He Said/She Said: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Becoming a Stepparent

1. Your Household Is Greatly Influenced by the Ex

Whether you want them to or not, your partner’s ex often sets the tone in your household. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they definitely have a significant influence on the happenings in your home.

2. You Don’t Always Feel At Home in Your Home

Becoming a stepparent means cohabiting with your partner’s kids at least part of the time. At first, you might feel like a visitor in your own home. That comfortable feeling isn’t necessarily something you must “earn”, but it does take time for familiarity to fall into place.

3. You Might Not Love Your Stepchildren at First

Just because you fall in love with someone doesn’t guarantee that you’ll fall in love with their kids. So, you might not love them at first. And you shouldn’t feel forced or expected to do so. Showing them respect is really the main goal at the beginning.

4. They Probably Won’t Love You at First Either

Just like you might not fall for them at first sight, they might not fall for you either. This is yet another normal experience in becoming a stepparent. Blending your lives will likely take more time than it took for you to fall in love with their parent.

5. They Might Even Blame You for Their Parents’ Breakup

A lot of times, becoming a stepparent means playing the role of scapegoat. There’s a good chance that the kids will blame you for their parents’ split. Yes, you may have met your partner years after the breakup and still find yourself playing the part of scapegoat. It’s unfortunate, but young minds can be far too naive to think otherwise.

6. You Won’t Be Considered a “Real” Parent

You’ll likely have the responsibilities of a biological parent, but won’t always or sometimes reap the rewards of a biological parent. More than anything, the reward is internal. Be aware that comments about you not being the “real” parent might come in abundance. And, they will probably sting.

7. You’re the Boss but You’re Not the Boss

Although you are equally yoked in an intimate relationship with your partner, you are still not equally the boss. Your partner has been deemed the boss, and there is indeed a chain of command in parenting stepchildren. Be prepared to come in last much of the time.

8. You Could Play the “Third Wheel” Often

You’ll be the tag-a-long while your partner spends time with the kids. While this undoubtedly will take some pressure off of you, you might experience a slight feeling of exclusion. This negative feeling could prove to be a jagged pill to swallow.

9. Your Parental Instincts Might Not Even Kick In

Often, procreating jumpstarts your parental instincts. Some might expect that becoming a stepparent will do the same thing. But it doesn’t always work this way. More often than not, you probably won’t be sure if you’re doing the right thing at all.

10. There Will Be Lots of Misunderstandings

It takes a while to get used to another person and get to know how they operate. Establishing the dynamics of a blended family takes more time than most other dynamics. In the meantime, misunderstandings will happen. You might mistake manipulation for love or even love for manipulation, and that’s perfectly normal.

If you’re caught in the complex throes of becoming a stepparent, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Together we can navigate your complicated emotions and help you to better adjust to the new dynamics of your life.