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Why do kids get blamed for acting up to step parents?

(16 Posts)
rooks14 Thu 28-Jul-11 23:25:12

There was an article in Woman magazine I found at my mums and was reading (not sure if it's 100% up to date). It told the stories of three mums that were terrorised by their step kids until they either broke up with their new partners or the partners chose their kids over them.

Obviously I understand lots of couples break up and there is no one to blame. But this article made it seem as though children are like dogs that need to be trained into respecting these new 'parents' in their life. Even now being a mum myself, if my dad cheated on my mum and I was introduced to her, I would be nasty as anything to her for wrecking their marriage. Just because you can control kids I don't understand why it's fair to say they have to respect new people in their lives that in essence ruined their old lives and famillies

GlitterySkulls Thu 28-Jul-11 23:28:35

yabu, not all step parents cheated behind the other parents back.

worraliberty Thu 28-Jul-11 23:30:12

Well you've kind of narrowed the whole thing down with the 'cheating' angle

Was that what the article was about?

Fontsnob Thu 28-Jul-11 23:32:19

So that was the story of three mums, there are plenty of other stories that will becompletely different, good and bad, good step parents, bad step parents, well behaved kids, badly behaved kids, kids who love their step parents, kids who hate them. Is this going to turn into another step parent bashing thread?

Oh and as Glittery said, YABU not every marriage breaks down because someone is unfaithful.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 29-Jul-11 07:25:36

YABU to make the assumption that these step parents arrived due to affairs. What about widows/widowers that remarry, for example? I've known adult 'children' that have been very unhappy with their widowed parent's new choice of spouse..... remember Paul McCartney and Heather Mills?.... and whilst it may not be the sole reason the relationship struggles, it really can't help. If younger children take against you, for rational or irrational reasons, it must be extremely difficult.

TottWriter Fri 29-Jul-11 07:42:44

My sister and I certainly never thought much of my step-father (we were of the opinion that he was a tight-fisted arsehole) but we never thought to make trouble for him, and my brother (who is quite a bit younger) always called both him and my dad "dad". He differentiated by saying "real dad" and "step dad".

....Don't know if he still does that now we all know that he (step-father) cheated on my mum for three years. Arsehole.

TottWriter Fri 29-Jul-11 07:43:39

Should add, all credit to my mum, despite this, they have worked things through and are still together.

lifechanger Fri 29-Jul-11 07:49:33

You are basically saying that no adult (who may have been abandoned by their spouse and co-parent) has a right to another reltionship? What rot.

Of course a step parent has to earn deeper respect, but it's not unreasonable to expect your child to try and adapt to the presence of a new partner providing he/she has been introduced with tact and care and is respectful and responsive to the child. I agree this would be much harder if the new partner was part of the original split.

catsmother Fri 29-Jul-11 07:58:10

Ditto not every stepparent played a part in the breakdown of their now partner's marriage - far from it. You might also like to consider that two people are responsible for adultery, so in the scenario you refer to, your dad would also bear equal responsibility.

emptyshell Fri 29-Jul-11 08:10:52

So it's ok for the kids to be utterly disrespectful and think it's completely acceptable behaviour to attempt to destroy their parents' relationships?

I HATED the woman my dad left our family for, yet when we went on access visits to their home, I knew I was still in their house so expected to behave in a polite manner towards them both - however angry I was feeling (and I was old enough that I was fully aware of what was going on, indeed my mum probably OVERconfided in me to the extent that I was deeply troubled by it all and saw my father for exactly what he was). I didn't particularly like my father after the way he behaved, yet went on the access visits (and behaved myself) for the sake of my younger brother who still needed that relationship with his father - and I was only 10/11 at the time. And yes - the marriage failed because of an affair, I was fully aware of that fact even at the age I was, and I was fully aware that the "other woman" was the one that had "wrecked" the marriage (although even at that age I think from what I recall I was still able to accept that it was in fact my father's inability to keep it in his pants).

My mother got together with men that I didn't like either - I would never have been allowed to try to wreck those relationships either. Both sides (flawed though they both were in terms of their behaviour) had the right to move on with their lives... I was considered, but I would have been read the riot act utterly if I'd "acted up" to any adult at all. Let alone "terrorize" anyone!

StrandedBear Fri 29-Jul-11 08:27:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Fri 29-Jul-11 08:36:33

They can work very well, my DH is step father to DS1 but from the beginning he has made a separate relationship with him and they did things alone. If they want the parent and the DC is just a 'tag along' they have to put up with it won't work well. DCs know, however well you hide it, and they will act up.

In my mind the DC always, always, always come first. Once you have DCs you don't have the luxury of being a free agent. You may love a partner but if they are not good with your DC you, as the adult, suffer the heartbreak-you don't let the DC suffer it by living in a home without love.

You have to take it slowly. You can't expect a DC to instantly take to a new partner and, even worse, live with them. They need to build up the relationship first-without you.

Kladdkaka Fri 29-Jul-11 08:52:00

I met my husband 7 years after seperating from my daughter's father. Been together 11 years now. Her biological father has had nothing to do with her and hasn't paid a penny. Her stepdad has always treated her as his own. I don't work, he pays for everything, even her current holiday abroad with her boyfriend (18th pressie). It makes me sad to see how horrible she is to him and she is really horrible. He never responds. He deserves a medal.

yoshiLunk Fri 29-Jul-11 08:52:50

Wow, massive sweeping generalisation there, OP.

Here's another one, why is it that a step child will never lay any blame with their own mother for wrecking the relationship with their father by sleeping around? why do they continue to reject and resent their father's 'new' partner he met years later and with whom he continues a happy, stable and lasting relationship while their mother continues to have a string of fiery relationships that the child has to witness to every bitter ending?

It would be hugely unreasonable to assume that is what every step child/parent relationship is like.

The adults in breakups behave differently, sometimes only one person is to blame, sometimes neither can make it work. Sometimes the adults then make it difficult for the children to accept the new situation, sometimes they go to any length to make the transition easy on the child.

TheProvincialLady Fri 29-Jul-11 08:58:29

I don't believe that happy, confident children react like that to a good new step parent in their lives. I do believe that children who have been through a rubbish relationship, a messy breakup and acrimonious divorce etc are much more likely to feel insecure and clingy, less accepting of new people in their lives. Also many parents rush to bring new relationships into the children's lives because of their own feelings. I don't think you can blame the children.

TheSmallClanger Fri 29-Jul-11 10:00:42

You have expressed it less than ideally, but I don't think you are being entirely U. While some step-parents are really excellent and add to their stepchildren's lives in a wholly positive way, there are quite a lot who aren't. A lot of the students I teach at the FE college are taking a second chance at education, and a depressing number of them abandoned GCSEs or A levels they could have passed easily due to family pressure relating to step-parents. The scenario is typically that the parents break up, and the resident parent then gets together with someone else and moves away, sometimes in the middle of a critical school year. This removes the teenage child from their support network, and disrupts their education.
I've heard lots of horror stories about family routines being turned completely upside down to accommodate the wishes of step-parents, and worse ones of direct cruelty - the standard pattern is a step-father threatening a teen boy about "making trouble" for their mum, although there are variations.
Often, I think that single parenthood itself is the least of the problems that can arise from family breakup.

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