Combating the Idea of the Wicked Stepparent

Jun 2, 2015

I tried to take her side and let her know that I was going to treat her kids well. I didn't want to step on her toes as their mom. - Rachel Scheib

More than two million couples will get married in the United States this year. Forty percent of those marriages will be second marriages for one or both spouses, and often there are kids involved. What’s the best way to approach a second marriage with children in mind?

Rachel Scheib is a stepmom and mother from Des Moines. She says she did her research before marrying her husband, Tim, who has three daughters from a previous marriage.

“I really wanted to make sure we didn’t put the kids through another divorce. I did a lot of research and have tried to get to know his ex-wife. I friended her on Facebook. I tried to take her side and let her know that I was going to treat her kids well,” she explains. "I didn't want to step on her toes as their mom." 

The first thing I do in the morning is to think about how many kids I have that day because it fluctuates. - Tony Arnone

During this hour of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Scheib, as well as Tony Arnone, a stepdad and father from Iowa City, about handling the politics of second marriages and stepparenting. Arnone has partial custody of his son from his first marriage; his wife has partial custody of her kids from her first marriage, and they have a son together.

“The first thing I do in the morning is to think about how many kids I have that day because it fluctuates,” Arnone says, laughing.

Cynthia Vaske, a family counselor from Unite Point Health in Cedar Rapids also joins the conversation with advice about navigating the blending of families.