I know the rhetoric of motherhood would have as all believing that step parents can and do love their step children with the same depth of devotion that they love their own biological children, but for some years now, I’ve been wondering if this rhetoric is really true?
Can a step parent ever truly love a step child in the same way that they love their own biological child?
Now don’t get me wrong here, I’m not trying to automatically cast all step mother’s by default as the villain of the piece.
Nor am I suggesting that each and every blended family holds the same level of dynamics within them, but what I am suggesting is that we stop and really look at the realities of being a step parent.
As a parent you naturally want what is best for your child.
But what happens if what is best for your own child stands in stark contrast with what is best for your step child?
Under these circumstances which child wins out?
Which instinctual part of you, as a both a mother and a step mother, do you give in too?
Do you put your own biological child’s needs first, as instinct dictates, or do you fight this side of yourself and instead place the needs of your step child first?
I think that if women were truly to be honest about this, they’d admit that in most cases their instincts to first seek the comfort of their own biological child wins out over that of primarily seeking to administer that same level of comfort to their non-biological child.
I’ve seen this dynamic play out time and time again both whenever my own children are in the care of their step-mother and within my own childhood growing up as part of a blended family.
I know that from my own perspective, the needs/wants of the biological child always seem to win out over the needs/wants of the non-biological child.
And I strongly suspect that I am far from being the only person who has experienced the results of step parenting in this way.
If you were to throw into the whole step parenting mix a non biological child with a disability, what happens then?
Would a step mother willingly fore go her own child’s hobbies and interests in order to spend hour upon hour at a therapy center with her non biological child if need be?
And if she did, would that not create in her a level of resentment on behalf of her own biological child that would be difficult to suppress no matter how hard she might try?
Would that resentment then present itself in other passive aggressive ways that may seem less obvious yet still be just as detrimental to the self-esteem of her non-biological child?
Things such as never letting the step child have a say in the movies or the tv channels that they watch, the snacks that they eat, or the places that they go for outings?
From my experience, this is exactly how passive aggressive step parenting presents itself.
Which is why it leads me to wonder whether or not as a society, we’ve simply created an idealized version of what a step mother should be capable of doing, for example lavishing equal amounts of unconditional love on both her own child and her step child, instead of acknowledging that in reality, instinctually, if for no other reason, this ideal may never really be the case.
For much of this kind of happy ever after, unrealistic thinking, I blame the Brady Bunch.
What do you think?
Have you grown up in a blended family?
If so were you the step child or the biological child?
And what were you experiences of it?
- The Anti-Step Mom (unnecessarywisdom.wordpress.com)
- Blended Families, Step Parenting & Co- Parenting (lipssealedsoulspeaks.com)
- 5 Tips for Blended Families – Parenting (everydayfamily.com)
- Steps Toward Building Our Stepfamily (everydayfamily.com)
- What Is Your Story? (isthatamom.wordpress.com)
- step parent 101 (rose48809.wordpress.com)
- Being an effective step parent (2plus1equalscrazymom.wordpress.com)
- Tips for Step Parents (isthatamom.wordpress.com)