When DS tells me that DSD is his best friend(8 Posts)
I should feel pleased, right?
I have lots of mixed feelings, grateful that they're not fighting all the time, but not convinced the relationship is as healthy as it could be. They're both 14. Some of this is probably my own insecurities too, I will admit.
DSD literally follows DS around the house, sits in his room when he's not there, asks constantly after him if he's out, is giving up clubs, friends and not seeing her boyfriend and choosing to spend time watching silly you tube videos on the computer with DS.
I expected DS to be moving forward with his life at this age, of course, and instead of him spending more time with friends and less with me, more time at clubs, more time on homework etc. etc., he's spending it sitting with DSD, and not seeing his friends. He's "hard work" when she is around (which is always) and the fun times and closeness that DS and I have always had feel like they are ebbing away.
He tells me that he can tell her anything, but then admits she never talks to him about anything about herself or talks about her feelings or her life. She just walked out of her Mums a few months ago and has barely been back since, no real explanation at all.
I have to almost force him to spend time with me, and of course, DSD is there too. They literally don't spend a minute apart. When he chooses to have a bath, she will have a shower (not in the same bathroom!), when he does his homework, she will do hers, when he watches tv, she will sit with him. DS and I have always had a close relationship, and to be honest, I'm feeling resentful that DP children are calling the shots yet again, or that is how I feel. They always get what they want and in this case, it is 100% attention from him whilst she distances him from his Mum. Even DP has said that he thinks his children are jealous of my relationship with DS.
DSD is critical of DS and undermines him all the time and I am worried about the effect it is having on him. I'm sure she feels insecure since just deciding, in what seemed a split second, to move in with us. We almost have to force her to see her Mum and it's only a couple of hours at most in several weeks. She is always at home and her school hours are less than DS, so I can't even get the odd ten mins here and there. He never sits in her room, never seeks her out, but it's always her following him around a bit like a puppy. It's like she doesn't know her place at home.
When I try and spend time with her (or DP does) and we ask how she feels about something, we just get a "meh" answer. She just wants to be with DS.
How does this sound to you step parents? Am I being silly?
Also bear in mind, that DP and I might not be continuing our relationship, and if so, not necessarily from the same house. How is that going to affect DS and DSD?
Redhen, this sounds very normal to me. Your feelings are natural as there are a couple of issues here - your changing relationship with your DS and your DSD finding her place in your home. My DSD (14) loves my DS (13).. they spend lots of time together - and she is always going into his room rather than the other way round, if he's out - its a constant when's he home? - he's not bothered either way. I think it's just the fascination of having a "brother" and the novelty of it as they haven't grown up together. I do feel for you with the change in your relationship with your DS - My DS is growing up so quickly - he is not my baby anymore - and like you I miss the closeness we had and can sometimes wish for the days when I was a single parent with just the two of use - I know he still loves me but it does change - it has to doesn't it - he has to grow into a young man and be independent of me. x
Your OP has rung klaxons in my head - admittedly due to my own past experiences, but I'm going to share just to add a different perspective.
When we were 12, my best friends mum got together with the dad from a boy in our class; they dated and then moved in together.
My DF and this lad were thrown together a lot - and ended up falling for each other; talking, sharing emotions etc. The fact that they shared a home meant they had opportunities that most DCs of that age didn't, they started experimenting, things went too far and my DF had to take the morning after pill!
She HATED him after that - made his life and that of her mum and stepdad a misery; it was awful for everyone involved
I suppose what I'm saying is that they AREN'T siblings, and are both teens with lots of hormones surging through their veins, poor self control and a curiosity that could have significant consequences. They have grown close - and those feelings can easily be mistaken for romantic love when you're that age.
NADM, this is some of what's at the back of my mind.
Fooso, you are right in that there are a number of issues here. Some of which are my own feelings of DS slipping away from me, and the way in which it is happening, is not what I expected.
I think DS has been taught by me to be accommodating and put the needs of others before himself. Counselling has really highlighted this to me. I see DS not being able to say "no" when DSD or anyone asks him to do something. Even my distant relatives young children treat him like they can do whatever they want, and he will just give in. He doesn't appear to be bullied in school but he is very much a follower rather than a leader.
DSD along with all the DSC have zero ability to talk about their feelings, with either DP, me or DS. They will constantly tell you how much better they are than anyone else and blow their own trumpets but I have never seen an ounce of vulnerability or upset in any of them. DSD hasn't even explained to anyone properly why she doesn't want to live with or even see her Mum! I know this is unhealthy and unbalanced. It's like they don't know what they feel or what they want. They only seem to be feel valued when someone else is doing what they want. Their Mother certainly seems to seek control constantly and I suspect this is what they are learning. And of course, DP has some very real issues with not being able to say "no" to his children or put his own/my/DS needs at least on an equal footing to those of his kids.
It's all so intense, it's not like they spend a bit of time together when they've got nothing better to do, DSD should be spending some time with her boyfriend out of school shouldn't she? When she first moved in, she wanted to be with her friends but now doesn't bother and is talking of giving up her clubs and little job too, so she can sit with DS on the pc. DS in turn used to always want friends over but doesn't bother now, he's never been very good at organising things but he won't now because DSD is literally sitting over him on the phone etc.
One of the hardest things being a SP is having no control over the behaviour of the DSC... you can see what is wrong, what needs to happen etc but you can't change it. I went to see a counsellor recently who advised me to let go of some things - not just for a happier homelife but for me... I try to think about the Serenity Prayer... God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,The courage to change the things I can,And the wisdom to know the difference.
When the DSC's behaviour is impacting on your own DCs, then you can and should intervene, though.
My DSD was/is an entitled, selfish bully who used to make DD cry. I couldn't change DSD - but I sure as hell made certain that she didn't have the opportunity to bully DD again.
But how do I intervene here? Ban DC from spending time together in their own home?
On one hand it makes me feel I should be putting some physical distance in here by not living together, on the other hand, I'm going to upset them both by forcing them apart.
I wouldn't suggest this is should ever be a reason for moving out and splitting up a family, but given your situation, it is certainly an additional consideration. It might upset them in the short term, but for parents, and that shouldn't be a primary consideration
If your DSD is as dominant as you suggest then I'm sure your DS will be better off being freed from the intensity of her attention. He is undoubtedly flattered by all the attention she is giving him - what 14 year old lad wouldn't be - but if he is putting his own life, friends etc on hold because she is all consuming, then it's not healthy. If their friendship is genuine then it will continue and develop even though you are living apart - although their respective loyalties might play a part.
It really doesn't sound a healthy relationship between teens at the moment - the fact that she is seeking your DS out over her own friends/boyfriend and he is happy to go along with her attention all sounds very intense.
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