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Author Topic: Roles of step parents  (Read 9406 times)

Brosis

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Roles of step parents
« on: Feb 20, 2011, 09:48:41 AM »
I have a 3 yo son w/ multiple special needs. I have joint physical and legal custody with his father. I handle most of my sons care from doctors appointments to therapy, to his general medical supplies.The father has assisted very little with  our sons needs and seldom makes it to any important appointments. He also does not follow the custody order.  His father has recently married and wants the step mom to act as an additional aid to all of this. He wants her to be allowed to make decisions for the child (without consulting me) as if the child was their child. My son has his fathers last name which is also hers now. Most of my sons physicians know that I am the legal guardian but the pediatrician has disclosed personal info to her and has allowed her to bring him to appointments without my knowledge. Medical issues aside, has anyone experienced and successfully worked through this situation?


gemini3

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #1 on: Feb 20, 2011, 12:16:44 PM »
My suggestion is to try and reframe how you're thinking about this... if you were married (you don't say whether you are), would you want your husband to help you with the tasks of raising your child?  If you and the father were together, would you expect that, as a married couple, you would share the burdedn of child-rearing tasks?  What if you worked full-time during the hours when most doctors offices are open - would you enlist the help of your spouse to get the child to and from the doctor/dentist/school/etc?

Most people answer yes to these questions.  Where it gets muddy is when steps are involved, and then it becomes a "territory" issue, more than anything else.  My suggestion is to focus on the child.  If your son is getting the care he needs while he's with his dad, does it really matter if it's dad doing the driving or mom?  Or does it matter that he's getting what he needs?  In my view, it matters that he's getting what he needs.   

I know it's hard to deal with another "mother figure" in your sons life.  But don't forget that your son is capable of loving all the people in his life - he doesn't have to choose between you and his step-mom.  He has enough love in his heart to love you both.  And, especially having special needs - he needs all the love he can get.  If another person has come into his life that loves him, and is willing to make sure that he is well loved and cared for when you're not physically there - I personally think that's something to be thankful for, not something to resent.  It doesn't make you less of a mother if she takes him to doctors appointments.

As far as you being the "legal guardian"... you state that you have joint legal and joint physical, and you have a 50/50 parenting schedule (according to another post you made).  That means you are both legal guardians.  As such, you can designate another person to act in your stead when it comes to these things during your parenting time, and so can he.

MixedBag

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #2 on: Feb 20, 2011, 04:08:05 PM »
Ah gem.....for the most part, I agree.
 
But I bet this mother feels stepped ON in this situation.
 
Dad wasn't/isn't actively involved......so he has asked stepmom, to step in.
 
But if MOM was doing it all before, why isn't she allowed to continue along that path in favor of letting stepmom stepin and NOT let BM know about appointments and stuff.
 
Sorry....been in this boat myself -- when dad said to me "Don't worry, I'll take good care of him" -- only to have someone waiting in the wings behind my back who was "more than willing" to step in and then run around saying I didn't care and blah blah blah....Dad lied to me.
 
I think the order of taking care of the child should be the two parents BEFORE a stepparent is allowed to stepin and most definitely the stepparent's assistance should not kept or a priority over a parent who can be there.

ocean

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #3 on: Feb 20, 2011, 04:38:05 PM »
If they are doing a true 50/50 then dad is in charge of medical appointments on his time, same with mom's time. I would suggest that mom make the appointments on her weeks. If there is a time, child needs to go to an sick visit on dad's time, she should get a phone call about appointment and a phone call after.
As for step-mom being involved. She is expected to take your child in and care for child half the time. If you can try to get along it would make your life a whole lot easier. Is it possible to meet step-mother at a coffee place for an hour and just talk to her. Explain to her that you know she will be involved but since child is special needs, you would like to be kept up to date if anything is going on while he is over there and you will do the same thing in return when child is with you. Just like the other poster said, there is enough love to go around. You should be at all specialist appointments but if she has to take child in for a sore throat on dad's time, that should be a phone call to you.

I took my SD one time in for a sick visit over the summer vacation for strep throat. I called BM to tell her that she really was not feeling good and that I was going to try and get an appointment with the ped dr that we used for my girls. I then called her after the appointment. BM was thankful that I took her and offered to come get her since DH was at work. IF you can have a civil relationship it really works out the best. We were not friends but could talk on the phone.
My DH takes my girls all the time to the dr and dentist appointments just because he gets out of work earlier than me. The dr's never question it and in fact he took YD to emergency room when she broke her foot in sports at school. I was a half hour away and they never said a word to him. 

gemini3

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #4 on: Feb 20, 2011, 04:45:21 PM »

Ah gem.....for the most part, I agree.

But I bet this mother feels stepped ON in this situation.

