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To all you wicked stepmothers out there

(14 Posts)
Cha Sun 23-Feb-03 15:55:03

We have our own topic now! It was always so hard to find our conversations scattered around under all the different topics, now I know where to find us.

How were your half terms (UK stepmums)? I had 2 teenage girls for a week who slept a lot, ate a lot and didn't make eye contact. They were alternately boisterously playing with their littler brother and sister (sofa cushions and toys all over the place for me to clear up) or sulking and skulking in their room. No one said thank you or helped unless they were nagged to. What happened to my 2 lovely, sweet, helpful girls? Will they ever come back? I felt resentful and hurt a lot of the time - like a simmering saucepan with the lid just on - and then they left with a couple of pecks on the cheek and a see you soon.
I feel so ambivalent. Part of me loves them like I used to, but part of me wishes they would only come back to stay when they are 18 and all grown up and civilized. I do understand what it is like to be a teenager, I was one myself after all, but it doesn't make it any easier. And I can't say anything to them because I know what the reaction will be - rage / sulks / huffing off back to their mum / wicked stepmother cow syndrome. So I put up and shut up and their dad gets it from me when they're gone. Not nice for him, poor man, as it's even worse for him - they are his kids after all and he gets the blame first for anything they're upset about.
Sorry - moan moan moan. Just getting it off my chest, feel better already.

janh Sun 23-Feb-03 16:18:40

Cha, you don't say exactly how old your 2 lovely teenagers are or how long you've been their wicked stepmother, but FWIW I have my very own 17-yr-old who still often behaves just like that - and is only occasionally even slightly nice to her younger brothers (with or without sofa cushions).

If they used to be lovely sweet helpful girls who got on well with you then they will again. (I bet they're even worse with their mum!)

Cha Sun 23-Feb-03 16:35:08

The oldest is 16 next month and the younger is 14, and I've known them for 5 years. And you are so right, their poor mum has a much harder time of it. It must be VILE to be a teenager - like having PMT for 5 years - but how much worse it is for us that love them and remember what darlings they were. I have another stepson (dss?) who was a darling this half term, which made a welcome change.

The worse worse thing about all this though, is that I am pregnant again (have a 16 month old dd of my own) and I know it will not be welcome news to the girls. The oldest was a nightmare when my dd was born, she was 14 and really going through it with her mum and at school. She really suffered, she was jealous and angry and hurt. Then this Xmas, she overhead me and an aunt talking about when / if I was going to have another and phoned her dd the same night to beg him not to do it to her again, she'd only just got used to her new sister. About 4 days later I found I was pregnant (this one not exactly planned but OK) and now we need to find the 'right time' to tell her. Her dd is putting it off till after her 16th, though I don't know what difference it will make. Dreading it. Absolutely dreading it.

willow2 Sun 23-Feb-03 16:36:42

If you are going to start your own thread you should get your name right. The collective noun for stepmums is actually Wicked stepmonsters.

Cha Sun 23-Feb-03 16:40:00

Wicked step monsters. Like it. I even got called 'whore' once. Really made my day.

jac34 Sun 23-Feb-03 17:58:21

My step DD is alot younger, she is 8yo now and was around 4.5 when my DS twins were born.
I supose the reaction was the same, as you would get off any only child of that age. She initially was looking forward to having little brothers, but the novelty wore off pretty quickly, once they were born, and she was no longer the centre of attention.
However,the situation was a bit different than in a "normal" family, as she could retreat back to her Mum's house, where it was quiet, and she was deffinately the centre of attention.
She did this quite often (and still does at times), which really upsets DH, but he certainly does not want to force her to stay, when she is performing to go home.

Holly02 Mon 24-Feb-03 01:23:51

Hi fellow stepmonsters
I also have a 16 1/2 yr old ss who is currently living with us... Cha I know just what you mean about teenage 'attitude'. Mine goes and spends a few days with friends/relatives and then comes back here in a REALLY crappy mood (doesn't want to be spoken to, doesn't want to be told what to do, blah blah blah). Yesterday we went and picked him up from where he had been staying, and he was in a bad mood from the time we got there. SS had asked dh if he could have a new pair of earphones for his walkman, so dh stopped at the shops on the way home to buy him a pair. Apparently there was a pair for $12 and a pair for $30, and of course ss wanted the most expensive ones, to which dh said "No, I'm not paying that much for a pair of earphones, you can have the $12 ones". So guess what? SS said he didn't want the cheaper ones, so they left the shop with nothing. Can you BELIEVE that??? Surely a cheaper pair would be better than none at all???!!! I just cannot believe the attitude.... he actually used to have some very nice qualities but I think he's been sitting around with his mates commiserating on how 'unfair' everything is. The thing that amazes me is that a lot of his friends have part-time jobs but he just does not seem to want to work at all, he just wants dh to pay for all his stuff. AAAAARRRRRGGGHHH! Boy we need a medal don't we? I know it's tough being a teenager but I think it's equally as tough being a step-parent.

