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Email of the Day: Being A Step-parent Is Hard

By Dr. Laura on January 16, 2023
Email of the Day: Being A Step-parent Is Hard

I married a man with two small kids. Before we met, his two boys were abducted by their non-custodial mother and taken to another country. My husband worked many long years to get them back to live with us.


Being a step-parent is the hardest thing I have ever done. I have to deal with behavioral issues stemming from abandonment when their mother stopped calling and seeing them. I hear how I’m not good enough, everything I do is wrong, and they have yet to say “I love you.” I am caught between two choices: spoil them so they’ll like me or be a real parent to them.


I don’t want pity. I made a choice, and I stick with it every day. I am relentless in my affection for them, even though they still pull away when I hug them. I read to them, tuck them in, cook for them, and stay home with them. My husband supports and stands up for me. He is a wonderful father and insists that they treat me with respect. I wouldn’t have been able to bear this if it weren’t for him.


I’ve learned that love is an action and a decision, not a feeling. And I’ve also learned that blending families is not ideal. Step-parenting is the least rewarding job on the planet. But I keep doing the right thing. Someday, most likely when they are grown, they will know how much I loved and sacrificed for them.



Being A Step-parent Is Hard




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