Thoughts on this article: "Why Nice Women Don't Like Step-Kids"
Why Nice Women Don't Like Step-Kids
Some people adore children of any race, creed, or background. “Kid people” adjust and cope with step-children much better than the rest of us. The majority of us find step-children perpetually irksome—for good reasons! We aren’t mean people by nature who set out to destroy lives and disrupt the psychological balance of the young and impressionable. We are simply people who love a spouse who carries baggage that thumps us in the head and gut at every opportunity. If you are tired of hearing the diatribe, but you knew he had kids when you married him, from judgmental bystanders who have never been in the step-parenting trenches, dodge the guilt arrows being launched your direction—you are not a bad person.
Blended families have been a challenge since ancient times. Recall the Biblical story of Abraham from Genesis 16-21. When the son God promised Abraham and his wife (Sarah) didn’t arrive when they had hoped, we can’t blame them for taking matters into their own hands. It’s human nature! Abraham made the mistake of sleeping with Sarah’s maid (Hagar) and having a son named Ishmael. Hagar and Ishmael were a constant thorn in Sarah’s flesh. It’s easy to imagine Hagar taunting, I gave Abraham a son and you didn’t. Na, na, na, na, na, na! When, at age ninety, Sarah finally birthed the promised child, Isaac, there wasn’t room enough for all of them! Sarah asked Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away, and he did! God provided for both of them. No one chastised Sarah for wanting to be rid of them, and no one worried about the psychological impact the separation would have on Ishmael. No one admonished Sarah about keeping the two half-brothers apart or suggest she encourage a relationship between the two.
If you have step-kids, you could argue that your spouse made the “mistake” of marrying the wrong person instead of waiting for you, just like Abraham. Once the two of you have children together, if you haven’t already, you’ll be able to relate to Sarah’s mindset even more. The mama bear instinct kicks in, and you want your babies to have it all and not have to share anything with another woman’s child. Blended families is weak verbiage to suggest unity among disparate members. Vinegar and oil families would be more appropriate terminology. So, why are step-kids such a bitter pill to swallow?
STEP-KIDS DO NOT SHARE YOUR DNA
No matter how much you love your own children, they can still drive you bananas. However, when they display their quirky side, you recognize traits from your own family and can easily overlook them. The unconditional love you feel for the fruit of your own body covers a multitude of sins. Not so of step-kids. Never will you see them mimic anyone from your family tree. In fact, you probably find yourself zeroing in on all the behaviors that mirror your spouse’s ex, which seem intolerable. Maybe it’s an attitude, a mannerism, a physical attribute, an ailment, an opinion—it doesn’t matter. When you see the ex shining through your step-children, you can’t help but turn a cold shoulder. For example, if you ever dreamed of dressing up a little girl with sparkling shirts, fru-fru bottoms, hair bows, and lacy socks only to find your step-daughter prefers to look like a ragamuffin street urchin with no class like her mother, it’s just another reminder that your DNA will never enter the equation. If you’re the June Cleaver type who loves to cook, but your step-children turn up their noses at your nutritious meals because they are pre-disposed to the fast-food, processed meals, and junk their mother has infused into their systems, it’s an up-hill battle you won’t win. From the start, step-kids will always share the DNA of the person you detest. Even if your spouse’s traits peek through from time to time, those traits will be eclipsed, making it impossible for you to feel connected to them on a crucial, foundational level. Though your spouse might wish for you to become the substitute mother to his children to sock it to his ex, it’s a shoe that will never fit.
STEP-KIDS ARE POISONED AGAINST YOU FROM THE START
Dream on if you think the ex is going to encourage her children to call you mom. You are the enemy, and the ex will paint you as such. Any physical ailment her children contract will be blamed on some contagion she insists you carry. Any rash they develop will be blamed on your cooking or an allergic reaction to something you’ve introduced into the home environment. You will be labeled a stranger their father married, an outsider who destroyed their family, an infidel who must always be opposed. Like the Salem Witch Trials, you will be relentlessly accused of the most imaginative sins. Even reasonable children who might want to give you a chance under ideal circumstances will find it difficult, if not impossible, to betray their mother. They might think she is crazy and blame her for their parents’ break-up, but they will always seek her love and acceptance and will not turn their backs on her to favor you.
