Clingy Stepdaughter

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2012
Clingy Stepdaughter
5
Sun, 10-28-2012 - 6:14pm

Hi everyone,

I am posting here today in hopes to find other women who have or are experiencing the same issue as I, and to ideally, find ways to overcome this problem.

My stepdaughter is 9, I have known her for over a year but have been dating her father for a couple months now. We get along fantastically, I am really enjoying being with the two of them. We do a lot of activities together. Him and her mom have been seperated for 2 years, from what he tells me it was pretty dramatic when she moved out (understandably). Her father is great, shows her affection, tucks her in at night, talks to her about how she doing/dealing with new changes...

As much as I find it easy to take over the mother role for her, I carry around guilt related to her birth mom. I want them to carry on a healthy relationship, and I know they have their own set of issues still so they struggle with that.. I should mention that she wanted to call me "mom" but I told her I wasnt comfortable with that. She has not been getting along well with her mother even before I came into the picture.

Now, the reason I am posting.. She is extremely clingy towards me. She has always been this way with me, from the moment we started hanging out. From the second I step out of our bedroom in the morning, she is there to grab my hand and pull me to the living room or wherever she plans to take me. In public, and when introducing me to her family and friends, she will peer out and wait for them to be looking in our direction and then needily kiss me (on the lips) or hold on to my arm, in a sort of flaunting kind of way.

I understand she is going through a lot, Im entirely aware that this is a new change for her. I just want to help her feel secure in so that she isn't so clingy towards me. Anyone know what I can do to help ease her anxiety? Or maybe its something her dad should be doing/or isn't doing?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-25-2004
Sun, 10-28-2012 - 6:40pm

First off, I think it's great that you have been so accepting of your BF's daughter's behaviour even though it seems like it makes you a bit uncomfortable, but seems to be much needed.

Do you know why her relationship with her Mom isn't the best?  Does her Mom do things with her, take her places, show her the attention she deserves?  I'm wondering if her self confindence is lacking, I think clearly it is, and she is struggling.  She is likely attached to you since you are the one figure (female anyway) who is offering her the support, attention and love she desires right now - but without knowing exactly what is happening at her Mom's house, it's hard to say for sure.  How much time does she spend with you and her father?

You mentioned the "three of them", is there someone else also?

You don't need to accept the title of 'Mom', many of us dont for our own reasons, so don't feel badly about that.  However, make sure to explain to her why you choose not to take on that title, and that it has nothing to do with your feelings towards her etc.  It's important she has an understanding of why you don't want her to call you Mom to make her feel at ease with it.

I would suggest maybe giving her and her Dad some space together, without you around to do things, go places and have fun.  This will allow her (and you) some space and give her and her Dad a chance to build that relationship.  Maybe talk to your BF about how he feels about it nad what his suggestions are.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2012
Sun, 10-28-2012 - 8:40pm
Hi disneylvr2004. "The three of them" was a typo, I meant to say the two of them. Her mother is epileptic, so she struggles with that, and has her good and bad days. Aside from that, she is not the most dependable person, especially with the choices she makes. So she spends most of her time with her dad and I. I will make a point of telling her why I dont want her to call me "mom". When she asked, I felt put on the spot and didnt have an answer ready. I've pushed them to do things alone, however she resists spending time with him and will always chose me over him. We both work from home and I have to remember to stay home sometimes when he goes to pick her up from school, or the mall with her mom, just so they can have some time alone on the way home.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-28-2012
Mon, 10-29-2012 - 2:28pm

Hi disneylvr2004.

There are many times were I feel I am about to burst but I always remember that she is suffering and I try to be understanding of that.

Her mom has been known to be out of touch for several days at a time, without even a phone call to let them know she is okay. Her mother has epilepsy so she deals with seizures which I know worries her daughter a lot, especially when they are not in touch. She is not the most reliable person, they do not spend a whole lot of time together. The daughter spends most of her time with her dad and I.

I will make sure to bring up the mom title again. When she asked, I was so surprised/startled that I didn't have an answer ready.

I have to remember to stay home (despite daughter's wishes) when her dad goes to pick her up from school, or the mall when she's with her mom, just so they can have some time alone for the drive home. Her father has tried to do activities just the two of them, but she will always request my presence.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-25-2004
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 11:39am

Definately explain to her why you prefer she calls you something else...maybe a nickname you both agree on would be fun to come up with?  Sometimes including them in the choice of name can help make them feel a bit more in control.  If you'd just prefer she use your name, explain to her why...that will help!  I totally get why you would be caught off gaurd and perhaps not offer the best response, don't worry about it and just work on the explanation now so she understands.

Yes!  Definately try to stay home for simple trips here or there.  Of course still offer yourself to her, perhaps just not as much!

It seems to me like perhaps you are more stable then her own Mom...which IMO could also be why she is so clingy sometimes.  Hang in there, you are likely a big support to her and she is obviously drawn to that in you - it'll just take some minor adjustments to make her realize she has that in a number of people not just you!

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 11-01-2012 - 1:39pm

I think you should explain that she can't call you mom because she already has a mom--I mean you aren't even married to her dad and dating only a couple of months, it's kind of unsettling that she is so clingy to you.  I do think you should not be including her on everything that you do with her dad--you need some adult time too.  I think it would be really bad if she got very attached to you & then you & her dad broke up--I'm sure you don't plan to now, but sometimes things happen.  It does seem that she is really missing her mom's attention.