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  1. #1

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    being a step-parent...

    ok, no you haven't missed any sort of announcements... I posted this elsewhere and is pretty well hidden, so I thought I would make it more out in the open, since I'm looking for as much advice as I can get

    Are there any step-parents out there? It is very likely that I will someday become a step-dad to an almost teenage girl. Not anything that I had ever planned to be in my life, but hey, if things all went to plan, what would be the fun?

    Anyways, I know when a step-parent enters a family it can be difficult on both child and the step-parent, since I went through that as a child already. I know there is a bond between her and her mom that I will never be able to replicate, nor do I want to. I do want there to be a healthy relationship between me and the daughter. I just don't have the first clue of how to even go about it.

    Any advice from those that have gone through it all whether as a step-parent or as the parent with child marrying a soon-to-be step-parent.

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  2. #2

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    my advice, always include her, no matter what. she can say no and have her own plans but always ask. I think when a man dates a woman with a child they are looking to love the girl and to wooooo her and they forget there is a package deal involved. its tought when there are kids involved. but I tell them, hey, there is plenty of time to be alone with the mom, but woman they eat it up when the man includes there kids. women go on feelings and instinct. if you like there kids, then you are a good pick. They love there kids, and they want there kids to be as happy as they are, maybe even more so.
    really pay attention to what the childs needs are, yeah the child is not yours, but she will be. when you take on the woman you take on the children as your own to. its important to let them know hey" I am here for you always.
    do special things for the child to, suprise her with a flower if you give mom some, little girls are so sweet and they love the attention so much.
    you know, from what I have read here, you are going to make a great family man!!

  3. #3

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    Not an announcement- but an almost announcement of an announcement. Not that those of us watching this did not suspect or hope that announcement would be coming someday anyway.

    Doh!

    I would not know the answer though- I think I would make a lousy step-parent because I have my own kids to deal with. So, no help here.

    I agree you would be great though-

  4. #4

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    Hi


    I'm not a step-parent , but I was a step-child from the age of 6-18.

    My mom had two children with my step-dad and my step-dad spoiled them rotten and treated my "real" brother and sister and me like second class citizens.

    So I guess my advice to you is if you have kids with Sunnygirl someday , try to be just as loving to your step- daughter as you are to your biological kids.

    My mom knows how much this hurt my brother and sister and me so she always makes a point now of treating us all pretty equally and our kids too.

    My husband's mom and dad often treat him and two of my kids better than me and my other two kids and it drives me crazy, especially since they are all very aware of it. No one feels good in that situation....even the two kids who are being treated better...they end up feeling guilty when the other two kids point it out to them. My husband finally said something to his parents so now they are a little better about it.

  5. #5

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    I think that with her age, this won't be as difficult as you might think. You are already around her a lot, right? She likes you and talks to you and doesn't see you as in intrusion in her comfortable life with Mom all to herself? All of that ahead of time would make the transition to becoming her actual Step-Parent that much easier. If those things aren't already there, you might try taking her to lunch one day so you two can talk, before you make it official. Just tell her that you want her to be completely honest with you, she won't hurt your feelings, and find out how she feels about it. Even if she isn't really getting a choice in the matter, she will feel better knowing that her opinion was heard - if she'll share it with you. Preteen girls are still a mystery and sometimes clam up or bring on that mega-attitude, as I'm sure you have witnessed at least once.

    Anyway, just try to get to know her. The hardest parts come with having your own biological children, discipline issues when necessary and giving permission to go places later when she's out on her own. The discipline/permission come with how your relationship is. If she sees you as her Dad, she probably won't question anything you say/do that makes her mad later as a teen. Or, she might get that, "You're not my Dad." attitude and give you hell. No telling. I think the expectations of that are important to establish in the beginning between the two parents. Mom has always had the only say in Daughter's life, even she might resent you trying to step in and participate. These are things that a lot of couples don't think about until they happen, at which time it's too late.

    Above all, know that they are a package deal. You are marrying into a family, therefore you aren't just marrying Mom, in a way. You shouldn't be married for long and still be saying, "This is my wife... and her daughter." No, it's your wife and your daughter now. And if you have more kids, they are all your kids. They should each be seen as your kids and they should each be treated as such. I won't say they should be treated equally, because the differences in age alone wouldn't work with that. But, everything she does should be just as important to you as any other kids you might have. Maybe you won't even have more, but if you do, include her fully and completely.

