Stepmom....acceptance from stepchildren

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2006
Stepmom....acceptance from stepchildren
22
Tue, 05-15-2007 - 7:20pm
I was wondering if any of you experienced step moms could tell me how long it takes for your stepchildren to finally fully accept you? For visits to feel comfortable and without tension. It has been two years and we have made tremendous progress. At times though I still feel like I am the outsider…the odd woman out. I often feel that I am basically just their father’s wife. I was unhappy that neither of my stepchildren wished me a happy birthday after their dad told them it was my birthday. Is this what stepmother hood is all about? I guess my problem is that I shouldn’t seek validation of myself as a person by the way my stepchildren treat me. I mean this is what I chose…to marry a man with children. I don’t want to be up there with “mom”- that is reserved for their mother and the fact that they only visit with us part of the time makes the whole getting to know you thing a little difficult since I don’t see her much. Just when I feel that I’ve finally reached the point where I am accepted my sd will make a comment about how horrible divorce is and how she is still devastated and will make comments when we watch movies and there is a step mom in it that step mother’s are all evil. It’s been 8 years since her parents divorced. Her mother moved on right away with a man and married and her dad had a few serious relationships before me. I had nothing to do with the divorce and her parents have clearly moved on so why am I being punished? They are never disrespectful or mean to me and I know from reading some of the posts that it could be MUCH worse. It’s subtle. Like on our one-year anniversary. My ss gave us both a big hug and said happy anniversary. My sd was sullen and said nothing all day. Any suggestions on how I can deal with this without taking it personally?

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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Sun, 08-05-2007 - 9:34am

"and I'm hoping that someday they will eventually see that I am not doing anything wrong, and that they will eventually accept me as their father's wife and someone who makes their dad happy."

Even though they might understand you didnt break up their family/parents marriage.....as long as dad is with you, their hopes (and I think its common for kids to have these hopes on some level) that their parents will get back together are dashed....

so, that might (??) be one reason they are so cool to you, even there is no "reason"

EDIT; I see the exW already remarried.... :)....OK, so much for my theory...
now I'd suggest: chaulk it up to being a teenager....being sullen about something or another is the norm for many at this time.....




Edited 8/5/2007 9:51 am ET by laurena82
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 12:49pm

Actually a 12 year old COULD get that idea on her own. It's discussed all over the TV on various shows.

You know, one thing B's therapist told him when he thought my boys were giving him a hard time, or actually he thought they were jealous of him, she said he was projecting his own fears into the situation, and they were sensing that. I had reassured B over and over again, that they were not jealous, that they liked him immensly, and the only thing that changed when we married and he moved in, was his behavior. Of course, he wasn't going to listen to me, and thankfully his therapist backed up what I saw. Sometimes having that outside POV, validates it more.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2007
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 12:12pm

I am quite sure that their mother has said things to them, not about me in particular, but about their father. One day his daughter was complaining to him that he didn't even try to work on the marriage (between him and his ex-wife) and I'm sure that a 12 year old child wouldn't have thought of that on her own.

When they are at our house, their father trys to spend most of the weekend doing things with them, so it's not as if they are trying to get more attention from him.

When I try to strike up a conversation with them, they either ignore me or give me a one word answer. If we are all (the four of us) having dinner together and the kids start talking to each other and to their dad, when I go to join into the conversation, they keep quite and just ignore whatever it is that I say.

I've heard that the older the children are, the harder it is. My children are older than his (daughter 19 and son 22), and they have adjusted very well, especially my daughter even more than my son.

We will continue to work with his kids, and I'm hoping that someday they will eventually see that I am not doing anything wrong, and that they will eventually accept me as their father's wife and someone who makes their dad happy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-18-2004
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 11:50am

Just a thought: and sorry if this was mentioned already..

do You think BM tells them bad things about you? or plays them against you/ it just seems odd that they wouldn't take you up on your offers of doing fun things together. there is something else going on.. perhaps the betrayal or mom fills their heads w/ things..not sure i am really just speculating............ I know the older the kids get it is harder to bond. I don'th ave that problem w/ my current 4 and 7 yr old soon to be skids, but occasionally they do want daddy to be there too.. and i know it's because they are upset at "him" for not being able to spend that moment w/ them too.. so i wonder if they lack attention from their dad? or want more from him first?

again i dont know just asking

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2007
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 11:47am

I have observed them around other people. We spent a week with their grandparents last week. They are very friendly with them, but of course, they have known them all of their lives. The two kids who live next door to the grandparents, they are also very friendly and outgoing with. Their grandparents even had a group of their own friends over one evening (mostly the 75 year old or more age group), and they were friendly with them also, and they don't even know that group of people.

