The trope that stepmothers are prone to loathe and mistreat their stepchildren can be found in fairy tales and folklore all over the world. So common are Evil Stepmothers that inverting that trope will make things interesting. Cue the Good Stepmother, a stepmother who ends up making the life of their stepchildren better. Far from plotting to get her stepchildren out of the way to secure the family fortune for herself, she instead acts as a mentor or protector to her stepchildren and shows genuine affection for them. Plots usually feature Good Stepmothers as supporting characters who help their fosterlings (the protagonists) succeed in life and "make their fortune". To fill this role, the Good Stepmother is exceptionally clever and resourceful. Often there is even something supernatural about her, making her somewhat similar to a Fairy Godmother. This tale type also likes to take elements of the well-known Wicked Stepmother stereotype and turn it on its head—for example, the Good Stepmother is quite frequently an actual witch; but one who uses her powers for the benefit of their stepchildren. The stepchildren do not have to be actual children. More typically they are teenagers or young adults. Because of that, the Good Stepmother is not always a Parental Substitute. If the stepmother has children of their own, they will get along well with the children of the first wife, and may even form a team. Good Stepmothers are also the norm in dom coms which feature a blended family. Often, there will be an episode dealing with how the stepchildren fear or expect their stepmother to be wicked, and are then proven wrong. Compare and contrast Happily Adopted, which involves an adoptive family, not just a stepmother.
Examples:Anime & Manga
- In Death Parade, Yousuke's mother was very abusive and neglectful to him and when she eventually abandoned him and his father, his father remarried and Yousuke's stepmother was a very kind and loving parent in contrast with his real mother. Sadly, Yousuke never accepted her and became depressed to the point of suicide. In fact, in the afterlife, his biggest regret was that he never got the chance to call his loving stepmother, "Mom".
- For some reason or other, this seems to be popular in Icelandic fairy tales:
- "The Horse Gullfaxi and the Sword Gunnfoder" takes a premise that is typical for Wicked Stepmother stories and completely subverts it: A widowed king marries a new wife who is actually a half-troll. Eventually, the new queen's full-troll sister lays a curse on the king's son, Sigurd, which he then succeeds to lift with the help and advice of his stepmother. In the end, Sigurd rescues his stepmother from being burned at the stake under false accusations of murdering her stepson.
- In "Hild the Good Stepmother and Princess Ingibjorg", Ingibjorg's (real) mother puts a Dying Curse on her own daughter. Her father's new wife, Hild, befriends Ingibjorg until she reveals the cause of her despondency, and with Hild's resourcefulness the two women eventually lift the curse.
- In The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008), Helen's love for her 8-year-old stepson Jacob convinces the alien Klatuu that humanity is redeemable after all, which is why he desists from destroying humanity.
- Addressed in Enchanted: Morgan is fretful about the prospect of getting a stepmother because her only knowledge of them comes from fairytales like "Snow White" and "Cinderella". However, both her father's initial girlfriend Nancy and new love interest Giselle are very friendly and supportive of her.
- Stepmom is all about a woman trying to bond with her boyfriend's leery children and to make peace with his former wife.
- In Nanny Mcphee, Evangeline is the Brown family's scullery maid who settle's fights between his children. The children and Evangeline talk about why they're acting out and she tries to help. Their father, Cedric Brown, hasn't paid attention to them since their mother died but they don't want a stepmother because of the fairy tales. By the end of the movie Cedric and Evangeline marry.
- Man of the House (1995) is about a good Step-Father who goes out of his way to gain his step-child's trust and acceptance. In the film, lawyer Jack proposes to Ben's mother some time after her husband ran off with his secretary, disillusioning Ben and making him distrustful of male figures in his life. Through joining the Indian guides (a boy-scout knock off) which they initially both find to be dumb and stupid, as well as fighting off a pair of goons who are after Jack's head because he's prosecuting their boss, the two bond as a step-father and son and Jack is allowed to marry Ben's mother.
- When her stepsons Erik and Agnar are killed by king Eystein Beli, Aslaug of The Saga of Ragnar Lodbrok weeps a single tear of blood for them (which is a lot, as she never cries), and afterwards persuades her biological sons to avenge their stepbrothers. She even personally leads and army against Eystein, which eventually defeats and kills the latter.
- In book 5 of Gesta Danorum, the sorceress Kraka, second wife to a Norwegian lord, cooks a meal for both her stepson Erik and her own son Roller, but prepares Roller's share with the slaver of a magical snake which will make him smarter and luckier. But Erik and Roller swap plates, and the spell is upon Erik instead. Rather than being angry at Erik, Kraka decides that from now on, Erik should be the leader of the brothers. She also promises that her magic will aid Erik whenever he calls her name, and helps him in outwitting King Gotar of Norway. When Gotar's assassins attack Erik in his bed, he calls out his stepmother's name, whereupon a shield happens to fall from the rafters, covering his body and saving his life.
