11 answers

Step-mom Raising Her Step-children

I just took on watching my step-children about 3 months ago (2 and 5 [girls]). I am with them now more than their own mother and father because I watch them for their mom as well. She does pay me...(not much at all, which sometimes I feel weird about but we do have to make a living) but everyone says that step-parents should not be the one to discipline but since I am home with them I have no choice and I feel like my relationship with them is going down the drain! Especially when my husband comes home and all of a sudden I feel as though I cant discipline them when I have been doing it all day! I would feel bad putting them in a daycare since they already go back and forth to two houses, but I feel like I'm losing it here with my step-kids and my husband. Even if they went to a different daycare I would stay home regardless because of my 8-month son... would that make me look like I'm just being selfish, though? Such a horrible feeling :(

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It's only been a few months, so the transition will take time for everyone. But it sounds to me like you're the primary caregiver now, and you should be given some leeway in terms of doling out both love and discipline.
K. in EC

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I feel that your husband should back you after all like you said you are the one home with them ALL day..And he cant just expect to come home and undo everything you have done..That will just make the next day hard on all of you..I feel that if your husband and his ex trust you enough to watch them then they should allow you to disipline the girls..After all you are their step mom and you take care of them the most..I mean its ok for you to be in their life and get them dress feed them bathe them kiss thier boo boo's but you cant disipline them?? Theres something wrong with that..Good luck I hope things work out for you..

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J., I read your request and I could really relate. Although my stepchildren are much older than yours. I don't think age matters. My husband and I dated for 4 years but lived together for 2 of those years. Blending families is very difficult. The most important thing I have found is you and your husband need to be on the same page and support eachother when it comes to the kids. We went through a year of counseling in order to figure if it was all worth it. I have 3 children 14,13 and 7 he has a 16 and 21 year old. But 2 years ago it was alot harder. As soon as the kids figured out we supported eachother and they could not work us against eachother, things started changing. Don't get me wrong we still have issues that come up now and then. But the counseling really helped. If that is not an option I would recommend sitting down with your husband and come up with what you both feel is appropriate disapline for the kids and stick to it. Hope this helps. D

If all the adults are on speaking terms, I would sit down and have a talk. I'd discuss discipline and find out what works and what doesn't. Then make sure everyone is on the same page. Discipline works best when everyone is on the same page and it is consistent. If the girls know the rules, it is easier to abide by them - from everyone. If that is not an option, then at least sit down with your husband to laydown the ground rules. Being a step-parent should be no different than being a biological/adoptive parent. A parent is the person that is raising and loving you. Trust me, I know this very well! I have a step father and an adopted son, plus a biological son! As for feeling selfish if the older ones went to daycare while the youngest stayed home, that sounds sane to me! My oldest attends a pre-K speech class five days a week for four hours a day. My baby stays with me, it's the way I keep sane and get the laundry done (I have two boys and a husband). Good luck!

i had a step mom also and if the mom is wanting you to babysit they are in your control and if they dont want you to disipline them they shouldn't have them with you . i think it should be brought up in front of both parent regardless who gets mad. You are a babysitter i am also and when the child is in my home iam the adult. how are the parents expecting you to watch them, do they want there kids to make the rules. i dont think so . i think you should tell them iam in control or find another babysitter. money will come just have faith .your health and you own son should be took care of first and you haveing the stress if someone is going to get mad at a decision you made with their kids, you health will not be okay.

O.K. you have to stop watching the step children for your husbands ex-wife. This is because it's crossing some boundries that seem to be making you uncomfortable. Yes you may be staying home with your son but that should not mean you have to watch the girls also ESPECIALLY if she's not paying you consistently. You could come up with a pay plan but that still makes things awkward when your husband comes home because then your role of caregiver changes to stepmom. I can understand that the girls would have to do alittle bit of shuffling around if they went to daycare, but many families do it. I'm a daycare provider and single mother myself of a now 12 yr old girl, let the girls mother and father do the discipline and you do the easy job and just enjoy time with your ever growing family.

You and your husband need to clearly define what you are creating together. Then every decision and interaction between the two of you and your family is in answer to that shared prayer.

How your husband treats you and honors you is going to be mirrored in the children. Also, refering to you as their second mommie may help unify the family as well.

I have no experience with step children at all, but who says you aren't supposed to discipline them? If they are in your care and in your home, even if their dad is home too. You have every right to discipline them. As long as you, your husband and the mom are on the same wavelength, it shouldn't be a problem. However, if your husband and the kids mom are not, they both need to talk and get on the same thought process. EIther way, you should try to discipline the same way your husband would. If you two are not, its very important that you two be on the same thought process too to raise your own bio kids. The step kids should be treated as your own kids are when they are at your house! Good luck.

It's only been a few months, so the transition will take time for everyone. But it sounds to me like you're the primary caregiver now, and you should be given some leeway in terms of doling out both love and discipline.
K. in EC

Well I had 3 children when I got married to my now husband so the only thing I tell him is that we work together as a team and what one says stands , just remain a team cause if not the kids will know who to run to (of course the parent that sides with them) Hope this helps u

Hi J.,

Step-parenting is really soooo hard! I think our family made it through because my husband gave me full "rights" right off the get-go. It is your house too, and you're with them all day, which means you are essentially raising them. Whoever said step-parents shouldn't discipline was never a step parent! They test you in much more difficult ways than your own children will. You and your hubby need to have a heart to heart and then the three of you sit down and work this out. I worked for my husband's ex for a long time and I did feel weird, but it helped us see each other as real people, not that witch that hurt my husband...it's better for the kids that way too. So hang in there. I do think the major problem at this point is your hubby's attitude. Good luck!

V. T.

First, when you said "but everyone says that step-parents should not be the one to discipline but since I am home with them I have no choice and I feel like my relationship with them is going down the drain!" -- are these people that actually have stepkids?

Since you're raising them, and your husband isn't there, you're the authority figure....but, in order for this to happen, he's the one that gives you authority since those are his kids. He needs to tell them to listen to you. You're raising his kids as much as you're raising your own....you can be the disciplinarian..if they don't listen to you when they're in your care...then who would they listen to?

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