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I'm a step-parent, so flame me!

(40 Posts)
dragonstitcher Tue 31-Jul-07 22:10:49

Is it just me, or does everyone get flamed on MN for daring to criticise/complain about their SKs. My SSs are 18 and 20. If I moaned about my teenagers on the teenage board, I would probably get sympathy/support/advice, but because they are SKs I get flamed. I'm fed up of it. I get enough of it at home, I come here to get it off my chest and now I can't even do that.

Leati Tue 31-Jul-07 22:16:58


I genuinly believe it depends on the complaint. However, I imagine that people are more tough on people criticising thier step children. People tend to see thier children through rose colored glasses while SK are critisized.

I have heard some stepparents say some pretty outrages stuff on here. And to be honest it would not have mattered if it were thier bilogical children.

Aimsmum Tue 31-Jul-07 22:18:34

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TheDuchessOfNorksBride Tue 31-Jul-07 22:46:11

Agree with Leati & Aimsmum. I haven't seen the threads you mean but...

Could you not leave the 'step' bit off the post, unless it was absolutely vital? Would that be deceitful? It wouldn't bother me.

I'm adopted - when my father died, a friend of my mothers told me that I had much to be grateful for. I disagreed entirely and said that I was just as ungrateful as the next kid. We were just another family and the birth issue was unimportant. So equally, step-parents should be able to rant and rave about their SKs as well as love them to bits or boast unashamedly about them, whatever the situation requires. And not get flamed.

Aimsmum Tue 31-Jul-07 23:25:31

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Carmenere Tue 31-Jul-07 23:36:49

The step-parent/step-child relationship is faaar more complex than a regular parent-child relationship and is often fraught. Imo, most people who aren't in the position can never truly understand what it is to be in this position. You have unconditional love for your natural child, this guides you and informs your parenting. You don't automatically have unconditional love for your step-child but what you do need to have is unconditional acceptance.
I find if I am feeling that things are a bit fraught with my dsk's, I think about how it would be if my dd was the step child. This makes me look at my attitude. I know very well how I would want her to be treated by a step-mum and I try to be like that.

NotActuallyAMum Wed 01-Aug-07 11:27:05

dragonstitcher.....please take a bow

That's EXACTLY why I hardly come on here anymore

Think beansprout just about summed it up when she said on the "My partner has said he doesn't want my 11yo dd to live us" thread, "People think that taking on other people's children is a doddle, even though they reserve the right to endlessly post on here about how hard it is just to raise their own!! Step-parenting is hard enough without the condemnation as soon as anyone steps out of line and says they find it very difficult"

KaySamuels Wed 01-Aug-07 11:32:53

I tend to stay well clear too, I have had some great step parenting advice on here from experienced step parents, and grown up step children, not so great from people who have never experienced the step family dynamics themselves.

I am going to take theduchessofnorksbride's advice and leave the step bit off in future!

I didn't see that quote of beansprouts but it is spot on.

edam Wed 01-Aug-07 11:35:00

You are welcome to get it off your chest. Everyone moans about their children on here! Biological parents get criticised for their posts, too.

Think the step-parents who really get criticised are those who use very unkind, insulting language about their stepchildren, or have unrealistic expectations and are giving children a hard time for being perfectly normal children. Often they don't have much experience of children so don't understand what is usual, or have smaller children so don't understand what is normal for an older child.

Or those who resent their stepchild's very existence and don't seem to realise that is unfair.

edam Wed 01-Aug-07 11:36:11

See, I expect I'd get a hard time from step-parents on here if I just bitched about my (ex) stepmother without any appreciation that she's a human being with a right to exist.

witchandchips Wed 01-Aug-07 11:38:46

I'm also guessing that more of us have been step kids then are currently step mums so that we are naturally a bit sensitive about things

Aimsmum Wed 01-Aug-07 11:44:42

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anniemac Wed 01-Aug-07 11:45:07

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dragonstitcher Wed 01-Aug-07 12:38:50

I have been a stepmum to the boys since they were 9 and 11. DH has been stepdad to two of my girls since they were 2 and 5. We were both aware of what we were taking on when we decided to become a family, although I don't think that anyone can be completely aware of how difficult things can be when first taking on that commitment.

I have tried to be the best stepmum I could be. I have understood the difficulties the boys have faced having their mum and dad splitting up and their dad remarrying and I hope that DH has understood the same with the girls (although sometimes I'm not so sure). It has been frustrating not being able to have a say in my own home, as to the boys parenting, because I am not their parent, moreso because DH has the main say over how my girls are parented because they live in his house.

I am tired of people jumping to conclusions when they know nothing of the situation and guessing that I am some kind of vicious wicked step mother who is jealous of my husbands kids.

edam Wed 01-Aug-07 14:27:15

Who has been jumping to conclusions? If I saw you posting about your children, step or otherwise, I wouldn't assume you were a bad stepmother, I'd respond to that particular post.

