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step mums guilt or bad person?

(6 Posts)
Sleepyk Wed 07-May-14 12:33:04

I have 2sd's and have always struggled with my position as their Step mum. The older (16) one seems to have really turned a corner and we get on a lot better now (dodgy couple of years) but now Im struggling with the younger one (who is only 10).

Im a fairly strict parent so I find that half the things that she does irritate me beyond reason as I find them unacceptable but feel that I constantly ask her to not do something/do something. My husband has to work a lot of the time that the girls are here and she always plays up more when he isnt around. She is rude (in my eyes/ears) to my daughter, who is almost 4, and has now decided that she is not going to play with her anymore and seems delighted that my daughter follows her around begging for her to play. If I play with my daughter THEN my sd wants to join in.

Will I ever get my head around this or is this what normal step parenting is about....biting tongue/hiding in the bathroom/dreading visits/feeling bad about all the things that I have just said???

alita7 Wed 07-May-14 12:45:27

I would stop for 5- 10 seconds before telling her off If there's no danger and then ask yourself if you still need to tell her off.

The situation you describe is easy to get into, dsd will have learnt the behaviours which irritate you and will love feeling in control so will so them more, your mood will cause a negative atmosphere which will encourage negative behaviours anyway.

The best thing to do, especially if you feel it's on purpose, Is to ignore her, no reaction is best. take your dd to your room with a laptop or something and cuddle up to a film if you have to, to calm down and to walk away from it. agree set punishments with your dp for different things first so you know you're backed up.

If she starts being rude or refusing to play with dd, take dd to one side and play with her, when she comes to play ask her if she's going to be nice now before letting her play.

prawnypoos Wed 07-May-14 13:48:17

Agree with Alita but completely sympathise with you too. Its tough, especially when you are main carer because DP/DH works a lot.

My DSD is four and I am finding it very tough atm. You can ignore certain behaviours but you cant ignore everything IMO. She will likely grow out of a lot of things. My DSD is 4 and I have been around since she was nearly two and in that time she has gone through a lot of phases, some recurring some never seen again but there have been a lot. Its good to hear that you are getting on with older DSD. She will be at an age where you can have 'adult' conversations.

Could you maybe try and do activities like swimming, I try and take my DSD and DD and they love it, its also a bit of boinding time for me and DSD as when shes behaving I really enjoy her company. Even just baking cakes or cooking tea, DSD helps me make Yorkshire puddings and it keeps her occupied and makes her feel like shes contributed something towards the meal as well.

When you feel yourself getting mad, take yourself away from the situation to chill out and calm down.

I hope this helps


Peacesword Wed 07-May-14 18:31:43

There's 7 years between my dsd and dd and I found that age hard with dsd. There was lots going on that I won't go into - but yes, I look back now and think that was the worst time. Dsd lives with me now, I'm not with her dad, and we have a fabulous relationship. Still arguments over washing up but just in a completely "normal" family context!

What she tells me now is that she was jealous of my relationship with dd. Which meant that she too didn't want dd playing with her, just like you're describing. What she also tells me is that the times she loved the best were when I used to dry her hair. I had no idea! Although I can look back and see that even my spending times combing out nits and actually blow drying her hair was attention and someone caring for her. At pre/early teenage though she wouldn't have been able to see it like that and verbalise it.

One of the things I used to do was have girly nights when dd had gone to bed. I wasn't on my own with her a lot, but if I was then it was popcorn and dvd in bed. And where I could I would do some things with her individually that were more appropriate for her age. We'd go to the cinema to see something dd was too young for, things like that. And next thing she'd be yelling at me and telling me I was nothing to do with her! And I'd hate seeing dd crying as she'd been shut out of her bedroom and wanted to play with dsd and her friend. I think there's a real protective "mother bear" thing that kicks in, and it's instinctive.

So yes, it was hard - I would take myself out shopping or arrange to meet a friend for a drink if it got too much. I would try to re-run things in my head too and explore whether I'd feel the same if dsd were mine. It took a lot of honesty about feelings, and a lot of patience and unconditional love, but we got there in the end.

I bet you're doing much better than you think you are. We can be so hard on ourselves at times. I know I used to beat myself up over things said in the heat of the moment, or times when it felt all too much.

Sleepyk Fri 09-May-14 07:57:18

Thank you Peacesword....that has made me feel a lot better. I am always telling my friends that I'm a rubbish step mum but maybe every step parent feels the same way! They have such a different life at home with their mum as she, apparently, is incredibly soft with them and they, more or less, tell her what to do. I have tried to ignore things but I find Im being told what to do by a ten year old! Oh I could go on but I wont.


2468Motorway Fri 09-May-14 08:11:23

Also there are many 10 yr olds who don't want to play with 4 yr olds. While you may not like it , its completely normal. Many sibs also only want to play with each other if a parent or other adult gets involved. Whilst these things are irritating if you had a 10 yr old and a 4 yr old of your own you might find the 10 yr old behavior a bit easier to sympathize with.

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