Parenting

I Changed This One Thing as a 'Stepparent' and It Made All the Difference

Being a stepparent can be challenging. Do you act as a disciplinarian or a “friend” when the children come to your house for their weekend with you? I am “stepmom” to two young girls, ages 12 and 11, and I have been in their lives since they were very little.

It was hard at first because the children had a new environment to get used to. Not only was I the “new woman” in their father’s life, I was also seen as a threat—someone trying to be their “mom.” Meshing two families together wasn’t easy considering we had two sets of age groups (mine were older than his) and there were two different sets of house rules and values.

As time went on, I discovered one major component that really began the road to acceptance and love between his children and me. I started taking the word “step” out of the equation. The girls are so special to me and I don’t think of them as my “stepdaughters.” I think of them as my own flesh and blood and as my “daughters.” Funny thing is, they began to see me as just “mom” as well.

They call me to ask me for advice, tell me secrets, share who their crushes are, and love to just hang out with me. It means so much to be able to share in their lives.

Today the children get along—and fight—like siblings do, and it’s music to my ears. So if you are a “stepparent,” hang in there, it does get better—if you want it to.