STEP-KIDS DRAIN YOUR FINANCIAL RESOURCES
Everyone establishes financial goals for not only stability and security, but also for as many luxuries as the budget will afford, such as vacations, new vehicles, and nice houses. If your step-kids live with their mother, you are probably paying exorbitant child support. Many times, dads get the shaft when it comes to child support. In many states, it doesn’t matter how much income the mother rakes in or how well-to-do she might be, the child support calculation is based on the father’s income. The system rapes the father to pay more in support for his prior children than all the children from your union with him combined. It doesn’t cost hundreds upon hundreds of dollars to raise each child per month, yet many fathers are required to fork it over to the ex while your own children are treated like chopped liver. The old cliché aptly states, love flies out the window when there ain’t no money!” It’s very easy to resent the financial burden step-kids represent, especially if you have to gain employment to stay afloat.
Step-kids spend way too much time at the doctor’s office. As the non-custodial parent who must provide insurance, dads often pay the whopping premiums plus the larger portion of the co-payments. Knowing this, ex-wives rush their children to the doctor’s office for every sniffle to add insult to injury. If your step-kids are on long-term medications, you pay even more.
Some step-kids also try to guilt their fathers into paying for extra-curricular activities, fun outings, clothing, school trips, college, and the like. If your husband has succumbed to their manipulative tricks, then you might feel you are spiraling down the financial crapper with little hope of getting ahead and accomplishing your own financial goals.
YOU ARE NEVER RID OF THE CRAZY EX
Talk to anyone with an ex-wife in their life and you’ll often hear the ex referred to as “psycho,” “crazy,” or “nuts.” How could your wonderful husband have gotten ensnared by someone so problematic when he was capable of picking someone much better—like you, for instance. Unfortunately, all of us women know how easily men can be led astray by ardor and how incapable they are of assessing another woman’s character with the acuity we possess. Sadly, it’s a mistake that will cost him plenty for years to come. Though you may try to distance yourself from the ex, she’s always lurking in the background. The nasty notes she sends with the children, the sneer on her face at school functions and other life events, the perpetual plots she hatches to sabotage your husband’s plans with the kids, and the verbal attacks she unleashes against you and your husband to poison the kids’ minds. Unless you have a genuinely cordial ex to deal with, keep your interaction with her at an absolute minimum to reduce the stress in your already tense home.
STEP-KIDS ARE NOT LOYAL
When you have your own children, you will understand the bond that exists between a woman and her child. There is an unspoken pact that is formed while they are yet in the womb and culminates in a cemented relationship that will stand the tests of time. Even when you and your children don’t always agree, they rarely consider jumping ship. Your children will be loyal to you and never stab you in the back like a step-child will. To avoid the hot seat of confrontation, step-kids find creative ways to point the finger elsewhere. For example, your step-kids might thoroughly enjoy the movies, music, and books offered in your home, yet if they find their mother disapproves of your selections, the kids will act like you held them at gunpoint and forced them to engage in those activities. Step-kids will tell dad one thing and mom another to focus the battle between the two adults while they sneak away quietly. No matter how sincerely a step-child might seem to be in your corner, when push comes to shove, they will tell their mother what she wants to hear and paint you as the bad guy. She has programmed them to be loyal to her, and it goes against their nature to buck the system she has created.
