How do you feel about your step kids? Honestly

(97 Posts)
jenniferlawrence Sun 01-Dec-13 18:21:54

Just wondering to what extent other step parents have managed to bond and build a loving relationship with the step kids.

I've been in my step sons lives for 8 years, since they were 2 and 4. We get on fine. They are respectful towards me. I treat them fairly, ensure they are well fed, safe, happy and in clean clothes. I ask them questions and listen to them. I stick up for them when I think my husband is being hard on them but that's as far as it goes. I always assumed that a bond would develop over time but I've always found it hard to relate to them. They are easier to get on with when we just have one but we usually have both together. I know my husband wishes I had a closer bond with them but I feel that they don't want to be close to me as they are close to their Mum (rightly so) and I didn't want to push them. I care about them and feel protective but I don't adore them like I do my daughter.

So, how do you honestly feel about your step kids?

TheMumsRush Sun 01-Dec-13 18:39:34

Fine most of the time, dss is in secondary and causes no probs, get on with him well. After this weekend though Dsd (in juniors) is really pushing my buttons! In fact, I'm fuming! She did something she knew was wrong, and she knew it would upset me. Have no clue why! And age is not an excuse! Kids know right from wrong, especially when it's reiterated an hour before the incident!!!!

needaholidaynow Sun 01-Dec-13 19:09:58

OP I feel the same as you really. I will do the everyday things for DSD, but I wouldn't say we have a huge bond. Icare about her, but I don't love her.

louby44 Sun 01-Dec-13 19:32:47

I've known my 2 DSD for nearly 6 years now, they are 15 (16 in March) and 14.

As they have gotten older I find them more distant and hard to 'crack'. I'm low down on their pecking order, which is fine. I don't mind that, I'm a 45 old person who knows nothing! (ha little do they know..) They are obsessed with phones, Facebook, Instagram, clothes, make-up, boys and more recently fags and alcohol...oh and sex!

They are usually polite and well behaved but push it a bit now with me and their dad. Hence our shitty holiday.

Their dad thinks they are wonderful (as he should) but I think he wears rose tinted spectacles. If they lived with us fulltime life would be very different!

purpleroses Sun 01-Dec-13 19:40:32

I would say I was fond of them - most of the time. I care about them, and would certainly look out for them in a way I wouldn't with other kids I just happen to know (friends kids, etc). But it's much more similar to the way I feel about my niece and nephew than it is the way I feel about my own DC.

The feelings for my DSC have nothing like the depth they do with my own DCs. If my own are upset, it hurts me a huge amount more than it does if DSC are upset, if they do well at something I'm proud of them in a different way, and if they're being an absolute pain, I have much more patience for them because there's always part of me that understands why they are as they are. I guess the sense of empathy is just a whole load stronger - I feel the things they feel in a way that I don't for my DSC. If my own DC are away for more than a couple of nights I really miss them - Whereas the DSC can breeze in out of my life quite happily really.

I think that's all pretty normal really. It's important to be kind to them and to treat them fairly, but you can't expect just to switch on a different kind of relationship.

AliceinWonderhell Sun 01-Dec-13 19:48:33

I made a mistake in becoming fond of my DSC - I developed an independent relationship with DSD and spent a lot more time with her than DH did. I have kept texts and cards in which they expressed their affection for me and I was chuffed to bits when DSS told his friends "that's my stepmum".

Big mistake.

I should have remained detached and emotionally uninvolved. If I had, I wouldn't hurt as much as I do now they are hurling allegations and rejecting us sad

jenniferlawrence Sun 01-Dec-13 19:50:18

Purpleroses you have summed up how I feel. I feel like I should love them like my own child and I feel guilty that I don't. It's hard to love children that aren't your own though.

SweetSeraphim Sun 01-Dec-13 20:03:25

I personally can't understand how anyone can say that they love their sdc as they do their own. I can't see how.

I like mine, I'm always kind to them, and I'll always be there for them if they need me, but I don't love them. It was reading this board that got rid of the guilt I had surrounding that, because I see it as normal now.

riverboat Sun 01-Dec-13 20:10:10

Quite similar to you OP. I am very fond of DSS but I do not feel a deep bond with him, or love him, though I wish I did.

I have no kids of my own, I suspect I might feel the lack of real proper love between me and DSS more if/when I do.

jenniferlawrence Sun 01-Dec-13 20:15:16

In a way, when my husband and I had a child together it brought us all closer as stepsons love my little girl but it does really highlight the difference in my feelings towards my child and my stepchildren.

JumpingJackSprat Sun 01-Dec-13 20:15:44

I love him. I don't have children of my own but I love him like I would any child in my family - take pride in his success and I love teaching him stuff. He can be annoying sometimes but aren't all five year old annoying? I don't think I could do this full time though because I bite my tongue an awful lot when he is here- I think I'm stricter than dp but I don't say a lot because he isn't mine. As long as he isn't Disney dadding.

onlysettleforbutterflies Sun 01-Dec-13 20:15:56

Similar to above, fond of them, like them and do miss them a bit if they don't come when they usually do. I love the relationship they have with my ds and love that they all love each other.

Depth of feeling is NOTHING like I feel for my own ds though!

fuzzpig Sun 01-Dec-13 20:21:08

Love them smile

It is a different type of love, because there's no element of "wow I can't believe I made them!" that I have with my bio DCs. But it is love. And pride, and care, and worry when they're sick or sad, and wanting the best for them, etc.

We all get on really well although I am far closer to the DSD who spends more time here (others are busier with work/friends, but youngest is a real homebody), we have so much in common we could be sisters TBH! Bizarrely she is the one who I had most trouble bonding with in the beginning.

