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cak's avatar

Are you a step parent? Were you raised by a step parent? What is/was your experience like - as either the child or the step parent?

Asked by cak (15863points) August 23rd, 2008

This stems from another question link. During the discussion, another member posted a study link that shows the strong link about abuse at the hands of a step parent. At the end of the discussion, the person then makes the statement that adopted children are “chosen” while step children are more like tag-a-longs.

Being a step daughter, I think I lucked out! I have a wonderful step-father. My husband is my daughter’s step father and has been very clear about the fact that deciding to be her father was a choice, not just extra baggage.

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19 Answers

wildflower's avatar

My brother was adopted by my father (my mum had him before marriage) and growing up I do recall a fair bit of friction, to say the least, between the two of them. Of course, the time I’m thinking about, my brother was a rebellious teen and my dad subject to the sailor-at-home alcoholism – when he was home…...

MrMeltedCrayon's avatar

I had/have the very stereotypic wicked step mother. She is controlling, not very open minded, shows favoritism toward her child and grandchild and expected perfection out of everyone but herself (I told her she wasn’t perfect herself once, to which she responded in bitter, angry sincerity “Yeah, but I expect everyone else to be.”). Overall, the experience was not a positive one for me, and while I still see my dad frequently I try my best to avoid that ‘step’ portion to my family. I think it’s wonderful when people prove that family isn’t something bound by blood, but there are times when it just doesn’t work out.

augustlan's avatar

I am a step-parent who was also grew up with by a step-parent. My step-sons were practically grown men when I came into the picture, so I’m not parenting them, but I do love and support them as if they were my own. My step-father is a great guy. He was married to my mom from the time I was 4 to 8 years of age. In the short time of their marriage, he became my Dad. I saw him frequently, he advised me and loved me like a father. He gave me away at my wedding, and my children are his grandkids. I’m 41 years old now, and he is still my DAD.

mzgator's avatar

I am the stepmother of an eighteen and nineteen old girls. I have been their stepmother raising them since they were almost two and three. We have a good relationship. They are off to college, but they come and visit as often as they can. There were never any problems in my relationship with them, although their biological mother is very jealous of our relationship and tries to cause problems from time to time. They know I love them and would do anything for them. I know they love me and would do anything for me. Their mother was out of their lives and did not see them for many years. My husband always had custody, and for many years I was the only mom they knew.

gailcalled's avatar

I was the stepmother to three teen-aged boys and they treated me as tho I was the Jezebel who broke up their parents’ marriage.. As they grew up, they admitted, begrudgingly, that our long summers together under one roof had been fun.

And I am grateful that they and my two children connected. It was tough and complicated, though.

RedmannX5's avatar

my step father was a jackass, so I personally had a bad experience. It wasn’t so much “I’m your new dad”, but he as just mean

gailcalled's avatar

@susanc: check yr email

cak's avatar

@wildflower. What a combination! It doesn’t work very well when all that is going on.

cak's avatar

@MrMeltedCrayon – I’m sorry you had that experience, a childhood friend had the same. It was very hard to watch. She wound up spending more time at my house, than her house.

@mzgator – Great job! I’m so glad you have a great relationship with both of them. :)

@gailcalled- I’m glad to hear they did finally admit something was good! Summers are difficult, they were for my mother. My step brothers would come in for he summer and for the first month, they would try to drive her insane…they almost did it, one summer; however, she switched gears and gained their respect. It’s also good that they connected with your children. Unfortunately, only one of my step brothers and I really ever connected.

@RedmanX5 – I’m sorry you had that kind of experience, it’s sad to see that happen.

cak's avatar

My dad raised me from a young age, my father was killed when I was very young. Never once did he make my sister or I feel like we weren’t his children. My mother tried very hard with his sons; however, thier mother didn’t impose rules and they saw my mother as evil. His oldest son – now in his 40’s has finally apologized to my mother for all the trouble. She simply told him that she loved him, very much and it was in the past. There is no communication with the other son. Actually, he doesn’t talk to anyone in the family.

My husband has stepped in and just loved being my daughter’s step dad. She has made it clear that she has a better relationship with my husband than her dad.

I think I just want people to understand that it’s not always this awful thing. Also, the children aren’t just tag-a-longs. First, as a mother, I wouldn never had married him if I thought he didn’t really love her and want to be a positive influence in her life. HE made it clear that he was ready to do this and made damn sure she was involved in the ceremony. It wasn’t just us getting married, it was him accepting her as a daughter, too.