Tbh, I have a lot more sympathy for both my own mother and my ex-stepmother now I am a mother myself! You know how you look back at some of things you thought about/said to your own mother and cringe? Well, I get that twice over.

It does sound like a pain in the bum, not being allowed a say in your stepchildren's lives while they are with you. That's going too far. Yes, at first, when the relationship is new everyone has to tread carefully but the step-parent has every right to be as respected as the other parent.

Desiderata Wed 01-Aug-07 14:33:44

I got fed up with one recently, but it was because the OP didn't seem remotely interested in solving the problem. There was no hope there. It was just a general diatribe about her ss.

I got shouted at, to be fair, by other posters who were defending the step-parent.

(I've got four step-children, btw.)

I think it just depends on the individual OP, dragon, so I wouldn't assume too much from what you've seen so far.

aloha Wed 01-Aug-07 14:53:42

Well, I'm a step-parent and I think people respond to individual posts according to their content. If someone posts something full of vitriol about children then it tends to lead to a hostile reaction. If someone admits there is a problem in their relationship with a stepchild and seeks advice in an honest and open-minded way, that's totally different.
I think the worst posts are the ones when quite young children are attacked and blamed. Where a natural parent might say, 'I am at the end of my tether with my child's behavour. I don't know how to cope Any advice?'
I've seen some posts from step-parents which read more like 'I hate my step-kids they are spoiled and nasty and ruin everything in our house by being sulky and they aren't nice enough to my baby. Shall I stop them coming over anymore?'

Anna8888 Wed 01-Aug-07 15:13:11

Dragonstitcher - you have all my sympathies. I have two stepsons (12, 10) and a daughter (2.9). All the children adore each other and they are all intelligent, good-looking and nice children. We do lots of fun things as a family and we don't have many arguments. But sometimes I just can't stand having my stepsons around for a minute longer - however much I want the best for them in life, invest in their upbringing and future etc, they are not my children and we don't have the loving, affectionate relationship that basically makes all the hard work of parenting worthwhile. So it feels like lots of hard work for no reward and sometimes it exhausts me - and that's when one feels like letting rip.

The longer I am a stepmother, the more I realise that one shouldn't be overambitious about the steprelationship. If you've had enough - withdraw for a while (politely) and have some me-time.

Aimsmum Wed 01-Aug-07 15:52:56

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Quattrocento Wed 01-Aug-07 15:59:20

I didn't post on a thread, having no experience of step-parenting but I really wanted to flame the poster.

It wasn't a nicey post about finding it all so difficult etc. It was thoroughly nasty and unloving all around how much she could justifiably and legitimately exclude the unfortunate step child from the home. It was horrid.

So maybe it depends upon what it is that the poster is suggesting?

fizzbuzz Fri 03-Aug-07 08:55:39

Well put Anna888.

Sometimes I find the house just feels full of too many people, and I have to retreat to somewhere private. To some extent I find the same thing with my ds, BUT not as intense.

I just feel I can't breathe sometimes........mind you they are 21, 17, and 13 and hardly EVER leave the house, so it may just be that.......

macdoodle Fri 03-Aug-07 09:08:13

Sorry but as a SK myself and god help me possibly my DD will one day be a SK - some (not all) of the comments from SM horrify me just look at the titles on this forum - these are little kids we are the adults (my SS is a fuckin nightmare is not appropriate kind or adult in any way)

fizzbuzz Fri 03-Aug-07 11:50:19

Well my ds is a skid to my partner. I don't think any of our dc's suffer in any way, they are a nice friendly bunch.

However it IS harder dealing with skids than your own, just as it is probably harder for them to deal with a step parent. If you really want to see awful moaning there is a big stepfamily posting board similar to mumsnet. I hate it, it makes me feel ill, all the vitriol that is directed at skids on that website.

macdoodle Fri 03-Aug-07 17:57:26

If you take on a new partner with kids then you have to expect it to be hard and the kids to come first (always no doubts no exceptions) MAKE this choice as an adult...the kids don't have been thrown into a situation they don't understand and probably don't like very much - your problem not theirs, your making your choices not grow up and deal with it

OrmIrian Fri 03-Aug-07 18:03:38

I have a work colleague that I have honestly started to avoid recently. She has a 10yr old step son whose mother is, according to her, the bitch from hell. The lad does seem to have terrible problems thanks to his mother (according to her) and is a little neglected. But what upsets me is that she never ever says that she feel for the boy or wants to make things better - simply how awful he is and how awful his mother is. It's really heartbreaking. I'm finding it hard to listen and be sympathetic to the litany of dislike and resentment aimed at this poor kid

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