My Surreal Life

My Musings, My Thoughts & My Ponderings

Parenting for StepParents

I went from being a single twenty-something to being a twenty-something step-parent in the space of about 8 weeks.  Nothing can prepare you for that.  It was never something that I never ever imagined, and its also something I didn’t think I would be able to do.  Its amazing how you can surprise yourself when you take on something new.

I have an 11 year old brother, we get on as well as any siblings with a 15 year age gap.  Its at this point I feel I must mention that there are only the two of us, there are no other siblings, so while I learned how to parent him to a certain degree, he also thought me how to  get really irritated by children, because I was in my mid-teens when he appeared. So suffice to say that I was totally not really looking to have kids never mind have 4 kids with not even the 9 months of pregnancy or the few years of silent parenting to sort myself out.

I’m not a selfish person, but when I started working, I thought I was going to develop a career, I wanted to be the career lady and blah, blah, blah but alas life is not meant to turn out in any particular way.  What i’ve learned to understand over time is that you actually can’t plan your life and you can’t never ever have it all.

I walked in to a situation that was totally out of my comfort zone and somehow I had to adapt. Somehow I had to form a bond of my own with the children.  Living with Mr. Rockstar, I couldn’t be just his partner and lap behind him like a dog, I had to build the ability to parent, discipline and allow them to trust me.  They have to take me seriously as a person and listen to me if i discipline them.

I have started reading some books on the whole situation and so far they all tend to go with the theory that the children aren’t a fan of the step-monster.  However, i have the opposite issue with my gang. The are the most easy going, laid back, loving and welcoming set of children in the world.  Every day, I get hugs and kisses.  For some reason we are not in a typical step-parent/child dynamic.  But all the books don’t seem to get my happy issues.

The scariest part and its something i’ve been battling since day one is the ability to discipline. Disciplining with authority and making sure that the children know who is in charge at all times.  Its about teaching that they can’t go to Daddy if I say ‘no’ so he will say ‘yes’.  Its about them understanding that I also have a role to play.  It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, we have had one or two encounters where the children have been upset, but I’ve been quick to also let them know that we both have to respect each other and if i get angry and correct them its because they aren’t behaving and they are disrespecting my authority. In a way its something that i’m only really getting used to in the last few months, it does talk a while to actually get used to everything.

I remember the first night, Mr. Rockstar was gigging and I had the children on my own, i was so so so scared.  I didn’t know what to do, I had visions of them being horrible to me and being mean to me and not behaving, and i didn’t know if i could cope if that was the case.  Fortunately for me, they are children that go to bed when told, they may not go asleep but they do complete the act and then either watch tv, play games or read for a little while.

One of the most important things i’ve found that i’ve done is with Princess, its reading.  I read to her at bed time and she also reads to me, there are hugs and its really important to engage with the children individually.  You need to bond with them individually not as a collective, because then you get to know each one individual of the other and you can give them the best version of yourself if you know them.

It is an ongoing process and it is so so hard to get it right, and make no mistake, it will never be perfect, but by giving the children the best version of yourself there is nothing more you can give them and it allows them to be confident with you.  I’ve only started but honestly, i can’t imagine someone who has done it for the last 20 years been any more comfortable them I am.  Children can change their opinion of you in a moment so you never know what you’re getting from one hour to the next.

Its a very very very fine line.  There isn’t a book or a bible or a website to help but sharing with your partner is the best way to keep your head above water. And i’m so thankful that Mr. Rockstar is so supportive.

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This entry was posted on May 26, 2011 by in Reposted Blogs.
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