Learning to be a step-mom
I dont have any kids of my own, much to the dismay of my mother and grandmother, but my DH has an amazing, sweet, funny little girl named Brooke. Most people I know are shocked at how I have taken to parenting, to be honest I love every minute of it! I will admit though, sometimes it is difficult. Dealing with her mother, learning, discipline, and trying my hardest to be a better step parent than I always had can be pretty trying at times. Any advice from other step parents or parents with a SO that isnt the childs biological parent?
And because I cant resist, PICS of my doll! We spent the afternoon at the park!
I love making her happy, she has her daddys blue eyes.
She looooves getting dirty(much to the dismay of her mother who insists she is a living doll and musnt be allowed to get dirty...)
Love this one!
What do you do when the ducks run away? Kick and scream at them of course!
Her favorite part, especially since there is water at the bottom.
I'm not a parent, wont be for a very long time and thankfully my parents are still together. I do, however, have lots of friends with step parents (even my mother) and I think you're off to an amazing start right off the bat, you obviously love this little girl a lot and I think that's key. I know the biggest source of tension from some of my friends was having a rotten relationship with their step parents or feeling 'unwanted', so kudos to you.
I grew up with a step parent on both sides. Both were awful! I strive to make her feel loved and special. I always hated when I would go to my dads and had none of my own things to play with and we just sat around their house all weekend. With Brooke, I make sure she has her own toys and clothes and we try to do something special every weekend we have her. I also pick her up from daycare throughout the week and keep her over nights as much as possible.
Her dad works on average 12-14 hours a day so he doesnt get to see her as much as he would like, but even he is making an effort to take off sundays to spend the day with her and be there for her tball games and other important events. Im so proud of him, he gets so caught up in his business he loses sight of some really important things, but he is really working hard at being there for her too.
I really want to do this right.
There has to be rules and regulations an example would be that I would have corrected her for chasing the ducks.
What I have observed from this sort of family situation is that the step parent often tries to out do the natural parent and this is not good for the child.
It is great that you love this child (and she looks a lot of fun) I agree that she should be allowed to be a living child, climb tees and splash in water but it could upset the mother and set you at each other's throats.
For the sake of this girl you need to become comfortable with her mother, you have both your husband and the child in common so it shouldn't be to hard to communicate freely.
Kids at that age need to be able to chase ducks. It doesn't hurt the ducks and she'll learn in time that sitting and feeding them can be fun also. Parenting and step parenting can turn into an insidious competition unless there's a good line of communication. Try to envision sending a child off weekly and it returns telling you what a wonderful time it had. It becomes a hard act to follow.
Josh and I are actually the most strict out of all of us, I just dont see the harm in allowing her to run down the sidewalk at the ducks at the park. She has rules and boundaries when I have her. She is extremely spoiled being the only child and grandchild and with no cousins her age. Her mother lets her throw tantrums and bribes her with toys to be good(she sends me videos of it thinking its cute or funny, this was another big reason she and Josh were divorced), wheras she rarely to never throws a fit with us because she knows it wont be tolerated. The environment at our house is very structured. I worry that it is confusing for her to have two drastically different sets of parents, but she seems extremely happy at either house.
Her mother and I get along great(regardless of the fact that I just dont like her, for reasons I wont get into but I have tried and just cannot respect a person who does the things she does as a parent and as a person), we have had our moments though.
She used to gripe at and constantly text Josh like they were still married. He rarely said anything because he didnt want to fight with her, so he was just hateful to her all the time. I put my foot down a few weeks ago and told her she lost the right to gripe at him and boss him around when she cheated on him 2 years ago, that she isnt his wife anymore so she needed to back off and give some space. There was a big blow up between she and I, but we got over it quickly and she has drastically reduced her texting Josh and hasnt griped at him since. Boundaries had to be set. We talk about Brookie all the time, both of us agree that our own feelings dont matter as long as she is well cared for.
Saddlebag- Yes, there is jealousy on both sides! But we are all working on it.
^^^ I like your response and with the rules and regulations for all parties in place you should do fine!
Never an easy situation and one of the worse things I have seen happen is when one parent continuously runs the other down in front of the child.
Enjoy her when you can.
Being a step isn't much fun, hope it works out for you.
And letting her play in the water is one thing but letting her run at the ducks and kick at them is wrong, and is allowing her to be cruel to animals.
That is not a good thing.
First of all, I prefer the term "extra mom" as opposed to step mom. I have one that I didn't get along with for a while, but now we are very close. My son also has an extra mom. So here's my advice.
1. Never talk badly about the other parent. Ever. Don't let the child do it, either. It's one thing if they have a complaint that needs to be heard, but general badmouthing isn't tolerated.
2. Communicate frequently with the other parent. Agree to some rules that must be followed regardless of where the child is, and which rules or procedures aren't as important at one location or another.
3. Be supportive of the child. Give her plenty of praise when she earns it. The key here is to praise behavior and effort, not natural talent or physical characteristics. Example: She brings home a good grade. Tell her you're proud that she must have worked so hard as opposed to saying that she's so smart.
4. If you are having a disagreement with the other parent, or with your SO, settle it away from the child. Don't be afraid to stand up for her if you feel she's being treated unfairly. But also choose your battles. I promise, there will be plenty even among the best co-parenting units.
5. Make sure you treat the child in a way that is age appropriate, and have open discussions on all kinds of issues. Help her learn to think for herself.
6. Read to or with her. (That always comes up in any parenting advice I give, because I think it's so important.)
7. Show affection frequently, without pushing for affection in return. This is actually a problem I had with the ex, not the extra mom.
I think you're off to a wonderful start. Just knowing you care about her is a huge deal in her life. My hat's off to you.
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