i'm not a step parent, but I'm curious what those of you who are think of this guys take on it.
I'm a step-parent.
Good article - I agree mostly with the last paragraph. In our case, my husband is my kids' stepdad because their bio dad passed away, so there is only one "dad" in the picture. Husband/stepdad and I always try to present ourselves as a united front to the kids and they are expected to listen to him and respect him as well as myself. Neither one of us discounts their feelings toward their bio dad - it's just that we believe, in order to function well as a family, that's how it has to be. As long as they are minors, anyway. We've hit a few bumps in the road, but for the most part it has gone well for nearly five years now.
Do you think that things would be different if bio dad was alive?
I feel very much like the author of this article. I grew up in a stepdad/mom and new siblings family (they had kids together, he didn't bring kids in) from the time I was 3. I called my SD "dad" until he died a year ago. It had NO bearing on my relationship with my dad- who lived out of state, but was very, very involved. In fact, we lived in the same state as adults for 11 years til he remarried last year and now we talk daily. Neither minded or resented the other. My "Ohio dad" had five kids (two came with the marriage) and my "Chicago dad" had three kids (my sister and I, and one from a brief second marriage).
I think the idea of a stepparent not being able to discipline a kid is bizarre - same as the babysitter, grandmother or teacher not being able to discipline. I divorced and brought my own two girls into a marriage - similar, I guess ;) - with a guy who had no kids. We had two additional kids. We are one family, they call my husband "dad" and even though they loved their father until he died two years ago, that didn't diminish their love for my dh. Why is it that you can equally love grandparents but not have two dads or two moms? What about my gay friends who have kids? Can they love their two moms?
You better believe that I expected my dh to treat my kids like his own - we even wrote wills shortly after our marriage naming the girls as the same as his natural born children (and later, after my ex died, he adopted them, so that point is now moot). I did NOT expect my girls to treat/love dh the same as their bio dad (they started calling dh dad on their own). But, after many years of being there for them every day, they love him very, very much. I can honestly, truly say that I didn't love my SD any less than my bio father. You might get along with one parent better than another - just like we all thought my grandma A was kind of tough to live with, lol, and grandma T was a pushover sweetie- but I loved them both the same.
Oh, and I think it's CRUEL to say to kids "you can always go live with your dad" or the like. No matter how bad kids are being, they need to know that you love them and are here for them no matter what. Luckily, my dh is the calmer of we two and the one time I screeched to him "I wish she would go live with ex" he quickly told me, "that's not an option... and we need her to know that we love her enough to keep her with us forever, no matter what."
My two cents...