Feeling Low(18 Posts)
I have two step daughters aged 12 + 16 who visit twice a week. Tonight is not much different than usual...The eldest walks in and sits in my place in the living room (i know It's pathetic but it's where I always sit and she knows this) I say 'hello' but get no response from either, they say 'dad' before everything they say so I feel like I'm not included. They both spend the night staring at they're phones or the computer and then as soon as we all settle down after tea the eldest will go upstairs while the youngest continues to stare at the computer.
I'm currently sat in my room on my own because for one , I'm bored to tears down there and secondly, I take things very personally and worry that it's my presence that make them not feel like interacting with us.
I try to chat to them when they come but I feel like the conversation is very one sided and they've never ever asked me anything about myself (maybe this is normal for teenagers?...)
Anyway, not really looking for advice but feeling a bit down about it today and wanted to vent. Btw, I'm not the ow + been with their dad for 4.5 years.
I really don't enjoy their visits and I spend the entire time feeling awkward and out of place. I'm really not good at this step mum malarkey x
I feel for you!
Some of it is just teenagers, some of it is step- dynamics and some is probably because your DP won't pull his DCs up on their rudeness/ignorance.
Disengage, don't try too hard and eventually, they may grow into pleasant young women whose company you enjoy
Ooh that sounds tough. Have you spoken to your DP about it? What does he say? Do you ever get time with the girls on their own?
Oh dear, the visits sound excruciating. I feel for you.
I don't have any experience as a step mum, but plenty of experience of teenagers......and awkward situations!
I have spent many uncomfortable hours in the company of my dh's teenage nephew and niece, usually at mil's house. They talk almost exclusively to each other, any attempts at conversation from us, my dc included, being met by the shortest answer possible, with no apparent desire for any further interaction. They make it pretty plain that they would rather be anywhere else, and I'm afraid I'm not the kind of bright and breezy person who's confident enough to laugh it all off and carry on regardless, so we end up with a lot of awkward silences!
I don't think it's unusual for teenagers to be uncommunicative, and the computer/phone thing is standard behaviour, but there's a point at which it just becomes rude.
What does your dh think? Are you able to discuss it with him, or is he not aware there's a problem? Any chance of a joint initiative, like him deliberately making a point of including you, every time they address their remarks solely to him?
I would suggest being more forthright with them in confronting their unsociable behaviour, but I know full well that in your position, I would also be in my room!
I do hope you and your dh can find some way of resolving things.
That sounds horrible.
Have they always been like that or is it something new? Are they getting to the age when they don't really like being made to come and visit twice a week?
Could you try switching the telly on to something that's kind of socialble to watch? It can be easier to be in each other's company with the TV on that sitting in awkward silence.
Well, I spent last night in my bedroom to give them chance to spend time with their dad, the eldest stayed in her room and the little one jumped straight in my place, haha.
I just don't know what the answer is. If I speak to them they will answer politely but I know that really they have no interest in me would probably love it if I took a running jump off the nearest cliff.
I understand why they feel so insecure - before I came along they could phone at a moments notice and ask their dad to run them about, take them out for tea ect and now he has a new family and it's not all about them anymore. That must be hard. They love our baby but I know their consumed with jealousy seeing how happy we are.
Just because I understand why they resent me doesn't make it any easier. Even though I always try to be friendly towards them and ask about school/college ectI don't enjoy their visits. How can I make myself want to include them more and actively encourage my husbands relationship with them when all I'll achieve is to make them feel better but, in the process, alienate myself as the only unwanted person in this family. I just try to stay out of it and leave it to my husband to reassure them but I can sense a storm brewing and I always end up being the villan.
I think the only way my husband can solve this is to cut himself in two. The way things are atm, he has two seperate family both wanting his attention and he doesn't want to lose either. It's tough on him because he works 6 days a week and we have a new baby so there's not much of him to share around either.
Tonight I think I'll try and speak to him and reiterate that if they ignore my 'hellos' then he need to pull them up on it! I'm not actually sure what he can do about the saying 'dad' thing so any suggestions would be gratefully received...
Oh and thanks everyone for your replies. I feel very alone in this as none of my friends are step parents. Hope I've answered all your questions x
I can relate very much to a lot of what you are saying.
I have three teens in my home (some part time, some full time) and what I would say is that most teens can have "off days" and be grumpy and "hard work" but I do find that you can get snippets of chattiness and fun amongst the phone staring and silence. I also get basic manners from them even when they're not chatty.
I have one teen who is like the teens you describe and I think she has some big insecurity issues being around me and the children who live with us full time (one of them being her full sibling). She is openly rude and disrespectful to me, her Dad and her siblings.
Whilst I understand she might feel a bit pushed out etc. it still feels awful to live with. I've really tried to not let her rudeness get to me but I've had enough now, to be honest. She's nearly a woman and I'm sure very aware just how rude she is.
I've decided to try and just be as cool with her as she is with me for my own sanity.
Please remember it is your home too and you are entitled to politeness at least, if your DP won't pull them on it, then I think you are perfectly entitled to stop trying with them. Don't keep on banging your head against a brick wall.
I think you need a proper chat with your DP, if you can.
I felt very sad reading all your posts, they took me back to a relatively recent time when things were just as bad as you describe. Thank god things are different now...
