Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

Parenthood & Step-parenthood

There are no instruction manuals to help you raise a child. Luckily, we love our children, and do the best we can for them. It seems to come naturally to know what is best for your own child. Bf is an amazing daddy to our daughter. I’d go as far as to say that I think he’s better than a lot of mothers. I never cease to be amazed at his patience. Although, I guess he gets to recharge his batteries by getting away from it all and lying on a tropical beach reasonable often.

That said, I often think he can be a lousy step-parent. I guess I see it, because of the contrast to the way he is with his own child. I used to think he was a much better step-parent than I do now, because I assumed that his strictness was simply the way he was as a parent. Whilst I appreciate that he will feel differently with his own child, I still expect things to be fair for all of them.

I think it would help somewhat if the children were girls rather than boys. A counsellor also said this is usually the case-as a new partner will relate sons more to an ex-husband than daughters. But also, I guess girls tend to elicit different more protective, paternal bahaviours from father figures

My concerns over this issue are the trigger of 95% of any disagreements that we have. I believe that we would have an almost perfect relationship without this difference being present.

He believes that I should accept the differences, and thinks that the boys will grow up understanding why he acts slightly differently. My thought process is that whilst he will feel differently; he doesn’t need to show it. He can take the opportunity to indulge her in his own way when the boys are away with my ex. The boys call Bf ‘Daddy’, and to me, he should step up to this honour and act accordingly.

I feel for him, because I know it must be hard. It’s hard enough to be a great parent as it is, but add into the equation the feeling that your step-children are syphoning off attention, time and opportunities that you wish to give your own child, and you have a ready-made dilemma.

I wish there were more constructive help around to help step-parents to learn how to cope with their feelings. My own step-father is more of a *dad* to me than my own father was. He wanted people to think my brother and I were his own, and couldn’t do enough for us. So maybe my expectations of Bf are raised unfairly because of this?

Most of the time I think things are going fine with it all. In fairness, he is probably no different with the boys than a lot of fathers are with their own children, and in many cases-a lot better. It’s just that every now and again; we have a day that makes me feel like I want to shake some sense and fairness into him!


3 Responses to “Parenthood & Step-parenthood”

  1. I personally don’t think it matters whether the step-children are boys or girls. I have 2 daughters, and like you we argue a lot about my BF’s role in their life. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I’m being unrealistic to expect him to step into the role of being their dad – he’s always said that’s not him. He’s never wanted his own children, but he does love my daughters in his own way – I know that. He’s almost like a bossy big brother to them sometimes. Unfortunately they don’t see their real father so I was hoping for something more for them.

    The times I get upset is when he’s nagging them about minor stuff as soon as he sees them, but it’s not backed up with the usual positive things you’d expect from your dad, ie spending quality time together. So a voice inside my head is saying “if you’re not going to act like a dad in every respect then you have no right to dictate”. Sometimes that little voice gets vocalised and we argue! lol

    It sounds like you had the perfect step-dad but I think these are few and far between and its probably our hopes and dreams of what life could be like for our children that makes us dispappointed with our BFs. My daughters love my BF for who he is, warts and all, and I’m sure your boys feel the same about your BF.

    That said, it does hurt and my daughters do sometimes feel a little rejected but short of a labotomy I don’t think anything will ever make him change!

  2. Does your partner ever take the boys out on his own? Maybe some days out “just the boys” would help or if they shared an interest they could find something they could all do together that he may not be able to do with his daughter with her being younger? I am not a parent but I can appreciate how hard it must be from both sides. I also had a step dad that was more like a dad than my real dad but this took many years to adjust to. Should you ever have more children in the future with you partner maybe this would equal the balance and the dynamics would chance rather than there being one child that is his to take up his attention he would have to spilt it and therefore may find it easier to divide this attention between the boys too!

  3. In fairness, they do ‘boy stuff’ together. Model aeroplane flying, and stuff in the garden. I say they, but actually he get’s more involved with my older son at the moment. I’m sure he’ll get to a stage where it involves the younger one more too. He struggled to relate to my older son when he was the same age as the younger one is now.

    I know I am probably a little hard on him… Its just that it’s hard seeing how great he is capable of being as a parent, and seeing the boys crave his affection, attention and approval so much, yet his not seeming to realise how special or flattering that is.

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