Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

34 posts / 0 new
Last post

   

Hot2na
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

LBL wrote:
I'm only 24, and I don't know how to "parent" a 13 year old.  Hubby-to-be doesn't much either, since his daughter never officially lived with him growing up.  I'm welcoming the experience and have read alot of useful info on here from others.

the best advice i can give is to forge a relationship with both the step-daughter AND the mom. this way the mom does not feel threatened and will eventually begin to instill a "step mothering" trust in you that will go the distance. communication is key.

 

<º))))><.·´¯`·.¸

Zoo Keeper
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

As a biomom I figured out a few things while watching my daughter struggle through her relationship with her biodad:

  • When you have other children, your stepdaughter will count how many pictures are up of each child to see if they are equal. I never knew this but she just told me this last month that she did this for the longest time both at her biodad's and our house!
  • When you send cards and such to her, make sure he signs not you signing for him. I never would have thought she noticed such things at 8 but she did. He finally got the picture and now things come signed and addressed by him. She would stare at the envelope and analyze the handwriting. I'm sure it was easier for her stepmom to do it since she worked less but kids don't understand that. They see things in black and white.
  • Do not make the biomom a taboo subject in the house. I highly doubt that Mini's biodad and stepmom told her she couldn't talk about me but it was more of a feeling she got when she was there. I remember she finally brought her favorite picture of her and I to her Dad's when she was 13 or 14 to put up in her room....she felt ashamed and I could see the confusion on her face as she pondered whether she should. At our home, she has pictures up in her room of her faraway family as well as pictures of her biodad and I when we were together. She needs to have those things to know that even though we don't love each other now there was a time when we loved each other very much and she was concieved in that love. She says she would never consider taking those pictures to their house.
  • Don't try to make a relationship for the two of them. Mini's stepmom put most of the effort into reconnecting Mini and her biodad with the best of intentions but I think it backfired on her. Because all Mini could focus on was that it wasn't her dad calling or emailing or sending things. She didn't see all the effort her stepmom put into it.
  • Don't get into a power struggle with biomom. She is your fiance's responsiblity not yours....just enjoy your relationship with your stepdaughter. You didn't lay down and make the baby with Biomom so don't try to be her co-parent so Biodad doesn't have to. Mini's stepmom and I got into a myspace comment war for way too long...both of us being very immature. We stopped with the direct comments and resorted to indirect comments...things that could be implied. It was awful on both our parts and I'm not sure what made us do it or what we each expected to accomplish from it but it's over on my part. I've found it's easier just not to look then I don't have to wonder if that comment is about me, etc. She still pops up on mine and my friends trackers every few days and that's okay. I don't have to think about what she does anymore....I have found my peace.

And a final thing I learned...someday she will hold him accountable for the relationship they have.....good, bad, or indifferent and your fiance should prepare for that. Someday she will want answers and look to him for them. I knew that time had come when she came back from her last visit with the above mentioned picture. It was almost like she was bringing home all the essential things. She then sent him an email stating that she  felt he "just didn't try hard enough to" be her Dad.  He didn't understand why the past mattered now when it didn't 2 years ago. I know why it does but I can't share that with him. He doesn't want to hear it from me and I don't think she knew how to put it into words then.  For me, I finally realzied it was not my palce to hold him accountable for his relationship with her...and she proved that when she told him she didn't want to come anymore.

2na said it below that communication is key but that communication needs to be between Biomom and Biodad so your stepdaughter sees the effort from both...avoid giving your stepdaughter your "perception" of her parents relationship just enjoy her when she is there and miss her when she is gone.

And try www.cafemom.com for support but chose your groups carefully because their is two sides to every story and more importantly....a hundred ways to perceive it. Good luck...

lynn_Nellie
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

I had a totally different experience with my step child, I am a step parent. I set up a rule for myself that I would never, step into the rule of trying to one up the real mom. But for some reason or another my step child, who right not hate me enough to try to brake up his father and I up. I had a very close relations with my step child up to the point my second child was born. Then all of a sudden I was evil incarnate. My step child hate me so.. much he has told his dad it him or me. I feel that is the ultimate betrayal of a child to his father. I can honestly tell you I went out of my way to show him that he would always be the must important child in his father and my life, having his second brother wouldn't change anything. It was his real mother who turned him against his father and I, and poisoned him against us. As a step child, you will have to say for the step parent sack it is hard for that person to defend one self against the hatred of a parent that feels that her son is threatened by a new child in the father life.
So now the step child is failing in school, depressed, and is afraid to go out in the world all because of what his mother has put into his head. What am I suppose to do, I can honestly say I am afraid for his life, his mother hasn't acted right for a long time. NO One is helping the situation, not is therapist, his grandparents, school counselors, and the courts. I see a road this child is going down and it isn't pretty, I am truly afraid for him.
As a step child what am I suppose to do.

