a particular time.

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sbozarth23 May 7, 2008


That's how I feel about it as well. I get a lot of mixed messages however, people telling me not to parent my stepson (who is five and who spends the majority of his time with me). Then there are people who tell me that I should mother him because his mother is close to being an absent parent. To be clear that is not out of choice on her part she moved to another state due to financial difficulties. His time with her is by phone and she doesn't want me to "parent" him. It's very difficult especially since he is only five and needs a maternal figure. It's a very difficult line to walk.

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MSMomm May 7, 2008


There is no doubt in my mind that being a stepparent is difficult, not because you don't know how to be a parent, but by others who want to tell you what to do or not to do. Your stepson lives with you, will look to you for the motherly love, comfort, fixing the "ouchies," and all that goes with being a "mother." From your past postings, you seem to be very involved in your son's life; he needs that. Trust your feelings, and continue to be the best *mother* you can be to him.

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cjohansson May 7, 2008


sbozarth23-
I am not a stepparent, but I am a stepchild so I know how hard it can be to walk that line. I agree that you can't really pick one role and stick to it, you just have to be as consistent as you can. Other people will always have opinions on how you should parent, but in the end you have to follow your own heart. It's your family so you probably have a better handle on all of the issues and dynamics involved.

I think you should be a mother to your stepkid, especially since he is so young. Make sure he knows that you are not trying to take the place of his biological mother, you are simply and additional parent and source of love and support. There will always be disagreements, but if you show the biological mother that you are not trying to replace her or cut her out hopefully she will relax a little. It takes time, hang in there.

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sbozarth23 May 7, 2008


Thanks for your support :)

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sbozarth23 May 7, 2008


His mother feels threatened by me and we have spoke about this at length. We have both sat with j and let him know that she is mommy. I am someone that loves him and helps take care of him. He does not call me mom but I think he is still a little confused about my role. Even after all this she still belittles and trivializes my role in his care. Even though I have been his primary care giver since he was three. She said that "threatened" feeling will never go away so I just try to be there for j the best way I can. Thanks for your input, it's nice to hear it from a stepchild's point of view. Do you have a good relationship with your stepmother/father?

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cjohansson May 7, 2008


I used to have a fairly good relationship with my stepfather. It fluctuated, but more due to other issues. It took a period of adjustment for both of us though. I was used to it just being Mom and I so having another parent figure took some getting used to and adjusting.

Some of j's confusion might come from that idea that a family is a Mommy and Daddy and kids. Do you know other kids his age who have different kinds of families? I also know that there are some really cute kids books about stepfamilies and/or different kinds of families.

Some of his confusion will probably also go away as he gets older. When you are little the complexity of adult relationships can be really confusing because you brain just isn't developed enough to grasp everything in the same way.

I also think that some of his mother's jealousy might come from herself and not necessarily from anything that you are doing. If I were her I would try to be happy for my son, but part of me would probably be sad that my baby was essentially being raised by another woman and afraid that he would start to love her more. All you can do is keep loving j and try not to take her actions personally.

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sissywilcox May 8, 2008


My thought is you do not treat your step children any different then your bio children you befriend both.. Only be a "mom or dad figure" when need to be.. I found this to work wonders for us.. After all when you parent your being a friend as well teaching, playing, ect same thing friends and parents do..

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sissywilcox May 8, 2008


let him know that if he choices to call you mom then maybe mom #2 if that is ok with parents.. I am a step child and a step mom so I can relate I was 2yrs old when my mom remarried and when I got older I decided to call my step dad dad and my step children call me both depending if they are mad or not lol they are all grownups now and still today its the same ;)

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sbozarth23 May 8, 2008


J calls me by my first name, he started calling me mom which I didn't encourage or discourage. He refered to me as his mother once in front of his "real" mom and she flew into a rage. We couldn't see him (this was when there was not a custody arrangement in place) for two weeks after that it was a nightmare. Ever since then he hasn't dared called me mother. I have no idea what she said to him...



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