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To ask if your child has a step parent, what do you expect from them?

29 replies

HaloTattle · 07/04/2021 12:28

If you are 'the ex', what is it you would expect and want from your child's step mother/father?

We often hear a lot from step parents themselves on here and it seems some have unrealistic expectations of them, the usual love like your own, treat identically to your own DC etc...

But speaking as the child's mother/father, what is it you would expect or want?

OP posts:

wigjuice · 07/04/2021 12:40

I wouldn't expect anything, but I would expect my ex to choose someone who treats our children kindly and decently.


Littlefluffyclouds13 · 07/04/2021 12:40

All I ever wanted was my dcs step mum to be kind to them.
Unfortunately this didn't happen, dd is an adult now and hates her.
It's a very sad situation and has hugely affected their relationship with their Dad.


cardibach · 07/04/2021 12:45

Kindness and even handed-ness. Openness. Friendliness without trying to be a replacement (though obvs taking in some parental roles in the home). I just wanted DD to have another adult who cared. You can’t have too many - and I figured there might be some problems she’d be more likely to discuss with a not-mum woman. That didn’t happen actually, as DD and I managed a very open relationship too (she started having a step mum as a toddler). Ours went pretty well, even when step mum had her own children. They don’t have a lot to do with each other separate from DD’s dad, but they get on ok.


dancinfeet · 07/04/2021 13:32

To be kind to my DDs, which she has, and it's more than I can say for their dad. They often say that if it wasn't for their step mum and younger half sister, that they would cut contact with their dad altogether.


fearing9 · 07/04/2021 13:40

I've read so many threads on here about step parenting that have absolutely horrified me to be honest and I think I would be really worried to a, being someone to live with my kids and b, for my ex to meet someone. It is clear from a lot of threads on here that some step mums tolerate the DC until they have their own and they they are even more of a nuisance interrupting the nucleus of "their little family". I'd obviously have no say over my ex but all I would want is for him to choose someone who would treat them with kindness. I'd never want to be a step parent myself and to be honest wouldn't choose to be with anyone with young kids for that exact reason.


Basketandshoestore · 07/04/2021 13:42

My children have a good step mum. She is kind and fair. She's respectful of me and how we do things at home.

I don't envy her tbh. Her own child rarely sees his father so she (and my ex) never get child free time.

Her own child is younger than my teens. In the beginning there was a few things that mine had to adhere to regarding bed time and screen time being suitable for the younger child, but no real drama.


EnoughnowIthink · 07/04/2021 13:51

  • not to interfere with maintenance arrangements (or be happy to support the non payment of maintenance)
  • to recognise that whatever my ex says about me, it's what he wants her to know and isn't necessarily how things are. I would suggest thinking about the difference between what he says I am and your experiences with me.
  • kindness and fairness when the children are in their home
  • to not slag me off in front of the children or even behind the children's backs because believe me, they know it's happening
  • to not become so involved immediately that the relationship is doomed to failure. Moving in before you have met the children is never a good idea.

Shinesun14 · 07/04/2021 14:00

I'd really like it if dds dad had a girlfriend for longer then 6 months at a time. Dd has gotten on with the many women her dad has paraded up and down but as he's such an asshole they don't stick around. He's a lot nicer to dd when he first gets in a relationship too. All I'd like if he did manage to keep a long term partner is to be kind and welcoming to dd.

I'm also on the other side of this and am a step mum. She doesn't expect a lot from me in terms of parenting her ds her unreasonablenss is saved for dh thank god.


WhatWouldPhyllisCraneDo · 07/04/2021 14:05

To treat my DC fairly and equally (note equally, not necessarily the same) to her/ their own. To allow their DF to have a relationship with them both with and without her/their DC always being involved.
Sadly she is the complete opposite. My DC hate her and barely like their father.


GizmoBasil · 07/04/2021 14:10

@fearing9 is it possible you're only seeing the bad side? Step parents who are happy are unlikely to post on here.

I like to think I am kind, fun and fair to my SK's. Kind of like a cool aunt figure. They often come to me with things they don't feel comfortable talking to either parent about, which I know a lot here won't like, but I'm glad they feel comfortable with me and I always encourage them to tell their parents, which they do.

I think a lot of parents think they would just ask the step parent to be kind and fair to their child, but the reality is very different.


Superstardjs · 07/04/2021 14:18

I expect nothing, I have no contact with her and dd thinks she is ok. I will never meet her or hear from her, so as long as she is pleasant enough to dd that is sufficient.


B33Fr33 · 07/04/2021 14:25

My ex H is the NRP. He expects my DH to be a parent but he doesn't expect the same of his partners he has had/ lived with over the years.
MANY people have pointed out that my husband is very much more of a parent than my ex. I think divorce can be a learning experience for some. I guess my ex learned too, learned he wasn't interested in commitment.
I have zero expectations of his partners I was pleasantly surprised by one, unfortunately his current partner is very anti kids and sure enough access is interrupted and the girls have been let down more frequently. I struggle to like her as my children are anti her, but it's not something I can stick my oar in.


jessstan2 · 07/04/2021 14:31

I'd want them to be kind and hospitable to my child or children, responsible, not competitive with me, and for us to be on cordial terms.


