Want to Avoid becoming the “Wicked Step Mother/Father”? Here’s How

Are you or anyone you love remarried with children?  Has the “going” been tougher than you thought? You’re not alone, Today 4 in 10 new marriages involve remarriage.  In this article I’d like to share a little wisdom gleaned from my own experience as a Mom and a Step-Mom of some really great (now grown) kids.

In 2003 I met the love of my life.  We dated for three years before tying the knot in 2006.  My husband’s kids were around the same age as mine and I absolutely adored them and It was fabulous how well his children seemed to get along with mine.

However, we were rookies, blind and dumb we forged ahead with our new relationship, kids and all.   Our lives as a blended family had lots of challenges.  We made it through the tough times and made many mistakes learned valuable lessons along the way.

The Brady Bunch didn’t do us any favors when they portrayed the happy-go-lucky Brady family and its light-hearted story-lines and perfect endings in every episode.  They made it look so easy!


You are not the Brady Bunch so tread lightly.

The Brady’s were a made-up family who had producers and directors choreographing their lives every second.  Each episode ending with the whole family winding up in perfect loving harmony with one another.  But let’s face it, that’s not reality!

I could write an entire book about the personal challenges of step-parenthood, and maybe I will.  But at the moment I’d like to share the single most important thing that everyone needs to know before attempting to bring two families together.

First comes Love – Don’t be a disciplinarian!

Grow a loving relationship with your partner’s children before being any kind of disciplinarian.  Anything else will lead to resentment and likely cause damage to your marriage in the long-run.   Just be their friend.  The health, welfare and well-being of your spouse’s children is the responsibility of your partner and the child’s other parent.  Stay out of it and enjoy being out of it!  Be fun, play games, show interest in them and the things they are interested in.  If they just want to be left alone, then leave them alone and try again later.  Enjoy being the fun, kind and giving person that you are.  Discipline is a tough job, and not one meant for a step-parent.

What if you are left in charge of your spouse’s kids?

Spend the time doing things that build the relationship between you and your step kids.  Don’t spend it trying to grow them into better adults, that’ll backfire and is your partner’s job anyway.

Why do we need to treat our step-children differently?

Your own children love you in a special way and it is a bond like no other.  You are their lifeline and they are often helpless without you. The trust and love relationship has been established and when parental consequences come into play your children will still love and need you.

To a child parental discipline and “parenting” just doesn’t feel right coming from anyone other than Mom or Dad.  I know it doesn’t sound easy.  But attempting to blend two families never is.  (No matter what Mike and Carol Brady have tried to show us.  Besides, they had Alice.  Wouldn’t it be great if we all had an Alice?)


If you must dole out some consequences:

One thing is certain if you find yourself in a position where you’ve got to dole out consequences to your partner’s kids, make sure you do it out of genuine love.  Follow it up with at least three or four acts that will be perceived by your step kids as acts of love, value and kindness for them.

I realize that my view is simplistic.   There are many variables I haven’t touched upon, such as are there other children involved? How do you take charge alone when all of the kids are together? Is your step-child’s other parent in the picture, and so on.

Not everyone who reads this will agree with me, but in the long-run it’ll work out better for everyone and you’ll avoid the title of “Wicked Step Mother/Father”.

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Thank You for reading and be fearless!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Janice Wald says:

    These are very important tips for both the biological parents and the stepparents. I wish I had read the mini years ago when I asked my husband to be my daughters disciplinarian. They still do not get along as a result. She still resents him more than 10 years later. All we can do is what seems right at the time.
    Maybe you can check out my blog if you need any blogging tips. That’s what I write about.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim says:

      It’s never easy. Thanks for taking the time to comment! I’ll check out your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Janice Wald says:

        Hi Kim,
        Thank you for your reply. I will look forward to your visit to my site. I blog over at MostlyBlogging.com.


  2. Nancy Fay says:

    Dear Kim,
    I felt you provided great insight into being a Step Parent. Numerous friends of mine entered the Step parent role after the age of Fifty. Many of the points you highlight run true even when the “children” are adults…One has to accept their learned family values and how they interact within their birth families, accept you will never be their Mother or Father, you must learn a whole new set of family dynamics without question, and no matter what, your spouse or partner will never know or can appreciate what cute, loving babies they once were. It appears much easier to recognize flaws instead of positives, and if you are the Stepparent, it is best to keep these to yourself or endanger offending your mate who may perceive these as criticisms of child rearing in previous years instead of an observation. Blending loved ones into the perfect family portrait cannot be the realistic goal, but embracing a feeling of respect, honesty, a deep caring bordering on real maternal/paternal love can create a harmonious depiction of kinship, although man made, as a true gift to cherish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim says:

      Nancy, Thank you for taking time out to comment on this article! It’s beautifully written, and rings true in so many ways. We’re well-meaning but often misunderstood. Appreciate your insight. Hugs.. xoxox — Kim


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