Seeking Sister Wife’s Steve Foley: A Bad Parent?

Jul 22 | By Chris

Dating with children seems impossible as a monogamous individual, so how do polygamous parents do it? While polygamy presents huge advantages to parents such as a supportive village to help with childcare, other facets of parenting as a poly parent can be complicated.


In an episode of Seeking Sister Wife, viewers scrutinized how Steve Foley conducted himself during a conversation about polygamy between him, his wife Brenda, and his two teenage children. For poly parents, this exchange may have struck a chord, and we can see why.


Seeking Sister Wife Season 4 Episode 5 and 6


On June 27, 2022, the polygamy tv show about couples courting potential sister wives released its fourth episode of the current season, with episode five airing the following week on July 4, 2022. The episodes chronicle the couples at different stages in their dating lives, but fans held onto a particular interaction between Steve Foley, his now-wife Brenda, and Steve’s two teenage children from his previous marriage.


The cringe-worthy interaction showed us Steve informing his daughter, Jayden, and his son, Preston, about his and Brenda’s plan to look for another sister wife to join their family.


Typical of an outspoken teen, daughter Jayden promptly lets his father know that she disapproves of his lifestyle, calling it “disgusting” and “gross.” However, the painful dialogue doesn’t end there.


Jayden asks her father how she would feel if Brenda, Steve’s wife, were to bring another man into the relationship. In true conflict-avoidant fashion, Steve ignores Jayden’s question.


The problem with Steve’s response


Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and Steve’s daughter has some very strong feelings about his lifestyle. It’s not the decision to seek a sister wife that is the issue here, but rather how he’s communicating it to his children.


Ideally, parents should field children’s questions while respecting their opinion and providing honest, age-appropriate information.


Completely avoiding a relevant and common question about polygamy (I.e., why aren’t they looking for a boyfriend or a husband, and only a sister wife) indicates that Steve - and by extension, Brenda - may not be prepared to talk honestly about their lifestyle to their children beyond a simple “We’re dating other women.”


This exchange between Steve and his children on Seeking Sister Wife had the potential to turn into a mature, age-appropriate conversation about different types of polygamous structures and how couples set up their own boundaries and rules.


In the report about poly parenting What About the Children?! Children in Polyamorous Families: Stigma, Myths, and Realities by Jacki Yovanoff, it’s found that children who grow up in polyamorous households are more likely to develop a higher emotional intelligence, plus invaluable skills like self-confidence, and interpersonal skills.


In cases where parents are not so great with communication, however, children may develop adverse skills. So is Steve Foley a bad parent? While many Seeking Sister Wife fans will gladly crucify Steve for his parenting faux pas, we haven’t reached a guilty verdict yet.


After all, Steve and his family are on national television, and that alone can provoke someone to put their guards up.


How to talk to kids about polygamy


Nevertheless, there’s plenty of advice out there from poly parents with children on how to navigate these types of conversations. We’ve compiled a list of the best advice here to help parents looking for new boyfriends, girlfriends, sister wives, or husbands be more honest with their children.


1. Don’t keep huge secrets


Polygamy and polyamory are not shameful subjects. If your child is old enough to understand that you are dating multiple people, or that you and your partner are dating someone, let them know.


2. Encourage questions


Make sure your children know that they can ask you any question at any time without consequence or derision. A judgment-free, honest environment is an amazing thing not just when talking about polygamy, but about any big, life-related questions. You will be building a lifelong relationship and nurturing great communication skills.


3. Don’t feel the need to eliminate the awkwardness


If you’re keeping your poly lifestyle from your children, and they’re old enough to understand it, try to take a step back and check in with your feelings. Are you avoiding the conversation because you are afraid you will feel awkward? Are you avoiding the conversation because you are afraid that your children will feel awkward?


Know that other people’s discomfort around your life choices is not your responsibility. Yes, parents are responsible for their child’s well-being, but they will not be children forever, and they will be faced with uncomfortable topics throughout their lives.


What you can do is broach the topic and ensure that your children feel comfortable enough to ask you questions about polygamy or polyamory, no matter how uncomfortable the actual questions may be. No need to disclose personal details that happen behind closed doors between you and your partners, but your children deserve candid answers.


4. Bring children to poly events


One of the best parts about living in a poly household is the community you will all benefit from. Children’s idea of what constitutes normal is shaped by what we do and don’t expose them to during childhood.


Allow your children to interact with their peers and other adults in the poly community if possible - this reaffirms the idea that these communities are filled with loving, understanding, and supportive members. As children grow up, they will not feel like they are the odd one out for being in a poly household, but rather feel privileged to grow up in such a diverse environment.


5. Define dating terms in plain language


In most cases, children won’t know what monogamy, polygamy, polygyny, or polyamory means. When they ask, explain to them in age-appropriate language what each means, and what you identify with. Follow up the next day to see if they have any other questions.


6. Avoid disparaging language


Moreover, answer their questions about different relationships without criticizing other people’s choices. When we demonstrate compassion and open-mindedness, we encourage children to live the same way.


What can we expect from the Foleys in future episodes of Seeking Sister Wife?


We hope that Steve can sit down with his children and create a space where they can all talk about polygamy and polyamory in frankness. Witnessing a public figure throw away the chance to educate the younger generation about polygamy feels like a step back in the plight to make polygamy more mainstream.


Again, we must model open-mindedness and honest communication to children, especially around traditionally taboo topics like polygamy, and we can only hope Steve takes a cue from the fans to put more effort into connecting with his children before pursuing a new sister wife.








Published By: Sister Wives 

Matchmakers Inc


Comments:

FullyNelson
Aug 1
I haven't seen this episode, but -- from my experience regarding our offspring who are subject to our housdhold (emphasis on 'our houshold'), we as their guardians/fathers/mothers should strive to be the ones showing the chain of command so-to-speak, if we can't show the reasoning behind that 'village' we so carefully built -- then how could we begin to look as the ones in the right? To answer the question; "what about an extra boyfriend/husband" directed towards their father -- we should look at biology for the best example to shut-down a cheap shot at morality by the adolescent teenager. Gorillas for instance live in a community where the strongest is as the head of that patriarchy, if the strongest one (emphasis here again on 'one'), was to compete for the seed planting or head of household, as they do -- it would cause a war. I am assuming this is a polygynous relationship. A-MAN-CAN-PUT-UP-WITH-MULTIPLE-WOMEN, BUT-A-WOMAN-CANNOT-PUT-UP-WITH-MULTIPLE-MEN.I haven't seen this episode, but -- from my experience regarding our offspring who are subject to our housdhold (emphasis on 'our houshold'), we as their guardians/fathers/mothers should strive to be ...See more
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