If you or your ex-partner have gotten remarried, there may be stepparents involved in your child’s life. Unfortunately, many problems can arise when stepparents get too involved. Sometimes a stepparent with well-meaning intentions can cross a line or become too involved in a situation.
This process can require a delicate balance of parenting especially if this circumstance is new for everyone involved. Being a part of a stepfamily can either be a blessing or a curse so it is our job as parents to make the best out of every situation.
When stepparents get too involved, you will need to communicate, set boundaries, and establish roles to make sure everyone involved in the child’s life understands their role.
Everybody in a child’s life has a role whether they are aware of it or not.
Their role is determined by a number of factors, including the relationship they have with the child. For a stepparent, it can be a difficult task to know when they should be involved and when they should take a step back.
As a primary caregiver to your child, you should have an understanding of what type of role you want other people to play in your child’s life. If the stepparent in question is your new spouse, you should carefully consider what role you want them to have.
How would you like them involved in your child’s life? Is there anything you don’t want them to do or have a say in?
Additionally, if your ex-partner has become newly remarried, you may be left wondering what to do about their partner’s new role in your child’s life. You may need to reach out to your ex-partner and discuss their spouse’s role. This could be complicated and fill you with a lot of emotion especially if your ex-partner is not willing to have a talk with you.
Consider Your Child’s Needs
Sometimes when we are highly emotionally charged, we can be quick to think about our own feelings and forget what others around us need. This can be especially true if we don’t like our co-parent or child’s stepparents.
When stepparents get too involved, you will most likely become annoyed and frustrated which will lead to emotions spilling out.
Set aside some time to figure out whether the problem is truly a problem or whether the problem is something that came as a result of heightened emotion. If the issue is truly a problem, consider how that problem impacted your child.
Think carefully about what your child needs instead of acting out emotionally. This way, your logic can be understood by all parties involved instead of trying to use emotion as the solution. The child should be the number one priority when it comes to parenting.
One of the first steps to great communication and establishing roles is setting boundaries.
Boundaries are limitations placed in a relationship and are a way of communicating needs. For example, if a stepparent constantly talks about a topic with your children that might be inappropriate, you may communicate with them that they should no longer talk about that subject.
That’s called placing a boundary.
Boundaries can be difficult to put into place, but with consistent enforcement, they can become second nature. Setting clear boundaries is important in any family, but they are especially important in a blended family because if one of the parents is not following the rules, it can lead to the problem at hand which is stepparents becoming too involved.
While placing boundaries can be difficult, they are necessary.
People can’t figure out how other people are feeling just by looking at their faces or body language alone. We often have to communicate our feelings and needs to get the desired results.
In a situation where someone is doing something that is hurting you or causing problems, setting a boundary can let them know what you need from them.
How To Set A Boundary
The first step to setting a boundary is determining what the problem is. If the problem is causing you frustration or anger, make sure you are not emotionally charged up and have a clear mind before setting a boundary.
The next step is to communicate the boundary to the person that you need to follow it. Make sure that you are patient and set the boundary calmly because doing it with emotion will not make the situation any better.
If the person is resistant to the boundary, they may continue to do what you asked them not to.
There are apps out there that are perfect for setting boundaries with stepparents. Apps like OurFamilyWizard make co-parenting easier.
Anything from scheduling time to see the child to splitting expenses is handled through the app.
You may have to set a consequence in motion so that they understand that the boundary is non-negotiable. For example, if the person continues to talk about a subject that is causing problems for you, you can tell them that the kids will not be able to spend time with them and may have to take further action if required.
It’s important to be consistent and follow through with your consequences or the person won’t learn from the situation. They may continue to do the problematic behavior which in turn will make you more agitated and frustrated.
If you follow through with your consequences, they will learn over time that you are serious about the boundary you’ve set and they will either choose to accept it or continue facing the consequences.
How To Approach Your Ex-Partner
Talking to ex-partners is difficult even in the best of times. However, when conflict does arise, talking to your ex-partner can be laced with anger, frustration, and pain. Try to take a neutral approach and come prepared with solutions, but be sure that you also come prepared to listen.
When stepparents get too involved, it is a situation that needs to be discussed right away so learning to push aside differences and talk is important.
Ask your ex-partner if you can speak about something that is bothering you. Find a time where both of you can talk calmly with no distractions and explain the problem without vilifying their new spouse. Tell them you’ve come up with a solution to the problem and let them know that they can also input their own ideas as well.
The key here is being willing to listen because they may have an explanation as to why the stepparent became too involved. Additionally, they may have an idea about how to fix the situation.
Let your ex-partner talk to their spouse so that they can take care of the situation in the best way they know-how.
If you aren’t already friends with their new spouse, coming to them with problems with their behavior can make an already tense relationship even tenser and create larger rifts. This won’t benefit your child at all so approaching this the right way is crucial.
How To Approach The Stepparent
When it comes time to talk to the stepparent, it’s important that you come to them calmly and with patience. They may not be aware of how they became over-involved and could become defensive especially if they really value their relationship with your child.
Explain how them being over-involved created a problem.
You should then carefully explain what the problem is and how you propose to fix it. Take the time to listen to them when they explain what they were thinking in the situation and consider their input if they have any.
Make sure to take the time to explain to them how what happened affected your child because your child’s feelings and needs should be the most important thing in consideration.
If they have questions about their role or impact, be patient and take the time to explain how you envision their place in your child’s life.
If your partner understands that they made a mistake and are ready to remedy it, consider the situation settled. They may not need a boundary placed at all, especially if they are aware of having overstepped. They may even want to address what happened with your child directly.
If It Keeps Happening
If you have tried your best and the stepparent keeps being overinvolved, you will have to resort to legal action. This might sound overboard to some but when situations get too far, using legal help can be the only solution.
At the end of the day, your child’s wellbeing is the most important thing that needs to be focused on so taking the right steps and action will only make this situation better.
Let your ex-partner and the stepparent know that you will be contacting legal teams and providing them with proof that there is overstepping happening.
Even though this should be a last resort solution, it should still be considered.
Final Thoughts – When Stepparents Get Too Involved
Being a stepparent is a tough job. It’s hard to tell whether or not to be detached or become more involved in the child’s life.
Sometimes, lines can get blurry and it can be difficult to determine what to do in a situation without becoming over-involved. As your child’s biggest advocate, it’s up to you to determine where those lines are because it is important to create a stable foundation for your child.
Don’t shy away from having an open conversation about what your child needs and wants in their life. They need you to do that for them as they navigate new relationships and a new blended family.