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Posts Tagged ‘step-parenting’

Will you marry usEarlier this week, when a 3rd grader asked me whose mother I was, I explained that I was actually a step mom. I went on to explain that the child in question was super lucky because she had a mom AND a step mom.

The little boy was so confused. He said, “but you have to marry her dad” and I confirmed. Confused even more, he said, “but you cannot marry her dad until her mommy dies!”

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In case you don’t know, I (Missy) have started my book. Sadly, I needed almost 2 years after quitting my day job to actually get around to starting the writing process. But, I’m happy to report that my book idea is now my WIP (or Work in Progress for those of you who are non-writers).

As many writers do, I frequently jot down book topics when I am distracted and begin daydreaming about other areas of interest. My WIP is actually one of those randomĀ  topics rather than the topic I thought my book would be about (behavioral feeding therapy).

In preparation for this WIP, I have had to do some reading–a lot of reading. The topic (step-parenting) is somewhat completely outside of my area of expertise so I started studying. I went to Amazon and ordered several books that have become favorites for me. Ultimately, those books will be resources that I will reference in my book.

Step-Mothers and Their Step-Monster Behavior

One such resource was Stepmonster: A New Look at Why Real StepMothers Think, Feel, and Act the Way We Do. Wednesday Martin authored the book. She also has a blog if you want to check out some of her other writing.

Is Step-Monster Behavior Fueled by Jealousy?

In the introduction section of her book, Wednesday describes some of the horrible emotions that she felt about her new step-daughters in the early stages of her relationship with their father. One point she mentioned included the notion that step-daughters and step-mothers are all fighting for the attention of the same man.

Children Need Boundaries

I recall the first few years months of my relationship with my Bonus Daughters’ Dad. Sure enough, the girls fought for Daddy’s attention and they exhibited numerous jealousy behaviors directed straight at me (e.g., sitting between their father and me during dinner). However, I think that instead of fighting for attention and love, the girls were actually looking for boundaries.

You see the lines between parents and children can become cloudy if we are not careful. Do we let the children sleep with us? shower with us? wear our clothes? drink our beverages? and on and on. If parents fail to establish appropriate boundaries for their children, children will become confused and start to believe that they are adults with adult responsibilities.

Establishing Boundaries

Establishing boundaries with children is not an easy thing to do as it requires parents to say “no” or deny their children something they want. To read more about the importance of saying no, read one of our posts on the topic.

  • Boundaries should be established early in life.
  • Boundaries change based on the child’s age and family culture.
  • Boundaries teach…..boundaries.

Examples of Appropriate Boundaries

I see failed boundary setting on a regular basis in my own life and in those of people around me. However, before you take offense to any of these appropriate boundary suggestions, remember that cultural differences influence boundary appropriateness. Additionally, age really matters. For example, it is perfectly appropriate for an 8 month old to open mommy’s shirt in order to reach her breast and begin feeding. The same behavior would not be appropriate for an 18 year old and his/her mother.

  • Co-sleeping
  • Touching private body parts
  • Children eating parent’s food from parent’s plate
  • Children consuming adult beverages (e.g., coffee, alcohol)
  • Bedtimes (have one and stick to it)
  • Sharing adult gossip and adult conversations
  • Inappropriate friendships between parent and child
  • Family decision-making process (e.g., where to eat, what activities to do)

Readers, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think daughters are jealous of their step-monsters mothers or do you think the children are really asking for boundaries?

 

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