Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Step-Parent" Struggles to Overcome

Dating a man with a son from a previous relationship has been difficult since day 1.
Speaking from my own experience, of course!

I use the term "Step-Parent" for multiple reasons.
  1. Daddy and I are only boyfriend & girlfriend (for five years now)
  2. I'm speaking about step parents in general (not just moms)
  3. Any dating situation that involves children from previous relationships IS complicated.

We have been working (diligently) on this area for almost two years, after moving in together as a family. There was a major struggle with discipline because the child was not mine, and he was a very well behaved boy. As he has gotten older, we do struggle with minor back talk, a limited amount of disrespect, a lack of manners, and taking responsibility for his own actions. As a step parent, it is very difficult to discipline a child that is not your own. Especially when biological parents don't get along. Daddy and I agree on punishments, but I struggle to follow through with them when it is just me and Junior here alone. I've learned over the last 6 months that I need to be confident & consistent in order for him to respect me. This is one area we have vastly improved!

As a nine year old boy, Junior does not like to take responsibility for his actions. We often hear "Well its not my fault." Along with not taking responsibility for his actions, he has a difficult time remembering things that HE needs to do. There is a chore chart that he needs to complete daily, as well as regular rules to follow (respect is most important) As a parent in general, I think it is very frustrating when a child refuses to take responsibility for their actions & when they are forgetful (mostly distracted). However, there need to be repercussions for inappropriate actions & forgetting things that are important. We have come up with a chore chart & a list of consequences. Junior HATES to write, especially when it is about his behavior, so that is our punishment when he forgets his agenda/homework, breaks something, forgets to do something he was asked, etc. In my situation, it has been a struggle for where to draw the line of what is acceptable and what is not. I feel that if it were my own child, I would be MUCH more firm.

Step Children VS Biological Children
Which brings me into this topic. There are thousands of situations where I don't know how to respond, because this child is NOT my own. Even though he is with me all day & night, I really struggle to treat him as my own (except for the loving & spoiling). Junior is the only child in the house (for the time being) so I don't have any children of my own yet. But I fear that it will be extremely complicated to explain why Junior is treated "better" or has less rules than my own children. I will not hold back when it comes to my own children (because I wont have any fear about stepping on another's toes.) How do you handle children from different parents? Blended families are much more popular now than they were before, so its not uncommon to have children from multiple parents living under one roof.

My boyfriend works a lot! When school papers come home, I fill everything out for Junior, wait for dad to come home and sign them and then they end up in the junk mail pile, or tossed to the side and missing for a day or two. (I confess, some have accidently been thrown away when cleaning the kitchen table for dinner) The other intense paperwork and responsibility is medical stuff (insurance, doctor, allergist, dentist, etc.) When you are only "Dad's Girlfriend" you might as well just be non-existent when it comes to the school/medical/legal things. Unless you are the child's legal guardian, you won't get anywhere! But, wait . . . You are with the child 7 days a week, 24 hours a day (except for school) and drive him to/from school, sit in his doctor/dentist appointments with him, pick up his prescriptions, fill out all his paperwork, and care for him full time. So what's the big deal? The big deal is that my signature means NOTHING! My presence means NOTHING! And I feel like a nobody. So frustrating. But mom isn't involved in any of the above, and dad works more than 12 hours a day. As his caretaker/dads girlfriend, I am unable to make any real decisions. How do you change this? Oh yeah, you don't! Not even by being married. What do you do? Anyone?

Right now, these are only a few of the obstacles I am trying to overcome.
However, they are  not easy. Not even the slightest bit.
I'm not a very confident person (but the first to admit it!)
Confidence, Assertiveness . . . Neither one are in my personality traits list.

And quite frankly, I am a little fed up with the "NOBODY" status lately. Kicking off summer 2015, and just not excited about it.

I apologize for the venting, but does anyone else experience this stuff in a blended family?

To wrap this post up on a positive note, Junior does ask dad (too often) when he is going to marry me because it will be EASIER to just call me his step mom. Ha! Gotta love the honesty!!

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