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Coping with rejection from step kids

(19 Posts)
Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 27-Feb-16 13:25:13

I hope that this isn't too depressing a post!

How do you accept it when step kids that you've cared for just have no interest at all anymore? Or not much to begin with either!

My DSCs, all four of them, are in their late teens or adulthood, and recently either live with their mum or their own place. We used to have two full time, and all every single weekend. I've known them half their lives.

Yet they hardly visit, when they do they speak to each other, DP and go on the XBox. They ignore me completely. I ask them how they are but it's like pulling teeth. They ignore my son, my half brother too. It feels unnatural, not like normal teen self absorption. There's an unbreakable barrier. I'd like to just be able to accept but it's an unsaid strain with me and DP. I get on well with DPs mum, brother and sister. It's not forced. Why can't it be like that?

Thegreenhen1 Sat 27-Feb-16 14:39:54

What's their mothers attitude towards you?

Does dp deal with their rudeness or just accept it?

Parental influences can play a big part in how they deal with you.

Have you read step monster?

Despite what others say on here, about giving it time (you obviously have) or about trying harder, some kids just don't want a step mum no matter how lovely you are.

I think you just need to find ways to deal with that rejection and find some acceptance without blaming yourself.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 27-Feb-16 16:12:14

Thanks greenhen - sorry for the double post - phone!

Their mother stirs up a lot of resentment about me.

I don't know what she says now as I've no contact with her and DP never speaks about her. The last time (a few months ago) I saw their mum - she just glared at me, very angry, I said hello, but the DSCs didn't know where to look.

DP didn't deal with the rudeness in the past but started to recently, I think it was too late by then. DSD3 was always civil and polite, but the others were often rude and now even DSD3 is becoming quite distant.

DP gets them to say hello as they go in, but it seems like a big deal, he has to 'prime them' in the car. Most of them forget, and they do it in an awkward way. The bare minimum. It's a little forced for kids who've known me for so long, and as far as I know, don't have a specific gripe with me. DP doesn't really pick up on social things tbh, he's just like that.

And yes, read step monster last year - such a relief to feel that others have had similar experiences! I asked DP to but he didn't. It was at that time that the DSCs went from being distant, some problems, but at least 2 of them were fine and we muddled along - to just completely ignoring me - it was really demoralising.

Wdigin2this Sat 27-Feb-16 16:14:35

You've tried more than a lot of SM's would....they are not interested! So what can you do, nothing, so stop worrying about it! Get on with your's and your DPs lives and just either try to avoid contact with them, or when they do visit, busy yourself in the kitchen (or sewing room, or whatever is your thing) and make it your (DSC proof) zone!

But I would sit your DP down beforehand and ask him to listen without interruption. Then explain that these people are his DC which you respect and that you hold no ill will towards them, however...they have plainly shown they are not interested in you, so you are no longer going to try to be a SM to them!

It can go one of two ways, either they, and he will accept your decision and you can go your own way....or they'll be shocked that you feel like this, and make more effort. Either way, you'll have made your point!

swingofthings Sat 27-Feb-16 16:29:41

Very honestly? They probably don't like you much for whatever reason. The thing is, it is not specific to step-parenting, many young kids don't like their parents either. It's heartbreaking but sometimes events leads to this.

Things can change though. I dislike my SM profoundly when I was a teenager/young adult, but now I can say that I do like her very much. Our relationship has totally changed. I think she's the one who's changed, she thinks I have (well I think she thinks that smile

You have two choices, either not care and get on with your life, after all, they are not your kids so why should you care. Or, if deep inside you really are attached to them, can you reflect and try to see why it would be that they don't like you? Do you think it would be worth the emotional investment to make changes in your ways and maybe influence changes in theirs so you can grow close again?

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 27-Feb-16 16:38:10

Thanks wdigin - I did write it all down for my DP last year.

I said that I was very demoralised by being a SM, that I wasn't blaming others but that his kids were just routinely ignoring me now. I explained that maybe for them any women coming into their Dad's life had been just too hard, and it might have made them feel disloyal to their mum. I gave up trying back then really. It still feels really awkward! Xmas wasn't too bad, I was kind of dreading it. But it's like being a ghost and I know it really knocks my DPs confidence in us.

DP did say he understood when I explained, but I think he has a short term memory. Sometimes the older DSCs hinted 'Oh I can't come around, it's a bit awkward with SM'. And DP then feels that I am a barrier to his relationshipw with them. I just said to him 'It's not me that's the problem! Are you never going to have a GF just to keep hold of your DSCs?'.

However, they do fall out with each other quite a bit too. The youngest DSC refused to come round for 3 months because of an argument with DP. They use the 'ignoring' as a weapon. It's just with me there's more of a 'can't be bothered'.

But yes I do try and give plenty of time to DP with me not in the house, or I'll look after our small child and tell him often to 'go get out with your kids' as I do support him as much as I can. I've also invited them lots to dinner, just because it feels too weird not to, but they hardly come.

Wdigin2this Sat 27-Feb-16 17:08:02

Well then Bananas, you've done all you can....let it go! Your DC's lwell being is your priority, together with keeping yourself sane! So, just forget about them as much as you can!

cappy123 Sat 27-Feb-16 17:14:30

Sorry to hear this B. Could you have it out with them / DP and say that you at least expect 5 mins chat with them when they come over? Perhaps remind them they have a brother who doesn't deserve to be snubbed? Do you get on with their mum after all these years and would she back you? I'm learning to pick battles and risk being unpopular or politely disengage.

