Family & Personal Law

The Task of Step Parenting

Parenting in itself is a hard task but parents do it lovingly. Now if parenting is tough try being a step parent and it is worse. People just assume that the step parent is always evil but even though some are, the rest have it really hard.

1. “No one tells you that being a stepparent will put your self-esteem to the ultimate test. The kids ignore you, no matter how nice you are to them. The majority of decisions in your life are being dictated by an ex-spouse and society automatically thinks of you as a home wrecker (even though you met your spouse years after his separation) — how could the situation not mess with your self-esteem? Without a strong sense of self, your insecurities will have you doubting your every move.” –Jenna Korf, certified stepfamily coach

2. “No one tells you just how much the ex can affect your relationship and the new family by what he or she does or doesn’t do.” — Nicholas Golden

3. “No one tells you parenting isn’t instinctive. I thought my maternal instincts would be an innate response to having stepkids. Nope. It was fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants parenting.” — Janelle Dexheimer

Sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/12-things-no-one-tells-you-about-being-a-stepparent_us_55a40216e4b0b8145f73305b

The Cinderella tale tells the story of a girl being mistreated by her step mother and step sisters. Indeed many step parents still do not show love and care to their step children something that is called the Cinderella effect.

Cinderella effect

In evolutionary psychology, the Cinderella effect is the alleged higher incidence of different forms of child-abuse and mistreatment by stepparents than by biological parents. It takes its name from the fairy tale character Cinderella. Evolutionary psychologists describe the effect as a remnant of an adaptive reproductive strategy among primates in which males frequently kill the offspring of other males in order to bring their mothers into estrus, and give the male a chance to fertilize her himself. There is both supporting evidence for this theory and criticisms against it.

For over 30 years, data has been collected regarding the validity of the Cinderella effect, with a wealth of evidence indicating a direct relationship between step-relationships and abuse. This evidence of child abuse and homicide comes from a variety of sources including official reports of child abuse, clinical data, victim reports, and official homicide data. Studies have concluded that “stepchildren in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States indeed incur greatly elevated risk of child maltreatment of various sorts, especially lethal beatings”. Studies have found that not biologically related parents are up to a hundred times more likely to kill a child than biological parents.

A good step parent should not feel powerless. There are roles that they play and if they do so they shall lighten their load.it is not an easy task but do not make it any harder.

The stepparent, although not actively initiating direct discipline, should certainly work to maintain the normal boundaries that exist between an adult and a child. Although it may be the biological parent who delivers an initial consequence for misbehavior, it’s important that the stepparent be active in support of that decision, and care should be taken that proper respect and acknowledgment of the stepparent be given. In other words, a stepfather is not simply one’s mother’s husband. He is in fact an adult and an authority figure in the home.

In relating to all the children, the stepparent should seek to define his or her relationship as that of an ally and supporter. Whether the stepparent is the same or opposite-sexed parent, their presence can play an important balancing role in terms of modeling and information-giving about life from the male or female point of view. The role of ally and supporter is in no way to be construed as an attempt to replace the biological parent.

It’s important that the stepparent not have unrealistic expectations about their level of closeness or intimacy with the stepchildren. Relationships are built, and it takes time and shared experiences to create a meaningful one. The stepparent should also be aware that the child may be experiencing a fair amount of emotional confusion — and may in fact feel guilty that they’re betraying their biological mother or father by having a close and caring relationship with their stepmother or -father. Great care and patience should be taken to allow the child an opportunity to work through those feelings.

Sourced from: http://www.drphil.com/articles/article/243