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Why Step Moms Should Have a Say in Decision Making

Why Step Moms Should Have a Say in Decision Making

Mallary M. is sick and tired of step-parents getting a bad rap. A step-mom herself, this Circle of Moms member feels that step-parents are uniquely qualified to play a significant role in blended family decision making. "Half the time it's the step-parent who is the only one who can look past the issues and fighting going on between the biological parents and actually see what is best for the child," she says.

Here, Mallary and other Circle of Moms members share five reasons why step-moms have a key role to play in family decision making — and why everyone wins when they participate fully. (For another perspective, see 3 Parenting Situations Off Limits to Step Parents.)

1. We're a Family

Many moms believe that taking on the role of step-parent means sharing in all decisions with your spouse. "As a step parent, I am as much involved with decisions as my husband and vice versa since there were kids on both sides," says Traci M. "After all, if you marry with children you not only marry that person, but their children as well. Sometimes, there are no brilliant answers for making children see the importance of what you are asking if it's different from [what goes on in] their other home. Open lines of communication and making yourself available at all times is the best you can do.”


"Parents, step or biological, should have equal rights to decision making," Dawn A. tells moms. "The decisions I make with my oldest daughter will affect the next four children growing up in our family. If I step out of the role of parent because a child is not my biological child you are only asking for problems with the boundaries for any children in your home."


Sunshine R. agrees. "I believe they should have just as much [authority] as the biological parents do. If it weren't for my step-dad, [who] I firmly believe he is my ‘real’ father, I wouldn't have any direction or discipline in my life. He has been there since I was six-months-old. So I think the step-parent should have just as much say."

2. The More Parental Figures The Better

Ultimately, having step-parents join biological parents in the decision making can be a positive situation for kids. "The fact is, when there is divorce, there is potential for other ‘parental’ figures to come into our children's lives," shares Donna W. "The main objective remains the same: making sure the kids have a safe and happy home in each home they are in. The words 'mom' or 'dad' don’t mean biological parent. I went into my relationship knowing that he had little ones. I knew that would mean that I would need to love them unconditionally, no matter what, that's what all children need. And I made that choice."

3. All Parents Should Share in Decisions

“My opinion [is that] ‘yours’ or ‘mine’ just doesn't seem like the best way to go. I prefer ‘ours,'" says Shannon H. "All four of us are equally important in [my step-daughter's] eyes, all four of us are involved in some aspect of her life, so all four of us have a say of what goes on in her life. Yes, our rules are different in each house, and yes, we don't always agree. Sometimes we have arguments, sometimes misunderstandings. But in the end, all four of us are raising her, so all four of us have a say of what goes on in her life."


4. My House, My Rules

"As for the discipline in our house, I have just as much say as my husband," states Emily B. "Sometimes, I am referred to as the 'step-monster' because I have rules and it does cause conflict between myself and my step-daughter and her mother at times. is my house, so if you don't like it then don't come."

5. Treat all Kids Equally

When it comes to blended families, especially if there are kids from both sides, it's important for the step and biological parents to share in the discipline, says mom Jennifer L. "I have treated both the boys (my own and step-son) equal," she declares. "I love his son as my own. I feel making decisions is important to do equally, [my husband] for my son, and me for his."

For additional perspectives, see Should Stepparents Step Up as Disciplinarians? and 3 Parenting Situations Off Limits to Step Parents.

Image Source: iStock Photo

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

Join The Conversation
amber60578 amber60578 2 years

No, just, no. Grandma is family, too, but I don't see her claiming she needs rights to her grandkids. And she is related by blood and has been around a lot longer than most SMs have been.

PegSteele1386081175 PegSteele1386081175 3 years
I've been a step mom and am one now and it is difficult. Natural mothers don't realize how attached you get to these kids. My second time around the mother had died and it was with an adult child of 21 but still it wasn't easy. I found it easier to ask the mom myself things like "Is there anything that they can't eat? or Do you have candy or desert rules in your house that you would like me to follow? Or I would call and say "Donna while Dana and Jenna where here I noticed they are really hitting each other a lot and we have started insituting time outs and extra chores that they do of the other childs as punishment.....can you do the same and we might be able to nip this in the budd...does that work for you." Usually she appreciated the information and sure enough the next weekend I got a call ahead of time telling me that Jenna is doing dishes for Dana all weekend because she is still hitting her sister and I would follow through. When mom is the primary care giver of the children you don't want to undermine her disipline or her rules and have the kids go home saying Mom Peg allowed us to do that at daddys house. Raising kids is a team effort and if you are in they're lives you have got to get past the bull and do it correctly or the kids suffer for your childish feelings.
MelTahere MelTahere 4 years
Here is a perfect situation to 'do unto others and you will have them do unto you.' There may be times when your situation dictates differently, but for the majority - it's not the step-parents place to have a say in MAJOR decisions for your step child/ren. If both parents are of sound mind and have only the child/ren's best interest's at heart, accept that they can parent their child/ren. You may, certainly, discuss any given situation with your partner and, in that way, you'll have an opportunity to have your say, but in the essence of nurturing harmonious relationships, there's no room to be forceful in getting YOUR way. As for the place of manners, household behaviours, homework, sleep routines, telephone/tv/computer use, chores, etc, teach them to bide by these rules as you do your own children. It's not easy to work out a balance, but if you can, your world and theirs will be better for it.
JulieSoto35494 JulieSoto35494 4 years
Two of my husband's teen duaghters were sexually abused by their bio mom's husband, (the step father)... the mom chose the husband over the girls. So then, Child protective Svcs turned the girls over to us a year ago this make the story short, .... therapy, court dates, and mediation later... ... .. I now have a power of attorney to care for my step daughters if my husband is not available.... They call me mom, I call them daughters, I make all kinds of motherly decisions... I have two teen girls of my own... before this incident, I had my step daughters every other weekend a/mo. and most summers since 11yrs ago... Their mother was never a good mother.. so I think it just depends.... If you are a good mother like I think I am to my daughters, then their step mom would have limited rights by me...... but for the sake of MY step daughters I am their mom, I just did not deliver them....
ElizabethAnn97390 ElizabethAnn97390 4 years
This was obviously written by a a very biased step mom. My kids don't have a step mom, but even if they did i probably wouldn't want her to have a say in discipline, medical decisions, school structure or anything that really matters. Sure she can have a say in what my kids would eat for dinner but when it comes down to it, step moms are not their mothers and butt in too much. Decisions should be made between the biological parents. Even if it is a split family/home parents need to grow up and discuss it with each other and learn to respect one another for the sake of the kids. I always feel like step moms/dads have no respect for the other parent at hand. Hopefully I will never have to deal with this situation...
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