10 things bio parents want their step parent partners to know

two person wearing denim pants on grass field

Martin and I talk. A lot! It’s probably one of the main reasons we’re able to get around, through and over so many of the step family and relationship issues that have reared their ugly heads over the past two years of knowing each other.

That said, talking can be soooo hard, right? Especially when it’s about something so emotive as your children, your partner’s children, ex-partners, holidays, special events and so on. Emotions run high and even the calmest most level-headed of people can feel hurt and angry when talking turns into blaming, and before you know it you’re slap bang in the middle of another major argument.

Often times we can be guilty of assuming our partners know how we’re feeling and thinking about certain issues (and unless they’re psychic, then let’s face it, that’s kind of  unreasonable!). So we thought it would be a nice idea to write a list of things bio parents and step parents would truly love their partners to know, if they could read our minds. 

My list as a bio parent is below and you can find Martin’s “What step parents want their bio parent partners to know” coming up soon. (Martin has the added advantage of being a bio parent as well as a step parent so he understands both sides of the equation).

If it helps, send a link of this article to your partner, or casually leave your screen open on this page in full view (we’re not subtle here at Step Parent World!) 

Most of all – talk to each other. And listen (without interrupting if you can – I know, that’s a hard one!).  Then talk some more. Rinse and repeat. Keep talking, keep communicating – and you’ll get through the toughest of times.




You are an incredibly important and special person in our lives. We love our kids more than anything in the whole world. If we’ve invited you into our lives – and our children’s lives – then take that as a clear sign that you are someone we trust, love, respect and admire. Please remember that, if and when times get tough, even if we don’t say it  (but we promise to make sure we keep reminding you).


But, also remember…. we all have choices.  We didn’t hide our kids when we first met you. As grown adults we both chose to be in this relationship. That means accepting that children are an integral part of the package. 


Our children’s needs do come first.  They’re our responsibility and will be until they’re adults and that means sometimes their needs will be a priority. That doesn’t mean your needs and emotions aren’t important – they absolutely are. But we are both adults, and we each both have more ways of getting our own needs met, something our children might not.


Being in the middle is horrible.  As per number 3, we’re often caught in the middle – between your needs and our kids’ needs. Believe us when we say – this is a horrible place to be. When pleasing our partner makes our kids unhappy, and vice versa, no one wins. Please understand this and recognise that this can be stressful and painful.


Supporting us as parents is a wonderful thing you CAN do. We’re so grateful you’re in our lives, but we don’t expect you to be the parent of our children and take on all our emotional baggage. But supporting us as we try to be the best parent we can be, figuring it all out as we go along, feels great. If you ever feel helpless in our relationship, know that just listening to us rant about the kids without trying to fix the problem   – or us – is amazing and we appreciate you for it.


We have and will make mistakes.  You will no doubt see so many things we could be ‘doing better’ with raising the children. This may frustrate you no end!! Know that we recognise we are a work in progress. We are learning and will continue to learn. We all make mistakes.


Parent guilt is real.  As per 6 above, parent guilt may drive a lot of our parenting decisions, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Ultimately, at the back of our minds, there may be guilt of some form of another, which may be to do with breaking up our marriage and creating a broken home for our children. Guilt is a horrible feeling. Please be compassionate.


Our kids don’t have to instantly love you or like you.  Remember that they don’t know you like we do. They don’t know the many wonderful qualities we see in you. It may feel hurtful – but give them time and we know they will see you as we do, so just keep being you. You don’t have to earn their love.


If it’s hard for us it’s even harder for the kids.  Children’s brains are constantly developing and simply aren’t physiologically capable of managing complex emotions. (Read Blame my Brain by Nicola Morgan to find out more). Expecting them to behave like you or us would be unrealistic – so give them a pass when emotions get a little out of control. As adults, we can and should try to be the calm ones and model good behaviour.


Things we can’t control…  the personalities of our ex or our children. We can’t change how other people in our lives feel, but we can create healthy boundaries for ourselves and our relationship. This takes practise though, so please be patient, especially if creating boundaries is something we’ve struggled with in the past. 



We’re a team and we’re invested in you  This period of our lives won’t be forever. Children grow up and go on to live their own lives. We’re looking forward to many happy years creating a life with you. One day we’ll look back at the craziness and maybe we’ll laugh (make having a good sense of humour, point 12!) and raise a glass to surviving, getting through and making some mad memories along the way. Thanks for everything you do. We love you.

Martin Lock Step Family coach |


Nice to meet you!

I’m a step dad of over 20 years and a certified step parent coach, helping step parents and bio parents create happier step families.