GoldenGirl
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

His father needs to step in. His Mom is not going to help in this situation, and like you suggested, she might be even making it worse.

When I was pregnant with our first child, BM was beeeiotching to hubby that he wasn't giving his son attention and he felt like hubby loved our child more than he loved him, which was stupid. Of course, BM was probably whispering all of these into stepson's head so that she could be the "better" parent. I wouldn't doubt that your stepson's mother is the same way.

If possible, SO should spend more time with his son to make him feel like he's a part of the family and that he is always loved. No one can better reassure him than his father.

Zoo Keeper
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

purple onyx wrote:

When I was pregnant with our first child, BM was beeeiotching to hubby that he wasn't giving his son attention and he felt like hubby loved our child more than he loved him, which was stupid. Of course, BM was probably whispering all of these into stepson's head so that she could be the "better" parent. I wouldn't doubt that your stepson's mother is the same way.

Whenever a parent is physically present with a child the child that is not there is going to feel that way....the Bioparent doesn't have to give them ideas though some do. I never said anything to my daughter about her father and his new daughter but she got loads just from observation when she was there. She noticed such things as how often he talked about her little sister, the pictures he had up, how much time he spent with her, etc. There was nothing I had or wanted to say about it. The hardest part for people is accepting that children (even young ones) have their own perception of things. Mini's biodad is convinced that I have put all these things in her head and made her think stuff about him and his wife...that it is not really her feelings but mine. We just had counseling and the counselor verified that it really is Mini's own feelings not mine and his actions caused those feelings not mine (it was the most validating phone call and report I have ever received). I don't think he is really aware of the scope of the things his wife has done that wrecked havoc on their family unit with her. The saddest aprt is that Mini is so cynical about it. At the end of our last session, the counselor asked her if she was satisified with the outcome and she said yes....not 5 seconds after we got in the car she blurts out "That was so unsatisfying!" I was a little taken aback being that she had just said it was. Her response was that she no longer cared about him and really didn't want anything to do with him or his wife. She had parents here. She was only going to visit them to see her younger sister and soon to be younger brother. Her only concern now is having a relationship with them.

I don't think either one of us is a "better" parent...we just parent differently and Mini relates to my style more because I am the one who has been there day in and day out since she was born.

purple onyx wrote:

No one can better reassure him than his father.

That is the best advice. Mini's Sm tried to create the relationship for them but it backfired on her. The child really pays attention to who puts the effort forth. I mentioned this in a post below some of the things Mini noticed that I never would have thought of.

GoldenGirl
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

The only reason I say that BM was telling my stepson things was because we see him only during major breaks (hubby is a non-custodial parent living in a neighboring island), and when hubby told him that we were expecting, nothing had changed. Hubby was now mentioning about the progress his younger child, but he was still talking to his son the same. He would call him the same amount, he would involve him in knowing about his sister and his life, and so forth. When hubby tried to get his son to come down during the break, his Mom was all about the, "Oh, I don't think he wants to come down," when he actually did. We also noticed his demeanor towards me and my family changed. He was still respectful, but it was different. I used to play games with him and talk to him and take him places and he would always mention that to his Mom. Now when his Mom asks, he never mentions anything to do with me. After my daughter was born, he would never ask about her, but when he was with us, he would take care of her and hold her and be loving with her. I may be wrong, but I  believe that he feels that anything associated with me, even his own sister,is not something that he should mention because he probably has the feeling that his Mom doesn't like me.

Zoo Keeper
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

purple onyx wrote:

 I may be wrong, but I  believe that he feels that anything associated with me, even his own sister,is not something that he should mention because he probably has the feeling that his Mom doesn't like me.

I think that you hit the nail on the head with this line. Children pick up on these things in ways we as parents could never imagine. I wrote below that I doubt Mini's father or stepmother said she couldn't talk about me or have pictures of her family here up in her room there but more of a feeling she got...a general disapproval and not wanting to hear about her other life. It sounds like he drew his own conclusions from his Mom's "unsaid" behavior.

