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New to step parenting and need hints and tips

(28 Posts)
xxDebstarxx Sun 02-Sep-12 14:54:47

I'm new to the step parent role and although I'm a mum to two teenage boys being a step mum is completely alien to me. Please help me survive the "you're not my mother" arguments and tantrums.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sun 02-Sep-12 18:18:52

This book has been recommended many times in this forum. I'm not a SM, but the woman who settles down with DS2 will be, so I bought a copy to see how I can best support her (in the future...)

I lent it to DS's last longterm GF, it helped her understand things better, but she also ditched him not long after. Hope I didn't put her off. blush sad

BadIdeaBear Sun 02-Sep-12 19:35:33

I've just finished the book recommended by OldLadyKnowsNothing and would equally recommend it myself.

At the moment, the advice seems unnecessary as things are going well now, but I'm aware (and was made more so by this book) that the whole thing is a constantly changing beast! However, it will be particularly pertinent to you, I think, because you're taking on teenagers, which is what Wednesday Martin also did.

olibeansmummy Sun 02-Sep-12 20:42:25

Ensure the mother's new partner is not a psychopath who comes round to your house when he knows your dh is out and threatens you when you've done nothing wrong....... Sorry I'm a bit shaken up sad

Really, my best advice is to smile, be pleasant and make sure you start as you mean to go on ie don't take on more than you would be willing to do in the long term whilst trying to be super Stepmum initially.

xxDebstarxx Sun 02-Sep-12 21:16:56

Thank you all. Had a look at the book and it is in my amazon basket ready to order when I have the spare cash! Oh dear olibeansmummy that sounds incredibly frightening. I hope all is ok with you now. I will definitely start as I mean to go on even if it means I'm evil Stepmum rather than super Stepmum.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Sun 02-Sep-12 21:28:32

I noticed that Amazon's price is actually not the lowest, if that helps. smile

olibeansmummy Sun 02-Sep-12 22:31:56

It was debstar! I'm still in shock and absolutely furious as it was completely unprovoked and I was alone in my house with my 3 year old son. I had to call the police in the end. We won't be having any more contact with dss's mum ( who was present and encouraging her dh) so now have to look into solicitors etc to find a way forward with Dss.

I'm glad you're prepared, I was a naive 20 year old when I met dh and totally took on too much allowing both dh and dss's mum to take a step back and completely take advantage tbh.

xxDebstarxx Mon 03-Sep-12 09:35:35

thank you oldladyknowsnothing I will definitely check out the cheaper options.

olibeansmummy I'm sorry to hear that you are having such a horrid time with dss's mum. I hope the solicitors help you sort things out and good for you ringing the police. That will have shown dss's mum and her dh that you were in control.

I am prepared in a way, having two teenagers helps I guess. It's just different with someone else's kids if that makes sense.

Kaluki Mon 03-Sep-12 12:19:53

Read through all the threads on here and start as you mean to go on. I wish I had done that before moving in with DP.
Watch how he parents his dc and note all the differences to how you parent yours. Keep an eye out for 'Disney Dad' behaviour and above all talk to him about everything. Make sure you both show a united front where the dc are concerned and never undermine each other in front of them. DC (especially teens) are clever and will spot weakness a mile off and use it to their own advantage!!!
You might also have to be prepared to compromise and change some of the things you do with your own dc.
Good luck... I'm going to order that book too - are you on commission OldLady?

Kaluki Mon 03-Sep-12 12:20:32

shock @ Oilbeansmummy! Hope you are OK!

olibeansmummy Mon 03-Sep-12 14:16:51

I'm ok thanks Kaluki, still extremely angry that a man would behave like that to a woman and small child, but if he tries it again, he'll be arrested so hopefully he'll stay away. I've never spoken 2 words to him in my life so I can only conclude that he's a complete psycho!

Debstar you sound like you're well prepared and gave your head screwed on so I'm sure you'll be fine smile

RenskeMc Mon 03-Sep-12 18:47:57

Loved this book
I have been a fulltime stepmum to a girl for 10 yrs now. She was 3 when I met her, 5 when she moved in and is now 13. We are very close, but it has been a lot of hard work. The hardest thing was her mother....the crazy ex! Best tip; be yourself, back off, let them come to you, spend some quality time with them. Good luck!!!

xxDebstarxx Mon 03-Sep-12 19:24:19

Thank you Kaluki...lots of reading threads ahead of me then. Luckily I have my teenage children so I'm aware of the cleverness teens can display but thanks for the tip of changing my parenting style for the twins.

Thank you olibeansmummy. I hope I'm more prepared and my head is screwed on tighter than I think!

Thank you RenskeMc I will definitely be checking that book out too. I will take on board all you say especially the "let them come to you" part.

purpleroses Mon 03-Sep-12 20:31:08

I'm fairly new to this too. Touch wood, I've not yet had any "you're not my mum" comments from the DSC - but have had from my DD (as in "you're not his mum, why are you doing.... with DSS" That's the thing I'm finding hardest really - juggling being a mum with being a (part time) step mum. In some ways it makes it easier to let the kids come to you, as your focus is elsewhere so I've been happy to let things develop at their pace. I more or less started out treating them the same as I would if they were friends of my DCs come over to play. But working out what I do and don't do for them, without stepping on DP's toes, their mum's toes, or upsetting my DD is hard. I've also found the relationship has develped at a very different pace with each of them, and feel much more mum-like to the younger ones. It's hard I think to feel confident parenting or being in charge of a teenager or child that's older than your own kids are.

