Step Parenting - I'm so stressed!(8 Posts)
First I'd just like to give a little heads up about our blended family - you have myself (Mum), My fiance, my 12 year old daughter and my two step children (B&G). We have his two children every other weekend. We live in a two bed and were crying out for space. We are looking for a 3 bed, as my daughter has to share her room when they stay. They have two wardrobes in her bedroom for clothes but do not play in there as their toys are kept elsewhere.
My fiance and daughter have been butting heads a lot lately with the change in my once calm child to a hormonal pre teen its taken us all by surprise. Whilst my daughter kicks off at the slightest hint of her turning off her Youtube and cleaning her room or bringing down her washing (all pretty standard stuff) she feels that my fiance should be seen and not heard. He should not be allowed to ask her to clean her room or bring her clothes down. Now that isnt to say that my fiance's way of dealing with this, to give her the 'cold shoulder' when she's played up is helping any because its just fuelling her resentment for him. She feels that things were different before he moved in 3 years ago. They were. .... she was 8/9 and if you asked her to do something she would without the drama.
I will say it hasn't always been like this since he's moved in... they got on really well in the beginning, the honeymoon period I guess. They got on so well that she has asked to change her surname to his when we marry this year.
We have tried sitting her down and talking through problems, creating family rules together, talking about respect giving and receiving! but days later we are back to it. Whilst I can see points from both sides I cannot get it to work. i'm not expecting a magic wand and suddenly everything is fantastic ....I would honestly settle for civil at least you can build on that.
I know I cannot make my daughter change her hormonal ways and I know that I can only talk through my fiances parenting responsibilities but there has to be a way where both parties feel listened to and their opinions respected without it being a take my side situation. I don't want to loose my child or my fiance. I would never put my future above my child anyway but I don't want it to get to the point where either of those seems inevitable.
I am thankful for the fact that there is nothing more sinister going on ... no drink , drugs or abuse etc Just normal family life.
Any advice would be warmly welcomed, even if its just to say I'm not alone ...i get it... it get what your dealing with. Honestly that would be a help.
Frustrated and emotional,
Firstly, sending you a big hug. You are not alone, and what you're going through is part of normal blended family life. We are a blended family of 7. When the kids were between the ages of 11 and 18 our life seemed to be a constant roller coaster ride, fab one moment, hideous the next with rare calm periods in between. The exhausting thing was we'd get through a drama or crisis with one child, barely have time to draw breath before we were blindsided by another one.
For you, you're quite right, your daughter is hormonal, and testing the boundaries. You and your fiance are doing absolutely the right thing. You've presented a united front, you've told her what's expected. Now comes the hard part, sticking to a united front and having consequences for your daughter when she's out of line. Point out to your daughter that she doesn't have to like it, but she does have to do what she's told, and she does have to treat your fiance, and you, with politeness and respect. Of course your daughter will have a hissy fit. She will absolutely resent the rules being enforced BUT, and she won't be aware of it, because she's a kid, but this will actually make her feel more secure, more sure of her place in the scheme of things. By the way, you WON'T loose your daughter by making her tow the line, but if you allow her to become an adult who thinks she can do what she wants, when she wants and treat people with contempt along the way, then you WILL have lost her, and almost certainly your relationship too.
In the meantime, keep being firm but fair, stating the rules and consequences, over and over and over until you feel like a parrot that's stuck on repeat. Keep presenting a united front with your fiance and remember to keep the joy in all your lives - it really does help balance out the ikky stuff.
Above all, hang in there, you're doing great and you're not alone.
Thank you blendingrock. (Reading this weeping with relief).
Its all too easy to get swept away with the horrid situation and feel its more of a major crisis than it really is I guess. Knowing that other families (not just blended ones) are going through things like this all the time, makes me feel that we really will get through this.
I think we had a breakthrough a little last night, My fiance read a letter to my daughter that he'd written explaining how much he loves her and our family and wants to make this work. Whilst she didn't react almost at all, I hope that something has resonated with her. After a few hours she came back downstairs to say goodnight and without prompting gave him a slight cuddle to say goodnight. This in my book is a little bit of progress, Even this morning they were civil to one another saying good morning and goodbye. Small wins.
Thank you for taking the time to write back it certainly has helped.
Frustrated and Emotional,
Naww I'm so glad. Every little bit of progress is super important because when you look back on each tiny step, you realise just how far you have come without noticing.
When we were a very new blended family our youngest two were 7 and my DD really struggled with accepting DH. She liked him, but resented him at the same time, and was worried that liking him meant betraying her Dad. It took time, and a huge amount of patience and understanding on his part but now (she's almost 18) she has said that she considers him to be "Dad" not "just" her Step Dad and has acknowledged just how important he has been in her life. My ex was a good Dad, she loved him utterly and misses him terribly (he passed away a year or so ago), but he had his own issues and DH and I picked up the pieces time and time again. DH was, and still is, her rock, and she has said how grateful she is for that. Of course they still butt heads occasionally, but nothing outside the norm for any teenage/parent relationship.
You hang in there, it'll be fine x
My partner and I have been together 7 years. I have a son 14 years old and a step daughter 13 years old.
My partners divorce was very acrimonious and we had to go to court to gain access to his daughter. She continues to try and ruin the relationship at every opportunity.
Recently D has started to bring very selfish - - a 50 th birthday party for her dad was arranged but she chose to do her hobby with her mum instead because she wanted to. She is starting to say she doesn’t want to see us unless it suits her - my partner is really upset that she isn’t choosing to see him. She will say ‘can I do this? If you say no I’ll choose not to see you.’
It feels like she is able to control everything we do as a family. Unless she wants to do it - we don’t do it.
It is really hard to deal with and my partner and I are fighting over it all the time!
Sounds just like us. My DS lives with us full time and his two are here every other weekend. My husband tries to be supportive to DS but they definitely lock horns! I think it’s because DS was used to it being just the two of us between the ages of 3-12. I never lived with anyone else and only introduced one boyfriend who stayed over very rarely. We just try our best to keep things fair but I know DS sometimes feels like the step-children get special treatment on their weekend. However it’s hard for DH as he feels he has to make up for not seeing them. What DS doesn’t appreciate is that the step kids moan to DH that MY DS is getting special treatment 🤷♀️ Blended families have a weird dynamic and it’s hard to get it right.
*My husband’s two are here. My post sounds as though my son’s kids come to stay!
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