User post: How do you treat your Step Kids??

Why is it we as parents (or any human being for that matter) worry so much about what other people think? Is it because we want the status of "Great Parent"? or is it because we truley care about how how our kids see us? I for one would like to think it is because we all want our kids to think that they have the best parents.

Ok so lets get down to the nitty gritty. I think Step mothers have a harder time with this than Step fathers do. I am not trying to exclude fathers at all. I am a mother so I am coming from a mothers point of view, although I would really like to hear what fathers think on this matter. The matter (that I am taking so long to get to) is Step Kids.

I am a parent of 2 girls. One 8 year old and one 3 year old. I am also (some what of) a step parent. My SO and I are not married but have been togeather for 4 years. He has 2 boys. One 10 year old and one 6 year old. I hate to admit this but I am more lenient on the 2 boys. I am fully aware of my reasons for being this way with them but am not sure it is the right thing. Of cours as with all Step Parents I believe you treat your Step children differently than your own. I mean how could you not? They are not your kids. You always worry about the other mother not approving and do something dramatic like limiting the father to his rights of seeing his kids. And yes that has already happened in this relationship and it was completley wrong. Not to go off on another story but I feel you must know this. The other mother lied to the courts about the fathers parenting skills. Do you think the mother had to prove anything? heck no she had no proof of anything and the father was stripped of his rights. Now I must say that this only happened for a short while but none the less it still happened. Now I know that some fathers should be limited to their parenting rights (my daughters father should be) but some fathers out there are good fathers and have been given a bad name. And just for the sake of argument I think there are more good fathers than bad.

Anyway back on topic. As a Step mom I find myself trying harder to please my "Step" kids than pleasing my own. Is this really fair? When your a Stop mom you not only have to worry about how you treat your own kids but now you have the added bonus (and I say this with love) worring about how you treat someone elses kids. I am completely harder on my two girls than the two boys. I don't think this is fair at all to my girls but what do you do when you don't know what to do? How do you handle this kind of situation when you know that the other kids should be treated like your own and you should dicipline them like your own. If you do dicipline the other kids then you get to hear "I want to go home" followed by lots of crying or you get to hear "Shes NOT my mom" when someone says to them "your mom sure is nice" or something along those lines. As a mom I find this to be hurtful, even though I know I am not their mom it still hurts. Sometimes I find myself distancing myself from the step kids. I know this is wrong and I try very hard not to do it. Now don't get me wrong I don't think that my step kids have any bad feelings towards me at all, especially when they run around the house looking for me because they are excited to show me something.

Antoher scenario , I have a full time job. I work 40 hours a week. I make very good money for what I do. I do NOT receive child support for my daughters (their Dad thinks he doesn't have to pay, Yes he is a joke) The other mother however only works 2 days a week, depends on child support for means of income and also lives with her mother and father. Now I try very hard to make sure that all of the kids have what they need but some times I find myself angry because I buy more stuff for the boys than their own mother does. I think to myself "Am I trying to buy the boys love or am I getting them these things because I really want to?" I have even stopped myself from buying them things because I have to really think about the reason why I am buying whatever for them.

So (because this is running so long) how do we know as Step Parents that how we treat our step kids is right? When do we say "Enough is enough"? How and when do we know that what we are doing with the step kids is hurting our own kids? Should you put your own kids in front of the step kids?

I know we would all like to think that we are the best parent for our kids but stop to think about when you were a kid, do you remember having thoughts of "I wish they were my parents instead of my own?" I would really hate to hear my own kids say that about me.