P.S. Cha sorry to hear about your predicament, hope all goes well for you.

Cha Tue 25-Feb-03 15:05:40

Holly - What I keep telling myself (re teenage attitude etc) is that they really can't help it. They used to be nice and they will be again, so what is happening now? Hormones. It makes them feel moody and depressed and isolated and no wonder they think everything is unfair. It is.
I try and remember what it was like for me to be a teenager - every emotion was so much stronger than it is now, now we have tempered it with experience and do not have those evil hormones rushing up and down through our systems. Remember the pain (oh the pain) of first (unrequited) love? How the planet was on self destruct and you really CARED. How absolutely and completely IRRITATING all adults were. Just tell yourself all this and maybe you can try and put yourself in their shoes (usually when it's too late, I have to say). It doesn't excuse their revolting, selfish behaviour, but it does help you understand it.
Do you know what I think? When a kid hits their teens it's rather like the 'terrible twos'. Uncontrollable rages, frustration at not being allowed to do things that they think they are perfectly capable of, needing to sleep 12+ hours a day and becoming cranky if not allowed to do so, and totally ambivalent feelings towards the parent - needing their love and approval but wanting independence at the same time. Trouble is, terrible twos last a year or so. Teenagers drag it out over 5. And are a lot bigger and more scary when they are thwarted.
It is a lot more difficult for you as you have him with you most of the time. You need someone to moan to - is your dh sympathetic? Seem to remember that he pretty much leaves you to get on with it. Mine is often the same. However, we do have a laugh about their moods and silly sulks sometimes, and this (although not particularly grown up), I find is very supportive for both of us. We have a 'look' we give each other when one or the other girls is going off on one, and it tells both of us not to let it wind us up too much. And just really relish the times your dss is nice to your ds, that makes it all much more bearable.

EJsMum Wed 23-Apr-03 13:57:36

Hi all,

I too am a SM and Easter half term is a total 'mare ! I have 2 stepsons (11 & 9) and a daughter aged 8mo.

I just want to let any worried potential stepmums reading know that its not all bad, my 2 stepsons have been fab all the way and have really welcomed the arrival of their half-sister with open arms. Yes, we do have tense and 'simmering saucepan' moments (lots of them) but ultimately things right themselves.

Perhaps things will change when the hormones start raging .....

Clarinet60 Fri 25-Apr-03 19:07:39

There's some interesting stuff in New Scientist about why life seems so unfair to teenagers. Something scrambles the way their brains process new information, and there is something wrong (temporarily) with their understanding of 'other minds'. That's all I can remember. I'll try and find it and post the web address.
Not that this excuses the rude little so-and-sos.

hmb Fri 25-Apr-03 19:41:12

As I understand it during adolecence areas of the brain that are frequently used have pathways 'flagged up'. Sort of like making a moterway out of a duel caridgeway road. This makes the impulses that pass down that pathway *very* intense. This happens to different parts of the brain at different time in a child's development. The bad news for parents in that the Limbic system is one of the first to get 'done' and that area of the brain helps to control and sense emotion. So everthing becomes very intense. To make things worse the frontal cortex, which controls the understanding of cause and effect is the last to get done, and happens in the early twenties. All of this explains why first love is so strong, and why teenages are dreaful about taking risks. Throw in hormones, and Bang! Teenage Angst writ large!

Clarinet60 Fri 25-Apr-03 21:58:52

hmb, that was marvellous. And, of course, exactly what I was going to say................

griffy Fri 25-Apr-03 22:16:13

hmb - what a fab explanation. I'm suddenly feeling full of sympathy and understanding for SD and her hormonal moments. I only half-remember them myself... (thankfully)

secur Fri 28-Nov-03 09:19:13

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