I have heard stories from friends about their childhood experiences with step mothers and step dads.
On a scale of ten, seven of them were molested, denied food, subjected to heavy chores, denied the same amount of meals as the rest of the children in the home and they also had constant beatings because of the simplest mistakes made.
The other three of ten stories I’ve heard are a big opposite and unbelievable. These were loved, sheltered and pampered like all the other children in the home. When I look at these two categories of children (now grownups), I think I know better how to raise a step child.
Some of these friends of mine were not the easy type.
They were troublesome and ungrateful and their step parents had to be tough if they were to raise responsible children. As a step parent, this is what you should know. The child in question is aware that you are not their true father or mother and sometimes they will be withdrawn. However much you try to make them feel like your own, they may stay numb and indifferent.
In cases of rejection from a child of this kind, parents have to be patient. Take time trying out different ways of approaching this child. Know what language to use, select words to say to them avoiding words like “I’m not your father/ mother.”
Regardless of the resistance, make sure you also make yourself clear at all times. Explain why you must do things the way you do them especially if the decisions affect them. Discipline and train them as equally as you do your own. Mete out the same punishments and give the same platforms for defence. Listen to them as much as your own. Avoid separating them by not mistreating or favouring them more than your own.
Avail equal opportunities, be it school or talent building. Don’t forget to include them on the list when you have to buy everyone clothes. Get the same quality for everyone and if possible buy similar clothing. These small things show togetherness as family and it improves sibling unity.
If you don’t have children yet, imagine what you would do to your own child before you make any decisions for your step child. Also, talk to friends in the same boat. Ask how they manage these situations. Children have similar instances and am sure parents in this position would give good advice.
That said, every child deserves to be raised in a home where there’s a real father and a mother, avoid instances that would lead to step parenting. It’s not an easy job raising a child that is aware you are not their real parent and this leaves the child wondering why the parents live separately.