Wondering on Wednesday: Are stepparents real parents?

Posted On November 18, 2009

Filed under life, Out of my element, self

Comments Dropped 8 responses

Even though Tricia hasn’t written in a very long time, I feel the need to use her Wednesday theme.  I hope that my take on it makes you think as much as she made me think.

Generally speaking, stepparents have few rights.  We can’t take our stepchildren to the doctor without a note from their biological parent.  We can’t sign field trip permission slips.  If the marriage fails, we can’t demand visitation rights. 

I have seen stepparents that don’t even know their stepchildren.  I have seen stepparents who are not allowed to interact with thier stepchildren.  I have also seen children that know their stepparent more than their biological parent.

To me, stepparents are as much of a parent as they are allowed to be.  Its up to the family as a whole to decide what role the stepparent will play.  Each situation is unique and has it own challenges, but I believe that stepparents are real parents if they choose to be and if they are encouraged to be.

What do you think?  Are step-parents real parents?


8 Responses to “Wondering on Wednesday: Are stepparents real parents?”

  1. Kathi

    sometimes step parents are BETTER than the ‘donor’ parents!!
    anyone can be a father/mother, but the people who make the BIG differences in a childs life are the GUIDES they have around them-shared blood or NOT.
    I truly wonder why evolution gave some women ovaries these days.. ;>S
    the important thing to remember is even tho no blood is shared, you are still in the very important position of being a role model and counselor.. and it sounds as if you are KICKING ASS at it wicked one!!
    head into the headlights full tilt boogie and do your very best-the kids are well worth it [as you already know]
    keep up the good work!
    [and keep in mind that even biological parents have plenty of ups & downs..maybe even more! hehe]

  2. Casey

    Hell yes they’re real parents. My dad is my step dad and is way more of a father than the sperm donor ever was. And you’re those kid’s mom.

  3. Mary Anne

    In a lot of cases, stepparents are much more “real” than biological parents. I have a friend that married a woman with a 5 yo son. This child’s biological father is a complete mess, drugs, jail, no job, you name it, and has never been a consistent part of his kids life, even when he was able. My friend is the only “father” that this kid knows, and my friend’s family still treats this kid, now in high school, as a member of their family, even though the marriage ended some time ago. I honestly think that it is what keeps this kid from following in his “real father’s” footsteps.
    I agree that there are probably “levels of realness” and a lot depends on where and with whom the children live. I think it is so unfortunate that step parents that are the “real” parents have all of the responsibility and few of the rights.

  4. Tricia

    Great question, and there could be as many answers as there are parenting situations, I suppose. I so believe what you say is true…stepparents are parents too, but the level of parenting we participate in is so dependent on the dynamics of the family. My stepchildren have a very loving, involved mother and I’d never want to take her place, but together she and I both add to the kids lives and parent in our own ways. So much depends on how the biological parents behave, how involved they are or are not, and whether or not they are encouraging of a stepparents relationship with the children. In my humble opinion, there are never too many loving, honorable adults in a child’s life and the title, in the end doesn’t matter as much as the bond we create.

    PS: We must have been on the same brain wave today…I just signed back in to start blogging again. 🙂 Hope all has been well with you and the tribe.

  5. Sprite's Keeper

    I think your answer nails it, WSM.
    You’re a parent as much as you’re allowed to be and the family as a whole has a say.

  6. Maureen@IslandRoar

    They can be as real as adoptive parents. Like you said, I guess it depends on the family. I think it’s sad when there’s no interaction, and it probably generally says more about the parents than the stepparent. Your girls are lucky to have you and fortunately the Bear knows it.

  7. Jamie

    Such a tough question. I want to say yes, especially when the step parent is doing the primary raising. Like you said we have no rights which is one part. The other problem I find is that often I am reminded that they are not my children that I did NOT give birth to them….. I hate to admit it, but when life comes down and I am being critized for what I am doing with the girls I quickly grab onto what I am told and point out that they are not mine….. I know that sounds horrible, but it is true….

  8. Jenny

    I want to echo everything Tricia said. She said my thoughts perfectly. Fortunately, my girls’ mom is involved in their life, we have a good relationship, and together we get things done for the girls. But all the same, I hate not having the rights as their biological parents. I would do anything for them. I wish they were ‘mine.’

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