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Stepparents WRECKING a Childs Life?

Fading's picture

**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.


stepmom008's picture

Oh my god - I don't even know what to say to that. What about the bio-parents that are so self-involved, they ruin their own children? Everything's always our fault.

"There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority, and control over - your mind and your mouth".

Fading's picture

This woman is so biased! I was about to send the place a very angry email then realized I'd better not do it from work...
She seriously needs a reality check.

"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison

stepmom008's picture

I'd like to know what her situation is. She's probably a bitter BM that has it out for all stepparents. Actually, I'm gonna google her...

She's a freakin' teacher? I read an article about how drugs and the man who first sold her brother LSD killed him. She appears to not hold any credence to the theory of personal responsibility. She also wrote an article about these "abusive parents" that don't drink the kool-aid and vaccinate their children. She seems like a real Communist.

"There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority, and control over - your mind and your mouth".

Fading's picture

According to her article she is a teacher who has seen these things happen.


"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison

RustyHalo's picture

Excuse me, but I believe this article points out crappy bio-parents more so than step parents.
There MAY be a step parent in a lot of homes now a days, but the BIO parents are still there and it is their responsibility to see how their children are raised. It is their responsibility to provide a stable, healthy home and environment for their children. If a child is abused or has died in a home where there is a step-parent, there is also inevitably a bio-parent there also. If a 12 year old child is home alone night after night - whose fault is that? THE BIO PARENT.

**my stepdaughters did not grow in my tummy, they grew in my heart**

stepmom008's picture

You're absolutely right about that. I just take issue with the article because for every example of something bad that has happened to a child, she makes sure to mention that the child had a step-parent living with them. It all goes back to personal responsibility. In my opinion, she seems to be taking that away from the bio-parent and putting it squarely on the step-parent.

"There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority, and control over - your mind and your mouth".

Fading's picture

That was my take on it as well stepmom008. She does say that the bioparent invites a non-biological person into the home to live in the home (etc) but with every bio reference there seems to be a stepparent reference pointing at steps to be somewhat of an evil force.


"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison

Sara_Smile22's picture

There are just as many abusive bioparents out there as there are stepparents...maybe more I'd guess. It might be interesting to look at the stats. My opinion is that she is seeing the kids react when it's a bad situation and basing her conclusions on those anecdotes rather than real statistics...step family life is tough, we all know, and it's a big adjustment. Typically though...I don't think it's ever just one person to blame.

Rags's picture

Please post the link to this article. I would like to point out how ignorant Miss Childs is by responding directly to this load of drivle.

This is the biggest load of illogical pseudo science crap I have heard in quite some time.

She might as well have said all white people are Hitler, all black people are slaves, all Asians are Atilla the Hun, etc.......

What an ignorant individual she is!!!!!!

Please note how guarded my wording is. I am sure all can fill in the words that are actually bouncing around in my head wanting to get out.

Best regards,

Success is rarely final. Failure is rarely fatal. It is character, courage and consistency of effort that count. Vince Lombardi (with some minor Rags modifications) To each according to their performance, screw Karl Marx. (Rags)

stepmasochist's picture

Are you sure about that or do stepparents just make the news more? Maybe we do it with more finesse??


Hey while we're on the topic of abuse and stepparents, I have a joke.

What do you tell a skid with two black eyes? Nothing, you've already told him twice!

Sorry, I have a very twisted sense of humor.

Fading's picture

I found this part of her comments most infuriating:

"children who have the misfortune to live with a step-parent"

Seriously? Wtf? MISFORTUNE?!


"I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won't work." -Thomas Edison

Nemo's picture

What an idiot.
Theres no excuse for the babies that have died in the hands of people, but how do they really know it was the STEP parent???
Bio-parents do stupid things like that all the time too.
If your spouse if hurting your child, are you really going to stand there and watch?
And the reason little SALLY lives with grama now?
Because she couldnt handle sharing mommy with her step dad and new sibling. She didnt want to have to share mommy with anyone new. So she did everything in her power to break them up, but mommy didnt go for it.

startingover2010's picture

i would love to write an article about just how bad the SKIDS can be, how the SKIDS can wreck the STEPPARRENTS life. i may do that and submit it to some sort of magazine.

Most Evil's picture

I am deeply offended by this 'author' and would love to tell her to shove it up her arse - she sounds like a bitter either BM or skid to me!

Ok, I read the article just before this, where it says her mom died when she was I think 4 - she does not mention any step-parent but something tells me she had one?!! and if so and it remains undisclosed it seems she thinks that would challenge her 'objectivity' as an author? just a guess. Also she never asked anyone including her dad, about her mom until 30 years after her death? This seems odd to me? so maybe she has other issues too?
“Learn by practice.” - Martha Graham

Angel's picture

I firmly believe that the best thing for kids is that their bioparents not bring in a new mate until they are up and out of the house. (DISCRETION IS THE WORD, not abstinence.) I know there are exceptions to the rule, but you have to finish raising the kids you already have in order to give them the best shot in life because we parents have the ability to really screw kids up.

Most of your attention should be on the fruit of your loin and not on your loins. I know that young people nowadays have trouble with this concept, actually postponing gratification to finish something they've already started, but I still think that it would reduce a lot of the problems that young kids are having. This is not a personal attack on anyone, just an observation from someone with some life experiences.

It isn't the step parent per se that is at fault, but the bio parent that doesn't want to face life without a live-in mate.

And if you have kids and want to bring in a "live-in" and not marry, may God help you in the future. When your 18 year old wants to live with some guy and says, well YOU DID IT. Yup, you did it. The kids are watching EVERYTHING YOU DO AND WILL DO WHAT YOU DO AND NOT WHAT YOU SAY.

This turned from a vent to a ramble.

StepChicka's picture

Unless the bio-parents suck at picking romantic partners, its important to show a child what a loving respectful relationship is and they can show this by finding another who has the same idea in mind. A second-time SO for the parents also shows the dynamics of a functioning household to the children. I'll reiderate that if you're terrible at picking good role models for your kids then by all means don't bring them around the children.

Having another adult role model in the home can be very beneficial for all. Especially the primary-custodial step parent who can provide love and support a child misses from not having a bioparent involved.

I thank my lucky stars for my stepfather. I would have turned out so differently (and not for the better) if it wasn't for him. He's the reason why I have chosen men that treat me well vs men who treat me like shit. He's the reason why I believe a man can love a woman so much he'll go to the ends of the earth for her; with her kids in tow! My father said point blank to me when I was 10 that he never wanted me and it was my mom's idea to have me and my brothers. Our step dad is the only reason why any of us have any self-worth at all! Smile

As for moving in together before marriage, I HOPE my kids do just that. Living with someone prevents a lot of divorces. It also prevents alimony and being robbed blind of your assets too.

Sorry if I was hard on you. Its kinda of a sore subject for me. Please don't take offense.