Are Stepmoms Bullies to Our StepChildren? – Stepmom and StepChildren Advice and Help

Stepmom and StepChildren help and advice
Are Stepmoms an Unwitting Bully to our StepChildren?

Are we bullying our stepchildren into allowing us (step parents) into their space?  Sometimes, I wonder.  Many define bullying as persistent, unwanted behavior perpetrated by people who feel inadequate.  Over the years, I know that much of my behavior has been unwanted and I have certainly felt inadequate as a parent and step parent.  Have I been an unwitting bully?

Has my mere presence forced my stepchildren to feel pressured to share their life story?  Ideally, we choose the people in our lives to whom we would like to share our stories.  We tell our best friends what is happening in our lives and how we feel about the events and people that we meet and see. We certainly don’t approach a stranger on the street and start sharing our personal feelings and family events.

Can you imagine being mandated to bring a stranger into your story?  Isn’t that what we ask of our stepchildren? If we were to be honest, we really want our stepchildren to share with us. We want them to like us enough to see us as a confidante and a positive factor in their home lives.  But, in most cases, we have been imposed on them.

The white elephant in the room is the story of their parents’ divorce and their feelings about that cataclysmic event in their life.  That story can be a very personal and painful one, full of grief, shame, sadness and a myriad of conflicted feelings.  I wonder if stepchildren feel bullied into sharing their deepest private worlds with their naïve step parents?

3 Responses to Are Stepmoms Bullies to Our StepChildren? – Stepmom and StepChildren Advice and Help

  1. The stepchild should and usually dictates the pace and intimacy of the relationship with their stepparent.

    I know that I’ve told my stepchild the choice to like me or even love me is just that: a choice the child makes. There are times I get frustrated and have even expressed it, but I quickly remind myself of that agreement. We all slip and fall sometimes.

    IMHO, the parents must be mindful of what they say or do, because they ultimately have more influence. Be subjected to countless renditions of “Why don’t you like so and so?” might be more damaging.

    • I agree with you. The stepchild should be the one to dictate the relationship. You are right about adults who are constantly asking if we are liked. Who likes to be asked if you like someone, anyway? Especially if you are a teenager! The idea of “do you like your stepmom?” is just tinged with guilt and expectations.

      Frustrating? Yes. Anyway, who could NOT LIKE US?

  2. Yes-it is bullying, in a sense. A child comes in to the world (most times) with the promise of two loving parents and an intact family. Then comes the divorce and it blows up their world. Suddenly, they are bullied into meeting Dad’s new “friend”. Kids are smart…sometimes parents are not. Children who are forced to meet and accept the new friend into their lives will struggle to cope with the situation. Their loyalties are divided and they can even become jealous of the new person who takes up time that used to be their time with that parent. The mere presence of a friend sets up an ongoing bullying situation and many children suffer in silence, confused and sad. Parents-take your time and don’t rush a child into a forced relationship with someone who means nothing to them and may have even participated in the destruction of their family.

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