Step Parenting Myths
By guest blogger Michele Sfakianos
Myths are beliefs. It is these beliefs which strongly influence the way people in step families adjust to their new family and react to one another. History and literature are filled with wicked step mothers like the ones from Snow White and Cinderella.
Stepmothers in history are shown as wicked, cruel and uncaring. The wicked stepmothers steal the father’s affection from the children, and have been known to take their inheritance, and out of jealousy make plans to have them killed. Stepfathers are portrayed as abusive. Stepfathers often complain people assume this stereotype and automatically view the relationship as a disaster waiting to happen.
Not all myths are negative though. The step parent can be looked upon as a rescuer. You have the single parent currently struggling to make ends meet and then arrives a new partner to help.
Step families have their own set of myths. First there is the “Brady Bunch” family. This is two families, each parent with children, coming together. If you buy into the “Brady Bunch” mythology you will either spend time in denial about the real, unsmiling state of affairs, or you will judge yourself too harshly for not being able to create a blended family free from problems. Second is the strange sort of family. Those in blended families think their family is abnormal or strange because it is “in-step” instead of their “real” family. Statistics show about half of all Americans are currently involved in a type of a step relationship. But, despite the facts, the mythology lives on, and as a result, step parents often believe their families are not normal as compared to nuclear families.
Love & Adjustment occurs instantly
Children are forever damaged
Children adjust more easily if biological fathers (or mothers) are not present
If the other parent dies it is easier on the children
Getting rid of the ingrained societal myths can be hard, so can giving up your hopes and expectations about what marriage, partnership, parenthood, and family life will be for you. The step family cannot function as the natural family did. It cannot and it will not. If you try to make it do so, you will set yourself up for failure. Also, you should not want it to. Obviously things didn’t work with the natural family, so why would you want to repeat those behaviors?
Michele Sfakianos is a Registered Nurse, Life Skills Expert, Speaker, and Award-winning Author of The 4-1-1 on Life Skills and The 4-1-1 on Step Parenting. Michele has been previously published in Nursing Publications and two books on Poetry. She enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her grandson.