When do Step Parents get a voice?


I have been dealing with our two older children (ages 19 & 18) making grown-up decisions. What kind of career choice to make? Which colleges to attend? Should I consider the military? What is the best path for my life? Which direction should I go?


I have raised my biological children to be independent, hardworking, decision-making adults who can think on their own and be contributing members of society.  These are all things that I greatly value. Having said that, I consider myself to be a control freak! I want control of schedules, routines, traditions and knowledge of who is going where and when. I have learned (especially with our 19-year-old) that I have to let go of that part of me and of her. It is no longer my business where she is or what she is doing. She is a big girl. AND, if I raised her to be all those things that are important to me – then she should be doing just fine, right? I have also learned to trust her. She has made some GREAT decisions in the last couple of years. I am very proud of her.


My husband raises his girls differently. They are very dependent on him and his ex-wife. They don’t even take a shower without asking his permission. They don’t like being home alone (they are 15 and 13 years old), so then they aren’t left home alone. They aren’t encouraged to be involved in their school, or to join clubs/organizations. They aren’t allowed to have friends over because it is too inconvenient. I find myself constantly advocating for them, telling their dad that we should be letting them have friends over or taking them to a friend’s house. They are teenagers! That’s what they do, they hang out with friends! Now, I wouldn’t let them hang out unsupervised or anything like that, and I know my husband trusts me with that.


But seriously….I thought I was a control freak? Holy Cow! But I also want him to raise his girls the way that he wants to – with the things that are important to him. He wants them to come to him and ask his opinion…he wants them to confide in him…he wants them to follow his lead. And I understand all of that, it’s all good. We have different ways of raising our kids – they aren’t wrong ways, they are different.


So….to the Family Fusion Community…how much input does a step-parent get in their step-kids’ lives? I am not talking day-to-day things, I mean big things. (My son as an example) Right now he is choosing between going to college and joining the military? I have a definite opinion on this and so does my husband. My son’s Father has a definite opinion on this and so does his wife. Do we all have the right to give him our opinions? Does he care about the opinions of his step parents? Should he care about our opinions? My husband has been in his life for almost 6 years and his stepmom for almost 3 years.

I struggle with this because I am afraid that my son will get turned off by my husband giving him his opinion. Honestly, I think my son likes my husband, but my husband is very opinionated, he and my ex-husband have “clashed” a couple of times because they are on opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to how to raise kids. That doesn’t make either of them a bad Dad, it just makes them different. I would like to know what you think, so please share your thoughts.

Kay Berg is a bio mom of two children. Annie is 19, and Brad is 18. She is also step-mom to Bethany, 15, and Meagan 13. She has been married to her husband, Rod for almost 6 years. She is the Director of Religious Education, and Youth Minister at a Catholic church in Northern Wisconsin. Kay and Rod are learning how to blend their family on a daily basis, sometimes it goes well and sometimes not. But each day is a new day to learn and grow.


2 thoughts on “When do Step Parents get a voice?

  1. When it comes to adult children, I think that each parent has a right to give input, and its the adult child’s right to consider or not consider the input. As long as each parent understands that your child is now an adult and will decide for himself, and not get bent out of shape when their advise isn’t taken. I have 3 adult sons, I hope that they appreciate the advise of all the people around them, but they definitely make their own decisions. As for the girls, when I have my step-daughters on my own, my rules apply. Of course I respect their mom and dad’s wishes, but my style prevails when its my turn.

    • That is a good point with our adult children. Both of our older kids are adults now and I have been doing what we always do in this situation is just leave things unsaid so that I am not pitting them against their dad. but quite frankly, now that they are old enough, maybe they need to see that happen????????

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