DP and I backing each other up is something we both know is really important, but I find hard if I feel DP is getting at my DS unfairly, as sometimes I do. We agreed house rules before we moved in together, and have recently formalised them with the kids. Seems to have gone OK and the younger 3 seemed to be very keen on having written rules for the new household. Makes them more secure I guess.

Trying to find a few fun things to do that make the most of the new larger family is good too. We've done a couple of murder myster dinner parties which everyone has enjoyed a great deal, and have tried to find some good films to watch together.

xxDebstarxx Wed 05-Sep-12 11:11:50

Thank you purpleroses. Your advice is greatly appreciated. House rules sound like an excellent idea. I like the sound of the murder mystery dinner parties. How exactly do they work?

sooty49 Mon 17-Sep-12 10:40:14

Hi, i'm a new SM (no kids of my own) to DSD 19yrs old who lives with us. She has lived with her dad since she was 11. We do get on well, she is polite & friendly towards me and seems quite happy to ask my advice on certain things. The problem however is the way she speaks to her Dad. They are close but anything she disagrees with him over or doesn't like to hear, she has a massive tantrum, calling him a T***, effing and jeffing, slamming doors and shooting off out the house in a rage. Up to now i haven't got involved but I can't stand to see this behaviour towards DP. She does NOTHING around the house, her room & bathroom are like pigpens, gets her washing done, etc etc. Should i let them sort it out for themselves, or get involved and have the "let's have a bit more respect for your Dad please" conversation???
any advice would be great!

Beamur Mon 17-Sep-12 10:51:20

sooty49 - your partner needs to speak to her really, I'd let them sort this out themselves. Although if the topic came up in conversation - you could let her know how this behaviour makes you feel? (but not tell her what she should be doing). As for washing/room tidiness - she's not a child. Is she paying rent or still studying? Does she do her own washing?
debstar - how old are you SC's? It doesn't always have to descend into the 'your not my Mum'. I've been a SM for nearly 10 years without hearing this once! But it's a good place to start - you're not their Mum, you may however find yourself doing a lot of Mum-like chores, spending your spare cash on them and tailoring your time around them, but without the same fuel of self-less love you have for your own kids! But I've tried to always thing about what the kids need, both materially but also emotionally so that they have as normal and happy childhoods as they can. Luckily we have a fairly harmonious relationship with their Mum (she's nice and sane and reasonable), the kids have always lived with us 50:50 and my DP doesn't do Disney Dad stuff.

sooty49 Mon 17-Sep-12 18:05:30

thanks Beamur. DP is going to have "the chat". She works full time and pays board to her Dad. I do the washing (sick of having her use it and not empty so it ends up festering and i have to re-do!) i work from home so i do a lot of the household stuff - 99% of time i really dont mind. but when she back chats her dad i just think, "who do you think you are????". she's 20 next month. DP says she wasnt this troublesome through her teens. It seems like over the last 6 months she's just morphed from a plesant girl into a cocky, foul-mouthed idiot! I thought it was supposed to get easier as they got older??!!

Waitingforastartofall Mon 17-Sep-12 22:27:25

i would say after 3 years of being a stepmum and becoming one at 19, dont be taken for a mug. play nice, be yourself but dont try too hard.

WakeyCakey Mon 24-Sep-12 19:33:03

I've also been a SM for three years and was 19. What i would say is give it time!
I love my DSD with all my heart now, but that wasn't the case 2 years ago.
DP is a severe disney dad and that makes things a lot harder but the thing to remember is be strong, have your rules and stick to them.

You will become an important person to them, they will understand that you are important and they will respect you and love you eventually.
It just takes time.
Good Luck with everything

Waitingforastartofall Mon 24-Sep-12 21:27:55

That was well put smile and exactly how I see
Our relationship now after we have all adjusted too each other. I love my sd and ss limitlessly now. Things can be difficult but it will work out if you work at it.

MiniMonty Wed 26-Sep-12 03:33:13

The answer to "you're not my real mum" is very simply "and that excuses you from what exactly"?

If you honestly intent to parent a child then go to it and get on with it. If you let the simple notion that you didn't give birth to them stand in your way you are lost before you start. A parent is a bloody good thing - not a best friend, not a mate, not a bar of chocolate and not an angel from heaven. A parent is anyone who is honestly ready to take complete responsibility for a child and how that child turns out. If that's you then stop asking questions and get on with it. If it's not walk away quickly for everyone's best interests.

Cloverhoney Wed 03-Oct-12 12:18:37

I read a quote on another forum about being a step-parent the other day.

"First you do it for love. Then you do it because there are children involved. Then you do it because it's the right thing to do. Finally, you do it so you can live with yourself".

I think most of us go into it wearing rose-tinted glasses. It takes time for the reality to sink in. What Beaumur says about "doing Mum-like chores without the fuel of selfless love you have for your own kids" is bang on. It's a tough role to embark on but it can ultimately be a rewarding one.

Cloverhoney Wed 03-Oct-12 12:19:06

PS Good luck!

zanywany Thu 04-Oct-12 10:13:58

Love that quote Clover so true

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