I am proud of the job my husband has done and continues to do. He’s a great father, to my daughter and to our son.

jca's avatar

i was raised by my mother who was single from when i was very young and although she dated someone for many years, she didn’t get married till she met my stepfather when i was about 14 or 15. i felt like he resented me, resented time i used to spend with my mother alone. i resented him, resented seeing my mother wait on him hand and foot (despite having a master’s degree and having a great career of her own, with him she became like a maid), resented my mother sitting around the house when he sat around the house, whereas she used to get up and go with me and not lounge around. he and i used to fight a lot, mostly about me not listening to the rules like curfew. I wasn’t allowed to stay over at friend’s houses overnight, stuff like that. what i used to do to stay away from the two of them as much as possible was i would go out every night until they went to bed, around 11:00. it was constant tension. when i was 20, i got kicked out because i told my mother i was going camping for the july 4th weekend, and he didn’t approve of it, so when i came back he threw a fit and she told me to leave and go live with my grandfather. (what i forgot to mention was he had an explosive temper and me and my mother are passive, so she wouldn’t argue with his rules too much). once i didn’t live with them i got along with him fine.

when my sister came along (when i was 19, she is his daughter so technically she’s my half sister) it was interesting to see how she was treated. when she became a teenager she got to stay with friends overnight and went to prom, stayed out for the weekend, stuff like that. i don’t resent her because it was 20 years after my experience, and i love her, and i’m glad she didn’t get the hard time i did. i think part of why she didn’t get the hard time was because she was his daughter. anyway, it was tough for me during my teen years, but now it is all forgiven and forgotten.

hammer43's avatar

well I had step grandmother on father side of family and stepdad on mother side of family, and a step dad and step mother and I have to say as far as grandparents I could tell something was different with both step even before I became an adult and was told they were my step grandparents they just didn’t treat my sister and I the same as our blood grandparents. My step parents were mean and made me feel like I was a tag along and without a doubt not a choice. When I was married I was a step dad I treated two out of the three kids as friends as there father was in there life the third child didn’t want anything to do with me so I didn’t try for too long with her.

cak's avatar

@jca – were you really involved with meeting him and doing things with him, before your mother married? I remember (I was young, but I do remember them dating) doing things with my step dad and getting to know him.

@hammer – my husband and I have friends that we are pretty close to and we see that with their kids. The wife treats his children differently and so does her mother. It is so foreign to us, we just don’t get why or how this happens.

hammer43's avatar

well chris it could be the blood thing or just plain and simple when you fake like you are interested in someone’s kids to be with them the kids know I think you can always know when someone doesn’t really like you but they are being as my ex use to call it polite I hate that saying

cak's avatar

Hammer, I think you are onto something. I think that happens too often. They don’t quite think about the fact that the kids – they don’t just go away. They are always there and it’s hard to get the alone time. There is a resentment, but it’s a shame! The one that pays is the child.

hammer43's avatar

yes you hit it on the nail, I can tell you plenty of stories about my step mother’s family and how I was treated or about not knowing anything about my step grandmother’s family or about how my step grandfather’s sister would treat me as well and on and on and on and things like that stick with you for life…it helps develop how you grow up…etc…

jca's avatar

@cak: i didn’t spend any time alone with him, getting to know him. he didn’t ask for that, and i didn’t ask for it either. the two of them were busy working, and on weekends, my mom would clean and he would sit around and read paper, or sometimes we did things the three of us, go on a day trip or something.

incidentally, now i consider my mom and my stepfather “my parents” and he and i are not close emotionally, he has helped me out in other ways. now i feel like as long as he and my mom get along and are good for each other (now they’re married 25 years) that’s what counts. i can see, also, that to my sister he’s a good father.

nocountry2's avatar

I am a new stepmom (1 year) to an amazing 7-year old daughter. I am terrified of being the “evil stepmom”, and read many books and articles on step parenting and blended families.

There are certainly emotional challenges – one of the reasons I married my husband was seeing what an amazing father he was, and how it matured him. But on the other hand, I will NEVER be #1 in his life, something that is both sad and sweet to me. I suppose I will understand when I
have a child of my own.

cak's avatar

@nocountry – thank you for answering! I’m not a step parent – my husband didn’t have any children before we were married. He’s said the same thing, he is aware that he’s not #1; however, he said part of the attraction was the fact that I was mom and the kind of mother I am.

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