Dsd, 12 when we met, was like your teen dsds, sullen,rude, would only address her dad, etc.
dss, then 9, would for years start every sentence with "dad", like a robot, we could all tell that even "dad" found it infuriating.
Like yours, dsc also came for dinner twice a week and eow.
Fortunately, my ds,then 11, had none of these awful issues and dh had a stress free time when dsc weren't here (that of course made me madder and dh less inclined to act...).
One day, after about 2 or so years, I couldn't take it anymore and forced dh to make my life better. As Flatiron suggested, he included me deliberately in every concern they had, I.e showing him something of interest would be passed on to me too, if they had a question he would ask me my opinion first... He did this (and I would show great interest, of course) for as long as it took to get them to change their behaviour. After about a year they would come to me (more!) because they realized I was not a monster.
Unfortunately exw was v bitter (I wasnt ow) and filled her kids heads with all sorts of nonsense (dad spent more time with my ds, he spent money on us which was rightfully theirs! Etc).
I kept my cool around them, was always pleasant, but if I hadn't got dh to take control over the situation I doubt things would have changed.
Dsd, now 16, is a frequent happy visitor, and dss, nearly 13, has been living 50:50 here since April. I did have my doubts about his motives (often felt he had issues "sharing dad") but it's such a balanced situation now I feel we can deal with things as a team, and, dare I say, a family.
I can totally relate to your post. I have 2 DSD now aged 15 & 13. I've known their dad for nearly 6 years so thankfully I can see that they haven't always been sullen and insolent!
They have certainly changed over the past 10 months or so. I think it's mainly down to being teenagers but I also think it's because their dad has higher expectations than their mum and that things aren't as easy for them at our house. We have rules which they have to adhere to. But, because boundaries are relaxed at home but not here they are reluctant to stay here. Plus they have no friends round here.
They are CONSTANTLY on their phones, communication is zero. They usually say hello but conversation is always very stilted. Dsd15 will sit with us, which we don't mind but there is no interaction. I try to make conversation but it's bloody hard work, even my DP struggles!
I don't think you should be sitting on your own, it's your house! I would never do that.
This is a job for your DH and if I were you I would be furious with him.
Ask him if he's proud of his dds and the way they behave. He should be parenting them properly and telling them not to be rude when they ignore you or make you feel unwelcome in your own home. It's basic manners and part of a parent's job is to teach their children how to treat others.
If I thought for one minute either of my dc were that rude to their stepmum I would hit the roof.
They don't have to like the situation they are in but they should be taught that you are part of their extended family now and they should treat you a lot better than this.
I do feel for you! I posted on here a few weeks but then came off as my DH was spying on me, on my own post. This February his 2 DC came to live with us (find it hard to put the D infront as they are not to me). The DSS is just about 16 and the DSD is 18 in January. Last night I cooked a nice early supper so that DH and I could have the lounge to ourselves. Kids would eat what they wanted first then we would eat the rest plus a bit of leftover stuff in the fridge. We tended to eat later before they came to live with us, so not an unusual procedure.
Anyway, the DSS sat down and said thank you even before starting to eat. DSD said nothing, so I said "it would be nice if you could say thank you too", to which she replied, well I have not started earting or tasted it yet. I said that it was courtesy and politeness to do so, to which she replied "Duly Noted"! I had to ask DH to explain to her about manners. To cut a long story short, it caused a massive row and he stormed off, saying I was trying to start an argument. Havent spoken to him since 8.30pm last night. That by the way is his standard reply to me, Ruined our evening, but I do wish he would man up a bit and discipline his kids over basic manners. Sorry to hijack your post OP, its just that I understand that DHs often need to do better parenting and stop being friends to their own kids.
Reluctant I wondered how you were as you haven't posted for a while. But things seem no different then? So sorry to hear that!
Thank you everyone for all your advice and just for sharing your experiences. I'm finding being a step-parent extremely lonely so it good to hear that I'm not the only one with these issues.
I was talking to my best friend about this today and she seems to think that maybe they don't hate me as much as I think and that I'm just taking their normal teenage behavior too personally - I suppose she could be right. I'm really sleep deprived atm due to my teething baby so may be I'm over thinking things.
Having said that, things arn't great no matter which way I look at it. Tonight I've had the youngest girl sitting next to me - however, this isn't because she likes me, it's to stop her dad from being able to sit with me. Awkward! I know exactly what she's doing but my husband doesn't see it. It's like sofa wars in this house when they come, haha.
I can speak to my husband about them not saying 'hello', he should defo pull them up on that but he can't make them like me and if they respond politely when I ask them questions then there's not much more he can do. That's a good suggestion Musilimorning re the saying 'dad' problem so thanks for that.
My DSD used to do that, she would want to cuddle me all the time. I soon realised it was to keep her dad away from me. I made a joke of it to him and called her his little guard dog!
But I retreated and let her have her warpath and she soon stopped. It was just insecurity and to be fair she was a lot younger than your DSCS, she was only about 6 at the time.
That meant to say I let her have her way!!,
Kaluki, my phone has been a lot less predictable with spelling since I "upgraded"(?) to IOS 7 .....
Thanks Kaluki, I couldnt decide if that's the right thing to do or not. I sit where I always sit every day of the week. I kinda feel like i shouldn't have to move out of my place because they're here, but on the other hand I agree it's all because she's insecure and needs to feel wanted by her dad. Humm. Maybe I should encourage my husband to sit with her elsewhere...
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