Parent Shaming: Stepparent Shaming Is Real, Too (Sorry, Cinderella) by Bri Montoya
Parent shaming is real and stepparent shaming is just as real. When I began dating my spouse, I went into it fully aware that pursuing the relationship also meant pursing the role of a stepparent. I was excited to jump head first into being the best stepparent I could be. I quickly found that nine out of 10 articles online are what not do to do as a stepparent. The titles are things like “Boundaries Stepparents Shouldn’t Cross,” “Why Your Step Kids Will Hate Everything You Do” and “You Are Not a Real Parent.”
- If you cheer too loud at sports game you’re overstepping your boundaries and if you don’t cheer loud enough you’re obviously not invested.
- If you implement a consequence for breaking a rule you’re overbearing, but if don’t then you’re too hands off.
- If you spend one-on-one time with them you’re trying to replace their biological parent, but if you don’t you’re not invested.
There’s no guidebook for step parenting – you have to do what’s right for your family. It’s not a one size fits all role. Each family is unique. So, I’ll cheer really loud, I’ll go on kid-parent dates, I’ll correct them when necessary, I’ll help make decisions and I'll be sure to ignore the shaming.
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You’re spot-on, and I’m all too often the bad guy, no matter what I do in any given situation. I still feel like I have no clue how to do the “right” thing almost 11 years into it, so I just do what I do...it’s the best I can do.
Thank you for talking about this, and for giving us stepparents who want to thrive, a voice!