Do you think a step parent:child relationship has more chance of success if you have known them from a young age?

(29 Posts)
throwingpebbles Mon 04-Jan-16 23:30:35

Just that really! I really care about my DSC and we form a happy group of 6 at the moment (my two plus his two). Aged 1-8. Just read some of these threads and fear for a bleak future! Please tell me it isn't always doomed and what helps most to keep things happy....?

I love kids whether mine / a friends etc, I take a "more the merrier approach" to family life. Trying to make sure I get quality time just with my kids sometimes too though and that they each get 1:1 time, and also we try and spend time doing fun stuff with each set of kids separately as well as all together (depending how contact arrangements overlap)

We feel like such a happy family but worry from reading these threads that that could change as they get older

JessicasRabbit Mon 04-Jan-16 23:42:01

I'm from a successful step family, both my parents remarried before I started school. I adore my step dad and always have. I had a strained relationship with dad and step mum when I was younger, but it's much better now - even had step mum over for wine last week, just us two.

JasperDamerel Mon 04-Jan-16 23:48:18

I love my step-mum. I think that if the relationship starts off well, there's no reason why it should carry on well.

Sunbeam1112 Mon 04-Jan-16 23:48:53

My DH has been in my DS since hea been 2 year olds and extremely close. He also has a good relationship with his own Dad whom he regularly sees. He doesn't call my DH dad but sees him as a parental figure.

My sons dad parents split and he had a stepdad whom his mam forced him to call dad and was strict. He didnt have much access with his own dad. So i think its all down to the envirnoment and the relationships they establish. Two completely opposite experiences.

LeotardoDaVinci Tue 05-Jan-16 00:03:09

I think if you're that chilled about everything then you have a good chance of everything being fine!
I went into being a stepmum full of optimism and it was a disaster. Mainly because DH had/has such an appalling relationship with his ex and therefore his dc. Also, neither his parents nor his ex's were supportive of their relationship/split and mine were always pointedly uninterested in the stepchildren, which didn't break the situation but didn't help. However all relationships would have stood a chance, I believe, if dh and his ex had had significant support at the time of their break-up. The ex remained (remains) bitter and angry and dh remained terrified of her and accepted that he was a failure at being a father from the get-go.
It is such a complex situation. I hope yours continues to be successful.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Tue 05-Jan-16 01:17:37

I do hope it is a bright, happy future for you OP! It all seems good from your post, and knowing your step kids young does help I think.

I was also optimistic, but I underestimated the influence of a resentful EX who clearly does not want me around - passes on to her kids. If there is no loyalty conflict between antagonistic EX, stirring up trouble, then there is no reason why you shouldn't all be very happy. Good luck!

tabulahrasa Tue 05-Jan-16 01:27:56

I love my step mum, she's great...in fact she's not even my step mum anymore, hasn't been for years and years - she's still great though.

You might find the teenage years are 'interesting' but I say that as a parent of teens, nothing to do with blended families.

JE1234 Tue 05-Jan-16 01:30:59

I am very close to my DSS and have known him since he was 7 so not particularly young. I think there are so many factors and age is just one of them. Being supportive, unthreatening, unconditionally loving and actually liking them help a huge amount. I also think the circumstances of the parents' break up can be a huge factor and particularly how the children were treated during that time.

BertieBotts Tue 05-Jan-16 01:36:23

No I don't think so. I think it's a different kind of relationship though. If you come in later when they are already "people" IYSWIM then you're more of an outsider, which can still be fun/special, but if you come in when they are little then it is just normal.

I think your set up sounds great, cherish it smile

modalverb Tue 05-Jan-16 02:17:56

I think it depends more on the personalities involved, the existing family set ups and any external stress factors like housing and finances. DH met DS when DS was 8 and he became a stepdad when DS was 14, so not young at all. They get on great and we've had no problems being a blended family, and even avoided the so-called nightmare of the teen years. I put it down to both of them having some shared interests and DH being a very chilled and loving person.

throwingpebbles Tue 05-Jan-16 06:48:24

thats a good point about the ex's . His ex has been great so far really, she has let the children make pictures etc for me which they bring.

My ex is a different story I left him because he was emotionally abusive and he still tries to cause difficulties all the time. I do fear for his influence In the future.

heidiwine Tue 05-Jan-16 07:02:09

I've known my partner's children for 6 years, since they were 5 and 8. I love them and we get on but I know that our relationship would be stronger and deeper if their mum was supportive of me and (more importantly) of their dad. So in my opinion, the relationship with both parents has to be good to make a successful step parent: step child relationship and the step parent must be supported by the other parent. That's quite rare because when relationships breakdown adults don't always put their feelings to one side to genuinely allow the child's feelings to be at the centre.
Good luck!

Fairylea Tue 05-Jan-16 07:19:56

There are tons of successful step families in the world. It's just the ones that aren't working often post about it on mumsnet!

I adored my step grandad. He was and always will be my proper grandad.

My dd loves her step dad to bits. He is my second husband (my first wasn't dds dad, I left him when dd was 6 months old). Dd has already said when she gets married she wants step dad to walk her down the aisle and not her real dad. We are very much a family, all money equal between us, all children the same. We have no issues at all with dd being from a different dad to ds.

Sometimes I cringe when I read the threads on here regarding blended families and step children etc. It really seems so cold and divided, nothing like my own experience.

