Isn’t it Time to Stop the Bio- Mother ~ Stepmother Animosity?

Your stepchild’s Bio-Mom (BM) will always be a part of your life.

Over the years you will both attend graduations, sporting events, family celebrations, marriages, births, grandchildren, illness or death of a mutually loved relative and so. Stepmoms (SM) will share all this and more with their stepchild's BM.

Just as the SM did not know what to expect when she started her stepfamily journey; the BM is in the same position. She does not understand stepfamily dynamics or how her own actions can help or hinder her child’s adjustment to the stepfamily.

The BM will ALWAYS be the child’s Mother. The SM who thinks that this will change is in for a painful surprise. Some SM belive that their stepchild will look to them as their Mother in time. However, as the SM does not have the BM’s emotional, physical, psychological history with the children, this is not likely to happen. However, many stepchildren grown to have strong positive feelings about their SM.

If you are inclined to ask, or worse yet, insist your stepchildren call you ‘Mom’ you may be making a serious mistake.

The names ‘Mom and Dad’ have powerful emotional meanings for children. Instead ask your stepchild what they would like to call you, and if you have more then one stepchild, you may need to grow comfortable with being called different names.

It is a given that BM deeply love their children and want what is best for them. This often means they will query what is happening in their child’s stepfamily.

What they do not understand may worry them.

Ultimately, the BM does not know nor trust the SM to care for her beloved children. She needs to be reassured her children are in safe hands. Over time, with gentleness and sensitivity trust levels between the BM and SM may develop and stregthen.

BM and SM were thrust into a relationship neither asked for nor wanted. A relationship brought about when their ‘Ex’ remarried.

Building Bridges Stepfamily Style

It may be awkward at first, but why not invite BM or the SM out of a coffee to get to know one another. Talk about how the two of you can make things easier for the children and each other.

As trust builds, move into more delicate topics such as parenting and children spending money, difficulties around different house rules, etc.

Another idea is to try using a Communication Book to share information about the child’s activities, health, and schedule between the two families. The book travels with the child to each home.

As a took, the Communicaiton Book, serves to keep to keep both the birth and stepparents involved in all decision making and events– yes even hair cuts, school plays, ear/body piercing, or tattoos!

An important consideration!

In order for a bridge building process to be successful, decisions must be carefully considered. If the SM is excluded in the process, although assigned tasks, it is pretty much guaranteed that feelings of resentment will swiftly emerge.

A SM who is excluded from discussions involving her, may gracefully decline do any tasks assigned to her without her input.

Birth moms are not demons, neither are Stepmoms!

Isn’t it time to begin to try to understand one another and set aside differences?

Why spend negative energy disliking each other?

Doesn't it make more sense for both the BM & SM to put their energies to positive use? Building family bridges, empowers all the parental figures to enhance communication and provide strong loving support and guidance to the children.

Just as we accept the fact that it takes a stepfamily several years to gel, we must accept the fact that it will take a certain period of time for the BM and SM relationship to evolve.

Author's Bio: 

Dianne Martin, BSW, RSW, is a stepmom, birth mom, and Certified Stepfamily Counsellor residing on Vancouver Island,Canada.

Combining her intimate knowledge of stepfamily dynamics with her professional experience, Dianne offers a dynamic array of specialized counselling and educational programs for stepfamilies. In addition to traditional counselling, Dianne also offers cyber-counselling to Canadian stepfamilies and single parents planning to remarry.

Visit her website at