Originally Posted by anitaj71
But back to being a step parent:
Generally speaking, step children want nothing to do with the new partner(s). As a step parent one is walking into a situation, in the very beginning, where they are not welcome by the children, and most of the time, the exes.
Double whammy. The ex talks trash about the new partner, the kids want to be loyal to the parent so they do their best to not accept the new partner. Even if there is no negative press from the ex the step parent is still seen as the interloper the 'new' person. Their dad's wife. Not a friendly aunt, second mom, another adult to love etc. Just their dad's wife/partner. Taking away attention and love from the child. Competition.
We are resented just because we exist in these childrens' lives and we haven't done anything yet! (Bio parents build up resentment with their actions over the years whatever that may be.) But as step parents we are resented the moment we walk in the door ( figuratively speaking) . Add all the other complications that come with 'blending' a family and it would make any normal person want to give up.
It's easy to blame the step parent for how hard the childrens lives are. The blame for the pain and loss in their lives. Heck, we are just the partner of their parent. There is no parental connection, no parental love. Just two 'sides' trying to get along. Yes, there is and can be lots of love I'm not suggesting there is not . . . it just takes time . . . please do not flame for that last comment.
I'm not sure if that came out right. I have a hard time articulating my thoughts and feelings . . .
Having a thread of 'what one didn't appreciate' about the step parent just brings up, for me anyway, the immediate feeling of inadequate stuff of being a step parent. I can't be perfect and loving all the time. I'm not perfect and loving to my own children all the time.
ITA, and minor threadjack
For me I felt every one of the things you listed, and additionally I had my dh's previous wife's family talking trash about us to our coworkers, and telling dsd vicious lies about us, just to add to the fun.
We had a lovely
first few years.
If we started a thread about 'what we didn't appreciate about our stepkids' it would quickly get shut down, I'm sure. And truthfully, over the years, I've come to realize that every obnoxious thing my dsd has ever done
has come from something an adult has taught her. It's been a long haul, but she even makes me laugh now, and there was a time I would never have thought that possible. I walked into a no-win situation and very nearly walked right back out of it. My first post to MDC asking for help was met with accusations and recrimination, and it was over a year after that dsd was finally
diagnosed with an attachment disorder. Stepparents are expected to be superhuman and uncomplaining, loving in the face of hatred, saintly and above reproach at all times, and somehow let every hurtful word and action roll off our backs because we're the adult.
I don't think anyone can prepare you for the job, or warn you about the multitude of ways you can be unappreciated, insulted, hurt, abused and maligned, and then told to rise above it because you're the adult.
Your things can be stolen and broken and you can be sneered at openly yet you're still expected to be loving and patient with the person who does these things because you're the adult.
You can deal with your stepchild whenever they've spent time with a relative who spends the entire visit telling them what a POS you are so when they come home they act like a little turd for the next week before they scale back to their normal level of obnoxious behavior, but if you try to enforce any discipline, you don't like
them or are characterized as the evil stepmother.
You can spend lots of money dragging your stepkid to therapy while they treat it as a joke until you finally find the right therapist after wasting thousands of dollars, all the while being told by people what a failure you are as a parent and how immature you are because you can't deal with your stepkid, you evil stepmother kid hater.
Now that we have a good therapist, we've seen major
improvements. My dsd is doing better in school, the stealing has stopped, the lying has mostly
stopped, and I can have fun
with her, which again, is something I honestly never
thought would be possible a couple of years ago. It still galls me that relatives who have done nothing but try to sabotage our relationship and who have stolen from her can contact her and she thinks the sun shines out their rear ends when all they do is manipulate her and try to cause problems in our household. I worry she's permanently got 'whipped dog syndrome' because no matter how many times they disappoint her she still gets excited when they make promises they invariably break, and I see the same things play out in her friendships at school. Of course, I can't give her advice, because even though our relationship has improved, she doesn't trust me to that degree yet, and those dysfunctional patterns she witnessed in biomom's family were deeply ingrained at an early age.
So, from a stepmom's POV, I can totally see her 10 years from now saying she didn't appreciate me disciplining her, or taking over the mom role, or keeping her from her relatives, but the reality is, her dad works all the time, her mom killed herself and never wanted to have that much to do with her anyway, and her relatives lie to her about sending cards and letters and didn't bother to come see her that much even when we lived close by. Like it or not, I'm the only mom she's got, yk? She doesn't know it, but she never
had a mom, and a lot of the memories
she has of her biomom are fabricated.
That's a lot
of heavy psychological junk for a kid, and a lot of somebody else's garbage for a stepmom to have to just let roll of my back because I'm the adult.
I'm sure everyone's situation isn't as bizarre and psychologically twisted as ours, but I would venture a guess that nobody knows the full story of their parents' relationship any better than my dsd knows hers.
And I'm sure as he!! not going to be the one to tell her, no matter how much it pi$$es me off to catch the blame for a bunch of stuff that happened before I knew any of them.
I know in the first years I had to monitor myself to be fair because truthfully, I did
like my ds better, but who wouldn't
like their own child better when they were getting nothing but hate vibes from their stepchild, and their stepchild was stealing their things and breaking them deliberately?
We noticed we both
had a tendency to cut our own child more slack with regards to discipline at first so we now collaborate and monitor it to try to keep it balanced until it becomes second nature. It's getting easier.
A question for stepkids-do you think it's easier to adjust to a stepparent when you're younger? I would think it would be more difficult for a teen, but I don't know if that's true, since I've not been a stepkid myself.