Do you really know your role in your blended marriage? Do you know what your limits are? This is something that is very important to discuss with your husband or significant other before you get married or move in together. I have heard it many times where a Stepmom has overstepped their role and has disciplined or said something to the stepchild that the husband was not happy about. You need to have the discussion with your husband about what he is comfortable with and what he isn’t comfortable with. Because you don’t want to overstep your role and have your husband undermines you right in front of your stepchildren. If that ever does happen it shows your stepchildren that what you say doesn’t matter and that they don’t have to obey or listen to you and that their Dad has the last say. You both need to sit down and come up with what you are comfortable with, meaning if your husband is ready for you to discipline his kids and how will it be handled. Determine and establish who will be the primary disciplinary in the family overall or with the stepchildren and who will be the second disciplinary in the marriage. The stepmom should not be the primary disciplinary to the stepchildren. If you as the stepmom feel that you have taken on that role and it’s too much for you, then you really need to have a serious conversation with your husband about it. The husband should be the main primary disciplinary with his children. Putting you in that role can really become a disaster for your relationship with the stepchildren and the biological mother. Stepmoms should always try to be more of the nurturer and encourager parent type role rather than the disciplinary role of the household. I know there are some Stepmoms that are with the stepchildren more than the husband is due to work, then you have to be the be the disciplinary in those cases. If you notice your stepchildren resenting you, it’s because you’re doing too much of the discipline in the household and your husband needs to step up and be more engaged in the discipline area. He should always support you with whatever discipline you give out to his stepchildren. If he ever feels the need to disagree with it, then he needs to tell you later on when the children are not around, but never in front of the children. If your discipline isn’t working the husband should always try to step in to help enforce it. You should always be on the same team with one another. Stepmoms shouldn’t undermine husband’s discipline either especially in front of the children. Always try to be on the same team and become a united front together.
There was a time not that long ago where my stepdaughter was yelling at me in a busy restaurant and just wouldn’t stop yelling at me even after I asked her to stop yelling and lower her voice. My husband just stood there and didn’t do or say anything to make her stop. It made me feel like he didn’t care about the way she was treating me and that he supported her actions towards me. He later apologized for it, but it still hurt me that he couldn’t step up to the plate and put her in her place. She was totally out of line and very disrespectful to me. This is a good example of a husband not having your back. A husband needs to have your back no matter what. If he can’t have your back then you don’t and shouldn’t discipline the stepchildren. Let him deal with his own children and you handle your children. It’s so important that you talk about your role with his children. If you can’t agree to discipline and consequences in the home, maybe you both would benefit from attending a parenting class together to help you agree on discipline and consequences. There is also a post I did awhile back about disciplining your stepchildren, feel free to read it and see if it helps.
Another role that is important to discuss and determine is your role with the biological mother. Is your husband going to handle all communication with the biological mother or are you going to handle some of it? It’s something you definitely need to figure out and early on in your relationship or marriage. My recommendation that has worked in my marriage is that each of you handles all communication with your own ex-spouses. It just makes it less difficult to deal with and helps avoid a lot of stress and conflicts. My husband solely communicates with his ex-wife about his kids and I solely communicate with my ex-husband about my kids. If you have it set up to where you both communicate with the ex-spouses and it isn’t working you can always change it around, there’s still time to do that. If you do share communication with the ex-spouses and its working then leave it the way it is. Just make sure you establish boundaries with one another about what you can say yes to with the ex-spouses and what you both need to discuss first before giving answers too.
Knowing your role as a Stepmom and finding out what your limits are and getting it defined only helps better your marriage and your blended family. If you haven’t had that talk yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.