(Closed) Becoming a step parent…give me your advice!

posted 8 years ago in Parenting
Post # 3
336 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

Never step between him and his kids.. and don’t feel like you’re justified as a “point of reference” when it comes to his father… like, if they call and ask to talk to their dad, don’t say “Is everything ok? You can talk to me about it”… They asked for their dad.. 

Thats my issue with my step mom. Granted, I’m A LOT older than your step kids lol.. but my dad remarried when I was liek 12. And to this day, it annoys me that I’ll ask to speak with my dad, and she’ll try to get info out of me and then coincidentally, he never calls back. My dad stopped being the father I knew when he remarried.. And it’s heart breaking.. So just try to make sure you respect the fact that he’s a father. Especially when you have kids of your own together.. His kids from his previous marriage may begin to feel inferior…

I’m just speaking from experience.. Just be a nice stepmom and don’t try to play the role of a parent.. They already have 2. Just be their friend..  

Good luck! 

Post # 4
1966 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

My advice is to make sure to always respect the relationship between him and his children. Also the relationship between him and his ex. Of course you’ll want to be involved but know some kids take time to adjust. Seems like you’re off to a good start. If you start as a friend you’ll end up as parent. That’s at least been my experience. 

Post # 5
8036 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@luvmesumhim:  I would always be honest with them, and I would make it clear that you’re not trying to be their mother.

I would make sure that you and your husband to be set rules and that he backs you up when need be… that’s probably the easiest way for them to walk all over you. So when the kids do misbehave, they know that it’s your house, your rules and you and your Fiance are on the same team. Not that the evil new stepmother sets rules so they go to daddy.

I would NEVER badmouth their mother.

Also, don’t force anything. Sounds like the kids have warmed to you, which is half the battle.

Don’t try to buy them either… do nice things for them, but in moderation. You don’t want to compete with the mom.

I think being a step mom is difficult.. you have to balance between being a parent to them and a friend to them.

Good luck, but it sounds like you’re doing just fine!

Post # 7
3170 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Coming from someone who had an awful experience with a step parent, be their friend. Hang out with them and talk about their life and what they like to do. I hated my step dad with everything I had for a whole lot of reasons but mostly because no one could ever replace my dad and I hated him for trying to be my father.

Post # 8
1988 posts
Buzzing bee

I agree with all the advice from other posters. (I’ve had several step-father’s in my life)

You’re coming in at a decent age to where you can still set some rules with them yourself as an authority figure, but mostly you’ll just be there to be supportive of them and their relationships with their bio-parents. It’s going to be difficult if you find yourself in parental role with them, but I think that it’s important to focus on enforcing the same rules their parents do (mostly this is beneficial for the children, but also for you), and to enforce rules with them in a way that relays that they should respect you because you’re an adult, and not just because you’re trying to be/replace their parent.

Overall, it sounds like you’re doing fine since they WANT to spend time with you. Continue to love and cherish them, and that will turn into the love and respect you need and deserve to be a successful step-parent.

Post # 9
977 posts
Busy bee

I’ll give you a bit of advice from the other side.  

I have 50/50 custosdy with my xDH. He is newly married. I am not.  We have a 10 and 6 year old.  We all respect each other. “Their” rules are “Their” rules, there are 5 kids living under 1 roof at his house.  xDH and I have “Our rules” with our kids. 

She respects me as the mother to the kids. She doesn’t over step her boundaries….like attending parent/teacher meetings, doctor’s appointments, having a say so over sports, religion, medical issues, custody issues…etc.  She punishes the kids as she sees fit when they are under “their” roof.  I sometimes carry over the punishment at my house…depending on what it is. If its directed towards her or her kids, no, the punishment doesn’t carry over to my house since its “their rules”.  If it’s on her father, school related, then I carry the punishment. 

Anyways – Just be respectful of the biological mother.  I’m happy that there is someone else in the kids lives, plus 3 other kids.  There are more people in their lives to love them and look after them, so I’m respectful of that.  Respect goes both ways, and also with the children.  Never bad mouth the parent, especially with the children around.  Don’t ask questions, don’t grill the child about He said/she said kinda things.



