Stepparents need heroes too
Stepparents need heroes too
Stepparents need heroes too
You can't always get what you want, but...
Great Article and I can definitely relate as a parent/step parent. I remarried and became a step parent to a 9 and 6 year old in 2012. I also had 2 biological children that were young. It was definitely a team effort. Lots of patience, open communication, and prayer. My step kids dad passed away when they were 12 and 9 which was a difficult time for them so I definitely tried my best to toe the line from that point forward to make sure they understood that I am in no way replacing their father and was happy to always discuss him with them, but that I would also always be there for them in whatever way they needed. I also had to make sure my 2 biological kids (who my wife became a step parent too as well) kept feeling the same love and nurturing. We now have a happy blended family with my step son about to head off to college. I supported him all through high school as if he was my own and we have a great relationship now. All four of my kids get along great and we often refer ourselves as the blended Brady Bunch Family. Church has been an important factor for us as well. Definitely been ups and downs like any family, but step parenting definitely added a different dimension that I feel helped to make us all better because of it 😊❤️🙏🏾!
That was beautiful. I imagine being a step parent is tough. I can certainly see how that relationship in Maverick is very much like that if a stepparent.
I’m not a stepparent but my mom was married a few times. It was certainly semi-stressful to meet each new boyfriend and having stepfathers. At one time when I was young and naive, I told my on-and-off-again birth father that no one would ever replace him. As I grew up and found that my stepfather that had been with my mom since I was 11, was acting as a real “dad” would. He put up with my teenage years, which we know isn’t easy. I grew to respect him and eventually asked him if I could call him dad when I became a teenager. They divorced when I turned 28, but to this day, I still call him Dad, refer to him as my Dad to others, and I send him a birthday and Father’s Day present every year.
My “real father”…yeah I called him by his first name when I got wiser and started calling my stepdad “dad”. One time I visited and kept calling him Bob and he told me “you know you can call me Dad.” My response was,”you’ve got a deal when you start treating me like your daughter.” That’s me…snarky to this day :)
My hat goes off to you! It’s not easy but my best advice as a stepchild is to be “available”. When she needs you, and she will, I’m sure if it, and you are there for her, that is the time you will shine in her eyes.
How’s the 100 miles coming along? I hate to admit that I’m still at 33 miles. I haven’t run a darn mile. I have today off so I’m heading to a sports equipment store today to check them out. The weather here sucks and I have to do something.
This was wonderful.
My husband took my oldest daughter from my previous marriage on as his own when she was 18 months old. He’s raised her and loved her as though she was and is his blood. We have two kids together and I can say that he treats her no differently than her siblings, his biological children. He respects her father as that, but has stepped up where her dad has been unable to due to distance and other factors. She’s going to be fifteen next week—stepparenting at this age is no easy feat. He does the hard stuff in parenting and always puts her needs first, even though it becomes more and more thankless as time goes on. He really deserves so much recognition for his role in her life.
To that end, I can’t express how grateful I am for my own stepparents. My stepdad has been arguably the only truly consistent parent figure in my life—stable, present, and involved. My stepmom was a loving presence and close companion at a time I really had no one. Both have taught and given me so much and I’d be lost without them.
I lost my mother to suicide in November of 2021 when I was eight months pregnant with my son. I still treat my stepdad like my family, because he absolutely is, and maintain a close relationship with him. He’s my bonus dad—no way is any sort of societal expectation or whatever going to change that. If anything were (dear god forbid) to happen to my dad, I would maintain my relationship with my stepmom, whom I love and treasure as a second mom and best friend.
Maverick was a great film and definitely a stellar example of stepparenting—and yes. There really is a BAD shortage of positive representation of stepparents in media. I had to strain to think of even a few examples of good stepparents. The Last of Us (game and series) explores a similar theme (more adoptive than step) but it can apply. A good read for stepparents is The Last Thing He Told Me. That’s all I could come up with on the spot… pretty sad.
Thank you so much for posting this and bringing up the parallels in Maverick. My husband loves that movie (so do I!!) I’ll be sharing this with him and my own stepparents for sure!
Never been a step-parent but for a few days to a 6 year old. His mom took him back to Canada with her. I don't really know what happened to them--He was the son of my first husband
who died a long time ago. . . It was an interesting experience; however, but having had so many kids in my family, I treated him just like one of them.
My mom and dad were married 60 some years. I can only hope they were happy. . . I don't know as things were different in those days. They didn't talk about it too much.
I wound up in an arranged marriage to a person who was a philanderer and what is called nicely, a "problem drinker." Didn't realize this until later in life. The one person who was always true to me, is my biological child. Ours has always been an adult relation as though we have been through many lifetimes together.
When we were told in 2005 that we had to go fend for ourselves by my husband, it was though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders! I'm glad my kid and I developed the relation we have as it helped a lot over the last 20 years.
While it has not been comfortable, my kid and I are still together. and get along well. In the meantime, I've had to learn how to be a trans-parent to a person who is in their 30s--a whole different kettle of fish! It is one of the main reasons I kept running!!
