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The challenges of step-parenting when you don't have your own children

(14 Posts)
user1466275523 Sat 08-Apr-17 10:17:33

Hello all

Firstly, I feel a little bit of a fraud being on here and not having children, so please excuse my naivety!

I have a wonderful DP who I love more than anything in the world. We have been together for almost 2.5 years and he has a 3 year old DD (hopefully I'm getting these acronyms right!) I appreciate I'm in a fortunate position as his DD doesn't remember life before me and, most of the time, is very friendly and affectionate towards me.

I do, however, feel that being involved in her upbringing (we have her every weekend) is putting me off wanting children of my own. Is this normal and has anyone else been in this situation before?

Are there any other 'non-parents' on here with step children? What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them? smile

user1486334704 Sat 08-Apr-17 17:22:26

If the child's mother doesn't PAS the child to dislike you / their father, there are a lot of good experiences ahead.

However, PAS does happen in a lot of blended families, particularly when finances/parenting time/access become an issue, if the mother doesn't move on and meet someone else (or god forbid you and your husband/partner have a family of your own!)

Not all mothers do this, nor are all stepparents flexible and aware of parenting boundaries (before I get a diatribe of abuse on here).

Good luck 😊

user1486334704 Sat 08-Apr-17 17:22:52

Sorry - PAS - parental alienation syndrome

Glitterbaby17 Sun 09-Apr-17 02:03:14

I have been with my DH for 6 years and married for 2.5 and have an 11 year old DSD. I was 27 when we got together and had no experience of kids and despite loving her to bits sometimes it was quite overwhelming - and she's an awesome kid. When you're not used to the continuous demands of a child, need to plan for and around them, prioritise their needs etc it can be tough and a shock to the system.

6 years later I'm pregnant and expecting our LO in May. DSD is over the moon to be a big sister which is lovely. I also feel much more prepared than some friends expecting their first, because I've got used to parenting and the balancing act over last few years. A baby will be a bit different though! I'm very conscious of making sure DSD doesn't feel pushed out and making sure stuff if planned for all of us, just her and DH and also some girl time for her and I after bubs arrives.

So in short - I think step parenting made me realise what a big deal parenting was, and perhaps wait a bit longer to have a baby - but it's actually worked out really well

Atenco Sun 09-Apr-17 04:08:59

What precisely is putting you off? Are you occasionally left in sole charge of the child and, if so, are allowed to discipline her if needs be?

Underthemoonlight Sun 09-Apr-17 07:33:45

I'm surprised it's putting you off ,she would have just been a baby when you and your dp started dating surely that's easier Han trying to bond with an older child? Maybe this relationship just isn't for you op.

Wdigin2this Sun 09-Apr-17 10:24:22

.....or maybe, you just don't want kids of your own!

user1466275523 Sun 09-Apr-17 10:37:35

Yes, I think you're right wdigin2this. It seems like the wrong forum to say it, but I never have felt maternal and don't think, in all honesty, I've ever wanted children of my own.

Congratulations glitterbaby17 and thank you for the reassurance!

Thanks user1486334704 - we've had plenty of 'good experiences' so far and I'm sure there will be many more smile

Greystars Sun 09-Apr-17 10:55:47

My now DH was the RP, so the children live with us full time.

I was adamant I didn't want children before i met him, career minded etc etc, in my mid 30's thought I knew my mind, I always loved children but at that point didn't want any at all - long story very short I had a lightbulb moment and desperately want a child of our own now.

So I can easily understand if your spending time with a little child that it could go the other way and cemented in your mind that you don't actually want a child of your own, which is totally ok too. It doesn't mean you can't be a good and stable fixture in their lives, just be kind and make sure your partner gives you to the tools to be another positive adult person in their lives.

Not everyone wants to be a parent, it doesn't mean you have to avoid children smile

user1486334704 Sun 09-Apr-17 11:57:32

To echo Greystars... I adamantly didn't want children. Didn't even like children. Turns out I just hadn't been in a relationship with a man I wanted to have children with!
I have a very poor relationship with my DH's two children - we used to get on great until their mother systematically poisoned them against me as a result of jealousy and serious legal & financial matters which I am not elaborating on here. I have not reacted and would never bad mouth their mother to them - I have just remained a 'constant' and hopefully one day they will realise how they were manipulated.

I'm now pregnant with our child and couldn't be happier. So just prepare that you too may have a 'lightbulb' moment but if you can maintain a good healthy relationship with your stepchild it all makes for a happier future!

heidiwine Sun 09-Apr-17 12:10:16

I'm a childless (not by choice) step mum, it is not in anyway easy.

However, I maintain that if both parents support your role in their child's life AND if you understand and accept the boundaries of your role step parenting can be massively rewarding and valuable for all involved.

You don't have to have your own child to be a step parent BUT you do need to be prepared to be a mother figure to someone else's child's. That means living as a family with a child and not a child free couple. There are implications with this on so much of your life - Particularly how you spend your free time. If you can accept that (you're a better person than me) and you are likely to be fine. If you don't think that you can accept it OR if the other parent is not supportive of your role my advice to you would be run for the hills!!!

SteppingOnToes Tue 11-Apr-17 22:22:41

I'm feeling the same user# - I've had my cousin's children live with me weekends and holidays from 3 to adult and it has never put me off children (possibly as because they were so damaged I went into protect mode). But now I am with my DP and his DS5 and DD10, I'm finding that I want kids less and less - I enjoy my free time much more now. It's lovely having them but lovelier handing them back... I think I'd make a good grandparent lol

WannaBe Wed 12-Apr-17 12:49:22

I think it's inevitable that entering into a relationship with someone who has children when you yourself do not is going to give you an insight into parenting which you otherwise wouldn't have had before you actively have children of your own.

It's not the same as watching friends or siblings with their children for instance, because these are children which live with you some of the time.

When we have our own children we have our own preconceived ideas of how things are "going to be" when the child hits x or y age, and when we see friends or siblings with children who don't behave in the way we think ours will we invariably think about how we would do things differently. But with a stepchild it's different because that stepchild is being parented under your roof, and assuming you are an involved stepparent you will have a greater involvement in that process and thus a greater insight into the genuine challenges which parenting brings.

Nothing for instances prepares us for sleepless nights, or toddler tantrums, or teenage strops, not even interaction with other people's children because they invariably go home or are better behaved around visitors. whereas a child in your home every other weekend is going to become a part of the scene there and thus act and be parented normally iyswim.

Many people would actively choose not to become a step parent if they don't already have children of their own. I wouldn't have, and I know many people who think the same. So it's therefore not surprising that some people who do go through the parenting by proxy as it were then decide that actually, this parenting lark of their own children perhaps isn't for them. But only you can decide that.

daftgeranium Wed 12-Apr-17 22:16:57

My advice would be: be careful and don't commit too early.

heidiwine's advice is good here. if you are childless and in a relationship with someone with a child, then it is important that you are valued in your own right, and also that you two work at it together - including the parenting stuff. You can't avoid being a parent of some kind in this circumstance, and if you have your partner's support it can be wonderful, although it can take over your life.

The other alternative is that you are treated like a second class, inferior citizen in your own home, a proxy or replacement for the mother, who can never measure up as far as the child and the family are concerned. This unfortunately is what happened to me. I tried so hard to make it work and to do my best for the child, but I was damned if I did and damned if I didn't. The fault was with my partner, not the child.

It needn't be like this. But, take your time, and look after yourself as well as everyone else.

Good luck!

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