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How much involvement should a step parent have?

(13 Posts)
FlyingJellyfishInTheAttic Mon 23-Oct-17 18:14:49

Any step parents or parents to give advice. Been with my DH 4 years and still always worry about finding the right balance! I know choices regarding school and medical are nothing to do with me but things like discipline and rules, homework etc. Always worry if I don't do something I'm not making an effort but if I do I'm stepping on parents toes.

Wishingandwaiting Mon 23-Oct-17 18:16:47

There is no “should” about it.

It’s about what is right for your family. So rather than asking mumsnet, you should be speaking with your dh and perhaps his ex

confusedwife84 Mon 23-Oct-17 18:25:30

Hi OP, I’ve been a stepmum to an 8 yr old girl for 4 years...I would consider myself heavily involved as the 4 of us (DH, me, her mum and step dad) all work together to ensure she is cared for. Both me and step dad contribute to after school childcare, holiday care, homework’s etc etc as you say, medical stuff and school decisions left to Mum and Dad, fine balance I know.
It helps that her mum and I have a good relationship, not a friendship but mutual respect and understanding. My DH says when I am looking after her on my own that I can discipline her, however I do know that I would run it past him first.
Step parenting is not an easy business!!

RockyBayEve Mon 23-Oct-17 19:18:07

Not too much and not too little.
Basically everything you do will be wrong, sorry to say.

user1493413286 Wed 25-Oct-17 16:09:06

I’ve always wondered about getting the right balance. I do tell my DSD to stop doing something she shouldn’t do and I put a bedtime routine in place and some vague rules about sweets as my OH has the tendency to be too lenient resulting in an over tired hyperactive child which never ends well but I talked to him about it beforehand so we are a united front.
I do tend to expect him to do more of the discipline though as I think it’s his role and I don’t want to be considered the strict one all the time.

2ndTimeMother Wed 25-Oct-17 16:23:38

I've been with my husband for 5 years & he is step dad to my DS who is 6. DS doesn't have a great deal of contact with his dad & only sees him 3-4 times a year. (That a whole other story)

As DS lives we me & H i expect H to treat him as he would his own child, although he is a little softer than me but that is just his manner. I tend to do most of the discipline but this is because H is so laid back however he will discipline DS in my absence/ if required.

I don't want H to treat DS any different to how he would his own child. This has always worked for us as DS was only 18 months old when H came into his life, so it's always sort of been this way for DS.

I think it's just whatever works best for you as a family & what expectations your partner has.

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Wed 25-Oct-17 16:32:30

It does depend on your family set up. DH had full custody of his sons and so decisions affecting them were for DH alone to make, as his exW wasn't around. DSS2 in particular was keen for me to go to parents evenings, meetings at the school, doctors appointments and so on, and when he changed school at sixth form and applied for uni, it was me he turned to for guidance. My relationship with them has always been close, and while they now see their mum and are also close to her, they will contact me for things that they think I would give better perspective on, and their mum or dad for other things.

That's not to say it's always been easy. We went through a phase of DSS2 rebelling against discipline if it was me - and his mum got back in contact permanently when he was 15 which is a tricky age, so he had issues to work through.

We have always tried to remain civil and to an extent friendly with their mum. We went to her wedding and she came to ours, but because she wasn't interested in having the boys with her, it was difficult at the time. Now they are adults it is much easier to navigate that relationship.

FunderAnna Wed 25-Oct-17 16:37:20

I think it's about being yourself in your home and doing what you can to have the best possible relationship with your partner's child. That doesn't mean being saccharine - it also means saying if you find particular behaviours unacceptable. Having broadly similar value and ideas to those of your partner also helps - and being able to discuss it when you think and feel differently.

ElChan03 Wed 25-Oct-17 16:58:09

I think what works for our family is that I parent with the agreement of Dad. We agree on rules and stay consistent when one or the other isn't around. I feel I parent and therefore I am heavily involved however I do make it clear I'm not mum and I'm not trying to be but that everything I do is because I care about them. This applies to good things as well as when I have to discipline. I'm always careful not to overstep the mark though and I know with step parenting the mark/line is sometimes hard to find. I often get lectures as you can't do right from wrong by what my friends and family say and what the healthcare professionals say. But do your best and that's the most anyone can ever ask of you.

BringMeSunshinePlease Thu 26-Oct-17 17:22:01

My advice to anyone is get out if you can!! You'll never do anything right! It's bloody awful!

Rachmumof4 Mon 06-Nov-17 13:47:14

Don't panic. I have two bio kids and two that were gifted to me (step). It is the hardest thing being a parent and double tough being a step-anything.

We came up with a family charter, simply our family ethics. All positive stuff based on kindness and respect. We got the kids involved and got them to design a poster.
Me and hubbly talked through how were deal with the day-to-day issues and what we'd do if faced with a biggie. Then we told the kids this is how its going to work.
The key to it all is taking a breath and counting very slowly to ten and back when things get crazy. It is so easy to think paranoid thoughts and think the worst, but kids are just kids. They know how to divide and conquer, play all the parents off against each other and then look oh so innocent.
This sounds like I have it all figured out, but honestly everyday is different and there are times when I want to walk away. But then I remember, that as a Step Mum and step kids, love comes from respect for each other and it is hard earned and when they say they love you it is truly meant. Each and every hug is worth all the heartache, tears and frustration.

Big hugs, keeps smiling and laughing

Lostmum72 Mon 06-Nov-17 19:00:57

I’m a step mum of 2 teenage girls, I find it hard, they live with us half the time and I have my own 2 as well. I do sometimes feel excluded but I accept I’m not their parent, it’s hard to know how much to do or not do. I feel I’m always wrong in their eyes tbh

blondiebonce Mon 06-Nov-17 19:13:35

IT completely depends on the families and situations.

I'm really happy my DD likes her Dad's partner. She seems fine and I expect her to keep my daughter safe when she's at her Dad's house (once a week) and I'd like her to explain right and wrong.

But I have to say, as I do practically everything for DD there's no need for anyone else to "have a say". Her dad is a right knob and I struggle to get sensible responses out of him let alone worry about his partners opinion.

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