Monday, April 6, 2009

A step parent needs your HELP

I don’t know how many of you have step kids, but I think I have dug myself into quite the hole around here.

I bitch and moan that I want the kids to look at me as a parent / equal to their mother (obviously not counting the ‘I came out of her vagina bond’ thing) But I want them to come to me with problems, to ask permission for things, for a kiss goodnight, etc.

I have not pushed the goodnight kisses, hugs whenever, etc…so now I feel kind of uncomfortable/scared hugging or kissing the girls. Are they going to think that I am being inappropriate? Will they wonder why the big change? Will they start thinking about why I have not been doing it all along?

I love Mariah’s kids as I do my own and would do anything for them. The one thing I fear is doing something that would make one (or all) of them pull away from me.

I just don’t know what to do. Start doing it religiously from now on. Continue the way that I have been and gradually begin to do it more and more. I am at a loss.


SweetPeaSurry said...

How do the kids feel about the affection? Are they intimidated? Do they seem shy? Maybe you should ask them.

Chandra said...

I agree with SweetPeaSurry, let the girls know where your coming from and then ask them how they feel about it.
My "dad" is my step-dad but I don't see him that way at all, he's my dad...that's want you want from your step-daughters so asking their opinion is probably the best thing you could do!

Nicole said...

I'm not a step parent but I'm a step child -- twice over.
Like Chandra, my "dad" is my step dad. I grew up living with my real dad until the middle of highschool when I moved in with my mom and my dad.

It's really strange to explain but the reasons that I see my step dad as family and the reasons I dislike my step mother are very similar.
They were both trying to do the same thing. They were trying to Parent me as a parent not a step-parent (hope that makes sense). The difference comes in at their approaches.
My dad did it by being open and encouraging the same from me and my sisters. By just BEING dad instead of telling us how we should feel about them whereas my step-mother DEMANDED it. <-- she is the single solitary reason I stopped living there. I don't talk to my real dad anymore as a result of that as well.
Talk to the kids.
If they aren't comfortable now, just give them more time.
Let things happen naturally -- don't force yourself to do things that you want but don't feel comfortable doing yet.
Remember: It's the little things that matter, not the grand gestures.

Nicole said...

I thought I'd add that I have a son and a boyfriend that is very involved in his life as well.

My son is very young and doesn't really understand yet but it was still a rough go for them in the beginning. My BF had never been around children before and my son didn't know him so it took time for them to be as comfortable with each other as they are now.
Now not only are they best buds but my son understands that if Jamie disciplines him, it's as important as when I do it.
They have a great relationship.

ChocDrop said...

My kids are 21 and 15, I just re-married about a year and a half ago. I did not pressure my kids when it came to him. I wanted them to come to him in their own time.
I think age has something to do with it as well. Just keep telling them that you love them and maybe sneak in a hug/kiss in here and there and see their reaction.
Kids are a tough crowd.
Good Luck

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

I think gradual...but it also depends on what THEY are comfortable with...what's their body language? That's just cool that you are there for them! :)

Tracy said...

I guess the kids are old enough that you could sit sown with them and explain to them how you feel, that if they need/want a hug then it is OK by you for them to do that.

I am sure the kids know that you love them but maybe they just need to hear it.

Start off slowly, a quck hug if one of them is feeling down or conversely if they are excited about something.

Susan said...

OH. You hit a cord. I have two step-sons and my good night kisses to them are on their head... just did it one time and it's simply become my habit. I DON"T get as mushy with them as I do my own girls, but I totally just "read" them. Some days they want more. And some days that get smooches on the face. Other days, time outs. ;) You're in the same spot as my husband who lives with my girls who I have 95% of the time. He picks them up, kisses their head, bumps fists with them, lays with them if I'm not home for bedtime routine... and as time has gone on, you see how much my kids need it, want it, crave it, LOVE it. It's a slow process. We're on 2+ years living in the same house after being married so all I can say is do what's comfortable. Tell 'em you want a routine before bed, and have them help come up with something fun! It'll be even more special that way!

Teri said...

I would say you could probably let them know that it would be cool if they want hugs and stuff. Let them know you love them. And be there when they need you. I'm in this same situation. It can be confusing sometimes. Just kind of go with what works for that situation.

Tony@ That One Paticular Harbor said...

I come to you from my pal at Halftime Lessons Jay. For what it is worth I would just talk to them about their feelings. I don't do parenting advice as I got no owners manual and don't anyone who did. With that said it kind of falls into the glass house realm for me. Just show them love. I really like your site. Thanks

Brandy said...

I have a stepdaughter and a stepson and I just let them dictate it. I'm closer with my SS because he lives with us, so hugging him is normal. And in fact he often "attack hugs" me more often than I do him.

That might be b/c I act like I'm gagging when he does it. :) It's our little joke.

Rhea said...

Sweet Pea has good questions.

You're a great dad, Tent Camper, that these questions and delimas even occur to you. I love it.

* TONYA * said...

As you know my hubby is a 'step parent' so to speak. Anywho he sat Jay down when we first decided to get married and had an open discussion about everything, how he would like to be called 'dad', how he would like to be looked upon as a father figure and gave him a big hug and it went from there.

Talk to the girls, then give them a big hug.

M said...

I don't have any advice on this but I'm interested in this topic.

I have four kids and am getting a divorce.

I'm doubting there's many guys out there who would want to take on someone who has four kids. But on the chance that someone does, how does it work?

That has really nothing to do with your post, but it just popped into my mind.

Senorita said...

I am not a parent, but I was a step child.

I think that you should just keep on doing what you're doing. Be there for them like you would for your own biological children.

It's always uncomfortable in the beginning, and I think that's to be expected. However, when they look back on their childhoods with you, they will remember that you loved them and were there no matter what.

If they can sense that you're holding back affection or advice (even if your intentions are noble)they will already feel different, and not as loved as if they were your biological kids. Children are very intuitive.


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