I think I’ve turned into the horrid step-parent by accident.
I think there’s been a change in the way I conduct my role as a step-parent since becoming a biological parent.
If you’ve been reading my blog since the start you’ll know it’s extremely rare I use the term ‘step’ when talking about myself as the step-parent or my girls the step-daughters. I just don’t like it. It feels like I’m in some way less of or even worse, that they’re in some way less of. Does that make sense?
I’m their parent, they’re my daughters. I don’t need extra words in front of it. I’d take a bullet for them as I would Corben, my biological son and they respect me as a parent exactly the same way Corben will… one day, hopefully, when he’s done being only 5 and bossy.
Where I think a change was subconsciously made, was when Corben came along.
I seem to remember in the beginning my relationship with the girls was more about building a friendship, hoping they’d like and accept me into their family and trust me as a reliable adult here to stick around.
I’d be more inclined to let them get away with a few things and buy them little things off the cuff. Not overly so, just more inclined than I am now. You see when Corben arrived, which wasn’t long after meeting the girls, I began to realise it’s not about buying or bribing love and friendship, parenting is about something much more.
Real parenting is about teaching life lessons, boundaries and character traits that will long outlast the latest trendy toy.
Where we’re at, at the moment, is a place where if they want something there is a negotiation. There needs to be a little give and take, especially at their ages now. They’re 12 and 13 so mixing freedom with a bit of responsibility is very difficult but essential to building the type of women they will become.
Now I know what I’m doing is building the foundations to something that I pray will become apparent once their adults. They’ll see traits in themselves and know exactly where they came from. They’ll look back and appreciate the grind I’m putting in right now. Obviously I’m not alone in this, I’m just talking from my own ‘step-parent’ point of view.
My method is unfortunately not cool to them right now. They’re kids and aren’t able to fully understand. Right now I could easily win by putting my hand in my pocket, being a cool step-parent and convincing their mum to give in to their current materialistic needs, winning myself some serious step-dad points.
Short term I’d win. However, girls if you’re reading this, I’m playing the long game to ensure maximum Dad points when you’re older.
Here’s to hoping one day you’ll understand and it’ll have all been worth it.