Thursday, January 10, 2013

The word "step-parent" tends to retain the stigma attached to it in the past, even though blended families are becoming much more common these days.
Of course, I tend to not think in labels, except for occasional definition needs. But the fact of the matter is, I am a "step-parent" now. Which means somehow the same directions I have always given the kids have an additional weight attached to them.
Its always been obvious that Michelle and I have different parenting styles. Thats true with the vast majority of parents. Add the fact that ive never parented my own child but have many other peoples  and that Michelle has been pretty much the ONLY parent to them their whole lives, and that we are pretty polar opposite... leads to some interesting situations. We are moving along pretty nicely. But at times the logistics of the situation do cross my mind.
The kids are doing well with it. I've been around for a while so its not really different. The only difference I guess is the re-enforcement in some situations. Like the other night I gave Josie a direction and she backtalked a bit, and Michelle scolded her for that. What it came down to it Michelle took back my direction and had her do something differently, but she DID tell Josie that she needs to follow my directions when I give them without argument.
Its little things we learn about each other and the way things work, every day. There are many areas where I am super lax and Michelle is very strict, and vice verse. I tend to be pretty "free range" in that I would be comfortable letting kids stay home alone for short periods, ride their bikes around the block, have a later bedtime, etc. But I am pretty strict about household organization, chores and responsiblities, and routine. I have the patience of a costumed Disneyland character (it comes from my time working in behavioral kindergarten), and am pretty strict about giving one informational message, one warning, and then a suitable punishment that I *WILL* follow through with. I dont make rash threats. (Im not saying that Michelle does/doesnt do any of this, just describing my own style). Anyways. The kids are getting used to it, its going well, and things are running smoothly. Michelle is being wonderful considering she has been the single-handed matriarch of her family for a significant amount of time and I know sharing control isnt easy. But shes being pretty amazing :-)

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