How to Fight Against the Damaging Portrayal of Stepparents in the Media

Aymes Sarah
7 min readMar 4, 2020

The complex bond between stepchild and stepparent, how the movies could be damaging to this relationship, and tips for connecting with your partner’s child

Image by Rrrua on

I am a stepmother to a ten-year-old girl named Charlotte, given her affinity for movies, it’s surprising she likes me as much as she does.

We have a great relationship. Her father and I met when she was a toddler so this arrangement is all she knows.

I sometimes wonder if she would’ve accepted me if I came into the picture later in her life. Maybe she would fear a new woman in her father’s life because according to the movies, step-mothers are evil bitches.

Watching movies is one of a child’s favorite pastimes. As we all know, the media can influence impressionable children and have an impact on their belief system.

This is why the negative portrayal of stepmothers and stepfathers in movies and television shows is so damaging.

The challenges of being a step-parent

Being a step-parent is one of the hardest relationships to solidify for a few different reasons:

  • We are continuously treading the fine line between authority figure and friend.
  • In many cases, we have to deal with jealousy or boundary issues with the child’s mother or father.
  • Our role can be confusing. We are not the parent but must act in this role while being careful not to flip into “parent mode”. Depending on what you and your partner have agreed on, you may or may not be considered a disciplinarian figure to your stepchild.
  • In some cases, we have to work for acceptance from the child or children due to them wanting their parents to be together again.
  • We are not typically recognized on Mother’s or Father’s Day. Stepparents take all the flack with none of the recognition.

Being a stepparent has its rewards, but it can take a while to gain trust, respect, and love from a stepchild.

I am lucky. I have a little girl in my life that is like one of my own. She treats me with a lot of respect and is always very sweet to me and I love her as if…

Aymes Sarah

Wife, mother, and researcher of a myriad of subjects. I love to write about anything and everything! Writer for The Startup, Better Marketing, & The Ascent👊