Thursday, July 15, 2010

Step Parents

I am happy (and lucky) to say I do not have any. My parents have been married for almost 40 years, but Shelby has one (a step parent).  It has come to my attention that even though she has had one for almost a year there are still a few kinks that have not been worked out.
Driving home one afternoon this week my phone rings and I answer (I know…call Oprah, I picked up my cellphone in the car), it is my x-husband.
He says, “I need to talk to you about Shelby.  She has been disrespecting Julia.”
I say, “Really? In which way?” Not meaning disrespect by my questioning, I just needed to know.
His response, “Well things like she doesn’t say thank you.”
Here is where I giggle.  I think we have bigger fish to fry with Shelby’s attitude then whether or not she says thank you all the time.  I understand it is important and I strive for my child to respect her elders , but Miss Attitude does things that could be consider a tad bit more disrespectful then not saying thank you. Still this leaves me convicted about Shelby’s situation.
On one hand I would like to remind my x-husband that I went through a good six months of Shelby being very very angry at me due to the divorce. I think now that anger (which I know isn’t good) is now directed towards him and his wife.
Did (or do you) have step-parents? Did you have an adjustment period? Did you have anger at the step-parent even though they really had nothing to do with your current situation?
There are a whole slew of reasons why Shelby is upset and probably taking it out on her stepmother, I think it would be best to leave those unpublished. I guess my dilemma is teaching Shelby that everyone will have different rules and if she chooses to see her father (it has gotten to the point where it is her choice) then she will have to deal with the rules of his house. This includes tell her stepmother “thank you” often.  
Oh, I could say so much on this topic, but I should probably leave that to my ranting (and laughing) phone calls with my Mom.


  1. You handled that quite well Dana! I always told my kids that she was their father's wife and he loves her, so they should respect her as they would their father...Unfortunately that didn't work out too wel. When they got older (about 12)they chose not to go visit their father anymore coz of the step-mom. They are adults now and have met and like the new prospective step-mom (their father divorced the other one...not coz of the kids, he wouldn't not that!). ~MCF

  2. I am a stranger who just came across your blog but I want to comment since I had a stepmother (my dad then got divorced a second time so now I have an ex-stepmother!). My parents got divorced when I was really young and my dad met someone when I was 10. They got serious really quickly and moved in together. My parents had shared custody so I lived with my dad and stepmom half the time, along with her 2-year-old daughter. She was nice to me and tried to be a balance of friend and mother figure, and looking back, she didn't do a bad job. I was horrible to her at first, though. Even though I was used to going back and forth between my parents' houses, I did not know how to deal with another woman intruding into my time with my dad. (I am an only child so I think I was a bit spoiled, as my parents each spent a lot of time with just me.) I did stupid stuff like throw her hairbrush in the toilet and write mean notes (I honestly didn't mean for them to be found, but unfortunately they were). My dad had to sit down and have a talk with me. He simply told me she was a person too, no one is perfect, we are all trying to make things work and she just wants to be accepted. Eventually I understood, and by the time they got married I was happy for them. It just takes time. I think you just have to be honest and say this is hard on everyone but we can handle it if everyone treats each other with mutual respect. Sounds like you are doing a good job! Sorry for my super long comment!


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