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  1. #1
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    Nov. 20, 2008
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    Default Step-Parent Success Stories

    Who is or knows a Step-Parent who has had success in helping to raise the step-kids? Especially if there were some emotional or other issues there that had to be worked on?

    I'm engaged to the love of my life. We recently got custody of his two boys (currently ages 10 and 13). They were raised almost entirely by their mother, and let me tell you - it shows! Not really in a good way. My Fiance was the every-other weekend dad from the time the youngest was not even a year old, so he's not had an opportunity to have much impact on them until now...

    The youngest boy's biggest behavioral issues are thinking throwing tantrums will get him his way, having to *always* be the center of attention, and having to *always* have the last word.

    The oldest boy's biggest behavioral issues are bullying his little brother, lieing (in such a convincing way that I can't even tell when he's lieing or telling the truth), and not taking any responsibility for his actions (he never understands "why" when he gets in trouble - feels he has a right to do the things he does whether it was right or wrong).

    Neither are bad kids. Quite the contrary - they can be wonderful most days! But, yesterday was not one of those days for either of them, so I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the situation. Any feel good stories, advice, or other positive thoughts would be much appreciated.

    P.S. - Their dad is a *super* dad, has set boundaries, clear rules, clear consequences for not following the rules, gives them love and attention when it's needed but tries to instill independence, too... But in the evenings a lot of the time it's only me with the two boys. I don't always have their Dad there to do the parenting. Never having any kids myself, this can seem daunting at times, which is why I'm posting.



  2. #2
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    Nov. 24, 2006
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    Wow, no one has any "good" step-parent stories lol. My daughter's father remarried but my daughter also doesn't have a "good" story there. Way too much jealousy, bullying, whacked out issues- she doesn't even go over there anymore. Now, I've also remarried- and her stepfather is incredible. He's been around her since she was almost 3, she's 13 now. He treats her just like he would his own kid, I think that's the ticket. Treat them as if they were your own. Hopefully dad will let you, that's the other ticket ;-) They sound like typical siblings- you will do fine!!!
    Kerri



  3. #3
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    Sep. 5, 2007
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    I mean, my story is good, I was raised by my mom and step-dad but I didn't really have any behavioral issues so I don't know what to say, except maybe get the boys into family counseling, and just have a ton of patience, set up ground rules, consequences for not following those rules, boundaries and STICK WITH THEM no matter what. Both of you have to agree to the system and both have to have each other's backs so one of you doesn't become public enemy #1. You may have to try different things, but make sure the rules are known, posted and followed. You don't need to yell, but be firm. Positive reinforcement, redirection and lots of love. These boys sound like they've had a lot of instability. In the short term, it's gonna suck and they are going to push back as hard as they can. But give them something to push against. They will adjust, and life will get better.


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  4. #4
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    Mar. 1, 2003
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    This is a "success story" but probably not any help to the OP for her situation.

    I just met a new work colleague (we work in the same building but for different firms) who is doing a wonderful job as a step-parent.

    10 years ago he met, then married a woman with 2 kids. They share the kids with the other parent. Currently ages 15 and 12 (?). His wife required a kidney transplant and he gave her his kidney. He has done Ironman and Ultraman to show what a live organ donor can accomplish. He takes the kids out running, biking, swimming, snow-shoeing, winter camping, and any other outdoor activity he can. And... the step-daughter likes horses so she has a 1/2 lease - and her step-father is so happy that she enjoys it, that he chats to me about her horse obsession!
    Blugal

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


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  5. #5
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    Feb. 6, 2003
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    I got the BEST wedding present a bride could ever get: A new daughter!
    (she was 13 at the time)
    Bonus: I didn't have to carry her for 9 months first, LOL!

    I'm a step-mom. Although my daughter wasn't screwed up by her mom. Shockingly considering the mom never put the daughter first. Or second.

    As long as you go into Step-motherhood willingly and the dad is a good dad and the dad and you are on the same page/back each other up...act as co-parents...things will iron out over time most likely.

    They just need love. Unconditional love like a parent should give. You and your husband support each other, be firm but fair, set boundaries and rules...things'll be fine.

