My sweet, soon-to-be-a-real-life-friend, Theresa, asked about dealing with stepchildren. She wanted to know how much say I have in my stepson’s life and if it’s only when he’s here or when he’s with his mom. My situation as a stepmother is different than most because I don’t see him often. We’d love to see him more but with an 8-hour drive and school schedules separating us, it’s a little difficult. And did I mention the price of gas? That’s highway robbery, I tell you. Highway robbery. Chris and I are very unified with my stepson’s mother. We wholeheartedly believe in her and think she’s doing a fabulous job. We haven’t felt the need to voice any concerns. Not only is his mom wonderful, but he has Grandma, Paw Paw and Ma’am who pour into his precious, little life, too. He is one blessed boy. But, he’s still a boy. Like when he decides to start throwing things down the staircase or decides that a t-shirt will do a mighty fine job as a strangling device on his little brother. On occasion he has stretched the truth so his dad has been really working with him on being a man of his word and telling what really happened. We use time outs and privileges are removed when he misbehaves. That works on him real fast 🙂 I enjoy my stepson and do “mother” him when he’s here. I prepare his meals, wash his clothes, fix his boo-boos and hug him when he’s missing his momma. While I am in a motherly role in his life, I am not his mother. I respect her presence in his life and as I mentioned above, feel she is doing a splendid job. A splendid job indeed. I know that many of you have far better advice to give on this subject that I do so please feel free to give your input in the comments below.  But I’ll give my two cents anyway. Cuz I do that sort of thing. Stepparents, be a positive, encouraging person in your stepchild’s life. Realize that you’re going to have to earn their respect. And then love them to pieces.

10 thoughts on “Stepchildren”

  1. Cindy,
    Great advice for those that have the other parent living and have to deal with step parent issues.

    Our situation is much different since my three younger teens lost their Mom Jennifer to cancer when they were very young. They all decided right before we married seven years ago that they wanted to call me mom. We also decided that ‘step’ was not in our vocabulary. I promised them at the wedding that I would be there for them and love them as if they were my very own. Jennifer’s parents and sister were at the wedding and it was a sweet time. Her parents have embraced me and I love them well, like inlaws. They treat me as a daughter and they have never made me feel anything but loved. Jennifer’s best friend in Texas has become one of my dearest and most precious friends. She has been my go to girl when I need advice or want to understand how Jennifer wanted her precious ones raised.

    We speak of their Mom often and I keep her photo albums out in plain view. I also have her extraordinary cross stitch items and photos mixed in with our own. I never introduce my children as step children nor do they call me their step mother.

    It is unique and not the norm but it is what we all decided as a family. The greatest blessing has been how the Lord has unified our family….all of us….extended family as well…into a solid, loving family unit. These three teenagers of mine are growing into the MOST amazing young adults. It is not by my own hand but from a loving God that brings beauty from ashes.

    I am so glad you shared your story. It will give hope and encouragement to others that are on this journey.

  2. I’ve “had” my husband’s kids (twin boys and a girl) since they were 7,7, and 8. They are now in their early 20’s. Our relationship has changed over time, but one thing I think is important NOT to do is to ever try to take the place of “mom,” if mom is still in their lives (like you said well, Cindy).

    I’ve also never been a “stepmom,” and they’ve never been my “stepkids.” I’ve always had kind of an aunt position in their lives. I have gained authority and respect, affection, and over time, love. We just avoided the “step” word b/c we didn’t like it for ourselves.

    I’ve always respected their mom’s position in their lives, even when I vehemently disagreed with her life choices. She will always be “MOM.”

    We have a 5 and 7 yr. old. Our 7 yr. old is just now putting together the pieces of how his big brothers and sister don’t have the same mommy as him…I have to pray over and research how to handle the questions as they come.

    p.s. The oldest – the daughter – has a 1 yr old and is due in September with another. Yes. Oh yes. That makes me a _____mother. I can’t say the word. Call me “Nana Chris” and let’s not talk about it! 😉

  3. Theresa, I’ve got a son who spends time with a “step mother” I’ve got some pretty solid ideas about what NOT to do. Drop me a line if you’re interested. My ex and I shared custody until a child psychologist recommended he live with me full time. Most of those reasons were related to my ex’s new wife.

  4. Sad that he isn’t closer. Sounds like you and Mr. Beall take comfort in his home life though.

    Once again you prove to be one of the awesomiest people around!!!

  5. Hey Cindy,
    I have been out of town for awhile but really loved this post. I have had a “step” parent since I was 8. I love my step parents alot. I never had any “negative” feelings about the word “step” so we continue to use it. My husband is my kiddos “step” dad. He has stepped into their lives and guides and directs them step by step in a fatherly role. He has not replaced their dad but still has a main role in their lives. My own parents were kinda out there at times and my “step” parents really came thru for me. I constantly tell my kids all the good about step families based on my own experiences. They feel honored to have so many adults devoted to them. We are blessed.

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