Dad wasn't/isn't actively involved......so he has asked stepmom, to step in. 

 
I don't know.... she said in another thread that they have 50/50 custody share.  That doesn't sound like a father who wasn't/isn't actively involved.
 
She also mentioned in the other post that the father asks her to watch the child during his parenting time.  If it was an issue of the step-mom trying to step in as the mother, I would think that dad would be more likely to leave the child with the step-mom if he couldn't be there, versus asking the BM to watch the child.
 
Just a couple of reasons why I think it might be a territorial issue.


ocean

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #5 on: Feb 20, 2011, 05:00:20 PM »
Yeah, you may be right. It sounded like it was a new marriage for father so maybe the SM was not doing these things when they were dating (or she may have just moved in with them and is now there?).

Just do not understand why she does not make his specialist appointments on her time, then no arguments and if dad wants to show up he can. If dad is working during day, then step-mom would be the one to take child if she is there, especially since they are now married.

tigger

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #6 on: Feb 20, 2011, 08:11:07 PM »
I'm biased on this topic.  I know it and admit it. 

I think it depends on the pre-divorce situation.  In my case, my then husband had nothing to do with doctor appointments.  Refused to even save me 1.5 hours off work by picking up YS from daycare (dad was on vacation for the week but wanted the boys in daycare so he could have his time for himself) and meet me at the doctor.  I only asked him to meet me with the child, not to stay and it was in the town he was going to anyway.  He refused.  And in fact, changed his plans with his best friend so he wouldn't be in the town of the doctor. 

When we divorced, he wanted his wife (from the affair with his best friend's wife) to take our kids to doctors and dentists, etc.  I refused to allow it.  Her motive was to replace me in every way.  (Still is.  Those who know my whole story can attest to this.  It's a crazy situation.)

When she divorced, she tried to prevent her ex from taking their son to his appointments, however M had always been an involved dad and the doctors were more familiar with him than her. 

The last time we went to court and my ex got increased time, his wife tried to have it put in the papers that he could take YS (OS was aged out) to all appointments and that she could do so in his absence.  The judge stated that for routine appointments, I was the only one allowed to make appointments and take the child.  Probably had a lot to do with the fact that my ex didn't know the name of the child's pediatrician . . . the same one he's had since birth for a total of 15 years at the time.

I agree to ask the questions gemini suggested, however, I think the default should mirror pre-divorce.
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Davy

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #7 on: Feb 20, 2011, 11:08:56 PM »
Generally speaking I very much agree with Gemini's statement ... " If another person has come into his life that loves him, and is willing to make sure that he is well loved and cared for when you're not physically there - I personally think that's something to be thankful for, not something to resent. "

I'm trying to be brief but most of the PROBLEM is caused by the verbage "step" and "parent" that's been coined by the feminist/legal/social sytems.  In the days when mothers were automatically awarded sole custody 98.7 % of the time a step "father" was considered a step up while a step "mother" was often considered a step down as compared to the actual parent.

And so it goes there are all these expectations on a "step" whether the expectations is self-induced or placed there by the other parent or the systems. IMHO, I consider these issues just another method to tear down the family units.  I NEVER USE the "PARENT" terminology but rather the more appropriate reference "2nd  husband / wife" reference.  I normally and kindly clarify with "Bimbo / Bozo"  if I get the "look" and everybody understands ... some are pissed some not.

When I reconnected with my kids they were referring to their mom and boyfreind/2nd husband on a first name basis and I corrected to "mom" but as years move forward they some times use the first name because she never stops her BS (and they're too old to correct now).

My dad passed 40 some years ago and her self-induced Bozo freak controls every family member except me and mine resulting in much dysfunction.   

MixedBag

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #8 on: Feb 21, 2011, 06:51:03 AM »
Quote
The father has assisted very little with  our sons needs and seldom makes it to any important appointments. He also does not follow the custody order.

Quote
He wants her to be allowed to make decisions for the child (without consulting me) as if the child was their child.

These two statements lead me to believe this mom is being stepped ON by the stepmother.
 
She should work through the father, not the stepmother.  And let the Father work/talk with the stepmother.
 
50/50 time -- to me is irrelevant.  Looks good on paper, but she said he "assisted very little with our sons needs and seldom makes it to any important appointments."
 
Mom -- I think there's some good points of view on all sides here -- good luck!

Davy

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #9 on: Feb 21, 2011, 05:53:12 PM »
I think the consideration is for the child's parents ... the mother and father to develop a mindset and vocabulary that EXCLUDES ELEVATING a spouse to the special class of a parent then much conflict may be avoided.  Especially in the eyes of a child.  Call apples apples and oranges oranges.
 
At the same time, a supportive and helping hand is a beautiful and fantastic happening that naturally is benefical to all.   

gemini3

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #10 on: Feb 22, 2011, 04:14:21 AM »
Ok, normally I try not to go off topic on a thread, but I just want to address a couple of things that Davy brought up.   

