“Dad’s Wife” The Real Reasons Stepkids Don’t Consider Us Family By Brenda Snyder, LCSW
Parents are parents. Grandparents are grandparents. So decreed my stepson, during the height of his wedding planning (circa 2009). A seemingly innocuous statement, I knew that he was ensuring that I would be recognized only as his “dad’s wife” and that my mother would not be given a corsage. I was 13 years into this stepfamily and, thus, had a pretty thick skin by that time.
Still, what is it about this stepkid relationship that makes it impossible for them to recognize us stepmoms as part of their families? In my experience, there are at least five reasons they fail to bring us into the fold.
Even when your stepkids like you—heck, maybe even more when they like you—they don’t quite know what to do with you. They already have a mom and chances are she’s not your biggest fan. Their relationship with you is expendable and the one they have with Mom can be tenuous, based on certain behaviors and expectations she has.
Some stepchildren even admit that their moms are happiest when they engage in insulting or disparaging their stepmoms. Yet, all kids want parental approval. Making up stuff about you is a relatively small price to pay to get it. …To read the rest of this article, log in and download the July 2018 issue. Don’t have an account? Click here to subscribe.