Stepfamily Realities 36 & 37 - Stepparenting
Typical stepparents and bioparents usually have the same caregiving goals: to nurture and enjoy resident and visiting (step)kids. However, the family and social environment around typical stepparents can differ from bioparenting in up to 40 concurrent ways. One major difference is that typical minor stepkids have 20 or more family-adjustment needs to fill that kids in intact biofamilies don't have. These environmental differences usually combine with concurrent stepfamily-merger tasks to make caring for stepkids feel very alien, frustrating, and confusing. This is true even if a stepparent was raised in a stepfamily, and/or is a veteran bioparent.
Folktales and widespread public and media ignorance about stepfamily norms and realities have given stepparents an undeserved bad reputation. They're usually well-intentioned women and men optimistically undertaking a complex, high-stress role that they and their mate, kids, and relatives are often unprepared for. The quality of relationship with their stepkids and stepkin is usually very different (vs. worse) than equivalent bioparent relations.
If stepmoms and stepdads are (a) in real (vs. pseudo) recovery from false-self wounds, (b) fully accept their stepfamily identity and what it means, (c) work patiently at understanding and adapting to their alien environment; and (d) get informed empathy and loving support from their mate, kin, and friends; they can gain great satisfaction from nurturing the minor and grown kids in their lives. Restated: average stepparents can learn to be "just as 'good' (effective) as" wholistically-healthy bioparents!