    I think the thing that screws up being a step is when the step isn't willing to be a parent too and if the biologic parent doesn't support and back up the step parent.

    But if you and hubby have those things...after a few bumps in the road while the boys get used to all the newness, everything will smooth out. And you'll love it. 2 boys! Sounds like fun!

    My step daughter is getting married in October, I couldn't be happier or more proud of her if I tried.
    You jump in the saddle,
    Hold onto the bridle!
    Jump in the line!
    ...Belefonte


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  6. #6
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    DH has a sister who remarried when her girls were 4 and 6. He said he was happy with the girls and wanted no more children and had a vasectomy to be sure. Mom and stepdad were on the same page and backed each other 100%. They were his children as much as if he'd sired them. His family also accepted them completely. Their real dad was not in their lives very much and usually only saw them once or twice a year and mainly it was with his parents at their home.

    I think they are the exception and not the rule. It was successful because their mom backed stepdad totally and dad was not a significant part of their lives.

    My advice such that it is would be to send the eldest to military school ASAP and the youngest when he's a bit older. They won't respect you ever as an authority figure, not at this stage. But you'll do what you want, just don't bring any more children into the mix until they are gone.



  7. #7
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    Jan. 25, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by hastyreply View Post
    My advice such that it is would be to send the eldest to military school ASAP and the youngest when he's a bit older. They won't respect you ever as an authority figure, not at this stage. But you'll do what you want, just don't bring any more children into the mix until they are gone.

    What? Don't you think that is going to look like someone looking to boot the stepkids out? I wouldn't do that if it were me.
    I have a good friend that got along with her step-dad really well. Her biological father was also not really in the picture.
    The reason probably isn't the answer you are looking for. Her mother did all of the parenting. Her stepdad stayed out of it - he supported her mother, of course, but he didn't get personally involved I think it is really hard to come in as an outsider and start laying a bunch of rules down and enforcing them.



  8. #8
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    Nov. 20, 2008
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    Wow - thanks for all of the posts! I know that not every step-parent situation is a good one, but I think we do have the foundation to make this work. Dad and I are on the same page with all the rules, boundaries, and consequences, and he's told the boys in no uncertain terms that they are to listen to me and respect me. I don't know that talk was even warranted, because the boys really like me alot - have even said "love" to me a couple of times. And I adore these boys and want to do right by them. Sometimes I feel like I have more of a sense of responsibility for them than Mom did/does. But, then again, I'm a biased opinion.

    Instability has been the killer for them over these formative years. With Mom, she went through 3 marriages, I don't know how many boyfriends in between/during, at least 8 or 9 moves, almost as many different school districts... It's crazy. Mom usually moves in with bf's, things go south, and the boys are caught up in all the drama right along with her. I am SO glad they came to live with us and we can provide them with a stable environment from this point forward.

    Thanks again for all the advice and good stories so far - I'm really hoping our co-parenting and stability will be enough to get these guys where they need to be. If it isn't, well, Dad can decide if military school is a viable option or not, 'cause I'm not gonna go there (don't wanna be the Evil Step-Mother!).

    Edited to add: Because someone else mentioned other children, wanted to add that my Fiance had a vasectomy a couple of years before I ever even met him. And I never wanted to go through pregnancy and stuff anyway - more power to the women who do! It scares the tar out of me! So, there won't be any more children in the picture ever.


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  9. #9
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    Apr. 26, 2000
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    ClassyRide - we are the success story. My husband is step father to my 12 year old daughter. We've been married 4.5 years. The genetic contributor...well, there ain't bandwidth to tell it all.

    DD sees the genetic contributor a couple of times a year - it's Disneyland dad (sometimes literally) as she visits him in his literally million dollar house with his lifestyles of the rich and famous gig. One would think that she would absolutely love having few rules, open spending ability, etc. BUT you've hit the nail on the head w/stability and consistency. Kids aren't horses but there are so many connections. I was just thinking the other day how DD is like a physically fast maturing horse that is slow to mature otherwise. She just needs to be kicked out into a pasture with a couple of steady eddy bumper car ponies who will love her but quickly redirect nonsense. Anyway...

