The fairy tale that best portrays the role of stepmothers is Cinderella. In this tale, Cinderella is forced to live with her stepmother and two stepsisters after her father remarries. She is given all the hard chores in the family while her stepsisters enjoy their youth with friends. Cinderella, under the watchful and evil eye of her stepmother, has no time for herself. She was always scrubbing floors or washing dishes. This is detrimental to the image of a child. Instead of having time to play with her friends, she was stuck at home dying under the heavy workload. This casts her stepmother as wicked, a notion that has come to be adopted by many people even in the present generation.
Fairly tales cast stepmothers as evil parents. They favor their blood children over their stepchildren, as evidenced in Cinderella. This is often the case, especially considering that the fairy tale in question is among the most read tales of all time. Most children wish to live with their birth parents, instead of undergoing the wrath of an evil stepmother. For fear of being mistreated, some children even prefer to live with grandparents instead of stepmothers.
The notion of evil stepmother is deeply rooted in society. This role has come to be associated with mistreatment and bad memories of childhood. However, this is not always the case. There are some stepmothers who do not discriminate against their stepchildren. Some women are human enough to treat all their children equally, regardless of whether they are theirs by blood or by marriage. Homes with good stepmothers function normally, just like homes with both birth parents. Some children, however, have trouble trusting their step-parents, regardless of whether they are good or bad. In this case, they will always think that their stepmothers are evil, and they are the reason why their childhood is filled with bitter memories.
Cohabitation refers to an arrangement where two people live together and have a sexual relationship but are not legally married. This might help change the opinion of a child toward the stepmother. In such a case, the child will have the comfort of knowing that the union between the stepmother and the father is not legal, and hence can be terminated easily. By knowing this, the child will be more open in talking to the father about their feelings towards the stepmother. However, cohabitation is not a permanent solution to the issue of negative attitude towards the stepmothers. The society needs to reconsider this stand, and the stepmothers themselves need to work on the way they treat their stepchildren.