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step-kids and personal boundries

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am not as physically comfortable with my 6 year old dsd as I would be with my own child. I think this is normal and natural, but can still be awkward. I am breastfeeding my 9 month old ds, and dsd is really curious about the whole process. She's very interested in breasts and wants to touch mine, which I understand but still find inapropriate. I have told her not to, trying to explain it in such a way that she does not feel it is because she isn't mine, but rather because she is not a baby. She is receptive, and has only tried it a few times. She also asks to taste my milk once in awhile, which I think is okay (from a cup), but I worry that it would freak her mom out. I let her do it once, but have turned her down any other time.

I also do not feel comfortable sleeping in bed with her. This has been a bit of an issue because we co-sleep with ds, and dsd is also going through a nightmare phase and has a heightened desire to be close with us. Dh goes and lays with her in her bed and it's fine, but I feel guilty about it sometimes. I know that if ds was her age and had a nightmare, I'd be cuddled up with him in an instant. I feel like she's kind of stranded on an island sometimes, when I'm so attached with my own babe and so physically distant with her.

What do you guys think about boundaries and step-kids?
post #2 of 7
I am wondering why you feel strange sleeping with her? Would it be ok if she slept on the floor? I am just trying to understand better. I do know what you mean about not feeling as physically close to them, I didn't know dss till he was 4 so didn't bathe him and all that, but he did sleep with us all the time. How long have you been her stepmom and does she live there? (Just trying to understand better).

You seem to be doing fine handling the breast situation. Fortunate for me, dss is insanely modest and "embarassable" (and 10) so he is very uninterested.
post #3 of 7
Originally Posted by mamafly
I know that if ds was her age and had a nightmare, I'd be cuddled up with him in an instant. I feel like she's kind of stranded on an island sometimes, when I'm so attached with my own babe and so physically distant with her.
I know this feeling you have all too well. My dss (preschool age) has nightmares alot and falls at least 3 times a day and the way I respond to him, at least emotionally, feels so detached and very different from my responses if my daughters were the one to be having nightmares & falls. I've struggled with this guilt over not feeling like his mom (his mom is pretty much outta the picture) and I have even had to see my therapist over it and my DH notices and it really interferes with our relationship But the two therapist I've/We've seen over this has said it's very normal. But I still feel so guilt that I'm so attached to my girls and can't seem to get "there" with him. I try. But it's just not there naturally so I have to "force" myself to fake it so I can feel it. As far as co-sleeping, I also do not feel right having my dss in bed. I honestly haven't really thought it out, I just throw it in the basket with all the other feelings I have for him that causes me guilt. Our baby co-sleeps with us but my daughter hardly ever does...so it hasn't really been a "family" issue but a personal issue of mine. It feels very awkward to cuddle my dss. I do it though because I don't want to hurt him any more than he has been hurt by his bio-mom.

anyway, I think you've handled the breast-touching issue just fine. I think 9yo are plenty old enough to know about bodies & boundaries.
post #4 of 7
Some women can feel just as close to a step-child as their own bio child(ren) and some women can't. There's no right or wrong in it. Just as some women could adopt and consider that child their own, and some can't...

While I care for my stepdaughters, I do not love them the same way in which I do my bio children. I didn't have them since newborns, I didn't "bond" with them, like I did my own.

I think whatever YOU feel comfortable with (WRT personal boundaries) is fine and, simply - just IS. And you need to let go of the any kind of guilt, and just accept it's OK to feel how you do...
post #5 of 7
I forgot to add:

I breastfed my babies in front of my step-daughters. If THEY were uncomfortable with it, THEY could leave the room. I discreetly breastfed in public and openly at home. They never DID leave the room and if they asked questions, I answered them. It was their BM who had the problem with me "exposing" myself in front of her children...to which we simply didn't respond to. We all know that breastfeeding is not "exposure" in some sort of X-rated manner. Some people out there are just ignorant. (BM never breastfed her 4 kids so maybe it was jealosy???)
post #6 of 7
How long have you know your DSD? I think over time, you will develop a bond.

I've known my stepkids since they were 5 & 7. My dsd was 7 when she hopped into the shower with me I figured she was just curious and wanted to see a 'different' woman's body, assuming she's seen her mom naked. Well, while she was showering with me, she blurted out "Your legs are fat." Just all matter of fact! I really didn't know what to say at first but I am well aware of my cellulite and at that time I was NOT fat. I had to tell her that if she didn't like my fat legs that she could get out of the shower in a funny sort of tone :LOL

Obviously, that little encounter really helped me see that these kids of dh's really wanted to get closer in some sense... DSS has ALWAYS been very modest and FREAKS if I see him in his boxerbriefs but DSD has always been a naked sort of girl Course, my son just had to get the naked gene! And he LOVES to be nude as well.

We never really dealt with cosleeping with dh's kids as they always prefered and still do 50% of the time, to sleep together. They are VERY close. They would certainly climb into bed with us in the morning which was a bit interesting at first since I do still nude.

Personally, I think its harder for me to have a solid stepmother/stepdaughter relationship than with my stepson. For whatever reason, I don't feel comfortable competing with the ex... does that make any sense? I don't want her to go back to her mom and say Annie's a way better mom than you... : Which of course I am!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I've known dsd for about two years, and took a really big role in her life over the last year. I think it was a little abrupt, but I do also think that we'll develop more of a bond as time goes on.

thank you for the feedback mamas. it really is great to hear from other people who understand how complex blended family dynamics can be!
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