One of the reasons why we like the story of Cinderella is despite her disadvantaged circumstances and mistreatment at the hands of her stepmother and stepsisters in the end she is able to attend the ball in fabulous style, gets hooked up with the prince and lives happily ever after. We love it when the underdog has a happy ending.
With your stepson there will be no fairy godmother that will come along to make up for the damage caused by the break-up of his first family or because of your mistakes as a stepfather. Is it possible to treat your stepson unfairly and still be able to positively influence him?
If you’re serious about having an influential role in your stepson’s life you must start thinking of your wife’s son as your son. Speak with your spouse to be before you say, “I do” to ensure you are both in agreement with that role. With that said here are some things to consider:
- The parent and stepparent typically do not treat children in the blended family equally.
- Many stepparents find it difficult to love their stepchildren.
- Remarried spouses frequently make their biological children a greater priority than their new spouse which strains the marriage relationship.
- Children of divorce often resist connecting to their new family.
- Discipline from a stepparent often results in opposition and disrespect.
Also, if you have your own children it’s absolutely essential you treat all of the children in your family equally. Balance your time, resources and energy between your own children and your stepchildren. Anything short of this will hurt your stepson as well as your other stepchildren in these ways:
- Low Self-Esteem
- A hard time accepting and liking themselves.
- Feelings intensify as they grow older
- Difficulty making friends and socializing
- Gives Them a Sense of Unfairness in the World
- Learns to treat others the way they are treated. Begins to treat others unfairly.
- Become jealous of the favored child making relationship virtually impossible.
- Also affects the favored child.
- Anxiety and Insecurity
- Favored child feels pressured to perform at a high level out of fear of losing favored status.
- Skeptical about trusting stepparent.
- Bond may never be possible.
- Strong rivalry for the sibling who is favored.
- Resents own parent for putting them in the situation to begin with.
It’s not easy treating your stepchildren the same as your own children but you must do it. To not do it is at the risk of all of your relationships. Children want safety and security in their family and a blended family is no different in this respect. Safety and security are just some of the needs of a children in the blended family. Learn more about children’s needs by reading Understanding Children’s Needs in the Blended Family.