Access to half sibling(37 Posts)
Hi, if i'm in the wrong place I apologise and please move me.
I have two children with my partner and he has a 16 year old daughter from his first marriage. We had regular contact until 2 years ago when she decided she wasn't coming anymore after we told her off for becoming unreliable, she was making excuse after excuse every week. Her mum has said she doesnt want to come "she has her reasons".
She never felt pushed out, I have been her stepmum since she was 2, she was treated like a princess whenever she came and we continued to do so after the children were born.
We have been blocked from her social media etc but we still send cards/messages/presents on exam results/birthdays etc and ask her to come to any holiday or event we are attending, we have even asked her mum to help out.
Our daughter has an ipod and she messages her daily and tries to facetime her. She sporadically replies and has not once answered one of her calls. We have even suggested she has the children for a couple of hours at her house to rebuild their relationship whenever she wants.
Now my problem is that my little girl is very sensitive. She is asking every single day where her sister is and why she doesn't come. We are in a lose lose situation, we tell her she doesn't want to come it will break her heart, we lie we are giving her false hope. Its not a case of out of sight out of mind because this has been going on for 2 years. My daughter has difuculty sleeping, she is still wide awake at midnight. I really think the whole situation is having a psychological effect. Combined with the upset for me and my oh it is a horrid horrid situation.
Now my question is... does anyone have any advice? Can we take her to court and force her to have contact with her half sister and brother? Is that too ridiculous?
This whole situation is making me terribly anxious.
No, of course you can't take her to court.
It's a rotten situation for you all. I don't think there's much you can do to fix it, unfortunately. Your SD is young, and will hopefully come round in time. I would keep making an effort in terms of birthday presents, invitations, etc. You could certainly write and say how much the kids miss her, and suggest again they meet up somewhere neutral.
In terms of what to tell your daughter, I think the truth is probably best - "Big Sis is angry with Mum and Dad and that's why she doesn't come round any more. But we're hoping that she'll stop feeling angry soon. She is not cross with you at all and still loves you very much."
I wouldn't imagine court is the best way to rebuild your relationship at all (and don't imagine any court could force your dsd to have contact with any of you anyway). Can you talk to her mum, try and understand what the problems are from their / her perspective before trying to mend the situation somehow?
Yeah it did seem ridiculous, just desperate I guess. Will have to sit her down and have a chat. I tried "accidently" deleting the contact details from her ipod so it wasn't a constant reminder but she noticed straight away. Will power through, it cant last forever I suppose from either party. The only good thing is we have never lost our temper and have kept calm and inviting the whole time.
It's sad for you all, but you really can't force her to have contact. Nobody can ever be forced to have contact, nor should they.
Instead I'd ask for professional psychological advice if your DD is so upset. It may help you all deal with the situation.
In your place I'd tell dd that her sister loves her but probably has her own problems and will be in contact when she feels she has to. And explain that we can't make people contact us, we can only be there when they are ready to be in touch or we can decide to forget about them.
How is your husband taking it? Children are often very sensitive to adult's moods.
He doesn't talk about it. Ever. It must be devastating for him. I keep thinking about taking her to the docs. If the lack of sleep thing carries on then I will have to. Luckily my son was only 2 when she stopped coming so doesn't take it as bad.
I think you need to find a way to get your daughter to back off massively.
Your step daughter is not going to be able to come round when she is being bombarded so relentlessly. She will feel like she needs to protect herself from what is almost bordering on harassment so she will be entrenched in her position of non contact. You need to give her space so that she can relax and then come round in her own time. Cards and presents for birthdays etc is excellent, stop inviting her to events for now.
Now, look at your daughter's behaviour. Two years of not sleeping? Messaging daily. Trying to FaceTime when she never gets a response. This seems very extreme. Are you sure you are not encouraging this in order to try and guilt trip your step daughter into making contact.
You need to tell your daughter to stop harassing her step sister. Messaging once a week is enough and she's more likely to get a response if she doesn't message every day.
I understand how painful this is for your husband but you need to try and put yourself in your stepdaughter's head and not just think about the impact on you, your husband and your daughter. What response did you get when you asked your stepdaughter's mum to help out?
^^^,agree and take the iPod off her if its distressing her so much!
The fact you think you can force a 16year to court to have time with her sister is unbelievable she has a choice. I get the impression theres more to this story than what had been disclosed and she has her reasons.
I picked up on you wanting her to babysit the children. I also noted at the begining of the post you had a disagreement because she was unrealiable? Could you elabrate on this as i think could be a key factor to her refusal to maintain a relationship. Could it be she was a typical 14 year at the time who didnt want to babysit her siblings and spend time with her friends and has been told off as a result.
Wether you extended the olive branch you cannot force her to have contact.
Your DD needs to give SD space. Contact once a week only, twice max.
Carry on with gifts/cards/random loving messages.
Ask her and her mother what the reason is and what you can do to make things better
You told off a 16 year old for being
a 16 year old unreliable? How was she being unreliable? What did you say to her?
You are more concerned about how this affects your own children than the stepdaughter, so while you may think you didnt treat her differently, I cant help wondering whether your SD would agree.