Beautiful day though the weather is supposed to be cool through June. Been out walking, started to run yesterday--thank "The Penguin!" Seems I can still run! Only 10 miles so far in March, but I'm just relieved I can still be mobile and outdoors. One begins to appreciate little things more as they get older. :)
I had to sift this article through my mind a few times before I had an "AHA Moment!" Trans-parents fall very much into the same category as stepparents. Many youngsters don't come out until they are in their teens, twenties or on up. You think you know them having lived with them all your life, yet you don't. They say they are the same, but they're not at all like the person you knew. It really takes handling them with Kid Gloves. They throw tantrums when you least expect it, dress like you wouldn't imagine, make different types of friends. . . and I could go on and on. It takes giving them tons of space and letting them find themselves. I'd say you have it well in hand. I'm still learning. Running and being gone on the Trail gives them the space they need, and it gives me the space I need to process the new person. We get along pretty well after 7 or 8 years, but I'm still learning and leery of where to step! :)
When my husband and I met, he had 3 kids: an 8 year old boy, a 5 year old boy, and a 4 year old girl. I had a 2 year old girl. We married 4 years later and had one more girl a year after that for a total of 5 kids!
Cut to last October, my oldest biological daughter is getting married. My husband is now her father (he adopted her two years ago as an adult). We have been married 27 years. We walked her down the aisle with her two sisters (her younger half sister, and older step-sister) as maids of honor, and her two proud brothers (step-brothers) also there helping with the set-up and decorating. It was a beautiful, fantastic and a true family affair.
I often tell people that my step-kids were a true bonus in my marriage. Yes, it was not always easy to navigate and I made some mistakes, but I also made mistakes as a parent. I adore those kids and I know that the feeling is mutual. Cannot imagine my life without them. Two of them are parents, and my grandchildren make no distinction between me and their biological grandparents. In fact, I'm pretty sure only the oldest even knows the difference.
I can tell by how you write that you will also have this same type of experience. You will LOVE it! Even if there are some mis-steps and awkward moments with your step daughter, she will see that you care for her and are there for her and that is what really matters.
As for role models, you are so right. One of my favorite movies of all time is Stepmom with Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. It's very sappy, and I think falls in the category of "chick-flick" but it does portray step-parenting in a positive light. The TV show Eight is Enough also did a decent job.
Real life step-fathers that come to mind are Bill Clinton's dad, Roger Clinton, and Napoleon Bonaparte. The French Emperor/General probably isn't the first person that comes to mind as a role model, but he really loved his step-kids and kept a very close relationship with both of them even after divorcing their mother, Josephine. Slim-pickings, I know, but at least it's something.
Thanks Terrell. Easier to say than to do. But it sure does help when I put it into action.
Terrell, Thanks for sharing in such a beautiful, heartfelt way. I’m sure every situation is unique but step-parenting certainly has the potential to be strewn with land mines. My mantra has always been no matter the situation: “Feelings are everywhere. Tread lightly”. That may be a bit simplistic but it keeps my mouth closed and my ears and eyes open.
Btw, like your new tagline. Seems to fit you and your tribe....
I am a step parent and it is hard. You were lucky to start the journey at a young age. I didn't meet mine till 13 and 16. But you are correct you have to find the path that works the best.
I really appreciated this heartfelt post and loved the reference to Darrin in Bewitched (LOL you're dating yourself!).
Yes definitely. We need more step parents as role models. I admire what you are doing with your daughter. We also need more adoptive parents as role models. I am going to adopt a child & when I look around me I don't see any good role models at all. Thankfully I am already a parent (I have a biological son) so I'm not entirely alien to the parenting game...but still.
Thank you T. I do not know what it is like to be in your shoes. But I became a step-child in the late 70’s as a young teen. It was difficult at first for sure. Eventually I grew to love my step-mother very much. After all, she could put up with my dad after my mom couldn’t. (I am not disparaging her for it)
A couple years later my little brother was born and that was even harder on me at 16 to no longer be the youngest of 4 children. Another big adjustment.
After all the difficulty of life with an over-bearing dad and then a step-mom who did not know how to parent, I made it. I lived to tell the tale. And it really is not a bad one, just life growing up.
I am eternally grateful for those years because I knew at least that she cared and loved me. And she was able to show it much better than my dad who grew up fatherless. And I would not trade having my little brother for anything.
All of life has its ups and downs. And I am glad that you are like my stepmother was in that she cared. And you love your daughter enough to try to be the best at it that you can. That itself is great. Keep up the good work. It will not stop when she enters adulthood. There will be other ways to keep the relationship special. And if she does not do it already, she will thank you for it. Of that I am sure.
I'm just reading this and it brought up so many feelings and we memories. My family was blended in a Cuisinart . We have lots of steps-- parents, siblings, children.. When it came to my own son, I remember how I hoped to find someone who understood all that you've described here. Thank you for writing this. I'd never realized how few books there are about step parenting.
As a teacher, I just want to add that a loving step-parent can mean the WORLD to a child. Kudos to all the step-parents putting in the work :)