What is it like to have stepchildren?

Honesty in upbringing : No puppy protection for stepchildren!

Children are an imposition when they are your own. Either the career goes flat. Or the partnership. Or both. You don't even need the official investigation that couples who have become parents get unhappy at first. It is enough to go to Ikea on Saturdays and not look at the furniture, but the people.

If a marriage fails, it usually happens after the second baby is born. Clear. In the struggle for sleep, you don't waste your time in bed with sex. And you no longer go out to eat with small children, but at most "eat something".

You don't get any distraction either. Because new acquaintances are only recruited from parents' circles, such as the playground or the day care center. You may talk a little longer after the parents' evening and hope that your own child will not choose the classmate with the stupid parents as a friend. Otherwise they'll be in your kitchen a little later with a Prosecco to pick up their child from the children's birthday party. And don't go because otherwise they won't go out either.

Time for interesting conversations, for example about the playground or day care center and why all educators smoke chain. When the second glass of Prosecco leads to the impression that you are familiar, you start to blaspheme your own children. Their clumsiness or indolence.

I always had inhibitions with my stepchild

All of this is socially accepted. But to say something like that about a stepchild - that includes a few more prosecco. Why actually?

Of course, this is not meant to be a plea for children's bashing. But: if your own children are annoying, tell them clearly and directly. It is natural behavior, it feels right, and in the right words, it is upbringing.

But can you be so open with the children from the other relationship? With my stepchild, I was always reluctant to criticize it. Regardless of whether it is public or direct. It felt wrong. As if as a stepmother I wasn't entitled to do that.

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So I had the feeling that under no circumstances should I treat my own stepchildren and my stepchildren the same on this point. Behavior that rubbed off on the father: Many fathers of children of divorce have a guilty conscience, and that makes you quiet. They swallow the guilty feelings towards the ex. They endure the accusations of the new woman.

And they are silent when the child from the old relationship is annoying. Because: “The child can't help it”! Because the father fears that he will not be able to offer the child a “real family”, he does not want to put it patriarchally into the limits where there are no longer any limits. Besides, he wants the new one to think his child is great. It would just be unwise to make a lot of wind about the annoying offspring.

It is precisely this that distinguishes “visit” from “family”. You might lure the little bully from the children's birthday party with a round of pot beating from the designer sofa - and quickly sweep the anger under the same. But what if the bully comes back every Wednesday and every other weekend?

Stepchildren also need clear rules

What to do with all the frustration one already has with one's own children? How do you get the strength for someone else who steals a piece of your own life? And yet we “only have this one life!” As wall tattoos in the furniture store want to remind us.

[Read on Tagesspiegel-Plus: How children of divorce become happy again]

I don't have any good advice or wisdom. I can only speak for myself.

It would have helped me back then if we had been more open with each other. And maybe not just for me: Puppy protection is not only beneficial for the stepchild. At some point, his instinct makes him realize that he has a special role that does not arise from his actions, but solely from his being.

It is so important to treat the stepchild as normally as possible and not to leave them in an unruly room. Because there it is alone. A deep relationship is only possible with openness, and only through discussion does a bond develop that extends beyond childhood. In addition: from whom else should the child learn to pay attention to its own needs?

Admitting that we are separated has brought me and my stepdaughter closer together. If I'm annoyed today, I try to tell her and then sometimes I keep my distance.

Perhaps the Corona rule is also suitable as a wall tattoo for blended families: "Distance for cohesion".

Aline von Drateln, himself a child of divorce, grew up with a mother, stepfather and a total of four sisters and half-sisters. At 24, she unexpectedly became a stepmother when her current husband had a child from his ex nine months after they met. They now have two children together.

Every 14 days she tells the Tagesspiegel about the acid test of patchwork: what it feels like to be “the new one” for a lifetime, and why she failed to want to be the best stepmother in the world– and is surprised that there are “family fathers” but no “family mothers”.

Read episode 1 here: Blood is thicker than water? That’s why we’re far from swimming in the same virus pool!

Read episode 2 here:No way angry stepmother - Cinderella!

Read episode 3 here: We stepmothers are a full-fledged part of the family!

Read episode 4 here: Our baby, the ex-wife and me

Read episode 5 here: Fifty-fifty can be so unfair for children

Read episode 6 here: With stepfathers, it is enough that they don't devour the children like a lion

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