Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Advice step parenting

Community Member

I feel so selfish saying this so please be kind. I'm 21 years old dating a 26 year old who has 2 kids aged 2 and 3. Please don't get me wrong I love the kids so much but lately I've been feeling so left out. My boyfriend doesn't make time for me, I feel like he only cares about the kids and I feel like a total outsider in their lives. I look after them, cook dinner, clean, feed them, shower them etc etc but don't get to be involved in anything important. I don't get to make rules, the kids don't listen to me, I don't get told about important things happening in their lives e.g the other week one was in hospital and I wasn't even informed. It's getting me really upset that I don't feel apart of the family and my boyfriend expect me to take on the role of step mum but without the appreciation and respect I feel I deserve. I really don't know what to do anymore, Ive tried talking to him about it and he doesn't understand. I'm so down about it all

We have also been talking a lot about our future and if we have kids and Ive been a bit down about that too. I'm having trouble letting go of the idea that if we have kids it's won't be special for him because he's done it before. Twice.

Does anyone have any advice to stop feeling this way or what I can do. I love him and I love his kids so much I just want to feel happy together again not how I have been.

3 Replies 3

Community Member

Hi B21.

I currently live in a mixed family. I have a 14yo boy from a former marriage and two boys with my current wife.

Similar to your bf, I love my kids to bits. I guess the important thing is that you be as upfront and honest about YOUR needs in regards to the children as possible. As a member of this family, it is vital your needs are met and understood by the other members.

Setting expectations and ground rules will establish a healthy foundation and will give your bf a clearer understanding of what you need, and it will also provide a communication channel.

Setting this up may be difficult at first, but it is important both to you and to your partner in gaining trust and understanding, both now - with his children - and in the future with potential children of your own.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

Step parenting is rarely ever ideal, rarely stable nor the mix - getting all things right.

I've been a step parent twice and I've had a partner to my kids- neither worked out in terms of slotting into a united family. So I'll be brutally honest with my feelings.

It is normal to feel jealousy towards the children of your partner after all those kids, as lovely as they are, take time away from your both.

You are only 21yo, there is no need to rush into even thinking about children at this time. With the potential powderkeg in the future with you both not getting the chemistry right you should get things ok now and for a few years before you go down that path.

A step parent will always be a step parent unless- the other birth parent passes on or the child severs ties permanently. My daughter severed ties with her birth mum, she now calls my 2nd wife "mum", for example. Unless one of those things happen you'll have to accept that your role is step parent and that means not being fully in the loop in regards to the childrens needs, putting it more bluntly- you'll be locked out of many conversations legitimately. Many times you might be told by your partner or the other birth parent to "butt out" of decisions even though they'll effect you. EG You have planned a night out with your partner, your anniversary, then 2 hours earlier the other parnet rings your partner and he/she want to attend a parent and teacher night that evening. Well your partner will be the meat in the sandwich and might feel that is more important. You will be disappointed but you must be flexible as a step parent and decide to make it another night. Time and time again my ex partners could not or would not be flexible and keep to their role as a step parent.

My other advice is to actually embrace that role. Read to the children, be their best friend, essentially aim for your role to be so good that those kids will relish in the thought that they will visit you even more eager than seeing their father.

Summary- be flexible with the visitation routine, draw a line in terms of being too involved in your partners communication and decisions with the kids and his ex, be a playful friendly step mum. As your relationship is more likely to fail than a non step children couple- be wary that you both need a lot more time to see if it all works out before having children of your own. Seek a family counselor to fine tune some problems with your partners lack of regard to you.


Community Member
Thank you so much for the advice and for making me feel like I'm not a terrible person for feeling this way. I really want it to work just sorting out this stuff has been a bit difficult