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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 07-25-2012, 10:13 AM
Foredeck Foredeck is offline
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Default Advice from step parents needed

I'm seperated, with a four year old. We have shared custody and it's going fairly well.

However, I'm moving on, and my girlfriend has moved in.

I think it's going towards marriage, so just want to make sure everything goes smoothly.

The first issue is financial. I make slightly less then her, but we both make good salaries. The problem is that after I've paid child support and paid for all of my daughters expenses, my discretionary income is much lower. is there a general norm for sharing these expenses?

Second, any advice on how to make the transition from "friend" to parental figure? She is great for my daughter, but they both seem stuck in being more friends.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:26 AM
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There are some really great books on blended families out there, Stepfamilies by James Bray and John Kelly is a great one - I have some of their other books and foiund them everso helpful.

I think the biggest thing is setting the expectations, for all of you. Each of you needs to contribute thoughts on what you want/expect from each other and figure out what that looks like in terms of supporting each other - kid included.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
There are some really great books on blended families out there, Stepfamilies by James Bray and John Kelly is a great one - I have some of their other books and foiund them everso helpful.
There's also a lot of great material about this on the web.

I'm finding with my kids...its largely dependent on the personality of my children, the relationship they have with the ex, and their ages...but mostly its a function of time. I know there's a lot of posts on this site about how much the involvement (both positive and negative) of an ex-spouse can influence this too.

Aside from making sure that you foster an environment that emphasizes respect, I think its best just to wait it out...let time pass. Let go of your expectations of what you thought/hoped it would be. Some kids just react more slowly to change than others and they don't necessarily have to have a parental relationship anyway.
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Old 07-25-2012, 10:38 AM
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True, but the adults do need to know what the other expects from them in terms of boundaries and support from each other. SO so so important, not just for blended families, but moreso.
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:17 AM
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True, but the adults do need to know what the other expects from them in terms of boundaries and support from each other. SO so so important, not just for blended families, but moreso.
Completely agree.

I think its good idea for new couples to have this discussion in detail long before meeting with each other's kids.

My comments were more for the relationship between the kid and the new partner. I think you have to just let the kid lead the way (unless they're being disrespectful or rude). I've seen new partners try to push, force or coerce their way in and it never seems to work out well.
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:50 PM
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with my stbx I became stepmom to his two daughters.... in the beginning we took things really slow and easy. He was responsible for them, with me in a supporting function.... I took the time to form a relationship with his girls too, without forcing myself on them.... They came to see their dad and I as a united front, and I ended up parenting them just as much as he did ((moreso due to his work/access schedule))... even when I became pregnant with my first child, I made sure to include them in as much as I could to really reinforce the "family unit". I was lucky in that their mom and I were able to develop a pretty good relationship and supported each other....

A word of advice for your gf - it's never easy in the beginning! As young as your daughter is, your gf is not "mom" and should tread gently. She doesn't have to be a "parent" but she does have to stand beside you and support you..... move gradually into a "parental" kind of role......

And above all - BEST WISHES!!
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:29 PM
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Thanks all.

It's funny, but most of the problem is, with my expectations.

My ex is great in this regard and treats my girlfriend as a parental figure to my daughter.

With my work schedule, and the overall life, I need help parenting.

My daughter hasn't really tested her negatively. But, she will try to score ice cream without me knowing.

The times where she had to be punished, I was there. We havent been in a situation where I wasn't present when she started acting up. I may start thinking that I'm the bad influence :P

Is it fair to ask a step parent to share in the child support expense? Theres no spousal support.

I dont want to take advantage of her, but, the way it is now, I have twice as many expenses then her, so our standard of living is different. This was fine at the beginning, but, not sure about it long term.

So, wanted opinions from unbiased step parents.
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:34 PM
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Quote:
Is it fair to ask a step parent to share in the child support expense? Theres no spousal support.
I think you two need to have a longggg conversation before you take the next step.

I think you should bring all of these things up and see how she feels about them. People here can give their opinion but ultimately you need to have the intimacy with her that you understand what page she's on with all this stuff.
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:46 PM
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^ that....

sounds like you've mostly got the relationship stuff figured out, and that's the hard part! Bravo for your ex and gf to be mature & civil with each other - that will be a very positive note in your child's life!! ((said not only as a step mom, but as a step child who watched my own parents muddle their way through!!))

If my ex had asked me "hey hon, mind helping me pay the CS?" I'd have told him to take a flying leap!! Rather, what you need to do is sit down and look at each of your disposable incomes (i.e. after YOU pay YOUR support), then look at the bills and figure out who will cover what.... for us, he paid the mortgage and property taxes, and contributed to groceries, and I paid the utilities, phone and cable and groceries.... it's what worked for us....

Don't look at it as "she has more disposable income, approach it as "what can WE do together".... ask for her input!!!
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:20 PM
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Agreed. Perhaps you sit down and figure out what the monthly expenses and savings will be and how much you will each pay, put it into a communal account. The rest gets paid or spent from your individual accounts as you each see fit. Major purchases (over a certain amount) get discussed prior to either of you buying.

Lots of info out there as well on blending finances
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