The absolute best thing is my DSCs' relationship with my DCs. We never use the word 'half', as far as they are concerned, they are full siblings IYSWIM despite having different mothers. Makes my heart soar to see them all together.

CountryGal13 Sun 01-Dec-13 20:43:37

They're nice girls (teens) but if I'm being honest, If I never saw them again then I wouldn't miss them in the slightest and I'm pretty sure they feel similar about me.

Deep down I think they don't want me around and they think I don't want them either. (reiterated to them regularly by their mum) Having said that, I'm always chatty and polite, i'll make their tea and send them a nice message on special occasions ect but really we're all pretty detached from each other. Really I think they'll only ever be happy if I wasn't around anymore which just makes me want to detach even more to guard my feelings.

allnewtaketwo Sun 01-Dec-13 21:08:37

Much like countrygal above. I get along fine with DSS2 and tolerate DSS1. I would say I'm fond of DSS2 but not as strong as with my nieces and nephews. With DSS1 I find it hard to find any common ground really. As he's 18 now it's much the same as having any adult around a lot who you don't particularly relate to - small doses are fine but more than that is too much.

matana Sun 01-Dec-13 23:06:50

I love my dsd. Not as I love my ds but it's love all the same. Interestingly we have become even closer since the birth of my ds 3 years ago. She's the best sister he could wish for. I've known her for 11 years though, so plenty of time for love to grow. It helps that she's ultimately just very easy to love though: kind, generous, loving, funny etc. I very easily see her as a huge part of our family.

matana Sun 01-Dec-13 23:12:00

And like fuzzpig she is never referred to as a half sister. That word doesn't exist in my family's vocabulary. I adore seeing them together they are inseparable.

stepmooster Mon 02-Dec-13 02:44:19

I care a lot about DSS, but my DH has experienced similar to Aliceinwonderhell. I cannot allow myself to 'love him' and because i am not the sort of person who can turn off the love and heartache because contact is suddenly not important or desired.

I saw what that can do to someone and I have my own demons from my childhood which make me more prone to MH problems. DH gets it and as such our stepson and stepmother relationship has been allowed to develop at its own pace. DSS and I joke about me being his wicked stepmother. Humour is often used to get around awkward moments.

I must be the only person on DSS's fathers side who can see that the lad is no longer 7 and is fast approaching adulthood. I talk to him like an adult, and he shows me respect. He can be a bit back chatty to his dad which I don't like but its DH'S fault for years of Disney.

I breastfeed in front of dss which was incredibly hard to do at the beginning both of us were a bit weirded out by, but sitting in our room to feed was getting ridiculous and uncomfortable. Now it doesn't phase either of us which shows how far we have come.

Tuckshop Mon 02-Dec-13 07:18:35

I've talked to dsd about this. She lives with me (not her dad, my ex). I love her, no question. I consider her as much a daughter to me as dd But biology means that there are differences in the instinctive things I feel that I can do nothing about. That's not about dsd and my relationship with her. It's just nature.

ZombieMojaveWonderer Mon 02-Dec-13 08:52:25

I feel the same op and I just assumed its because I don't see them very often, we have them in most holidays for a week to two weeks but as soon as they walk out the door (sometimes they don't even say goodbye) and I am obviously forgotten straight away and the bond that was built is broken and I have to start again when they next stay. My husband says he feels the same funnily enough. He sees my kids every day and looks after them and does things with them and he hates to admit it but he has a much stronger bond with my kids than his own. He says when he collects them it's a clean slate and feels he has to get to know them all over again every time and sometimes he feels as if he doesn't know them at all which is really sad.
I care about my step kids but not in the same way as my husband cares about my kids.

moody7557 Mon 02-Dec-13 12:48:01

I think what you said in the OP sums it up for me. We're two years into living together full-time and I've known his children since they were 3 and 4. I don't see that a bond with them is getting stronger - it's just as it's always been... I care for them and am fond of them, but I can't relate to them fully and they irritate me at times in ways that my own children just don't. My BF on the other hand reports feeling closer to mine as time goes on... It's been suggested to me that it's a lot easier for men, but I don't know?

Sam

Kaluki Mon 02-Dec-13 12:50:08

If you had asked me this question 4 years ago I would have said I couldn’t stand either of them!! They were awful badly behaved spoilt brats. I used to dread their arrival and count down the minutes till they left. But after a lot of work from DP who has successfully ‘undisneyed’ himself by setting them boundaries and discipline and teaching them to behave I can honestly now say that I do love them. Obviously not in the way I love my own dc, nothing comes close to that, but I do care for them and want the best for them. I love the fact that my own dc get on so well with them and that they seem happy when with us. I even look forward to seeing them now which I never thought I would!!

moody7557 Mon 02-Dec-13 12:52:31

Kaluki - that is a very reassuring post for me with how I'm feeling at the moment. Can I ask how you DP changed in being able to set boundaries and discipline... I feel that is a big issue for us at present.

willyoulistentome Mon 02-Dec-13 12:52:33

DSD1 - I don't really like her. I have had periods of actually hating her. She has always been difficult and demanding.

DSD2 - I'm very fond of her, but I wouldn;t go so far as to say I love her. She's a lovely girl.

DSS - He's OK. Can take or leave. Getting better with age.

I love dsd. Get on well with her, feel protective, care about her and am proud of her. I've been in her life since she was 15 months old (she's now 10). It's not to the same level as my own dc's though. When she annoys me, there isn't that natural instinct there. When she's mean to either of my dc's, I immediately side with them.

DH and I are in the process of separating. The thought that I might not have her in my life anymore is actually horrible hmm I will miss her

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