- In the Old Icelandic Saga of Bosi and Herraud, the brothers Bosi and Smid are after their mother's death raised by their father's magically skilled concubine, Busla. When Bosi incurs King Hring's wrath and awaits his execution, Busla persuades the king to let Bosi live by demonstrating her magic powers and threatening to lay a terrible curse on the king. Later, when Bosi and Smid are hard-pressed in battle against the sorcerous King Harek of Bjarmaland, Busla comes to their aid in the shape of a giant bird, saving her stepsons again at the cost of her own life.
- The child protagonist of the children's book My Wicked Stepmother, having grown up with "Wicked Stepmother" tales, is determined to consider his new stepmother wicked, but she's actually a genuinely nice person who tries her hardest to win him over. — needs more context
- In The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente, Magadin becomes her stepmother's favourite and adores her in return. — needs more context
- In L. M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valley, the minister's motherless children are told by another child that all stepmothers are wicked, it comes with the role. Nevertheless the youngest goes to persuade a woman to marry her father because her father is so miserable since she rejected him. And in Rilla of Ingliside it is clear that she is a perfectly lovely stepmother.
- In Doris Gates' Blue Willow, the stepmother is a good woman with an excellent relationship with the protagonist, Janey. — needs more context
- In Dirge for Prester John, Hagia practically adopts Anglitora as her own daughter. — needs more context
- In The Babysitters Club books, this trope was used pretty abundantly; Elizabeth was a good stepmother to Karen and Andrew, Sharon was a good stepmother to Mary Anne, and Carol was, eventually, a good stepmother to Dawn and Jeff. — needs more context
- Mercy Thompson who is beloved by Jesse, the daughter of her hot, werewolf neighbor Adam. Jesse looks up to Mercy like a Cool Big Sis, and likes Mercy even more when Adam and Mercy end up dating and then marrying.
- Not official yet, but Cady, from the Arcadia Bell Series by Jenn Bennet has a great relationship with her boyfriend Lon's teenage son, Jupe, who sees her like a Cool Big Sis.
- On The Brady Bunch, Carol did such a good job raising the boys, the fact that she was a stepmother was never even mentioned except in one episode (season 1, #10) when Bobby, after watching Cinderella on TV, and being told to clean out the fireplace, convinced himself that Carol was a Wicked Stepmother. His use of the word "step"mother eventually provoked this reply:
Carol: The only steps in this house are those (points to staircase), which go right up to your bedroom.
- Raising Hope: Once Jimmy and Sabrina marry she is this to Jimmy's daughter Hope. Eventually she adopts Hope. — needs more context
- While there was some clashing between the white collar Fosters and blue collar Lamberts in Step by Step, it was usually restricted to the siblings, while the adults' status as step-parents instead of biological parents was unproblematic. — needs more context
- In Once Upon a Time, the Evil Queen, who was previously Snow White's evil stepmother, adopts a baby named Henry and raises him as her own. While she never goes beyond becoming an Anti-Villain, her love for Henry brings out her redeeming values and plays a large role in her eventual Enemy Mine truce with Snow White.
- In Triangle Heart 3 and the Lyrical Nanoha Spin-Off series, Nanoha is Momoko Takamachi's only biological daughter: Kyouya Takamachi is Momoko's husband's illegitimate son from an earlier relationship, while Miyuki Takamachi is, in fact, Kyouya's cousin who has been given a new identity to protect her from assassins who wiped out her own family. Nonetheless, Momoko cares equally about all three of her children and is shown to be a loving and understanding mother to them.
- Min-Seong from The Friendly Winter is a boy who lives with his step-mother Seo-Ha. He thinks she's the sweetest and most beautiful woman on the planet.
- In RWBY Yang described to Blake her and Ruby's mother, Summer, as being a "Super-mom - baker of cookies and slayer of giant monsters!" however after Summer's death Yang found out that Summer was Ruby's birth mother but not hers. Her mother, Raven, left shortly after she was born.
- In Phineas and Ferb the wife has two children and a stepson, but they act like regular siblings and she treats them as if they're all hers. — needs more context
- In Rugrats, Chuckie worries that Kira will be like the stepmother from "Cinderella". She's actually quite nice and adopts him.
- Halfway into As Told by Ginger Lois begins dating a doctor. Carl gets quite attached to Dave easily. His older sister Ginger is a bit more apprehensive, at one point had a fairy-tale Imagine Spot where he was a wicked step-father, and later Miranda tries to instill worries in her about Dave being her new father. Lois and Dave eventually end up engaged and the finale is about their wedding.
- In Sofia the First Sofia's mother Miranda marries King Roland II and is a kind and loving stepmother to his children Amber and James. Though she acknowledges there aren't many stories with good stepmothers, so it drives her to be as good as she can.
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