Fairylea Tue 05-Jan-16 07:21:12

Sorry realise I haven't answered your question as just waffled but I wanted to give a general view !

throwingpebbles Tue 05-Jan-16 07:37:34

That's ok! Waffle welcome! Yes I struggle to read some of the threads, and worry how it ended up like that

Our parents and wider family seem very welcoming of the "step" children, on both sides

I guess the biggest threat will probably be my Ex H who is constantly trying to stir up trouble. DS came back from a weekend with his dad saying "daddy says (step siblings) aren't my family because I don't have the same surname as them. Only people with the same surname are my family" angry

Neverenuff Tue 05-Jan-16 07:52:27

I have known dps kids since they were 5 and 8. Would our relationship be better if I had met them older or younger? Who knows. I feel our relationship would be better if the kids mum (dps ex) didn't get so involved. Ie telling kids not to give me cuddles or say goodnight etc. Also she lets her kids see / tells the kids about any arguements between her and my dp. So it puts a strain on the kids and then on the relationships they are building. I think a lot of the relations created between step parents and the kids involved is down to the parents of those children and what they are teaching/ exposing their kids too.

throwingpebbles Tue 05-Jan-16 09:31:45

That worries me never exH holds a grudge for a long time, and I worry about what else he will try and do in the future
Hopefully the closeness of the step/siblings will help be a different positive voice to help counters my kids' dads negativity

Very impressed with how DP ex has handled things (after initial reluctance). Yes sometimes she can be a bit silly but mainly about sending them swim stuff if we want to swim etc, but largely she seems good at staying neutral/positive about me and DP

Wdigin2this Tue 05-Jan-16 11:57:07

Yes, I do think it has a better chance! All our DC were grown when we got together, so I never had that maintenance/visitation thing...for which I'm very grateful! But if they're younger you have more chance of bonding and establishing your authority as one of the responsible adults in your home! Even so, I would never have wanted young SC in my life, which is why I consciously avoided men with DC under 16! You sound pretty laid back and able to cope, so good luck to you, it will probably work....but expect the unexpected at all times!!!

SoapandGloryisDivine Tue 05-Jan-16 12:42:19

Not necessarily. Sometimes when you meet them when they're late teens/young adult it can be much easier. Sometimes.

I met my dad's fiancé when I was 18 and we get on brilliantly. I don't call her my stepmum though because we're more like really good friends than mother/daughter.

I met DP's DD when she was a little toddler and she's now 10. We have a good relationship and we've built quite a strong bond because I've known her all this time. It has been difficult though at times.

Looking at my dad's fiancé and myself, she's definitely had it easier as a woman in a relationship with a man with a child (I'm my dad's adult child but you get my drift!) , as she met me when I was independent and I moved out not long after! Dsd was very young so the expectations of me have always been much much higher.

throwingpebbles Tue 05-Jan-16 12:47:13

I guess I love having more children around, they feel like extra bonus children without the pain of birth grin so I have no issues with the extra work but when I read threads about kids not saying goodbye/ dramas over presents/ etc etc and there seems to be so much anger between step parents/children I get worried how that comes about and what I can do to prevent it (without us just indulging their every whim!) not a thread about a thread by the way, more a worry what positive things I and DP can do; especially given fact my ex will undoubtedly be angry forever!
(DP and I met when both single by the way; no affairs or anything. I left my ex because was very emotionally abusive. DP and his just badly matched really!)

swingofthings Tue 05-Jan-16 15:21:05

My kids have a very good relationship with their step-mum and as far as I know, she adores them and never had any grief from them. They met 10 years ago and they are now 13 and 16 and still getting along great.

She has many more issues with her children then I have with mine, so I think in a way, it is refreshing for her when they come over. I have tried to remain neutral despite a number of issues, but like you, after a difficult start, we manage to find respect for each other over the years, despite never meeting face to face. As a mum, I can only ever be massively grateful that she has always treated them fairly, but without trying to overstep on my role as a mum.

mrssmith79 Tue 05-Jan-16 16:15:32

Not necessarily. DSD was 12 when I came into her life and we've got a fantastic relationship (and always have had), despite me turning up on the scene when she was just entering her teenage years as well as there only being a 14 year age gap between us. She's nearly 23 now and, along with her dad, is one of the best things to ever happen to me.

throwingpebbles Tue 05-Jan-16 16:29:58

Not saying it would necessarily be bad if they were older mrssmith ! Didn't mean my question to be taken that way. Guess I am just wanting to feel optimistic that if things are going well now then that is a positive sign for the future

It's lovely hearing about the happy step families for a change smile

Do you have any ideas what helped make it positive? I really want all the kids to be happy and find the experience a positive one

throwingpebbles Tue 05-Jan-16 16:32:25

swing that is the balance I am trying to strike. I don't see myself as needing to compete with their mum, I just want to be an extra, loving, and positive adult in their family. I would never try and undermine their mum or their relationship with her, in fact I encourage them to chat when she calls. I just hope it can stay this good as they get older!

swingofthings Tue 05-Jan-16 17:05:19

You've answered your own question. If you are not trying to be their mum, not trying to change them and just enjoy their presence, then there is no reason whatsoever why your close relationship should change. Saying that, remember that some kids can become difficult during their teenage years and tension between them and parents can appear, so if that is the case, don't automatically assume it is because you are a step-parent.

I can tell you the one thing that made me 'like' the SM of my kids, it's when she referred to me to them as 'mum', not YOUR mum or worse YOUR mother. A simple word with so much meaning behind.

I think it is the year that I had a real go at them because they hadn't got her a birthday card and I made them go out there and then to get one!

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