    This is just what I'm thinking of, I have a step-dad and my husband is a step-dad but both of our relationships started when the child was 2. That is a huge difference from an 11-year-old. At that age, they don't remember much so Dad has just always been there and always been plain old Dad.

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  6. #6

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    Don't act as the main discipliner, but talk to her and make sure you're interested in the stuff she does. I guess you should try and be an adult friend-figure t oher.

  7. #7

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    I didn't think at first that I had much advice to offer, but as I read through the thread I started thinking about my own relationship with my step-father. So, this is what I have to say in the matter...

    Allow the relationship to grow naturally. Deffinitely put the necesary effort into it and all, buit don't force it. My step dad came in and basically kinda forced himself into the family (at least that's the way it felt to me). One thing that really stands out in regards to this is how he MADE ME call him "dad". I really resented that. I had already had a dad who I cared for a great deal, so who was this guy to come along and suddenly insist that I now had 2 dads. that title has to be earned in my opinion. That's just one small example of my experience (and oh how much worse it got over time...), but something I think can be of value.




  8. #8

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    First Anders, continue to make yourself available to your step daughter so she continues to know that she can come to you and talk to you about things.

    Also try not to be to overbearing. My friend, who is like family to me, has a step dad and he did not like it when his step dad would always blame him for things he did not do and tell him to do most of the household chores.

    All I can say though is be flexible with her and let her continue to do what she does on a normal basis, but when you know she is doing something wrong, sit down with her and talk about it.

    I think continuing to have open lines of communication is the best thing for you and her .

  9. #9

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    Anders, I think you're ahead of the game just by thinking about this already. Kudos to you. It seems like the Jr. Miss is supportive of your relationship, so for now, just keep her in the loop as to your plans. I mean, don't burden her with any grown-up business or anything, and don't try to do the full-on buddy-buddy thing because that will undermine your authority later, but just be respectful of her feelings and give her fair warning if anything is going to change. She really likes you, and so she also has a lot to lose if something were to (knock on wood) go wrong. Play it safe, take it slow.

    You guys seem to have an awesome dynamic as it is, so keep up the good work. It's all about balance.

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  10. #10

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    wow, a good response already Thank you all, I know I'm overly preparing probably, but I like to be prepared and know what I plan to do. There is a good balance right now, I stay away from being a real authority figure at this point, but I also don't try to be buddy-buddy. that seems to have worked with me and my own stepmom.

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  11. #11

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    You know, I'm not a step parent, nor have I had step parents, but I think if I was in that situation I would try to be like a favorite aunt or uncle. A friend with a certain amount of authority but not a parent. Someone who the kid could look up ot, go to to talk about issues and just be a pal when needed. A good mix of friend and adult.
    Last edited by Not Afraid; 02-15-2006 at 02:31 PM.

  12. #12

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    Anders.. I do feel for you because I am a step parent and am having a tough time at it.. I have been a step parent for 6 years now.. and I dont like it. I try hard to like my hubby's son, but its hard to. Last year he wouldnt do his homework (but said he did).. we saw the progress report and found out he didnt, he said Oh I thought I did homework.. he wouldnt do his chores, and is mean to our daughters who are 5 and 3.. he had actually BIT my 5 year old 3 times on the back (and it left a Bruise)..

    My step son is 16 ... but acts like a 8 year old..

    this year is a little better, his grades are all A's, and he hasnt bitten my daugher in a while. Last year we got custody of him, because he didnt want to live with his mom anymore, I sometimes think this was amistake

    but I am taking each day a step at a time, and I hope it will be better

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    Anders good for you for thinking about this now. I think anytime people know what is expected it makes things easier. If you could sit down with the Jr. miss and have an open conversation or even write things down. I expect courtesey, I do not expect you to call me Dad, etc. and let her make some to.

    Also, one of the best things I have seen is house rules. If you do A then B happens. It makes it easier for everyone. That way if the Jr. Miss say breaks curfew then she loses phone privlege. And when you enforce that you are enforceing a house rule. I know as a Mom of 2 girls that you get very protective of your little ones. I sometimes have a hard time when their Dad punishes them. If you have house rules then you are not punishing her baby you are just enforcing the rules that the 2 of you agreed on.
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  14. #14

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    Re: being a step-parent...

    Best of luck to you Andres. As a step-child too, it's difficult under the best of circumstances. Fortunately for my step-dad and I, we pretty much consider each other "father" and "daughter" now. That took YEARS though to develop, but it happened.

    I agree with what several have already posted. Definitely lay down the rules/roles/boundaries with your spouse early on and follow through.
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