Do you remember getting any step parenting advice? From your school, friends, family and the media!?
I certainly don’t, but then again, despite today’s modern family dynamics, we still all grow up thinking we’ll find the one, get married, buy a house and start having babies, with that one person forever. We never dare to think that perhaps we’ll spilt from the one and move on to co-habit with other partners with children, or that the ONE has already had kids!
Are we all still pre-disposition to expect the fairytale of the perfect domestic situation of 2.4 children, and the perfect little nuclear family? I am not even sure whether that statistic is even relevant today, perhaps it has changed, but I didn’t get the memo.
In all seriousness, nothing really ever prepares you for becoming a step-parent, or having a ‘blended family’, which I think is a new term!?
Even my own Mother was a step-parent to 4 additional children during my teen years, nothing prepared her for it either. Sure, you can be a fully-fledged parenting machine, having practiced on 2 kids already, but then BAM you fall in love, ‘blend’ your family. You have to begin parenting 3 teenagers and a pre-pubescent who are essentially strangers, and your world turns upside down.
My memories of that time are horrific – of course I was on my Mom’s side in any situation, but I never thought to question how the ‘other’ kids (who happened to be the same age as me) nor myself about how we really felt about things and whether WE were prepared to be step-parented and our families blended and ALL that that entailed. My poor Mum tried so hard to ‘blend’ our families, lifestyles, rules, traditions etc and the whole effort sadly failed.
To put it bluntly, it was obvious that neither her nor her husband had been given an ounce of step parenting advice.
I don’t think anything could have prepared any of us for that time in our lives, and I wish there was some sort of program, or paid-for family session to help with that – hindsight is a good thing huh!?
I think the blade was blunt before the family blender was even switched on.
Suffice to say, those years were not rosy, at all.
The idea for this post came from the way my morning routine went down today. Mr S and I have our son (his son, my step-son) to stay over one night in the week as well as the weekends.
So on a Wednesday morning we get up, pack his school lunch, and get him ready, Mr S does the school run. My office hours start really early at an ungodly hour and so I am usually the one flying out the door leaving the boys to their breakfast and usual routine.
However, this morning as I said my goodbyes, which is a kiss from Mr S and usually a quick squidge from SS (step-son) mid Cheerio munch and not much else, but THIS morning I received a hug that was never ending. That boy hugged me so hard and would not let go. I was 45 minutes late for work, but I don’t mind.
Driving to work I was wondering, “What has changed”? This gorgeous little boy is now 9 years old, I met him when he was 5 and although we always had a giggle and lots of fun (I took the ‘friendly’ approach to getting to know him) I had never received such open love and affection from him until now.
I guess I will never know, I certainly never received step parenting advice, I am sure it may have helped but I guess I got there eventually with creating a bond with him over time, feeling my way around the ins and outs, and ups and downs of step-parenting in the dark.
But I question this, in today’s society, and especially to those entering into relationships with others who have children – where will you go to for step parenting advice!?
I’ve found a few great resources with step parenting advice which may help you or someone you know.
I found a great site with fantastic step parenting advice; "Being a Step Parent". It covers many aspects, opinions from all family members, and professional suggestions on being a step parent.
Some great reads with advice on step-parenting, blending families and advice just for step-mothers – you’ll see that I have chosen a few books with some great advice on step-parenting, it is great to see that there is some information out there….
Are you a step parent or know someone who is? Where did you find advice on step-parenting?
Step Parenting Advice – UPDATE
Also, is it ok to call yourself a “Mother” even if you are only of the ‘step’ variety. Just want to clear this up once and for all…..
Here’s to hoping that more authority and enthusiasm will be given to helping families and individuals out with advice on step-parenting.