First, the term "step parent" was not coined by the feminists or by our current pro-mother legal system.  It's been used since around the 8th century.  It can be found in old english texts, and equivalents of the term have been found in Latin, German, Norse Chinese and Japanese languages.  There are plenty of uses of the term that can be found in 18th century literature that we're all familiar with - like Grimm's Fairy Tales.   

Also, I take issue with your statement that we should have a mindset that "excludes elevating a spouse to the special class of a parent".  Because, while I may not have physically given birth to my step-children, I am just as much of a parent as someone who adopts a child.  I do all of the "parent things" when the children are here 50-60% of the year.  I get them up for and take them to school, I help them with their homework when my husband has to work late.  I cook for them and clean up after them.  I am the only person who's EVER taken them to get haircuts.  I teach them manners, I help them negotiate problems they have with each other, with their mom, with their friends.  I support their relationship with their father.  I have taught them how to take care of "female" things, and how to wash their hair, how to shave their legs, even how to wipe properly.  I comfort them when they wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare or growing pains.    I put them to bed at night.  My father put money in an educational trust for them when they go to college, just as he did for his biological grandchildren.  I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I do all of the same things a parent does.  I worry about them as though they were my own, and I love them as though they were my own.  And, a lot of what I do, is because their biological mother does not.  And the kids know who does all of these things for them - there's no confusion there, or conflict coming from the kids.  The conflict comes in when the biological mother gets territorial.  I have never tried to take over for her.  I take care of the kids the best way I know how, when they are with us.  She does not take care of them when they are with her, and then gets pissed when I do it.   

Case in point...  when SD1 was around 12 years old she started asking for deoderant.  I knew this was going to be a "hot button issue" with their mom, so I told her to tell her mom.  For a month, every time I saw them she would ask.  I would tell her to ask her mom, and she would say that she had asked her, but she won't buy it for her.  So I finally bought her some.  The minute I did that, we started getting the nasty e-mails - seven of them, to be exact - accusing me of having "empty womb syndrome" and trying to "steal the kids" from her, and saying that SD1 never asked for it, that I was "forcing her to wear it against SD1's wishes" and "demanding" that I stop trying to "force her" to wear deoderant.  This is totally typical of the way things go with her.  She doesn't do stuff, doesn't do stuff, doesn't do stuff... then when I finally do it, I'm a horrible person who's trying to steal the kids.

fight4him

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #11 on: Feb 22, 2011, 09:02:08 AM »
I agree with Gemini. I am the step-parent. Technically we aren't married yet but are planning it in the next year or two. I have been in my SS life since he was born. They were never together as a couple, just a 2 week relationship that ended in a pregnancy. But he is such a blessing and as much stress as BM has caused us, we couldn't imagine life without him. His father loves him so much but he's not as "hand's on" as I am. I am the one who cleans him up, bathes him, teaches him to brush his teeth, how to shower, what manners are, etc. Sure, dad does these things when asked or when needed but mostly it falls on me and I gladly accept responsibility. I read him his bedtime story and put him to bed. I cherish these times with him. My mother calls him her grandson. My sister calls him her nephew. There is no difference in him and my real son. I know he's not my "son" but to me, he is just as much mine as he could be. I do not, and will not, ever try to take BM's place. But I do have a place in his life. We get along and speak but we aren't friends. She blew that herself. I was willing but I can't forgive now. I haven't had to take him to a doctor appointment yet but if need be, I would. I would have dad give her a call afterwards, not me.

Now BM is very threatened by me. Always has been, although it has gotten better since she got a bf. I just cant' imagine though, that he doesn't help her. We aren't threatened by him helping or watching him or taking him to the doctor or whatever he felt he needed to do. But she doesn't look at it like this. I guess she is "territorial" about it. She even had her attorney send ours a letter stating she didn't want me to bring him out to her and that dad needed reminding that the visitation is for HIM and not me. lol Does she seriously think I just sit around and ignore the baby and stay our of his life or something? How could anyone do that?

I don't know....no point to my rambling I guess....just wanted to chime in. I think many times the step-parent is made to feel like they are nothing when in fact they play such a huge role, as seen on this message board.

MixedBag

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #12 on: Feb 22, 2011, 09:17:31 AM »
I've been a step parent too -- and sorta STILL am even though I fired EX#3.
 
In this case, in this PARTICULAR case, I fell that the new step-parent is stepping ON the BM.
 
For the two reasons I listed above.
 
IN THIS CASE.

gemini3

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Re: Roles of step parents
« Reply #13 on: Feb 22, 2011, 09:41:34 AM »
I always say being a step-parent is all guts, no glory.

 

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