When they are with me, my own children or other members of my family or friends, they are very unsocial, even with my niece who is very close in age with them, they do not open up.

We (my fiance and I) will continue to try anything we can to make the situation better.

Thanks for your input.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-18-2003
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 11:27am

It sounds as if you are not communicating with them effectively. Children are "in the moment", and maybe you can seize a moment when you can actually talk (and most listen) to them about how they feel.

It sounds like you don't speak to them, and most all your information comes by way of them talking to your DH. That is a very fractured existance.

He needs to stand up to their BM, and make sure she is not badmouthing either of you to the children. Then he needs to tell her that he is going to seek some family counseling or parenting classes. If she tries to prevent it, then he can go back to the lawyers. They actually look on counseling as a positive thing in divorce cases.

Pam

Pam

The choices we make in thought, word and deed inevitably return to us in kind.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 11:24am
I do have to say that I have known my 17 yo DSD for 7 yrs and she has lived f.t. w/ me for 5 yrs and she still doesn't talk to me (one-word answers). This has nothing to do w/ me and her father is widowed, not divorced. It's her age and personality. The occasional time she will really be chatty is when her DF, she & I might be out to dinner (w/o my kids) and if she's in a good mood, she will talk, mostly to him and I could join in the conversation, but she never really talks directly to me, unless I ask her a question. A couple of weeks ago, all 5 of us went out to eat w/ my mother & aunt, who are very friendly and treat DSD just like they do my kids. I noticed that she didn't say one word during the whole dinner. Do you have any opportunity to observe how they are w/ other people?
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2007
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 11:20am

Thanks for your input.

I have tried (or should I say "offer") to do things with his kids. They have been constantly begging their dad to take them to see the new "Simpsons" movie, and he has no desire to see that. I told them that I would take them. After I said that, they haven't mentioned going to see that movie again.

The two of them are home (at their mom's house) all summer long. They stay inside all day either watching cartoons, playing video games or playing on the computer. That is the only thing that interests them. They don't have many friends, so they haven't even been getting together with other kids during the summer.

I offered to take his daughter several times to get her nails done, and she always refuses.

We took them to Florida for vacation last week to visit his parents (their grandparents). They stayed inside most of the time playing on the computer. They did go outside to go in the pool and wanted their father to go in the pool with them. When I went outside to join them at the pool, his son started complaining that I came out to join them.

Their a tough couple of kids to break!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2005
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 10:52am

Just a note here, my DD15 is a bit less than verboss with my DF. Her answers are shorter and she does not yet have a bond with him. She is fine with that. I would like to see more interaction, as I have with his DS14.

Personally I believe she is feeling as if she is protecting her dad. I think that she feels that if she learns to like this man, it is a betrayal of her father. We are begining to talk about that issue a bit at a time and DF is doing things with/for her in order to build that connection. Right now he is letting her use his old car to get her driving time on her permit (my car is a BMW 5Speed and she can't handle the driving things yet, let alone shifting.)

My advice to you is to find things that interest the kids, things different than what they are doing with their mom, and try to connect with each of them through those areas. As you begin to build more and more memories together, the connection will begin to build as well.

-Nadine

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-02-2007
Fri, 08-03-2007 - 10:02am

Perhaps WE all need to seek therapy together.....and I am willing to do that, but my fiance' feels he would need to get permission from their Bio-Mom in order to do so. That is still under consideration and I am willing to do that.

The children tell their father that they are fine how things are when they are at our house, and that they are very comfortable being there and ignoring me and/or giving me one word answers when spoken to. They do not mind doing (or acting) like that at all.

I guess maybe it takes some children longer than others to open up and let other people in.

We (my fiance and I) are willing to try just about anything to make it more comfortable for all of us. Even he (their father) feels the tension.

Thanks for your input.

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