Either of the fairy tales, Cinderella, or Snow White, paints an evil picture of step-parents, especially stepmothers. The way a stepchild is treated by most stepmothers in our society helps to reinforce a traditional cultural belief that stepmothers are wicked or heartless.
Many stepmothers tend to instigate their husbands’ beating and mistreatment of children who live in their home but are not born to their union: stepchildren. But whenever the husband frowns at his wife’s biological child(ren), tension mounts in the home and the husband is caught between a rock and a hard place. All the children are fruits of his loins, but only some belong to his current wife who apparently regards her husband’s other children as less than her own.
She hates to see her son experience any pain or work, but often goes out of her way to inflict pain, mete out severe punishment or assign difficult tasks to her stepchildren. And she does it quite cleverly---pretending to love the children hen their father is around.
Whatever she says he believes it. She is never willing to be as self-sacrificing and loving as any biological mother can possibly be for her child. The stepchild always suffers the brunt of all the household chores as well as other hard and manual labor (at most times) at such tender ages as 7 and 10yrs.
This leaves one to ask: Can stepmothers be trusted?
There are some women who really pretend to love their stepchildren in the presence of the children’s biological fathers, but behind the men’s back, they (stepmothers) will treat these kids with cruelty, while showering their own children with kindness and affection.
The typical stepmother would put on her pretentious act early in her relationship in order to secure trust and fully establish herself in the man’s home by marriage or other commitment. But, over the course of the relationship as she, too, begins to bear her own biological children (forming a blended family), a line is clearly drawn between the children.
Let's rewind a bit. Even before she begins having her own children, she still maintains a slight distance between herself and the stepchild.
Why can't one be empathetic of that child's biological mom – considering what it takes to be a mother?
It takes a woman nine solid months of waiting before she is officially launched into the world of parenting with all its baggage in store. In fact, some argue that parenting begins during pregnancy. Why then would anyone want to treat some else's 'nine months' like trash?
Women, we have to rise above this kind of practice.
Some women have told me that unlike becoming a biological mom, becoming a stepmother is an instant affair.
“You don't need to go through all the formalities a biological mom is required to go through. For instance, imagine yourself entering a relationship with a man who already has a child and, faced with the hard reality that in order for that relationship to work out for you, you must be ready to strike a deal: to create a relationship with his little girl or boy. And you don't necessarily need to love that child faithfully… to some extent is just enough,” they have said.
Refusing to accept the fact that the child has at least two parents already and refusing to accept the idea that you are becoming an extra parent, only adds to a sense of insecurity.
I spoke with a couple of stepmothers and one said to me: “...It makes me feel that he still loves his ex-wife”. The other said, “...All the way I pretend to love his child, he still thinks of the child's mom.”
Do they really care about how they would be judged for their maltreatment of their stepchildren?
Stepping away from such harsh treatment will help us a whole lot.
The Sincere Ones
There are some stepmothers who are actually sincere about their love and affection for their stepchildren. They go out of their will to make the child happy, in spite of their own children. They share the stepchild's joy, sorrows and are ever ready to play that motherly role for the child. In return, they expect nothing less than being considered as ‘mommy.’
Being viewed as daddy's wife or as a step-mom is, in most case, a painful experience for these women. This distinction, for some women, may be acceptable, especially for those who marry men with older children.
It seriously bothers those who spend every other day playing with the kids, cooking for them, and doing every other activity of a maternal care-giver. They have always fought to develop a close relationship with their stepchildren. Some do succeed at this, others don't.
I know a stepmother whose stepchildren where far older than she. She was always being ignored by the man's seven grown up children. They were very hostile to her. She suffered great emotional abuse throughout the relationship. Each time she tried to grow closer to her stepchildren, she was rejected.
Her husband inadvertently compounded her discomfort each Mother's Day by asking her what kind of gift she would desire. The fact of the matter is that he was never willing to acknowledge her perception that her relationship with her stepchildren was very superficial.
In the end, she felt her husband valued his own feelings above hers, and she became angry that her feelings weren't given equal standing. She decided she would live separately from the children and asked her husband to join her if he were committed to the relationship.
You see! That's how deep this stepmother – stepchildren thing can go.
Role of the Father/Husband
Fathers who enter live-in relationships with another woman need to be very careful and mindful about the welfare of their own children.
Some men simply don’t care or don’t have a clue; others tend not to have control of the situation to maintain peace and tranquility in the home.
It can be quite difficult to detect a pretentious act, especially if you are not around.
As a father, do you listen to your own children? Our staunch traditionalists would say “children are to be seen and not heard”. But sometimes, the insight of children can be quite valuable, especially if they are raised well.