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Being a REAL parent....let's get deeper.

Posted by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM
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1 mom liked this

Here are some things I think being a real parent entails:

When you make that split decision on whether or not your child needs a course of antibiotics or you decide that you are going to let them tough it out without them to build up their immunity and go without medical treatment.

When the child comes home from school and tells you all about how kids are giving each other rainbows on the boys privates. It's the very personal talk with your own ideas thrown in on how to deal with that issue.

The child is about to have surgery, the doctor has 2 different methods he can explore and presents them to you and you have the absolute authority to make the choice you feel is best.

When you have had your child baptised Catholic since birth and practised the catholic religion and then the child tells you they want to persue other means of spirituality and the talk that ensues after that.

It's when you have decided that for YOUR child, you will start when he/she is 14 learning how to drive in the pasture even before the learners permit is allowed because you want them to have all the driving experience possible before you let them on the real roads at 15. OR.....that you have decided that you would rather wait the child to only take their exam at 16 because that is what you feel is necessary. But neverthe less, it is up to you and your personal decision.

It's whether to allow the girl to start off wearing a tampon instead of a pad because it is your choice to offer it.

Giving the boy a condom at 14 because you think he needs it and it is your choice to give it to him.

To talk about sexuality, with your own spin on it. How you feel about same before marriage.....or preaching abstinence.

I of course could go on.

If none of these things listed are something you will be able to completely control, you are NOT a parent. You are a caretaker at best.

Caretakers: cleaners, cookers, drivers, bathers, etc.

While all parents do the caretaking thing, it is only some SM's who do not understand that those things ALONE do not make you a parent. They make you a caretaker. A SM. A dad's wife.

Now, alot of SM's might say that they can and WILL do all of these things. And I think, for a CSM, with a BM displaced for some reason probably will have to.

But for those SM's who have a BM actively involved and STILL want to do these things to label themselves a parent? I think that is where things get screwy.

Parenting and caretaking are really 2 different things.

Parenting means molding a human to adulthood. Caretaking means you are just keeping someone's basic needs going.

by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:07 PM
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by Platinum Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:13 PM

I want NO responsibility for someone else's child.  I have my hands full with DD16.  Even if I didn't have my own child, I would not want to be responsible for someone else's child. 

by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Yup!  And when the BM is out of the picture - for whatever reason - and SM is "raising" the SK, it is really important to have a SM who is willing to do the tough stuff, the real stuff, the geniune loving and guiding stuff.

My Ssons and I have THAT kind of relationship.  It is special and is NOT easy, but it IS what they need and deserve!

by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM
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but.. but... the word stepparent has "parent" in  it.

Wait, let me go find a defition out of wiki to post. .... 

by Platinum Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

Quoting pepper504:

I want NO responsibility for someone else's child.  I have my hands full with DD16.  Even if I didn't have my own child, I would not want to be responsible for someone else's child. 

I know right?! I often sit in awe of all these SM's who are just dying to take over the responsibility of someone elses child. Whaaaat?!

by Ruby Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:16 PM
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Rockstar post.

There are certain acts of parenting that many SMs perform and why so many might be confused about what many posters are saying regarding what makes a parent.  But the full time job of Parent is something very few stepparents hold.  And for even those few, it is probably much closer to a co-parenting relationship with their DH.  I definitely help DH parent.  And he helps me parent.  But he does the job of Parent with his kids and I do it with mine.

I might have the sex talk with SS, but only after discussing it at length with DH and making sure his parenting desires are met.  or he might take DD driving but I made the decision to allow her to do so.  Actually, I just made the decision to NOT let DD17 drive.  She is awful.  So awful and so nervous that she is dangerous.  And I didn't even discuss it with DH or BF.  But both of them get it and respect my parenting decision.

by Patriot's Fan on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Agreed. Although this makes my dh a parent to my children. No legally he isn't. Yet he is the only father figure in their life. Been there since day 1 for my dd and calls him daddy. We make choices together about them.

His not my child. I don't need or want to be anything more. I'm here to help dh with her but i don't ever try to tell him how to raise her or anything. I have my own kids to be a parent to. Sd has two good parents and i have never heard dh or bm say that i have crossed the line. I have never tried to be a parent to her. So i agree.
by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:19 PM
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I think people are going to define "parent" differently, and to some people, it might just mean performing caretaker tasks.

That alone is not an issue. 

The issue arises when the SM wants certain rights or acknowlegment for being a "parent", and these expectations are unreasonable. For example, she wants "respect as a parent' from the stepchild -- because she feels her performance of caretaker tasks earns her that respect. It doesn't. That's when her misunderstanding of "parent" comes into play.

by Gold Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM
I agree w/this completely!
by on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

I think your list is a very good one for someone who is around a teenager especially (based on your examples)

But I would say that in some of your examples (the ones related to difficult convos, sex, etc) that it's not always a parent who a teen HAS those convos with.  I know that when I was a teen/young adult, I had convos like that with adults whom I respected and trusted and they were NOT my parents.  They are people I am still connected to and respect very much but they're certainly not my parents.

I think a stepparent can be that respected and trusted adult.

Deciding whether or not to use a tampon?  A minor can make that choice on her own just as she can walk into any planned parenthood and get on BC on her own. She doesn't have to have her mom or dad at her side.

When it comes to the decisions about medical care--you're right.  As a legal guardian, you get to make the ultimate decision. But what if you're the stepparent who has a medical background and you're asked to make the decision?  (I've been in those shoes)

I'm not trying to punch holes in your argument/point.  I'm just saying that sometimes, a SM may be involved in most of what you're talking about, may really have a say.  And that's not a position one "commands"--it's one that is given to them. Asked of them.  So if they agree to participate in that way, is it any surprise that they would feel like they DO have a dog in the fight so to speak?

I realize it's not this way in all situations--every situation is different.  But I know that I personally have been tasked with a lot of hard convos (or had the opportunity and the green light).  Or I've been asked to make a choice FOR the parents on behalf of the kiddo(s). 

That still doesn't, for the record, make me a parent.  Just a responsible adult who cares.  So I do agree with you...just because I'm involved in some aspects of parenting doesn't make me a parent.  But when you paint with a wide brush, you're bound to hit some outlyers who will mess up the generalization.

;)  Still, think your post is a good one.  These responsibilities are not things you TAKE as a stepparent. They are responsibilities GIVEN.

by Gold Member on Nov. 19, 2013 at 12:23 PM

There are situations you listed that I have taken care of as CSM, but I still don't label myself parent.  I view my role as helping DH raise his kids, not necessarily being a parent.  But I think some of that is how we apply our own boundaries and then balance those boundaries with each child's needs in a given moment.  A bad day at school involving bullying and necessitating a talk about private parts and cherishing our bodies may not be the most comfortable circumstance, but it's also not one to ignore as "not my job" when the kid needs that reassuring talk from a protective and supportive adult that they trust. 

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