L is for Last to Find Out [A-Z of Step-Parenting]

No matter how close you are to your step children or what wonderful things you do for them their default confidant will be their Mum (or Dad).

Take for example when they are young and learning to ride a bike. They fall off and scrape their little knee. As you watch the trickle of blood developing you hold your arms out to offer comfort. This is where biological default settings enter the equation.

A comforting cuddle from Mum is the only solution. It’s the only way the tears will dry up. Intellectually you tell yourself that it’s ok and it’s natural. Emotionally there is a little part of you that feels down that; on this occasion, you are not the first choice.

As your step children grow up this natural need to be close to Mum when comfort is needed doesn’t fade instead it morphs into ‘chats’ rather than cuddles.

I know that if I’m in the garden and one of the lads has taken the time to sit down with their Mum that I am to stay out of the way. I presume they do this because they might not like the answer I may give or it may be because they feel safer with their Mum.

I know that my wife will always come to me at some point and confide in me what the issue is. I am now experienced enough to accept the greater the delay in telling me the greater the consequence of the ‘chat’.

In our house the ‘chat’ is usually about cash. They are now at the age where cash seems to be their greatest need.

Recently my eldest step son wanted to pay a visit to pals down in the capital. I knew something was wrong as he and his girlfriend had ‘popped’ round one evening and actually brought drinks and nibbles with them. A couple of days later he popped round just to say ‘hello’.

Lovely to see him but it was all slightly suspicious (usually we have to pin him down to a date and time in order to spend some time with him). I was right. A cash loan was required in order for him to visit his friends and of course we were the first port of call.

It wasn’t a large amount and we were happy to oblige but the law of ‘last to find out’ applied again. A discrete conversation had occurred during one of his visits whilst I was outside entertaining.

I don’t mind being the last to find out – sometimes. When it comes to certain decisions it’s beneficial to be out of the loop and reduces my stress levels.

It’s strange though that I am never the last to find out about buying dinner; or acting as a taxi; or cleaning up after all their friends have been round for the evening!

This is part twelve of the “A-Z of Step-Parenting” series by Paul Nevitt, a 33-year-old male with plenty of experience of living with stepchildren. Visit his adoption blog too.