In step families I think it's hard for kids when both mum and stepmum are present (even sometimes not physically present (might even have died) but v influential). It's not necessarily anything to do with loyalty or how you or their mum treats them, I think it's an identity thing which can lead to them freezing you out. Add to that our extended adolescence, self absorption, Disneying society...

Sometimes my DH relates an unpleasant incident from his childhood with his stepdad, where his mum failed to take responsibility (although my DH doesn't frame it quite like that) and he resented his stepdad. At those times, I immediately give my DH examples of where he too has 'set up' DSD and me similarly, and he is genuinely shocked. My point is that we're all to various degrees - especially youngsters, especially step children even if adult - often preoccupied with ourselves and our perceptions, rather than thinking how we impact other people. Takes a bit of living and often having our own families before pennies start to drop. And there's no guarantee they'll drop.

They're still young. Actively enjoy your life. That will be a huge example to them and the wider family. You sound like you've done a great job to be fair. My DH and I are fairly close to our own stepdads now we're in our 40s (!) but I'm sure I used to do the equivalent of what your describing. My DSD certainly does.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 27-Feb-16 18:25:42

Thanks cappy - I feel like walking on eggshells about the step kids to my DP and I just tend to totally back off. If I say ANYTHING even remotely negative like you, have quite sensibly, suggested, I don't think it would be taken in the right way.

Their mum resents me, I'm not sure why anymore. She liked to treat DP as a husband still and I got in the way.

Yes I think I got the 'full monty' of things to avoid as a step mum -
Never move in with a Disney Dad
Don't move in with teenagers.
Don't go near girl teenagers.
Don't go near it if the Ex is still attached.
Don't go hear if kids mostly resident.

CalicoBlue Sat 27-Feb-16 18:38:33

I do not think there is much more you can do, you have tried.

Teenagers are horrid and step teenagers are even worse. I am step to DH's DS and he is step to my two, all who live with us full time. As we are both in the same position we can laugh about it, and work together to get through it.

I would suggest letting them get on with it, teenage years do not last forever, they will change at some stage.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 27-Feb-16 19:30:41

Thanks 'calico'. The eldest is mid twenties though!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 27-Feb-16 19:31:53

Thanks swing

cappy123 Sat 27-Feb-16 19:48:38

And I'll say what many of us are thinking slightly enviously: "You mean they don't live at home anymore? Hallelujah!"

I reserve the right to lose it with my DH, happens maybe once a year. I play my Caribbean card, feel free to channel me. "Higher or lower than tolerate? Higher, she's a p***ed off! Higher or lower? Higher! She's crying. Higher or lower? Higher! She's silent and has that look in her eye! Higher or lower than maniacal? Higher, she's hysterical! Higher than lower than hysterical? Higher Brucie and worse, she's now historical, something about him culturally misappropriating her dutch pot!! Higher or lower than historical? Higher she's outraged!!! So what if Floella Benjamin's good with kids, that her job and she's not even Jamaican, so it doesn't count!#@* Higher or lower than Play School?! Not sure Brucie [full blown English male reserve and Jamaican patois argument ensues]..put down mi Bob Marley CD, he cyan help we now! Mi say leave Rastamouse outta dis, man!!"

Hope that made you smile. You wouldn't care if you didn't love them.

Dutchpot is true.x

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sat 27-Feb-16 19:52:29

Thanks cappy! Did make me smile. smile

CalicoBlue Sun 28-Feb-16 11:23:12

Gosh, mid 20's and still behaving like that. Mine are not at that stage yet. Though if I felt my kids were treating DH like that in their 20's once they had moved out, I would tell them to treat him properly in his own home or don't come round. I would also expect the same from him if his DS behaved like that at that age to me.

I can see how upsetting it would be. You would hope at that age they had grown up.

Wdigin2this Sun 28-Feb-16 12:12:47

Soooo glad I've never had DSC living with me!!!

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 28-Feb-16 17:48:21

Yes I think part of it is the older two were rude and DP gives them more attention for it. Both literally turn up and don't speak at all to me but get cross if I don't run around after them. Once my eldest DSD sat for 5 hours while I played with her child, and asked her how she was etc, kept conversation going. By the end I actually ran out of things to say and felt totally drained. She never asked me one thing. Then afterwards complained to DP about how awkward it was and that I didn't make her welcome! I had no words. But DP did feel guilty and felt bad.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 28-Feb-16 17:51:41

And I don't think eldest two are deliberately mean. They just cannot seem to get out of their own perspective.

HormonalHeap Sun 28-Feb-16 18:40:38

Love it Cappy123 I actually laughed out loud.

Bananas I sympathise with you so much. My dh's children use the threat of cutting him off every time he does something they don't fancy. For example, my dsd 17 sent me a very rude, unprovoked text. Dh asked her to apologise and she cut him off for 4 months for daring to ask her to apologise to me.

I think you need to now accept the situation and just stop making effort. You've tried that, it doesn't work. Your sd, despite now being a mother herself, is still manipulating her dad. You'd have thought she'd have grown up a bit.

I told dh if he thinks for one moment when they're in their 30's with their own homes they can walk straight past me into my home without a hello, he can think on.. they simply won't be welcome and he can see them elsewhere.

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