Categorized | Morality & Ethics

Step Parenting: How to Enjoy a No Win Situation

parenting1By Dr. Douglas F. Levesque, Founder of The Levesque Institute

Americans would have a hard time saluting the communist Chinese flag. Some Americans might be challenged to recognize it in a line up. One thing for sure, is that very few, if any, of us could yield allegiance to it. The same sentiments are beating in the heart of step children everywhere. “How can I pay allegiance to someone I did not choose and do not want,” is a struggling thought for step children. It is no wonder most step parents describe their task as a no win situation. That description may well be true but there are a few secrets that can help even the most discouraged step parent enjoy their challenge.

Adulthood Usually Clears the Focus on our Childhood

A thirty year old man married with children begins to see with alarming clarity why his parents did things the way they did. Often times he forgives what he perceived as an offensive policy and sometimes even adopts those same parental decisions himself. As impossible as parenting situations can be, step parenting situations can eclipse them in size and scope. Truly a step mom may have to say words or make decisions that a biological mother may never face. Step dads can seem like twice the monster that a biological father may seem to be, simply for taking the same actions. However, time has a way of changing the dull lenses of childhood, allowing the bitter or defiant step child to begin to appreciate the step parent. The Apostle Paul put it this way, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (I Cor. 13:11). There is hope, Step mom. You will be appreciated someday. And Step dad, they will not hate you forever. Do right by your step children. Enjoy the fact that their kids will call you grandma and grandpa someday!

Commitment and Action are More Rewarding then Sentiment

Those step kids have an inner fight about whether or not to like you, Step dad. Your simple sentiment is not enough, Step mom. Do not be upset because they call you ‘Bill’ instead of ‘Dad’. Remember you are not their biological father, and their young heart usually has room for only one such loyalty. Remember Paul in that famous love chapter in the Bible, I Corinthians 13:1, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” Your love is not biological, but instead must be a commitment to right actions. Even if those actions are not always popular. You are not in competition with the biological parent but you may end up being a winner in that child’s life by exuding a substantive love.

Balance between Your Biological Children and Stepchildren is Possible

Again the bible says God gave his only son in order that we might be ‘adopted’ children.

“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,” (Eph. 1:5). Sharing that natural bond with step kids is not natural, but can be purposed and achieved. Talk to both sets of kids about what the desired goal is… a happy family, and set out to be just that. Spend individual time with each child and follow it up with a corporate whole family experience. Finally, charity, “believeth all things,” (I Cor. 13:7), so never show a wavering that you doubt the necessary balance possible. Those step kids might feel fear and attack! If nothing else your spouse will appreciate your efforts, and become a believer in your designed goals for a unified family.

Divorce is a personal, family and national tragedy, and nobody that has suffered and endured it will say, “Oh, it was great! You should get one!” That is especially true were kids fall into the horrible category of step kid. Second marriages have lower success rates than first marriages precisely because of the seemingly impossible mission of step parenting. But for those who find themselves in that awkward situation, a purposed drive to enjoy the kids and strive for the rewards of grand parenting is the key ingredients to a satisfying experience.


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5 Responses to “Step Parenting: How to Enjoy a No Win Situation”

  1. john says:

    this site seems to try and justify adultery. take a look at mark chapter 10 verse 11 to see what jesus himself has to say about it.

  2. LL says:

    U never really understand untill u are faced with the situation,there are many reasons why people find themselves in these situations other than adultry.step parents exist and step children do too,our duty as christians is not to judge
    but try to be Godly in whatever situation we find ourselves in…

  3. Jamie says:

    My husband and I are recently married, although we have been a family unit for almost two years, along with his two sons who are 16 and 14. They are amazing boys who seem to genuinely love me. They are awesome. What I am seeking feedback on is an issue with the younger one. I disagree with several things re: the way the boys are part of the household. Lack of chores, personal and social responsibility, poor school performance, rewarding regardless of performance, and the list goes on. I am conflicted about my part in that part of their lives, and I just want to know what the role of a step parent is, especially when they live with their real mother half of the time. And if my husband and I have to agree to disagree on all of this, then how do I keep it from bothering me so much? I have prayed and prayed on it, but I just can’t seem to be free of my feelings about it. And they are strong feelings.

  4. michelle says:

    probably one of the most unrealistic views of step parenting that I have ever read. Rarely is a step parent appreciated by adult step kids. it’s highly unlikely their kids will call you a grand parent. and it didn’t even address the issue of a problematic biological parent that nearly all step families face. this is just someone’s fairy tale. the only thing of worth is to love as Christ loves, but don’t expect that to garner you any respect or affection. this whole thing outlines the rare exception to the rule. As a step mom of 12 years, I have some knowledge of where I speak.

    • CC says:

      I’m so sorry Michelle that your situation is as it is. While I agree we should love our stepchildren without expectation of receiving anything back (as Christ does, unconditionally), it is not inconceivable that young children grow up to respect their stepparent, or that this is the small minority. I have a friend with “step-grandchildren” who call her “grandma” and their natural grandmother “grannie”. By the way, this friend came into the family when the children of her husband were already well into adulthood. I have another friend whose “step-children” call her mom and whose children call her grandma … again, another friend who came into the family when the youngest of three was 17. I have another friend who gets along extremely well with her husband’s first wife. As a matter of fact, she was responsible for healing the rift between her husband, his former wife and former in-laws. When her husband died “his” daughter got very angry and stopped speaking to her … it was her husband’s former wife who told the daughter to call her “mom” and apologize!
      In my circle of friends in stepfamilies the scenario above has not been the exception but the rule. I don’t know what the answer is but I do know they had these things in common: consistency in their support of their stepchildren, have supportive spouses, depend heavily upon God’s grace, have servants heart, fantasitc senses of humor, big picture view, and they don’t take themselves too seriously.
      In my own step situation, I have a fantastic relationship with my stepchildren and their mother, one of my stepchildren lives full time with us. My stepchildren’s cousins spend the night at our home, as does my own child’s cousins on her father’s side. As a matter of fact, their mother had a daughter prior to her marriage to my now husband (confusing huh?!) That daughter considers me her “other mother” and has asked me to mentor her … she’s attended my women’s conferences, calls (texts) me and is frequently at our home. We say all the time, “This is God’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes” Is it always easy? Of course not. Not for me, nor my friends. Our hope and expectation is in the Lord but I have found that ordering my steps (actions, attitudes, etc.) in His word, as outlined above, have yielded “exceptional” results in my step-relationships.

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