Childless Stepparent

for stepmoms + stepdads with the unique challenges – and gifts – of creating a family with their spouse + their spouse's child(ren) and no child(ren) of their own

Category: stepchildren

Creating Independent Time and Space at Home

stepchildren
It’s Saturday, and my husband’s daughter is with us. My husband is meeting a friend for lunch, and I’m in our bedroom, getting some much-needed down time after a very busy work week.

I asked my husband to let his daughter know that I’m writing and enjoying a quiet morning, but that if she needs anything, I’m here. My husband wants to encourage his daughter to be more independent (co-dependence is a direct consequence of narcissistic parenting). So this is a good opportunity for her.

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Don’t Expect Gifts from Your Spouse’s Child

stepchildren
When your spouse’s children are young, do not expect them to make you cards or gifts on the holidays. Not in the way they will for their parents.

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What To Do When Your Spouse’s Child Manipulates

stepchildren
The short answer is: do nothing.

Let your spouse handle his child when she manipulates or otherwise misbehaves. Remember, this is his relationship to manage and you are not a parent.

This becomes more complicated when the manipulation involves you.

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Recognizing a False Sense of Connection

stepchildren
I stepped back this week and had a big realization. When it comes to my husband’s daughter, I have often experienced protectiveness as love.

Trouble is, it’s a false sense of connection because she doesn’t need protection. No one asked me to involve myself in that way. Not my husband, and certainly not his daughter.

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Stepfamilies Need One-on-One Time to Bond

stepchildren
Did you know that one-on-one time is essential in stepfamilies?

In a recent Psychology Today article, stepfamily expert and bestselling author Wednesday Martin explains that “while first families bond well as a group, stepfamily members bond best dyadically, or one-on-one.”

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Create Healthy Boundaries in Your Home

stepchildren
My husband’s daughter recently told us that she didn’t want her downstairs bedroom. For the past two months, she chose to make a bed of blankets on the floor of the room next to our bedroom rather than sleep in her own bed. In time, we hoped she would eventually face her fears of sleeping on a different floor and grow to appreciate the independence her room would offer. But she’s not ready. She’s almost 10 years old, but she’s not ready. So as much as we enjoyed having the upstairs as our sanctuary, we agreed to move her room next to our bedroom.

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What I Hope My Husband’s Daughter Says About Me

stepchildren
In 15 years, when my husband’s daughter is in her mid-20s, I hope she can say this about me:

“My dad’s wife was kind and encouraging. She always listened to me. My life with them was peaceful.”

That would make me happy. That would be enough.

A Nice Evening with My Husband’s Daughter

stepchildren
My husband is sometimes out of town for work on weeks when his daughter is with her mom; when that happens, he asks me to cover his “visit night.” It makes him happy to know his daughter and I are enjoying time together. Also, it’s important to him to keep her schedule as consistent as possible, and I am glad to support that.

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Encouraging Self-Awareness and Responsibility in Stepchildren

stepchildren
Being a childless stepparent can be a thankless job. Even when it comes in an unexpected way, realizing that we have an impact is a good thing. Today brought one of those unexpected realizations.

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We Cannot Care More Than Our Stepchildren’s Parents

stepchildren
Many new stepparents dive right in and try to be a parent to their stepchildren. When your stepchild has two involved parents, this is a mistake.

It may confuse things for your stepchild. It may cause tension between you and your spouse. It may cause conflict between your spouse and his former spouse. It will likely make you feel taken advantage of, resentful, out of place.

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