Other Mom/Step-Moms Advice...

Updated on June 19, 2013
K.B. asks from West Jordan, UT
8 answers

Since February of this year, we have had our son living with us full-time; we used to get him every other wknd so it's been an adjustment but a very positive one. I've known him since he was 2; my husband and I had two other kids as well. I used to really let my husband and his former wife (this child's mom) work everything out when it came to his care as I didn't want to "butt in". However, the past few months, I have really seen a change in his mom. I know within my heart that he NEEDS another Mom figure and I've been trying to step-it-up a bit more at involving myself in his life without being too overbearing but just loving and caring. He is having some major issues with his biological mom right now (a lot of it with choices she is making etc.). I would like some ADVICE and Suggestions from the Mamas out there who've been in similar shoes. Thanks much...

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answers from Sacramento on

I raised two children that were not mine. What I did was treat them like they were mine. I disciplined them and loved them the same way I did my own daughter. I let them know that together we would always be family even if they chose to go back to their mom one day. That if that was their choice I would always love them and they would always have me in their lives and in their corner. I also told them that they would always have their mom and I was not going to take her place, but in my house I was the mom. When the time came that their mom got her life together enough to take them back one chose to stay with me. She still calls me Mom.

9 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

I think the most important thing is, what does the child need? I'm a stepmom, and while I would NEVER try to replace her bio mom, I do "step" up when she needs someone. It's what stepmoms do. Step up, step back. Constantly!

One thing you can do is be the mom figure in your home. Love him like your own son, treat him like your own son in your own home. Yes, leave the major discipline up to his dad, but do discuss what kinds of things are acceptable. It should be okay for you to give a time-out, or take away a toy. Think of what would be appropriate for a teacher to give a student. If you don't cross that line, you should be okay. I've always given my SD time-outs or taken away toys that weren't being treated nicely. Her father decides if she needs grounding or larger punishment.

My SD has issues with her bio mom and I try to help her work through them. I help her to see that she is loved by her bio mom, and that her bio mom is trying but sometimes makes mistakes. I never speak bad about her, but I do listen to my SD when she talks. I try to encourage her to have a good relationship with her.

I think you should talk to your husband about what kind of a role you could play so that he is comfortable in supporting you in it. I think the best thing you could do is just give your stepson love and attention. You don't have to be a "mom" to give love and attention. It's perfectly acceptable for stepmoms to love their stepchildren, in your own special way. A child cannot have too many people in their lives that love them!

Feel free to message me. I know that being a stepparent is hard. I do NOT believe that you should always butt out, and that the child "has a mom." You can never replace his mom, nor do you want to! But you CAN have a special place in his life. After all, the goal that you, his bio dad and bio mom have is to successfully raise the child into an adult. It should not be about who does what, you should all step in when something needs to be done. If you all work TOGETHER, this can totally happen!

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Loving and caring is great. As a step-mom, you are one of his moms, so you should be a mother figure, especially if he wants and needs one.

The usual advice to step-parents is to leave most of the disciplining to the biological parent, but you've known him a long time, so it seems to me that you can and should do most of the same things with him that you do with your other kids.

It sounds like you're on the right track.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

You seem to have a lovely attitude. Some step-moms just don't WANT to step up. They have an attitude about it and have 20 excuses as to why they don't get close to their step-kids.

You keep showing him love and understanding. If he knows he can come to you and you are there for him, that's huge.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

You sound wonderful. You do not mention SS age. Is he in elementary, middle or high school. Some of this can make a difference.

I think most Stepmoms can step up and step in.. as long as they know when to step back.

I agree to have his father do the hard discipline.

You are allowed to compliment son just as you do your bio children, but when the few times he messes up to say, "I know you can do better."
"I have seen you behave better than this." "Tell me what is going on, you do not normally make these type of choices."

The other thing I loved about my relationship with my mom, was that we could talk about anything. Even if it was a sensitive subject.

She admitted she was not perfect. She apologized for mistakes she would sometimes make with us. She would admit when she was changing her mind and would explain it to us. I felt like I had a real mom, that was not hiding information, was not underestimating my ability to understand.

This is a chance to start explaining women and how our minds work to him.

As Women, we change over time.. And we embrace change. This is news to men, because they hang on to what works and what is comfortable.

I do not know what his moms problems are, but if it is a change in personality.. it could be depression. If she used to be responsible and now she has gone a bit wild, could be she is tired of being responsible.

You have a spouse, if she does not, it could be getting to her. If she does have a significant other, could be a relationship problem.. But whatever it is, you being able to be there for SS, without judgement.. he will appreciate you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Depends on what the issues are. We were custodial when the kids were under 18.

There's no need, IMO, to think of it as "replace" because you won't. She'll always be his mom and he'll have to navigate his issues with her. But there's also no reason not to pack his lunch, make sure he brushes his teeth, host or take him to see friends, take him to school, help with his homework, etc. I would just look for places where you know your DH could use some support, just as you would with any of the kids. I would leave it to DH to sign the field trip forms (even if you chaperone) and anything legal. My DH took the sks to the doctor unless there was a reason he couldn't (like going to the dentist for a routine cleaning). DH grounded them if necessary, but I would enforce basic house rules (no going out til you cleaned your room).

You can't make her be the mom she should be to him. You can just support him as he tries to work through his reactions to her behavior.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I liked Cheerful M's answer a lot. I don't have a step mom, but I have let my relationship with my bio-mom go and now find what I need from my MIL and (much) older sister. They do not "actively" replace her or try, but I seek them out for what a mom would do.

I'm sure his mom loves him (remind him of that), but some people are just screwed up and can't give everything that their kids need emotionally. Talk to your hubby about how he'd like to present things re. bio-mom, then support that without tearing her down. Be there for your step-son. Hugs!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I am now divorced. My ex husband and my (adult) son are great still. I have no relationship with his (adult) daughter. I just think moms do not make good stepmoms.

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