Mini's fathers phone calls drifted off considerably after the birth of her little sister. I think she also got to see what a great father he can be if he is local to his child. Before he had another child she had nothing to compare his behavior to but with the birth of her little sister there was a now a measure she could use and her egocentric age wants to know why she wasn't good enough for him to stay around. She doesn't understand that when I broke up with him he was hurting and wanted to go to people that he felt safe with (his mother) who happened to live in another state. He then met and fell in love with his current wife and built a life there. Beign that she her pyschologocial state is one of egocentrism (she's a teen) it will be years before she grasps this.

GoldenGirl
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

*nods* My stepson always talked about his Mom when he's with us because we never made him feel like he shouldn't. When he mentions anything about her, we converse with him and encourage him to talk about his Mom and his brother. However, I believe he doesn't get the same feeling when he's with his Mother.

And I'm sure your daughter will understand one day that her father didn't leave because of her :) On our end, Stepson's Mom was making it hard for hubby to reach them. That's why hubby got his son a phone so that he could make sure that his son would know that he was calling.

snazzy
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

after reading through these i have just one thought to add. there is alot to parenting in general but its hard to grasp the whole picture until youve been a step parent, step child, and parent.  its the hardest job ever. even though there might be alot of love there is always alot of doubt and mixed emotions. if you are not right along side of the bio parent/step parent every day and good friends you have no idea what goes on. kids are kids. i believe they try to appease everyone involved. sometimes its a good thing and sometimes its a bad thing. you cant go on strictly what they say. so many things have been taken out of context and twisted. both on adult and childrens views.  i wont go into details and i cant try to adress every opinion here but..the best advise i have to offer is just continue on loving your kids (step or not)the best you can. you dont have to keep your mouth shut and you dont have to tell them everything but make sure there is communication. there is no right and no wrong if you are giving your best to the child(ren) dont judge and dont bicker. let them know that even in different houses under different rules in different cities that they have families that love them. everyone on both sides can come up with justifications and excuses but all that child(ren) really want is a sense of security and stability. it shouldnt come down to how many pictures are on the walls or what punishments get enforced especially if its not something you are a direct witness to. i would never encourage that train of thought process. even with two bio parents that are seperated theres going to be a "favorite" card played at some point in time. it just comes with the territory. just enforce a relationship with all parties involved as much as possible. i try to remain mutual. my goal for my stepchild is to know that its ok to not want me as "mom" and to not like some things about me (or anyone else in the family) but to also know its ok to like parts of me too. even if it means more than that same aspect of bio mom/dad. what kid even from an unseperated home setting likes being with and listening to mom or dad 24/7 365? its the same as having two best friends. one friend might keep secrets better than the other or have better taste in clothes. whats important imo is that the child knows they are fortunate to have the combination and that love from both sides.

ibcute81
Re: Step Parenting: Are you a Step-Monster or New BFF

I've sat back and read a lot of the things people have to say. I agree with a lot of them.  I love my boyfriend's kids very much and would never want to see anything bad happen to them. I don't like their mother's though. I know not to voice this in front of them. They feel free to talk about their mom all they want, it doesn't bother me. I actually keep in touch with one of my ex's because of his daughter. I talk to him about her and he sends pics. She was only three when I was around but she remembers me and the fun we had (her dad had her a full summer and we did a lot of fun stuff). I know the weekend I was in Iowa with my family and my boyfriend had the two youngest kids they asked about me and where I was and the youngest asked to go home because she missed her mom, something I've never heard her say when I'm here. She knows if she gets scared she can crawl in the chair with me and watch what I'm doing online. I try and include both of them in making dinners or cookies at least once when they are here.  We try and have a fun weekend. I do love his kids. I'm not going to say I love them as my own, because I believe you can only have that feeling by birth.

On another note I've been a step-child. My mom was married several times while I was growing up. My biological father left before I was 6 months old and I found him when I was 16 and met him in person for the first time when I was 18. He was all the things my mom said he was. To this day he really hasn't had anything to do with me, which hurts, and I have put a ton of effort into being a part of his life, but he has evils he has to face on his own. He's bi-polar and as it seems has a lot of the issues I do with emotions. My current step father has been with my mom since 1999. They met online around Christmas. I call him Dad.

The guy that raised me from the time I was 2 hasn't been a part of my life since I was 19, I've been told by several people that he's dead. But I can't find any info online proving that. I didn't know he wasn't my biological father until I was 10 and started asking questions. He was my mom's third marriage. So his girlfriends got to play step mom to me, and I remember being an evil lil B to them.

So I guess I can say I know all the sides from the "step" side. I don't know the bio parent side, other than the love I have for my bio parents. I do have two step sisters, but have never lived with them. We were all pretty much grown when our parents got together.

Pages

Add new comment