Hi Rose! I can tell you the difficulties we (DH and I) had in our own relationships with our kids and our ex's. My MIL had no interest in MY kids when they were growing up, when she would call, she would ask how is MS (middle son), how is YDD, (both hers biologically), and how is EVERYONE ELSE? She would send a Christmas card with $50 for the kids, $20 each for hers and $5 each for mine. After I blew up, DH started sending them back. If you have no money, fine, that's not important, send a simple 50 cent card to each. It's taken over 18 years for her to respect that my DH loves my kids, they are his, just like mine, but she will never be considered a "grandma" by them, they've seen and been hurt too often, they call her "DH's mother" and i would never make them call her differently. My parents on the other hand love my step-son as their own. When they were little we all shared a three family house in the city, we lived upstairs from them. My mother loved making them breakfast every day, and my father (this was when they were still married) once said, my greatest pride is that all four of my grandkids climb in the bed with me on Saturday morning to watch movies with me. They all call them "Mama and Pop or Grandpop". They have no doubt they are all loved. I remember once my step son was being a huge brat, a horrible brat! My mother had just served the kids pan fried keilbasa (one of their favorite), of course the oldest daughter and the middle son (they are one year apart) both reached for the last piece. They start arguing over it as only five and six year olds can, my mother calmly reaches over and cuts it in half and gives them both half. My middle son promptly had a fit and threw it across the table, my mom reached over and smacked the back of his hand and said "WE do NOT throw food at my table! Now you get nothing, leave my table" She reached over and gave both pieces to my daughter. Well, I don't know how my MIL found out about the incident, whether she questioned him or he just told her, but she called my DH screaming saying "who is THAT WOMAN to touch MY GRANDSON? My DH told her "she is his grandmother, she takes care of him, babysits for him while we work, bathes him, feeds him breakfast every day he is with me, loves him and corrects him when he is wrong, that's who she is. And as his FATHER, it is my place to question it, NOT YOURS. END OF DISCUSSION. GOODBYE MOM" There have been more incidents since then obviously, he's 18 now, but this is the one that stands out to me right now. I see Step's as more people to love my kids, to support my kids, to correct my kids and to guide my kids...the more people who love my kids the better. I always say my stepson is special because I got him for free, I didn't have to have labor pains with him!!!