Am I the bonus parent?
Do you find yourself taking on a lot of the responsibility that biological parents take on with little acknowledgement? Do you find your weekends taken up by messy art projects, walks around the neighborhood with children, trips to museums, the beach, movies, etc?
I am very blessed that I have a supportive mate who treats me as an equal parent with him. I am acknowledged for my parenting skills by my him and he respects my opinion. Of course, the same repect is not given on the bilogical mother's side. Unfortunately, I am starting to suspect that she is purposely being counter-productive of our efforts as soon as he drops his kids off, which is a shame for them.Even though you I may not get the acknowledgement from that child's other parent, we are determined to not let it take anything away from our home. Forming a relationship with a child who you did not give birth to takes much more effort than what a "natural" parent must put forth, but when that love is offered to you from your stepchild, it gives it a special meaning for that same reason. Acknowledgement from the same sex other parent isn't important.
It doesn't have any impact on my relationship with my stepchildren and that is more important to me. My life with my stepchildren doesn't revolve around what the other same gender parent thinks of me.I've sometimes been the "parent" my stepdaughter has come to with something she didn't feel comfortable talking to her biological parents about. When my stepdaughter presents questions to me (like questions about boys, are we starting a new family, why don't we all live together), this indicates to me that te kids are starting to trust me.Present a united front to the children. This is very important so the children do not play one against the other. If you and your spouse disagree on a topic, do not discuss it in front of the children. Tell the children you will need to discuss it and that you will let them know later. Also, check with your significant other if you are asked something from your stepchild that you are unsure you should agree to (and vice versa). My stepchildren have tried a few times to ask me something that I refuse and then go to their father and ask him for the same thing! When this happens, correct the situation immediately. My husband always supports a decision I have made if the children try to come to him after already being told "no" by me and vice versa. Biological children do the same thing. It isn't a "step" situation only.
If your stepchild comes to you about a problem with their other parent (mother or father), encourage them to discuss it with that other parent themselves. Perhaps you could offer suggestions to them on how to broach the subject, but try not to step in and do it for them (unless the child is being harmed or could be harmed). The child will probably have better luck resolving the issue with the other parent themselves rather than you stepping in and creating a situation where the other parent rejects the input/problem just because YOU broached the subject (does he/she say "black" when you say "white"?).
Never talk negatively about your stepchild's other parent no matter how tempting! Keep negative comments about an ex-significant other between your spouse and yourself. I personally, don't do it at all. If my mate says anything about his ex, I do not respond either way. I just listen to him. However, this is something that realy happens as he is a very positive person. It will hurt the children to hear negative comments about their other parent, even if it is the truth.View your stepchild as an individual. It may be hard at times to look at them and see their other parent staring back at you. Learn to separate the child from their other parent.
This may be hard to do in the beginning but you can do it! Look for the qualities in your stepchild that came from your significant other. He/she does have half the genes of that person.Support your stepchild's relationship with his/her other parent. We encourage the kids to have cards, etc. for their bilogical mom on Mother's Day, etc. I am currently working on getting my mate to celebrate the kids birthdays together, with their bilogical mother. This is something they don't do right now, but I think it would be great for the future. She doesn't do anything like this for me but that doesn't matter. Who will have the children's respect when they are old enough to understand that despite everything, their dad and stepmom still didn't act hateful?This is OUR family, just as you have YOUR OWN family. People can only do what you allow them to do to you. We just try to be as stable as possible with his kids and we refuse to let anyone break up our happiness and home.
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