Murraytheskull · 07/04/2021 14:32

To not try to replace me or to try and replace their dad either (I.e. doing all the day-to-day things he should be doing because he's too lazy and disinterested to do them himself). My ex has had girlfriends of both those kinds.

Kindness and respect should be a given towards anyone, not just children. Thankfully my DC have never had a step-parent that didn't at least do that for them.


Billandben444 · 07/04/2021 14:33

We set the bar very low for my grandson's stepmum - just be kind. It didn't happen, she slagged my daughter off to him and referred to her as The Cu*t, fed him supermarket-own pizzas while her daughter had Domino's and said he was fat and stupid and wouldn't amount to much. His dad never ever stood up for him and now he refuses to go there so hasn't seen dad for 8 months. All we ever wanted was for her to be kind to him. Bitch.


IceCreamAndCandyfloss · 07/04/2021 14:41

I’d hate for mine to have one as know first hand the issues it can cause.

If they had too, I would want the children to be treated as equally as any others in the home. For them to have their own space and not feel like guests and for them to be welcome whenever and go between two homes without question as they felt like. To be kind and not interfere in the parents decisions.


funinthesun19 · 07/04/2021 15:08

If my children ever have a stepmum, I’d just want her to be kind to them. Don’t be snappy with them all the time, don’t ignore them, don’t embarrass them or pull them down. Usual kindness.

I’m also realistic. know what it’s like being a stepmum. Stepmums don’t always jump with excitement about their stepchildren and sometimes feel very indifferent about them. That’s fine, as long as the kindness mentioned above is still there. I wouldn’t expect her life to revolve around them and I understand she might have better things to do than take my children swimming or pick them up from school. That’s mine and their dad’s responsibility.

I’d expect her to do the basics like cook their tea or wash their clothes if they’re in her care. I’d also expect her to keep them safe, so supervise them if they’re little (my youngest is 2). But really, their father should be doing the absolute bulk of all this parenting and caring.

I’d expect her to not do drugs, drink excessively or bring dodgy people in to the house.

I’d expect her to not physically hurt them.

I’d expect her to not say bad things about me in front of them. My ex’s ex wife was horrible, but my former dsc loves her and I imagine it would have been hurtful if dsc heard some of the things I said in confidence to people I could trust. Venting is fine and healthy, as long as it’s not in front of the kids.
(I’m nothing like his ex anyway Smile)

Just like I never did, I would expect her to not prevent my ex from paying towards his children.


bogoffmda · 07/04/2021 15:15

Be kind and fair - don't be jealous, cruel, vindictive and deprive the children of a relationship with their father or sibling.

Remember you are an adult and they did not ask for the situation or to have extra adults in their life.

COI : SM1 - absolutely the opposite of the above and more
SM2: everything of the above and more - really like and respect her

So it can be done!


dontdisturbmenow · 07/04/2021 15:30

What I hoped and she did do was not acting like a mum towards them and letting my ex make decision. Also being fair to them and accepting


harknesswitch · 07/04/2021 15:43

Nothing other than being kind and fair


Happycat1212 · 07/04/2021 15:45

Nothing , I would hate my children to have a step mother and luckily that won’t happen


MakeItRain · 07/04/2021 15:45

My dc's dad has a lovely partner. She seems genuinely interested in my children and seems to want to work at developing a good relationship with them. She'll sometimes buy them little presents of things she thinks they might like. I like her as a person a lot more than I like my ex! I feel happy that she's around when they go there. She talks about my children warmly and I like that. We sometimes message each other about the odd thing. I think as a parent you just want someone who is kind and who takes the time to get to know your children.


Tomyoneandonly · 07/04/2021 15:50

Me and dp have had children from from exs me 2 him 1 and we had our ds. Now all our children didn't get to see their biological dm/df we both was mum and dad to all 4 all the same love respect and they didn't go without or felt like they missed out. I love my dss so much I can communicate with him on a much more friendly level then my own biological dcs. The amount of respect I receive from him feels almost unworthy. Yeah its emotionally different/difficult being a step mum but if you take the step away it's mum and it's OK to be a mum to a dc even if you didn't give birth to. So I would expect all step parents to love all dcs the same not leave anyone out and to be a strong unit.


BlowDryRat · 07/04/2021 15:53

My DC have a stepmother. I expect her to:

  • not encourage/allow the DC to call her mum or mummy Angry
  • be nice to them
  • tell them off as needed
  • foster a good relationship between them and their half sibling

I think that's it.

BlowDryRat · 07/04/2021 15:59

Actually, thinking about it, I also (forlornly) expect her to:

  • Keep her opinions of me, my parenting and my character to times when it's only her and exH. Not give me a mouthful or badmouth me infront of or around the DC.

  • Remember before speaking that she knows less than half the story.

  • Respond to a friendly smile or pleasantry on the rare occasions we meet, rather than glare at me stonily.

She's an awful cow to me but lovely to the DC. I'd much rather have it this way round, of I had to choose.
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