Stepparents WRECKING a Childs Life?
**I found this article at Mail Online...And it really kind of irked me off. The douchefairy (pardon my name calling) is blaming US for all skids issues... Wanted to get all you wonderful steps opinion on this article. Maybe we should let her know exactly what its like on OUR end**
It's heresy to say it, but having a step-parent can wreck a child's life
By Frances Childs
Last updated at 11:52 AM on 30th May 2008
Jackie, a 14-year- old straight-A student, sits at her desk applying her make-up.
Loudly, she informs her friend Lisa and the rest of the class that she hasn't been home for a week. She's been staying with her new boyfriend.
I am perplexed, as this behaviour is completely out of character.
But when I gently ask Jackie to get on with her work, she responds by swearing at me.
'Don't worry Miss, it's not you. Her mum's met someone. He's moved in,' her friend Lisa shrugs. It happens all the time.
These youngsters know it does and they are under no illusion as to what it means.
It certainly doesn't mean a happy new family. Nor does it herald the start of fun weekends at the seaside, shared jokes and lively discussion around the dining room table.
No, the arrival of a step-parent or 'partner' is far more likely to mean that the child's home, which should be their place of refuge becomes a place seething with pent up jealousies, anger and resentment.
Sadly, all too often, mother and daughter, father and son are set against one another by a parent's new spouse.
Last week news broke of the terrible death of seven-year-old Khyra Ishaq. It is alleged she starved to death.
Khyra's mother Angela Gordon and stepfather Junaid Abuhamza have been charged with causing or allowing the death of a child.
There is something horribly familiar about this story. We've seen it all before. The photograph of a smiling child, now dead.
The shocked response from neighbours. The accusations in the media that social services and teachers have failed.
The other thing that is sickeningly familiar about this tragedy is the little-commented-upon fact that Khyra Ishaq was the product of a broken home.
She lived with her mother and stepfather.
As did Lois Lazenby, dead at two, tortured to death by her stepfather. Likewise Aaron Gilbert, battered to death at just 13 months at the hands of his mother's new boyfriend.
Tahla Ikram was beaten to death last year aged 17 months. He looked, according to the horrified doctors who pronounced him dead on arrival at Ealing Hospital, like a car crash victim.
He lived with his father and stepmother.
While these are extreme cases, they are symptomatic of a society where children are increasingly living with adults who are not related to them.
The list of children murdered over the past two years by a stepparent or 'partner' of a natural parent could fill this page.
According to the NSPCC, one child a week dies at the hands of a parent or carer. For parent, I'd read step-parent.
As a teacher I've seen the results time and again of children forced to live with adults who have no biological link to them and have not the slightest interest in their happiness or well-being.
Step-parents and partners who see the children from a previous relationship as, at best, an irritating inconvenience.
I've witnessed over and over, the heartbreaking sight of children putting a brave face on their parents' pursuit of happiness at the very real expense of their own.
'Look Miss,' Sally shows me the wedding photos of her mum getting hitched to Sally's new 'dad'.
There's Sally, clutching her little bouquet of red carnations, she hovers uncertainly at the edge of the photo.
Her heavily pregnant mother and new husband take centre stage. Their hands are clasped, their faces wreathed in smiles.
A year later Sally has left home.
She's 12 and living with her grandmother. Her mother and stepfather felt it would be best if Sally no longer shared the family home.
After all, the family has changed and Sally isn't really part of it any more.
I've taught children who are on their third surname.
Desperate to please, to fit in and belong to the new family foisted upon them, youngsters take the name of men who at best tolerate and at worst actively dislike them.
While most step-parents don't batter or abuse their stepchildren, few youngsters can expect the unconditional love they deserve.
The most that many children can hope for from a step-parent is resigned acceptance to their existence.
Of course, some step-families do work.
Some men and women are well-adjusted and secure enough to take on the children from a previous relationship and form strong and loving bonds with them.
But let's not pretend that most broken and re-made families are happy ones.
It's hard enough bringing up your own children. Few people actively want to bring up someone else's.
In modern Britain, with it's ultra liberal approach to family life, it's deeply unfashionable to point out that children who have the misfortune to live with a step-parent are 75 per cent more likely to fail educationally and twice as likely to end up in prison, on drugs, or on the streets than those who live with their natural parents.
In my 12-year teaching career, I've worked with hundreds of children.
And I can honestly say that the number of youngsters with serious behavioural and psychological problems who live with both their natural parents is minuscule.
Almost all the children who have to be educated in what we bizarrely term the 'inclusion' unit, in reality a building set away from the main body of the school where trouble-makers with drug and alcohol addictions can be contained for the day, come from broken homes.
They live with a parent and that parent's lover.
Whenever we have to call in social services over a blackened eye or the suspicion that a child of 12 is left alone night after night, almost invariably that child lives with a step-parent.
In Britain today, it's taken as an inviolable truth that it's a parental right to form new relationships and move a step-parent into the home.
In the staff room, however, teachers acknowledge, sometimes openly, often in code, 'Mum's met someone, be worth keeping an eye out', that children are at risk from step-parents.
Sometimes our fears are unfounded, but sometimes they are not.
Sadly, though, many children remain in abusive families even after the intervention of social services, for the simple reason that children love their parents.
Even when those parents fail them time and again by condoning or actively participating in the abuse meted out by a stepparent, a child's love for their mum and dad is strong and fierce and unconditional.
Children rarely tell. They suffer; as little Khyra Ishaq did, in agonising silence.