Are Step-Parents replacing your role as a parent?
No! Just in case you missed my answer, NO. Lately I've been told that some parents feel threatened by their child's step-parent. Parents, you are not being replaced. If you feel that you've been replaced, is it because you aren't stepping up to the plate and giving your best to your child. The only time jealousy kicks in is when you as a parent aren't behaving and acting solely for the benefit of your child. A step-parents role isn't to replace a parent, a step-parents role is to add to the family. Not all step-parents will love their step-child like their own but they will like and respect your child. On the other hand some step-parents will love the child like their own as well. No matter how you slice it the step-parent is in it for the long haul. This is a team effort, you should be grateful there's another adult that is part of the family and has the same goals as you, to help raise the child in an healthy environment. A child in return will love the step-parent but they will never replace the parents love because that role is already filled. A step-parents role is to care for the child, make them feel special, they go out of there way to make sure the child understands they are important, mutual respect is given and much more. Because of this, a child will understand that they are valued and important in their blended families. If your feeling jealous regarding the other step-parent sit down and talk to the step-parent. Express your feelings, write them down if you have to and work out a plan on what's needed from both parties. Do not involve the children, do not speak ill or condescending regrading the step-parent. Recently I read an article on yahoo that a daughter was getting married and as the father was about to walk his daughter down the aisle, he ran up to the step-father and said, "...walk down with us, you helped raise her as much as I did...". I want you to know I cried reading this. The father understood the importance of that moment, he needed to share it with step-father. Just as the step-father knew his role in their daughters life was to help raise a young lady. There will be struggles, ups and downs because this relationship is new and always evolving. When we have children we never imagine that a separation might occur let alone someone else is involved in raising "your" child. Whatever the circumstances, always think of your child's needs and wants. If the person around your child has a healthy mind, spirit, attitude and has a positive influence, be thankful. You always want to be a team player, this isn't about biology anymore, this is about ~ product of your environment ~ for your child, allow it to be a healthy one. Be gentle and kind with yourself if you make mistakes along the way, apologize, learn from it and grow. That's what everyone's doing, learning and adapting. I read a quote from Dr. Laura, " step-parents find a balance between supporting and defending without overstepping visible and invisible boundaries...". A step-parents job is a big role, this isn't an easy task, they didn't ask for it however when they chose to be with your ex they accepted the responsibility of being present, so be respectful. They made a conscious decision to be a step-parent, help out when you can and work together. This is a new role for them just as much it is for you. As your relationship is evolving, learn to invite everyone out, be open to communication and most importantly if you can show your children that everyone can get along and be in the same room, you're one step ahead of the game. Take small steps that lead into a positive direction. I'm talking about baseball games, ballet recitals, family functions and holidays. If all of you can celebrate as a blended family, this will be one less issue for your children to tackle. So the next time you hear someone saying their ex's partner is replacing "me", ask them point blank, "why do you feel like that?". Their response will be, "I feel, I can't, I want...". Everything will be an "I" versus what the child needs. Point this out to them, it's not about "you", it's about your child. Have an open mind, try new ways of solving a situation. You never know, you might surprise yourself.
***Disclaimer, I do not know who this family is in the picture. I found this picture and fell in love with it because it resonates what co-parenting should be with a blended family. My hats off to this entire family for setting a healthy atmoshere up for the sake of the children. BRAVO!