I was surfing through Instagram when I discovered this: a picture of Russell Wilson and his stepson baby Future.
Cute, I immediately thought, the little man is growing up. But then I started scrolling through the post’s comments. And I can’t say I was surprised that some people would hate on the picture (as Internet hate comes with the territory in public platforms), but I was surprised by the perspective of some.
While the majority of the commenters were positive, a few saw the picture of stepdad Russell and baby Future as a direct insult to the biological dad (rapper Future). Some saw the photo as disrespectful, insinuating that the public display of parenting was pitting him (Russell) against the biological dad (Future).
But that led me to wonder, should stepparents exercise more sensitivity in these areas, especially when it comes to social media? So I asked around. I asked my husband, friends, family, etc., what they thought about the issue. Should there be a protocol for how stepparents interact with their stepfamily online as it pertains to respect for the biological parent?
Well, let’s just say their responses varied.
For the most part, it was the men who thought the photo was distasteful. They saw the first day of school picture as a milestone event, and documenting that event with the stepdad, given the history between the two exes, was a slap in the face. They didn’t see a problem with a stepfather taking part in those moments of a kid’s life, but they didn’t think it was appropriate for the stepfather, especially a new stepfather, to post it to social media (and especially without the mother in the photo).
On the other hand, most of the women were in agreement that posting the photo was totally cool. Russell Wilson and Ciara are married now, so Russell has a legitimate place in baby Future’s life as his stepdad. That means as a loving, parental figure in baby Future’s life, he should be able to share in those hallmark experiences just like the biological parents.
After hearing out both sides, I was still unsure. So I decided to ask a blended family expert. And here’s what I got:
- You should encourage every opportunity for the stepparent to bond with the child—and participating in those big moments in a child’s life will have an enduring impact.
- Stepparents are a part of their children’s lives, whether the biological parent agrees or not, so stepparents should be encouraged to share in those moments with their stepchildren.
- Biological parents should remove their ego from the equation. Are you just mad that someone else stepping up in a parental role to your kids? Or is it an insecurity on your part? Biological parents should be happy (in fact, grateful) that their kids are receiving love from another key figure in that child’s life. You should see nothing wrong with the extra love.
- The blended families should be aware of the situations that could cause contention in co-parenting. They should have conversations with the biological parent to discuss boundaries, such as posting pictures of the children to social media. Sometimes, it’s best to avoid an argument or something that could sour the co-parenting relationship.
BMWK, do you agree? What’s your stance on stepparents posting pictures of their stepkids on social media?