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If you were a stepchild... - Page 2

post #21 of 56
I wish my stepdad had stood up to my mother on my behalf. I never felt more betrayed than when he changed his stance based on some overexaggeration my mother threw him. It kept me from being able to trust him.

He treated me like his biological child, for the most part, I think. I never noticed a difference anyway.
post #22 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by JL'smom View Post
I wish that my stepmom realized that my dad had 2 children with his first wife (my mom) and that we weren't going to just disappear. I really think my stepmom thought we were almost grown and wouldn't be part of the family anymore. She wanted to have her own life with my dad without us in it. I know that sounds crazy but it was ok for her to be close to her dad, but she didn't want us to be close to our dad. She really wanted us to just go away. She should have never married someone that had children.
are you my long lost sister? :

post #23 of 56
step parents shouldn't tease kids unless they are sure the kids enjoy teasing. i am 32 and only now really over my step-mothers "teasing" about my little boobies compared to her d cups
post #24 of 56
not exactly answering in your words, but...

I had really good step-parents, because they realized that my parents' #1 priorities were their kids. They were mature enough not to see us as competition. My mom on the other hand was a terrible SM to my SS

nak
post #25 of 56
i wish my step mother had backed off and let me spend time with my dad ,

I wish she hadn't tried to berate me for being similar to my mother and tried to "correct" all of my personality even down to my speech patterns because she didn't like it.

I wish she hadn't been so sickeningly sweet in front of other people , so it hadn't taken years for people to realise that when out of earshot she was saying pretty mean stuff on a regular basis,

I wish she hadn't made me feel like an intruder,

I wish she hadn't made me feel like my dad would always choose her ans my step sisters over me no matter what ( i wish that hadn't been the reality ... cheers dad)
post #26 of 56
Bri276 - I can't figure out how to quote part of your original post but I must be your long lost sister. I could have almost written your post especially about the phone calls and money. After 20 years she has gotten a little better and realized we are not going away, Although I know she still wishes we would. I hope yours is getting better too.

I am going to add - I wish my stopmom wouldn't have taken the phone off the hook when she knew I would be calling my dad back. I also wish she hadn't of said in the background "how long do we have to listen to this" when I would call my dad for comfort after my mom died.
post #27 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oriole View Post
Please tell me, what do you wish your stepparent knew when you were growing up?

Serious and sweet comments are equally welcome.

Thanks,

-stepmom in training

That trying to making me someone I wasn't was never going to work.
I wished he'd just accepted me for who I was instead of trying to form me into a prim, proper, quiet, small, unnoticeable person, which never worked.

ETA:
This had nothing to do with him being my step dad.
This is just who he is.
He thinks girls should be quiet, polite, and nice.
It's how he was raised.

He was my dad, not my step dad. That's what my brother and I called him, even after he and my mother had another daughter.
He married my mom when my brother was 7 and I was 3.
post #28 of 56
That no matter how terribly I acted towards him it was just because I felt being nice/acknowledging his kindness and sincerity to me would have been a betrayal to my dad.

Fast forward to now, my SD is my dad. He came into my life when I was 13-14 and he's treated me as a daughter ever since. I genuinely love him.
post #29 of 56
Wow! I am so sorry that so many of you had bad stepparent experiences!

I have two wonderful stepparents.

I view my stepdad as another parent. I take his views into consideration when I make major life decisions. I love him very much. I have his last name. He used to scold me for having a messy room in high school. We used to shop for my mom's Christmas presents together. He will walk me down the first half of the aisle when I marry in Sept.

It took me longer to warm up to my stepmom. I think that I was more difficult for her to establish a relationship with because I was very angry at my dad for cheating on my mom when I was younger. I also look and sound quite a bit like my mom. That must have been hard.

But now, as an adult, I am closer with her. She is a great person. She makes my dad happy. My dad told me that she gets quite a bit of the credit for the relationship that my dad and I have today. She told him to just keep trying, and eventually we would work out our problems. She also did a lot for my brother (he lived with them) when he was growing up. She went wedding dress shopping with me last week.

I am really lucky. I can't really say specifics as to why both of my stepparents are good ones, but they are.
post #30 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by attachedmamaof3 View Post
That no matter how terribly I acted towards him it was just because I felt being nice/acknowledging his kindness and sincerity to me would have been a betrayal to my dad.

Fast forward to now, my SD is my dad. He came into my life when I was 13-14 and he's treated me as a daughter ever since. I genuinely love him.
This is probably what I would want my S-dad to know most. (and I've told him that a few times over the years)
It's also what I wanted DP to know most when we got together and DS1 treated him like an intruder.

When you respond in anger to a child who's acting out in anger, it just makes everything worse.
post #31 of 56
I would hope that, as a step parent, if the child is going to be in your home for ANY amount of time, you make them feel as if it is THEIR home. That you give them a very permanent place for their things...that you give them a SPACE that is their own if you can possibly fairly afford that space. A dresser, so they don't have to live out of a suitcase, a toybox or bin in which they are able to keep their things. I remember being refused a place of my own to sleep, blankets of my own (I had to bring them from my mom's), and that she kicked my stuff around and called it four letter words. I lived out of a suitcase and the SUITCASE was "in the way" all the time.

