24 Jan

The Harsh Realities of Step Parenting

We all know that step parenting can be difficult. Ordinarily biological parenting already comes with its challenges, talk less of step parenting. It is literally one of the hardest choices a parent can make. We have compiled a number of eye openers for prospective step parents to properly prepare their minds before making certain decisions.

Here are some realities to expect when becoming a Step parent:
You can never replace the biological parent.
This is one of the hardest pills you have to swallow early enough as a step parent. Your step children will always feel an attachment to their biological parent, regardless of the circumstances that led to you being in their life. With this, you also have to accept that their biological parents will likely still have a say in some of the major decisions that affect your step child, and in turn, your family. This one might be hard to accept, but remember, your step children still need their parents in their lives. Everything is a work in progress.

You will get a lot of criticism, judgment and mockery.
In Nigeria especially, this is almost a given. The society is conditioned to judge every situation they consider to be different from the norm, and unfortunately “broken” homes and families fall under that category. People will ask unsolicited and rude questions and even offer unnecessary suggestions. Some will call you evil and try to shame you and your choices while others will feign pity for you. At the end of the day, all of that is just noise. You are the one making your decision and you need to be grounded and sure of your reasons before committing. That way, it is easier to not let what they say get to you.

Your Step Children might dislike/ despise you
You need to understand that the children are still attached to their biological parents and will likely see you as someone trying to replace that position in their life. Except for really young children, it will be very hard for the child to not hold some kind of resentment towards you. Your only option here is patience and love. At the end of the day, they are just children who are hurt. It is your job to provide love, care and support regardless.

Learning boundaries
Trying to figure out boundaries with your step children is going to be a work in progress. The boundaries you have with them are going to be different from the boundaries they have with their biological parents. You need to be careful not to overstep. However, if you overstep, you need to be ready to deal with it properly and have a conversation that addresses it so that your stepchildren know you care enough to talk about it.

More responsibility, Less authority
As a step parent, you will have all the responsibility of raising your stepchildren from preparing them for school in the morning, to doing laundry, paying for things, etc and you might have little to no appreciation in return for this. Also, your authority as the step parent is not as respected. So you do all that work geared towards the child’s growth but you have no authority to correct them or scold them because it would look like you are over-stepping and you are automatically seen as the bad guy by your step children.

Conclusion
These are only some realities to be expected when becoming a parent. Honestly, it could vary depending on the situation of your family. We can agree on one thing though, becoming a step parent is not easy. There will be a lot of challenges in different ways and forms but in the end you need to remember that it will be worth it.Developing that love between you and your step children and watching them grow to love and respect you in return is a wonderful sight to behold. Remember, love and patience are key tools when relating with your step children.

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