Post # 10
2 posts
  • Wedding: April 2013

I’m going to come at this from a different angle. I’m not a stepparent, nor a child of astepparent, but I am a mother who has a child with a step parent. The biggest thing I can say is to respect the original parent. My child’s stepmom is great to her; however, my ex-bf has continually tried to get my child to put said stepmom ahead of/on par with me. Stepmom has gone along with this, and I feel overstepped her bounds a few times. For example, she showed up when I took my daughter to get her ears pierced, because my ex told her to. They call every year on Mother’s day, and my ex forces my daughter to tell stepmom happy Mother’s day (I say forces as this began when child was three). If my child wanted to call, or have stepmom around for certain things, I wouldn’t have an issue, but stepmom gets involved because she is told to. 

I know this doesn’t involve parenting the kids, but it can help in their view of you in the long run.  Again, I feel fortunate that my child has someone that wants to (and is) involved, but please respect the fact that there may be some things a child may want to keep with the original parent.  Or, they may always want you involved. Just please don’t force the issue. I hope this doesn’t come off as bitter, as it’s not intended to. Good luck, and it’s great that you care enough to seek out advice. 

Post # 11
883 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

my step children are adults, so that made it easier…and I got 6 grandchildren too!

my concern was with our wills/estates.  I pretty much have my own stuff, so we made sure they knew that I would not be a gold digger and grab it all, when the time comes.  I get 50%, and they get the other 50% and my will states that they will inherit all of my stuff in the end.  They really didn’t care, they just wanted their dad to be happy again.



Post # 12
2050 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

@luvmesumhim:  I’m a stepmother to two boys who are going to be 13 and 16 in March. I’ve known them since 2005 and began dating their father, my husband, in 2007.

I highly recommend a book called The Smart Stepmom. It is a great reference on making that transition smoothly and effectively for all parties involved, deeply going into the child’s perspective, your husband’s perspective, and that of their biological mother. It also takes into account your needs which are all too often dismissed. It gives a realistic look at what you are exactly up against, and a way to manage through it all even in the best of circumstances.

Here is the link to the Amazon website for the book:


I disagree with PPs that say don’t be a parent as the kids already have two parents and so on. Certainly, they have two parents already, but you will be a stepparent; the word “parent” is part of the word stepparent for a reason. This is not to say you would replace a parent, but you will, in the far future, have a parental role of responsibility toward them that goes beyond friendship. It is a role that is an extension of your husband in the household. It is linked, it is an adult voice of reason to follow.

Yes, start as a friend, but eventually you may very well be involved, by association and whether prompted by your husband or the children themselves, in decisions that concern their medical needs, education, finances, social life, discipline, relationships, and on and on. It is important to acknowledge early that your future parental role exists so that you can plan for how you feel about those matters and how you can best support the family as a whole.

I, too, have it pretty good compared to others. The boys love me and I love them. We have a solid family unit among us. Things are healthy all around. Still, there are problems and situations and feelings I never thought would come up or bother me but nevertheless they are there. I’ve had to find a way to cope, to keep myself in check, and give myself a break.

Here’s a reality check: You’re going to overstep. No matter how careful you are, something will pop up and surprise you and everyone. It is bound to happen, comes with the territory, and it is a very, very difficult dance. You’ll kick yourself, or someone will point it out to you and it will be hard to take. But you’ll find your way to navigate. Be patient with yourself. Join a support group for blended families or just stepmoms, online in a forum like this, or in your community.

Big hugs and best of everything to you. 

Post # 13
964 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I married my DH in June and he has two boys, 7 and 8 years old. I met the boys when they were 2 and 3. We were just friends at the time. As our relationship grew, he let them know, in terms that small children can understand. He did ask them if it would be ok if we got married and they were good with it. By the time of the wedding, I had known then for a long time and were very close with them. He was a single dad after his divorce, so how they felt was important. Their mom only sees them one night a month and lives an hour away, so really I’m mom 95% of the time.

I do not speak poorly of her and remind DH to do the same. We used to ask if they wanted to call their mom, but didn’t want to force that so we stopped. We don’t have to speak poorly of her, she’s not involved and they see that.

As the stepmom, all you can do is be the child’s advocate and stay out of the biological parents’ way. You support your husband and love on the kids. They are lucky enough to have an extra mom! Attend school functions and show your support. You do not have to be friends with the mom, but do not show anger, bitterness, resentment in front of the child even if they try to be ugly.

It’s a struggle every day and you have to talk with the father about boundaries. My DH told me that I could discipline the kids and he would back me up. THAT’S #1… you and dad being on the same page. Sometimes the kids will hurt your feelings by wanting mom, but remember they are kids. It can be done!!!!!!

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