Step Parenting

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The Geek is Step Dad to Rachel and Caleb and biological dad to Titus. He has been the only father figure the kids have known since they were 5 and 2, they are now 10 and 7. They have occasional skype contact with their dad in the UK  and a short visit if they go over to the UK which will be once each in the 5 years.

I have heard differing opinions about how step parents should interact with step kids:

  • From those who think that you should be totally involved in parenting and disciple treating them like your own kids. ( This is probably the approach The Geek takes, he jumps in boots and all)
  • To those who think you take more of a backseat and deferring to the other parent,  you just support but do not get actively involved especially in disciple and behaviour.

I would love to hear from those with blended families and anyone with an opinion, and we all have some of those 😉

I guess with their own dad being so far away and The Geek being the main Father they have, I wonder about the deferred parenting approach. They are not his biological kids any more than adopted kids share DNA with their parents, but are families not about more than DNA? Maybe when a biological parent lives close by and play an active role in children’s lives, I can see not wanting to take on the role that someone else already has?  But in circumstances where there are big geographical distances or the biological parent is totally absent for whatever reason, is it still best for the step parent to be less involved than a biological parent would normally be.

Having Titus also means he would then need to parent the older 2 differently to Titus making an issue of him being different / special. We don’t make any differentiation. How do you parent some kids one way and others another? Is this not confusing?

I would love to hear your thoughts. I know what works for us and obviously each family is so unique there is no one size fits all when it comes to most things with parenting.

Most days I am glad I am not the step parent. It is not east.

Are you a step parent? – what do you think

Have you had a step parent and have a view from this perspective?

Or do you just want to tell me what you feel.

9 thoughts on “Step Parenting

  1. There are so many factors that affect this. In our case David was thrown in without a real choice. He is the only dad around so he has to be all in.

    Once there are other kids in the mix, it also changes the dynamic because you have to parent all the kids the same which means the same level of involvement.

    It gets super tricky if bio parents are still involved and I am grateful in a way we don’t have to deal with that.

    • Me too Laura, I am not sure how it would be if their dad saw them all the time and also played a parenting roles.
      Yme has been the same as David, he just had to learn to sink or swim from the beginning. We also feel that with other kids it has to be the same parenting for all, obviously tailored to each individual child.

  2. My sister in law broke up with her husband when her kids were 6 and 7. He wasn’t the best parent. My SIL worked long hours as a teacher and her ex moved over 3 hours drive away. Her parents moved closer to help out with the kids but they were terrible at discipline with their grandchildren (they hadn’t been with their own children). When my SIL met her now husband he was the best thing that could have happened to my nephews. He stepped in and became their father in everything but name. He was always firm but fair and the boys really flourished under his attention and guidance. He was really needed to fill that role and he did it, but I also think if their own father had been any use as a parent and was closer and more involved in their day to day lives he would have been respectful of that role. But I believe from watching that situation work that children need guidance, love and respect and above all, boundaries. I think everyone in a child’s life should provide those things whether they are related by blood or not. That old saw about it taking a community to raise a child is so very true and I don’t think it matters whether a parent is birth, adopted or step to a child, they need to take an active role. But I slap think with important decisions no one parent should take it upon themselves to make them unilaterally!

  3. This is a tough one.
    I don’t think there is a blanket approach to parenting, ever, regardless of the situation.
    Given your circumstance, I think it’s probably a good thing that the Geek is involved in parenting your kids.
    What is that old expression – it takes a village? I don’t think it matters the assigned role of the person doing the parenting, so long as a child is loved and given boundaries and discipline that is fair and consistent!
    All the best!

  4. Gosh there are so many ways to look at this and I really have no experience at all. However I think Yme’s approach in your set of circumstances can be the only approach. Any thing else would not work.

  5. I am a step mother to my husband’s daughter, who lives with her mom in George, my husband is the step parent to my son ( whom he adopted) and then we have Tori together.

    Philip is the only father that Josh has ever know, so he is in it, all guts and glory, he always was, from the onset. Me however, with Caitlin, I take the passive approach and live by the mantra ( and I tell her often ) I am not her mother but I would love to be LIKE a mother to her. I am always available to her and any of her needs, but what ever is discussed with me, I disclose to her mother ( within reason and obviously know what her mother NEEDS to know vs doesn’t need to know).

    We try keep it fair and even especially when all 3 are in the house at once ( during holidays) but the balance is not always easy. We tend to over compensate with Caitlin and let a lot slide because we simply don’t get to see her as much as she deserves or we desire.

    I was also a step child, who had an evil step mother, who meted out abuse at any given chance but then I also had a step father who loved me and still does, as his own. So one can say I learned the do’s and don’ts from the best.

    At the end of the day regardless of whom belongs to who biologically all a kid needs is love and that works for us.

  6. I was a teenager when my stepdad came into my life and my mum was pretty much the sole parent when my father was still around. I don’t think he ever felt my brother and I needed much parenting by that point.

    I think my stepdad really got involved in a parenting role when I had my children. As far as I’m concerned he is their proper Grandpa and I think even if he and my mum split I would still let him be as involved as he wanted to be.

  7. I believe in the boots and all approach. To make a family FEEL like a family, whether it be blended or nuclear, I think that you have to BE a family. To get that, both parents need to be involved in providing the support and nurturing.
    I’m referring of course to the parents where the kids live.
    I can’t speak for the part time step parent. That sounds offensive, but I didn’t mean it that way. I’m going to stop talking now.

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