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What kind of step parent are you?

counseling.advocate's picture

I read this article online and I pasted part of it below. I'm interested to see, how many step talkers are either permissive, authoritarian, or authoritative step parents to their skids? I'm assuming I'm asking this to those who aren't disengaged. I'm pretty sure I fall between authoritative and authoritarian. Expectations of blind obedience and tinges of shaming comes out if they get in super bad trouble (extreme cases). I'm working toward authoritative/somewhat permissive if possible. If DH will stop making me parent them like they are mine of course.

• Permissive parents are reluctant to impose rules and standards, preferring to let their kids regulate themselves.

• Authoritarian parents demand a sort of blind obedience from their children.

• Authoritative parents take a different, more moderate approach that emphasizes setting high standards, being nurturing and responsive, and showing respect for children as independent, rational beings. The authoritative parent expects maturity and cooperation, and offers children lots of emotional support.

This combination distinguishes the authoritative parenting style from both authoritarianism and permissiveness.

Like permissive parents, authoritative parents are responsive, nurturing, and involved.

But unlike permissive parents, authoritative parents don’t let their kids get away with bad behavior.

Authoritative parents take a firm stand, expecting their kids to behave responsibly.

Like authoritarian parents, authoritative parents enforce rules.

But unlike authoritarian parents, authoritative parents show high levels of warmth, and they emphasize the reasons for rules.

When kids make mistakes or misbehave, they attempt to reason with their children.

Authoritative parents encourage a verbal give-and-take, and explain the consequences of good and bad behavior.

Authoritative parents are also less likely to control their children through harsh or arbitrary punishments, shaming, or the withdrawal of love.

Put another way, the authoritative parenting style reflects a balance between two values--freedom and responsibility.

Authoritative parents want to encourage independence in their kids. But they also want to foster self-discipline, maturity, and a respect for others.

- See more at:

counseling.advocate's picture

Wow there's a quiz?!? Can I have the link? Haha sorry u didn't get the result you thought. I actually think you have a good one for a skid. A bio should have the authoritative completely I think...

SunnySkies's picture

I'm with ya there, tog! However, I am a fabulous mummy to my dog - firm but fair!

JingerVZ's picture

I am not a parent, but as a SP I have no idea where I would fit.

Does parenting my Rottweiler count? There it's authoritative- I don't think there is much difference in training dogs and children. Husbands too need to be trained...

Did this just prove I am not a parent? :jawdrop:

counseling.advocate's picture


tiny kitten's picture

I'm borderline authoritarian with my SD, but embarrassingly permissive with my cat. Hopefully when I have my own kids I'll fall in the middle Blum 3

tiny kitten's picture

Yeah, picking her up, cuddling her, giving her love and saying "who's a pretty girl?" isn't going to keep her off the counters, is it?

leslie814's picture

This is how my household runs as well. Sure I like to relax in my room some nights and let them hang out but with the skids 4 days a week and my work schedule when they are not here if I don't do "family time" I also would never get to see my husband. I do get bitter though I won't lie as I am schleping her kids around every weekend while BM is "out" with friends as if they don't exist.

Skids come to me first for things this may have something to do with having two girls they don't want daddy for some things like outfits. But mainly I have put myself in the position to do the "work" what I see as the easy stuff so that my DH can have a more emotional bond and fun stuff with them. I don't connect with them emotionally; I get bored seeing their pictures that he can't get enough of. I don't need to teach them things but I will make sure they are cleaning up after themselves and respecting our home.

I am hoping that as they get older and able to do more of this "work" for themselves without being prompted that I will be able to disengage more but for now I look out for the best intrests of my home.

Calypso1977's picture

im pretty sure if i had a kid id be authoritarian.

when i babysat growing up, i never took shit from the kids and they behaved infinitely better for me than they usually did with their parents. sad, considering i was 12 or 13 and their parents were 30! lol

byebyebirdie's picture

I do not parent my step kid at all i leave all of it up to her father. i am completely hands off. if my husband ask me advice on what should be done with her ect i put it back on him i anwser with what do you think should be done? i used to be more envolved but that only seems to backfire
For my bio kids i would consider myself to be authoritative i think that describs me best.

another step's picture

I am a non-parent. I will occasionally give a ride now and then but that is it. Their father is incredibly permissive and we butted heads over it often but, as he is the parent, his "decision" would always prevail. Usually his decision was to do nothing, impose no discipline and let them be "happy." That made me crazy and I had to step away.