    DH has had a really hard time being the heavy around here. He doesn't want to jeopardize his relationship with DD by her feeling like he's being unfair, etc. Interestingly enough, when he's had to, she has had no problem with it. She calls him "Daddy" and refers to the genetic contributor as Daddy (his name). One of the big things that has helped DH & DD to forge an amazing relationship is him simply asking how her day went, did she learn anything new, etc. and actually listen to her responses. He even sits through her explaining stuff in horse world vernacular and he has zero idea what she's talking about.

    You sound like you're going to make a stellar mom. The boys are lucky.


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  10. #10
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    May. 3, 2008
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    Not my story but the parents of a good friend of mine got divorced when we were in middle school. Both remarried. Both were relatively stable people. They made a serious effort to get along and be adults about the divorce and how it impacted their kids. I wouldn't say my friend has 4 parents, but I would say that my friend loves the stepparents like true family members-sort of somewhere between a parent and a well-liked aunt or uncle. I'm not sure how discipline worked but I know that my friend respects them both.

    Seems like a different situation than most on here have experienced. Neither parents was "bad" or neglectful-they both loved their kids.

    Another suggestion is to try to avoid/diffuse the drama between the ex's if there is tension instead of adding to it.



  11. #11
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    Dec. 22, 2006
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    I have step parents on both sides. My step mom, especially, has been an invaluable person in my life. My advice to you? Remember that your step kids already have two parents; do not try to be the third. Your husband should be responsible for the discipline side of things, he is their dad. You are not their mom. But you know what you can be? The most amazing, loving friend to them, someone they can trust, go to for advice, and also someone who they can have a lot of fun with! If you treat the relationship in this way, you can avoid the usual resentment and anger that's present in a lot of step- relationships. Good luck!


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  12. #12
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    Mar. 4, 2007
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    I think the advice from Capall and caevent are right on.

    I got an angry, sulking stepson when he was 12. It was tough for a couple years, but we all made it, thanks to his dad, my DH. Now ... I cannot imagine loving him more than I do, and am so proud of him. He's 30. I know he loves me, too. But in the beginning, I tried to treat him fairly, consider his feelings, help him when I could and watch out for him. I did not boss him around or overtly parent him. He had his dad, mom and mom's BF for that. And really, the happiest day was when he came to live at our house fulltime instead of moving every 2 weeks.

    With 2, you have a tough row to hoe. There will be days that you are just sure you will go crazy, or think seriously about either running away from home, or throwing them outside and changing the locks. The problem is that you will blame yourself for feeling that way, and wonder if you'd feel differently if you were their "real" mother. Even from the little you've written here, you are the real mother. Their biological mother didn't think one bit about them.

    I also think the idea of running away from home or locking them outside crosses the mind of every parent one time or another. It's normal.

    Good luck.


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  13. #13
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    Sep. 24, 2004
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    I became a step-parent to two girls at 4 & 6. Successful in that the two daughters at 32 & 34 chose to be a regular part of my life.

    I see two points that have been posted before and I think most important. The step-parent be a parent AND the bio-parent support the partner as the parent... even when they don't agree. OP ... you're not replacing their mother, you're another mother. The legal profession has a term for it ..."In loco parentis"

    Enjoy your children, I do.


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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hosspuller View Post
    I became a step-parent to two girls at 4 & 6. Successful in that the two daughters at 32 & 34 chose to be a regular part of my life.

    I see two points that have been posted before and I think most important. The step-parent be a parent AND the bio-parent support the partner as the parent... even when they don't agree. OP ... you're not replacing their mother, you're another mother. The legal profession has a term for it ..."In loco parentis"

    Enjoy your children, I do.
    ^^^^ THIS!



  15. #15
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    Mar. 19, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by stryder View Post
    I also think the idea of running away from home or locking them outside crosses the mind of every parent one time or another. It's normal.
    Good luck.
    I wanted to emphasis this point. Some days are harder than others and you wonder why you bother. It's a perfectly normal reaction whether you are a step-parent, bio-parent or foster parent.



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