THERE IS NO PRIVACY
Home is where you should feel the safest to let down your guard. When you have step-kids in the house, your security is breached. Every word you speak and every move you make will be reported to their mother. With the instantaneous exchange of information modern technology makes possible, the ex can know what you’ve said before the last word slips from your tongue. Some kids are face-timing bio mom to show her what the house and new wife look like. Any papers, bank statements, bills, or letters left on the desk are open game for intel gathering by your step-children. Any conversation you have with your spouse about work matters, family business, or future plans will be relayed at the first opportunity. The information the ex gathers can and will be help against you and will give her the edge she needs to plot her next wicked move on your life.
STEP KIDS STEAL THE FOCUS
Step-kids are always painted as the victims of divorce, and they use this to their advantage. Guilty parents overcompensate by planning multiple day trips and vacations or buying them all the clothes, toys, or games their hearts desire. Fathers may even neglect their children with you to prevent them from feeling replaced. Grandparents who are saddened by these circumstances overlook your kids to cater to their first set of grandkids. If your step-children receive counseling, everyone is roped into handling them with kid gloves to avoid additional damage. No one worries how the stress of step-kids affects you, your spouse, and your children—the focus is always on how this, that, or the other will affect the step-kids. Vacations, holidays, and other celebrations alone with your family? Fat chance! Step-kids will be eager to hog the spotlight on those special occasions as well and capitalize on the opportunity to receive a handout.
All of us experience the school of hard knocks at some point in our lives. Maybe you were once the victim of a verbally abusive parent, a school bully, or a mean boss. Maybe you suffered the loss of a loved one, a serious illness of your own, or the betrayal of a friend. No one makes it through life unscathed. You aren’t responsible for the happiness and emotional well-being of your step-kids. If they suffer as a result of the dysfunction they experienced growing up, then they have earned their stripes and can join the ranks of the rest of us who have had to learn to cope and survive life too.
STEP-KIDS SHOW DISRESPECT
While in your home, step-kids often show disregard for your house rules because you are not their mom and they don’t have to listen to you. Ever heard that one? Why do men allow such disrespect to run rampant in their homes? The answer is simple. Men do not feel comfortable with emotional drama. They would rather pretend there is no problem than have to deal with the issues. Husbands want to please their new wives without compromising the relationship with the children from their first marriage. It’s a delicate balance that is difficult to maintain and usually results in a husband’s passivity. If your step-kids live with their mother, chances are, they will always view you and your husband through the same glasses—and these are NOT the rose-colored variety!
STEP-KIDS INTERRUPT THE FLOW IN YOUR HOME
Most people thrive with routine, especially your own children. Step-children are monkey wrenches that disrupt the peace and tranquility of your family’s routine. There’s no place for them at the dinner table, no room for them in the car, and no convenient place for them to sleep without inconveniencing others. They have different interests, follow their mother’s set of rules, and take over the time and attention you and your own kids deserve with your spouse. They are square pegs trying to fit in a round hole, and it makes everyone uncomfortable. Why continue the charade?
END THE MESS AND THE STRESS
If you haven’t already entwined yourself in the drama of step-parenting, think twice before dating a man with children. At the very least, set very clear boundaries ahead of time in anticipation of conflict. Remember, you can’t grin and bear it forever. Eventually, you will explode from the built up resentment. One marriage was already destroyed. Don’t let step-kids be the cause of another one. Sarah solved the problem by sending the ex and her offspring packing, and she and Abraham lived happily ever after with their child of promise. You can do the same. If you aren’t lucky enough to have step-children living out-of-state to reduce the interference of visitation time, then insist your husband conduct his visits outside of your home and communicate in other ways that don’t involve your family. Your home is your castle, and it’s the peaceful place you, your husband, and YOUR children need to thrive. You don’t need the stress in your home that his past baggage creates. Yes, you knew he had kids before you married him, but it doesn’t have to be a marital death sentence. Some people get along better and inflict less damage when they leave each other alone. Turn step-kids over to their mother and minimize or eliminate contact. Say good-bye to the stress, head back to your happy nest, and know you are still a nice person!