This is such an interesting topic. What are the boundaries of the step parent and do they really have any rights? Mister M over at The Psycho Ex Wife did an article about it and then a follow up was done by In The Blender, Musings of a Step Mom. I have been a step mother and also my children have a step mother, so I thought I would weigh in on this issue.
I do believe that when your child is with the step you can’t control what happens in that home. I also believe it is common courtesy for the step to realize they are not the bio and to take that into consideration when deciding to alter the appearance of a child. For instance, Mikalee Byerman wrote about an instance that happened with feathers regarding her daughter and the step, and frankly, I think the step should have asked Mikalee first. Mikalee was angry and rightfully so.
If you are a step that has custody, then that is a whole other ballgame. At that point, you are basically the mom. You did not give birth to that child, but you may as well have. When a step is with a child all the time, except for the odd weekend out, it is like you have an adopted child and when you have an adopted child, you don’t treat that child as if they are adopted, you treat them like they are your own. Your boundaries and rights are that of a mother, so all bets are off.
But, for those steps out there that are non-custodial, of course you can make your own rules when you have the kids in your house because it IS your house. Discipline them, help them with homework, pick out their clothes, take them where you want and even put them in a class when it is your time but when it comes to things like cutting their hair, piercing their ears, putting feathers in their hair or buying a first bra leave that up to the bio mom or at the very least ask before doing
It could be the bio mom will be more than pleased that you are taking the initiative to bond in that way with the child. And, this is a win-win because not only does it strengthen your relationship with the child, but also with the bio mom, who respects you for asking and keeping the boundaries.
If the bio mom says no and you really want to be there, ask if you can come along for the ride. There is no rule that says the bio mom and the step mom can’t be friends, and isn’t it better for the kids to see a happy healthy relationship between all the adults? And, if the bio mom says no, she doesn’t want to share, then smile graciously and call her a bitch in your head and let it go.
Whether we like it or not, there are boundaries when it comes to the bio mom and the step mom. Those boundaries are blurred more with the bio dad and the step dad. Why? Because men have a different emotional make-up than women. Men share better and frankly do not have that hormonal malfunction to deal with.
And, even if the bio dad says, go for it, still check first with the bio mom! A little courtesy goes a long way, and there are so many more important issues to stand up for. Remember too, you will be living with the bio mom for a long time, and when you married her ex, you didn’t just marry him and his children, you married her as well!