My ideal match would have been someone who was single, never married and didn’t have any children.
My parents split when I was four, so I knew what it was like having a step parent in my life and it was something I hoped to avoid in my own relationship.
What I thought I was looking for in my match was actually a list if requirements that had no thought or feeling behind them. How could I find love based on a list?
I started dating Mike in January 2012, our relationship moved quickly, and we had talked about how important it was to introduce Quintin into my life in a casual and fun setting. Of course I wanted Quintin to like me from our first meeting, I also wanted to make sure he knew how great my personality was, how much I cared for his father and what an asset I would be in his life. Looking back now I realize my first meeting expectations were a bit askew, and simply meeting Quintin and allowing him time was truly what was meant to happen.
I really struggled with my position in his son’s life. I had never dated someone with a child before and being the sensitive and emotional person that I am, I often had difficulties truly understanding my role and how to make the best of it for all of us.
Without considering to just let things happen naturally, I drove myself batty trying to make his Quintin feel comfortable and in turn I felt completely uncomfortable.
I googled ways on how to make my situation better, I learned that there was many online forums for step parents and it excited me to be able to learn more about how to make this work for me. The forums I came across were quite disappointing, there were stories from passionate parents who had simply given up. Often people would be disgruntled about the situation and felt jealous of the child. The purpose of my internet searches was to learn on ways to make step parenting work for me, and to not look for places to complain.
One thing I realised was that I disliked the term “Step Child”, and preferred to consider Quintin as my good friend. I imagined that as our relationship grew I would follow his lead on how he would like to refer to me, and possibly even have a discussion about it with him. I was once a step child and no matter how I was treated I never felt like I 100% belonged. The word step creates a barrier, and if you plan on having more children with your spouse then it is important to not let the child feel like they aren’t 100%.
It took me a bit of time to get to a place of love for Quintin, but I am there, and I would like to share with you what simple tools may also work for you.
It’s important for you and your partner to sit down and discuss what type of role you would like to be the child’s life, be committed to whatever you both decide.
- Maintain a positive and encouraging attitude toward and to the child
- Treat the child like they are part of your family, give them as much love as they will let you give
- Spend time on your own with the step child to create a special bond
- Use your voice, if the child says something that hurts you, let them know how it made you feel.
The truth is that having more people in your life to love is a blessing, it isn’t something to make an issue about. Reminding yourself that you are a positive influence in this child’s life and your commitment to being a part of their life will impact them and you in a positive way is what should keep you going. You are helping this child grow, you are assisting in the parenting and your care will remind this child that you will be there when they need you.
Be the influence, and let them be a positive influence on you.