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Acknowledging Stepparent's on Mother's Day and Father's Day?



We asked the readers of our bi-monthly E-Magazine if they thought stepparents should be acknowledged at church on special days like Mother's Day and Father's Day.  I have long advocated for churches to do this very thing.  Pastors and ministry leaders often don't realize how awkward these days can be for stepfamily members, nor do they realize how much encouragement it provides stepparents to be acknowledged publicly from the pulpit.  It also validates the stepfamily's experience in front of friends, grandparents, and children. 


Here's a sampling of the over 50 responses we received to our question:


1.      “Of course! This is the question I always ask: Was not Joseph, Jesus’ step-father, acknowledged in the bible. Did he not care for Jesus the way a father does? Did he not love Jesus? Joseph loved his step-son, Jesus under the circumstance of knowing that he was not His real father.”  R.G.

2.      “Absolutely...for a number of reasons.  First, it is a positive reinforcement for the children to see that others outside the home support their extended family as well.  It also reinforces to both biological parents that the stepparent does play a significant role and deserves to be acknowledged and praised.  This helps to grow the support we all need to secure families being successful.”  Kristy, Florida

3.      yeah, I think I little acknowledgement by the pastor would be nice, in some cases it might be the only encouragement we ever receive.”  Sarah E.

4.      Our Pastor also just says, “mothers” which by the way he says it sounds like he means by birth. He has the mothers come forward, and then he prays a blessing on them. This has ALWAYS been awkward for me.  I KNOW what an important role I have, and what it means to me (more than anything especially since I don’t have my own children), however, I also know I am not their birth mom. So many people have made sure I DO go up front each year, telling me I AM a mom. This year was still a bit awkward, but I told myself that I KNOW in my heart I am a mom, so with that, I was going to be proud...”  Tami J., Minnesota

5.      Absolutely they should be included.  God put those adults in the lives of those children to be a parental figure.  To exclude them is just wrong; it's almost like a slap on the hand.  Not acknowledging them is ignoring the part they play in those children's lives and not recognizing God's ways for that family.”  Danielle K.


7.      I AM those kids Mom............... when they are with us and in our home. I take them to Dr's appointments, ball practice, games, the movies with their friends, plan the birthday parties, buy for them when it is their special day and holidays............... I put Band-Aid on the boo boos and make sure the pool is ready every year when they come to see us. I also support and encourage the child support and medical that we send every month................ not to mention 3 meals a day I prepare and clean up after, all the laundry and beds cleaned and remade every week.................. and then there are the times I am consulted (by the children) for this that and the other!!!!!!! I have nursed fever and sickness, been there when teeth were lost, when Ds went to A's and cheered on all their successes!

      You’re darn tootin I am Mom........... and I should be acknowledged for it!  After 8 and half years of dedicating my life to this man and his children I deserve at least that!”  Vallerie A.

8.      “This is another reminder how the leaders in our churches fall short of recognizing their own demographics within their congregations. Before I read your book, I felt like I was a fish out of water during sermons that was directed to "bio" families, but now I feel like I am just one amongst a lot of people that have to sit and just listen during those sermons.”  JoAnn R.

9.      A mom is a mom if they take care of a child. I have had attachments to my kids despite the fact that they are not of my body.  What about James 1:27 which says: "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress....." I personally feel I am honoring this command by taking care of children in the capacity that I do.”  Amy N, Kentucky

10.   I am not a step mother, or foster mother or adopted mother. But any woman who is willing to take care of another's child, and cope with everything that means, is a mother in heart and should be blessed as such.  They show more love, compassion and courage than many mothers who have given birth. 

      No, I am not adopted, and I am a mother of my own children.  I know what it takes to raise children.   These women are extra special.”  Sheila C.

11.   “HAPPY MOTHER"S DAY to all of you out there who have chosen to care for kiddos to whom you did not give birth!”    Amy S.


How to Acknowledge Stepparents in Your Assembly?

Here's an example of how you can encourage stepparents.  On Mother's Day you might say, "Of course, this is Mother's Day.  And because we value moms here at Your Church Name Here, we'd like to ask all the moms, stepmoms, adoptive moms, grandmothers, foster moms, and any woman influencing the life of a child to stand.  [[ Applause ]]  Thank you for all you do and how you love."