Just re-read and all I am getting is "MY kids, MY kids"
At no point have you expressed any concern about why your stepdaughter doesnt want to see her father, all you care about is forcing her to see your daughter so that your daughter isnt upset.
I think I can see why she doesnt want to see you tbh.
The one thing that stands out most for me is where you say "She never felt pushed out, I have been her stepmum since she was 2, she was treated like a princess whenever she came and we continued to do so after the children were born"
How on earth can you tell what is going on in her head??? Treating her like a "princess" doesn't necessarily mean that she was happy with the situation.
Teenagers are notoriously unreliable, they have a lot going on and by the sounds of it ou are allowing your daughter to pile on even more emotional blackmail with a barrage of messages and calls. Both girls will be enormously damaged if you don't take the iPod off your daughter and stop her from harassing her half-sister.
Sorry if I sound harsh, but you say that she has blocked you on all social media and is refusing to see your family over a mild berating for being unreliable. I berate my son for being unreliable on a weekly basis at the moment- he is yet to shut me out of his life. As for your daughter not sleeping properly for two years - I think the time is well beyond seeing a GP. She has an unhealthy fixation that should have been discussed and deflected years ago.
Either your story has edited out a lot of detail or something has happened on her mother's side, either way, a court would frown on what you are suggesting.
Can we take her to court and force her to have contact with her half sister and brother?
Really? I mean, really??
No you can't take her to court or force her to spend time with her siblings.
She's being cruel to deliberately ignore an 8 year old little girl but you'll never be told that on here.
She's a step and is therefore above reproach.
I do think you should limit the contact if it's so distressing for your dc. And I would certainly look at why she's having such a strong reaction.
She's a step and is therefore above reproach.
No, she is a teenager and therefore normal.
If they lived in the same house and were full siblings, you would not get a mother coming here saying "Can I take DD to court to spend more time with her sister?" because she would know that was fucking ridiculous.
This isnt about the stepdaughter, its about the OP only being bothered about her own daughters upset and not question why the stepdaughter has cut them off. My first question wouldnt be "Why wont she spend time with MY daughter" but "What did we do that meant she cut us off". The OP needs to inwards for reasons, not outwards for blame.
Im not sure if apportioning blame is the best way forward
I agree that you need to get some help for your 8yo. Messaging daily for two years isn't normal , it's harassment . You say you are very anxious and it sounds like your child has similar problems.
She's being cruel to deliberately ignore an 8 year old little girl but you'll never be told that on here. She's a step and is therefore above reproach.
Clearly a false statement as you have just told her exactly that on here... Walter.
You need to stop your daughter harassing SD. Remove her iPod as she is becoming obsessed by the sounds of it and this is not healthy.
If SD has decided to cut you all off that is unfortunate but her choice. Be open with your daughter.
Tell her that SD may come back she may not but it is completely her choice.
I also agree with PP you were out of order for having a go at SD for being unreliable. She was at an age where friends and a social life are above everything and you were probably pressuring her to do what she didn't want to so she ran.
*you won't be told that by anyone else on here.
How is she being deliberately cruel? As opposed to unthinkingly cruel, which siblings are to each other all the time?
My kids can be horrible to each other, I was to my sister, she was to me. My mother was, by her own admission, utterly vile to her older sister. But we were just being kids, sick of our siblings and ignoring them when we could.
A 14 year old child who cuts off her father and siblings has bigger issues than the OP is prepared to consider, all she cares about is her own daughter.
And I should add that I say all this as a step mother myself.
OP how old is your little girl? I can't see that you have said anywhere.
If your SD has refused contact for two years surely you and your partner have talked to your daughter about it before now? Surely the same sort of approach that people use when a parent disappears would work - ie 'your sister is angry with mum and dad, and she doesn't want to talk to/see any of us right now, yes it's sad and we hope she will change her mind'.
I find it very odd that you haven't addressed her anxiety and that you have allowed her to harass her sister for so long, it sounds really inappropriate. At this point as she has become so distressed perhaps some counseling might help? You all need to adjust to a reality where your SD may or may not be a part of your family in the future, but there is very little you can do about it. Your partner refusing to talk about his daughter seems like a really unhealthy response too.
There are a number of worrying statements in your posts which suggest that in this particular situation, you have difficulty in understanding where your responsibilities begin and end. Even though it's distressing for your family, your SD has the absolute right in deciding with whom she has a relationship with. The idea of trying to force her to do otherwise, is an attempt to spare you the responsibility of supporting your DD through a distressing time. It really sounds your DD's loss is being compounded by the lack of response by her parents. Her father doesn't talk about it and her mother fobs her off.
Oh and please tell me your DD doesn't have unrestricted and unsupervised access to an Internet enabled device?
Tell your DD that her big sister appears to be upset about something and has decided to limit contact. Even though you are not entirely sure of her reasons for limited contact, you are sure it has absolutely nothing to do with her and until SD decides to reinstate contact, there's very little she can do. As a family you have decided to respect SD's wishes for limited contact but you will send her birthday and Christmas wishes, so she knows how much you all still love her.
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