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Being a stepparent...

Community Member


I don’t know how to start or what I want out of this. I think I just need to get this off my chest.

I’m a step mum to a 4yo girl and a 5yo boy. I moved to aus 2 years ago and I have my biological family overseas. Me and my husband have been married for a year and he really is the love of my life. I have underlying anxiety issues and depression from time to time. And I’m very stressed.
Me and the 4yo girl we get along so well. But the 5yo is a different story. He has expressed that he wants his mum and dad back together and I COMPLETELY Understand. But it hurts, I know I’m being a childish but it’s so hard because it feels like he doesn’t want me here. And being quite “alone” like I am here, it hits me very hard. If I hade my family here to turn to or go to I think it would be easier. Luckily I have a good relationship with my mother in law.

And being a step parent, I don’t know how to do it! I don’t really like to do “kid things” like I just get tired and bored. It’s fine when we’re out doing stuff as a family. I love that!! But I don’t think I’m good at this parenting thing at all. Well, I was. But in the last months it’s been so hard because I’ve been so anxious and sad and I have zero patience. And the 5yo boy has tantrums over absolutely nothing and always in public. It feels like he’s trying to embarrass me.

I feel guilty for not having patience. And I feel worthless and guilty for screaming back at him to stop! My husband tells me that “he’s just a kid, don’t let him upset you”

but it’s so hard. I feel so alone. And I feel so shitty and just sad. I get bad anxiety days before the kids come over. We have them every second weekend Thursday- Sunday . And I feel like I have taken to much responsibility. I take the kids to school and kinder and it’s always screaming and carrying on when I do that. And I just can’t do it anymore so we’ve arranged for my husbands dad to take him to school now. And I feel so guilty for that too. I can’t do anything right with this child and I’m torturing myself with thoughts of worthlessness and I’m basically bullying myself badly. To the point of me having a meltdown and hurting myself.

sorry for being so dramatic and writing so confusing!

I does feel good reaching out.

2 Replies 2

Hi Maria,

Welcome to our friendly online community. This is a safe space to talk about these feelings and experiences you've been having. We're so sorry to hear that you've had such a difficult transition into step-parenthood. We understand that it can't be easy when you're having these relationship difficulties with one of the children, especially when you're so far away from the home and the loved ones who would ordinarily be there to support you in person. When you say you are hurting yourself, can we ask if you mean emotionally or physically?

It sounds like you did the right thing in lightening your load a little with the school drop-offs. It's important to do this when you're feeling the way that you are, and we think you are so strong for recognising this and making the change that was needed. We hope that you can be gentle with yourself for doing this, and look at the act with the generous eyes that you would if a friend was in the same situation.

It sounds like you're becoming really overwhelmed in this situation and we're concerned that you're experiencing feelings of worthlessness. Can we ask if you are you currently receiving mental health support? If not, we would urge that you do seek professional support to help you work through these thoughts that you're experiencing. If you are not sure of how to access mental health support, please contact the Beyond Blue Support Service anytime on 1300 22 4636 or get in touch with us on Webchat 3pm-12am AEST here: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport

Please know that it's a really tough situation in itself living away from your home and family, so it's very understandable that you'd need some support and understanding. Feel free to keep us updated on how things are going whenever you feel up to it. We hope that you find our forums to be of some comfort in this difficult period. 


Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Maria90~

Frankly I think you are doing OK - even if you do not. You are in a different country from your own family, and in a land where you have just has 2 years to get used to everything, yes everything. That in itself is a huge pile of stress.

You have been married for a whole year, which is a drop in the ocean, you are still getting use to each other, and if he supports you by getting his dad to help and reassuring you the boy is just a kid then the chances are he is an OK person -like you.

Your partner's mum likes you and I suspect his dad might too.

I guess getting on with the little girl is a big plus, you do know how to be a step parent. With the little boy he has his own troubles. All kids need security and his has been broken -big time. So he wants things back as they were, which is not going to happen.

How a kid is going to react is anyone's guess. He goes for non cooperation and screaming, It works a bit, he got his grandad to take him to school, but it won't work much more than that .

No, you probably won't like 5 year old boy's games or occupations, maybe you might find something if you try different things, from bike riding to computer games, breeding hamsters or maybe somethng from your own country. Won't work all the time but a bit.

Yes I expect he is trying to draw attention to himself and embarrass you by screaming in public, a ploy.

You have a lifetime to draw barriers and be inventive. Not overnight, but with time. With those barriers you will see nobody could do it better, (and getting out of the habit of screaming will help -be cool not hot.) Each time you manage something with yourself and him from eating tea to helping wash up is a victory, and you get lots of little ones -enlist his sister to help wash up the unbreakable s and so on.

He has had 5 years security, and now needs a fair amout of time to adjust, and maybe in time see you as a freind, or if not then someone he just has to live with

There was one thing you said that worries me -may I ask what you meant by "having a meltdown and hurting myself"?

That might be a difficult question to answer -have faith we will understand.

Go easy on yourself, you are a new and inexperienced mother and wife, small steps with mistakes as well is good.