Comments ( 8 )
Add your Comment
#8: by Ron Deal on 08.10.2016 @ 11:50am CDT

Oh, Dee Dee, I'm so sorry this happens. You should not be excluded from the celebration; if only your ex-husband and the stepmom could see how important this is for your children. I regret this for you very much.
#7: by Dee Dee Smith on 08.10.2016 @ 10:53am CDT

I am all for step mothers receiving acknowledgement at their churches and with friends but as a mother I resent having to share a day that belongs to me. I have not remarried and the children's dad makes sure there is a big celebration for his new wife, with dinner, cake and presents. When it comes to me, my children don't even give me a card or make a card. They say they have already celebrated it and we can go get something to eat if I want. This has been an extremely hurtful experience for me. My ex and his wife has convinced my children that I am the one who is totally wrong and should just let it alone.
In reality things don't always go like all the happy campers comments listed above.
#6: by Mona Lisa on 06.11.2014 @ 10:26am CDT

I'm a divorced Mother with 2 lovely childrens, now grown up and in their 30
My Ex's girlfriend had no children on her own.
Since She met my Ex. She has been trying to be the Mother in every way. Tried to change my Family last name so it won't be my kids last name. Mothers day she tried to spend the day at her Mother with my kids, obviously it didn't sit well with me and it didnt happen. I'm sick and tired of her not knowing her boundaries. She get offended and rude if I say my son or my daughter in front of her.in front of strangers she always portrayed she is the mother and on and on. One day I had enough and I approached the Ex and told him exactly how I feel. He wasn't happy at all. Since then we kept it distant but it's causing sadness to the kids. Going back to celebrate the stepparents, I'm ok with it as far as there is respect and consideration to the Parents involved and also each one should know who they are and not crossing their boundaries, quiet frankly no kids can have 2 Mothers. ( biological) my Fiancé love my kids and spoil them to death and really care for them. He has no probleme at all to be called Stepfather and fully respect the (bio) father. Happy fathers day to all the Fathers that respect their kids mother regardless of the situation or relation they are in.
#5: by StepSon/StepDad on 08.18.2008 @ 12:43pm CDT

Be honest with yourself for your own sake.

Be honest with your kids for their sake.

There is a difference between being a biochild and being a stepchild.

There is a difference between being a bioparent and being a stepparent.

Respect each accordingly.

We may have all been invited to the wedding feast but we must dress appropriately.
#4: by tryingtounderstand on 07.19.2008 @ 07:32pm CDT

I don't think "steps" should be acknowledged because it demeans the role of the bioparent. I agree with M.F. that steps should not be referred to as "mom". It is bad enough that my children have to spend time with my ex's new wife - let alone refer to her as "mom" and honor her on Mother's Day.
Perhaps you are advocates of bioparents having no rights concerning their children?
#3: by Stephen on 07.02.2008 @ 10:52am CDT

How did Jesus of Nazareth treat his stepfather? Did He call him "Joe" and give preferential treatment to his mother? Did he yell, "You can't make me! You're not my 'real dad'!"? We need look no farther than the earthly family of the Christ to see our model of how to treat stepparents and foster parents. As the adopted sons and daughters of God, how are we to call our Heavenly Father? Are we to pray "Abba, Father" or "Step-Abba"? How many of us actually start our prayers to the Father with "Hey, Yahweh"? (Romans 8:14-17, Galatians 3:26-4:7)

Note that in the Bible, there is no distinction made between stepparents and adoptive parents -- there are no passages to quote to show the difference. These are legalistic mechanations of modern thought, not biblically derived principles. Arguably, long-term foster parents should be treated as adoptive parents under God's law. Whether from within the family unit, or from without, dishonoring stepparents and foster parents is just as much against God's law as dishonoring biological parents. If we are to teach children to honor their parents, how can we claim that we need not honor stepparents or fosters parents? What kind of pastor would confuse 1 Timothy 2:15 with setting aside days to honor our parents?

Biologically, "parent" status can come unprepared, unplanned, unexpected, and unwanted. Stepparents and foster parents specifically choose the children after the "fun part" was done by somebody else, sometimes knowing that their efforts will be underappreciated by the primary beneficiaries. Stepparents are not obligated by man's law to provide anything for their stepchildren (otherwise, remarriage would nullify child support orders), but Christian stepparents care for and provide for their stepchildren no less than for their biological children.

We are all the same in God's eyes and can share Mother's Day and Father's Day equally for all types of parents.
#2: by M.F. on 07.01.2008 @ 03:56pm CDT

I am a mother and I agree that those who care for children in place of the child's mother should be recognized on this special day. What I do not agree with, and strongly caution against, is step-mothers saying they are "Mom" just because of the care that they give. I believe that this is dangerous to the child, the relationship between the step-mother and child and to the relationship of the blended family.
#1: by Beverly Meyers on 07.01.2008 @ 03:31pm CDT

When I was in charge of the special events at our Church which is now closed (First Church of God in Jerome, Idaho) I always said all ladies not just moms as we had ladies in our congragation who were unable to have children but were a great impact on other peoples childrens lives they were Sunday School teachers, Teachers, babysitters and and all around mothers and we appreciated all of them and so did the children. Every woman that has anything to do with children should be acknowledge and respected.

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