Example - just this morning we learned that his daughter, who was "spending the night with a friend" actually went to a major city across State lines about 2 hours away with the girl - who is also only 17. Her father just "talked to her" and told her that she should have asked for permission. He said that, because he had never EXPLICITLY told her that she needs to ask permission before LEAVING THE STATE (!) that he can't punish her. Sigh.....And get this - she now wants to go to an amusement park with the same friend today and he is both letting her AND paying for her.

I think he just doesn't want to deal with being a parent and having them angry at him. It is just too much work and too upsetting. His choice. But this "I never told them NOT to do X so they really didn't do anything wrong" is just plain stupid, IMHO. And it holds the kids to no standard whatsoever. No wonder they have no common sense and are absolutely entitled.

I had to stop caring or I would go nuts.

Calypso1977's picture

omg by saying that it totally implies that if she asked permission he was totally ok with her going!

another step's picture

Oh - he totally would have said OK. "NO" is not in his vocabulary when it comes to his children. Anything - everything - no matter the cost - or in this case actual mortal danger! If they want to do it, they can. Even finding out who is going to be around for dinner is impossible because he has no idea where they are or when they will be back.

Which is why they have stopped even bothering to ask for permission to do or go anywhere. He is lucky if he is INFORMED of their activities. And he is fine with it this way. No conflict - no effort - no sweat.

Utter negligence and I am not at all interested in hearing about his regret when it comes to a bad end. I tried and tried but even imposing a curfew at age 12/13 was not possible. He would "forget" to tell them when to be home - every single time. So when they rolled in at all hours of the early morning - or the next day - he "couldn't punish them."

another step's picture


Drac0's picture

I am making up my own step-parenting category.

I am an "ineffective" parent when it comes to SS.

I am only effective as long as DW has my back. Since she hardly ever backs me up when it comes to SS, I cannot be any kind of parent to him. So the best I can do is tolerate his presence and point out the things SS is doing/not doing to DW in the hopes that she'll set him straight.

Drac0's picture

Actually I am partially disengaged. There are some things I am not willing to compromise on when it comes to SS, and there are other issues that I refuse to fight him and DW over it. For instance; SS's bedtimes. I refuse to play "jail warden" when it comes to SS and making sure he sticks to his appointed bedtime. If he stays up past his bedtime (and he often does) I don't say anything. However, the other day when he was lying in bed and calling for "Mommy" every minute and running the risk of waking my other two children up, then I stepped in.

Drac0's picture

DW and I are great parents when it comes to BS and BD. I don't think we would be if we didn't have each other, talked to each other and communicated regularly over how we see ourselves raising BS and BD. I honestly didn't think I had it in me to be a good father but DW has been instrumental in making me see that I can be. So when it comes to parenting BS and BD, DW and I sit at a "round table" so to speak. Neither of us is in charge but no one is effective without the other's support. It's an aspect of our relationship that I love dearly. I am not sure if I can explain it any better than that.

SS, is another matter entirely since DW and SS are so horribly co-dependent and I have to fight to even have a seat at their table let alone be heard.

Drac0's picture

Ah! DW used to tell me "When you have children of your own, you will understand" as if that answered my query to the bizarre things I have noticed of SS's and DW's relationship. Well when DW and I ended up having children of our own, I came part-way to DW's way of thinking but not completely. I love my bios but I do not "feel" for them when they are hurt or upset. I try to understand them and validate those feelings, but I don't sit and cry along with them...That's what DW ends up doing with SS. In order to understand this, I had a LONG conversation with DW and I believe part of the problem stems from her break up with Donkeykong. This was the most trying time of her life and the only reason she was capable of shouldering the heavy emotional burden of divorce was latching onto SS. She was more concerned about his feelings then her own. This is why DW has a very hard time being objective when it comes to SS. Her guilt overides her compulsions to be the good parent I know she can be.

ocs's picture

DH and i read this article about 2 yrs ago. HE thinks he's authoritative, and that i'm authoritarian. I thought he is incredibly permissive and I'm authoritative..... lol

In actuality, he is permissive and I'm borderline authoritarian... My folks were very strict with me growing up, and I knew my place as a child. My parents made the decisions and that was that- no negotiations.

SD14 does what she wants, and he asks her opinions about stuff he shouldn't. I disengaged fully in February after a particularly bad fight and I have NEVER gone back. I'm not any kind of parent to her, nor do I care how she behaves or ends up. I don't have her around my friends or family anymore, and often, DH sees her without me. We are polite strangers in the house when she is around, 1-2x a month if it is not gift giving time. If a bday, Xmas or something is hovering, she's here alright.

I have never driven her anywhere, helped with homework, helped with fashion etc... I fully resent her and her batshit BM to a point where I would be happy to never lay eyes on her again. Sad really, she was sweet enough when i met her at age 8.