I hope that, if you have children of your own, you allow EQUAL treatment as far as holidays go. I mean both in TIME and in gifts. I remember getting one count it ONE gift at christmas, and LITERALLY her three children got so many gifts that they filled an entire hallway leading to the family room, floor to ceiling and wall to wall. One year, our VCR broke. My dad got us a new one, but made my mom tell us that it was from "santa" (though we were allll old enough to know differently) because had she found out, he would have caught heck (yes, I know, he could easily have grown some, uh, male hormones). Otherwise, that year, I got an outfit. My brother got three paperback books, and my sister got a my little pony. Again, they got so many gifts that we could literally not see space in the hallway.

I hope that you will consider what they like to eat and not ration it (as long as their father sees the food as healthy/fair game, etc, for them to eat). I remember my father's other kids eating as many sandwiches as they wanted, but we were only allowed a half sandwich, and ONE bowl of cereal or piece of fruit or whatever. It was definately rationed. Put household food that is safe for them where they can reach/access it and understand that you WILL go through more food while they are there.

Know that they are NOT trying to TAKE their father, or their father's time FROM you or your children, but that they ARE hoping to continue to HAVE A RELATIONSHIP with their father. Work to FOSTER that relationship.

For instance, even now that I am an adult...his wife's kids (we call them HIS kids) have children now. We are not allowed to have time alone with him, and are not allowed at the "family" gathering that they have (her kids, him, his wife)so invited him over for Christmas morning, when he is usually unoccupied, to watch our children (my brother comes and stays with us from out of town) open gifts. In response, he is now required to go over HER kids' houses, from house to house, instead of coming here. Because, if he's willing, well then, they get first dibs. *sigh* All we ask is an hour or two of our father's time...and that that time is given willingly. SHE KNEW HE HAD CHILDREN WHEN SHE MARRIED HIM!!! Please, remember that they are his flesh and blood, and help him to have special and alone time with them. Not that you shouldn't be included even MOST of the time. Y ou are his wife. However, they were FIRST his children, and deserve to have time all to themselves with him JUST BECAUSE they EXIST, and they LOVE him.

Show interest in their activities. Ask THEM if you could attend their sports events or dance recitals or whatever. Let THEM know that you are interested. Even if they don't reciprocate (they ARE children, after all) at first, it will mean something to them that you care enough to ask.

Don't expect them to jump up and down that you are in their lives, but jump up and down because they are in yours. Doesn't make "fairness" sense at all...and we WERE excited that my dad had found somebody to love and that she was in our lives, until she started to actually open her mouth... *sigh* she was just plain mean. But, again they are kids, and sometimes a new person as the object of their father's affection can take time to process and grow accustomed to. Respect that. And keep trying.

Thank you, too, for caring enough to ask.
post #32 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by courtenay_e View Post
I hope that you will consider what they like to eat and not ration it (as long as their father sees the food as healthy/fair game, etc, for them to eat). I remember my father's other kids eating as many sandwiches as they wanted, but we were only allowed a half sandwich, and ONE bowl of cereal or piece of fruit or whatever. It was definately rationed. Put household food that is safe for them where they can reach/access it and understand that you WILL go through more food while they are there.
Wow. I'm sorry you had such a rotten Stepmother. I can't imagine anyone rationing ANY child in their care's food, whether it's a stepchild, biological child, neice, nephew, neigbor's child, whoever. Please know this is not the norn for most Step parents.
post #33 of 56
courtenay_e's post just made me feel sick inside. How completely horrible of your stepmother to act like that. And how terrible of your dad to witness this without saying anything.

I could never imagine treating DSD like that. She is a part of the family, no more and no less than DS.
post #34 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
Wow. I'm sorry you had such a rotten Stepmother. I can't imagine anyone rationing ANY child in their care's food, whether it's a stepchild, biological child, neice, nephew, neigbor's child, whoever. Please know this is not the norn for most Step parents.
No, it surely is not--reasonable portion control is one thing, but the only excuse for rationing like that (half a sandwich?) is genuine lack of food. And if that were the case it gets spread across all takers.
post #35 of 56
Both my sm and sd treated me like I was their own child. I was never referred to as STEP. Just, this is my daughter trisha. My sm however, had a hard time dealing with the fact that my mother and father would still need to interact, and she didnt' like not being included in some conversations. My mother however, did make it VERY difficult for my SM to be involved in my life. : I love this smiliey!
post #36 of 56

This helps me...

Thank you all for posting your very personal messages in this forum. I was looking for something for my fiance(DF)/future SD to my DS to read. I think this may help. It's been really hard so far. DS(10) and I don't get along well as it is and DF is just making it harder. He doesn't know any better really. He just became a dad to our daughter 14 mo ago and is suddenly SD to a 10 year old with ADD and Mood Disorder NS who is very difficult to live with. On top of that DS's BD(biological dad) doesn't pay support, I just get $136/mo from SS. DF has alot of animosity to DS's dad because of this and it kind of spills over to DS sometimes when he is angry at him. He was great to DS when we met, it's just since we all moved in together a year and a half ago it's been getting bad.
post #37 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
courtenay_e's post just made me feel sick inside. How completely horrible of your stepmother to act like that. And how terrible of your dad to witness this without saying anything.

I could never imagine treating DSD like that. She is a part of the family, no more and no less than DS.
Oh, I know that many, MANY step-parents are not like that...which is why I have never acknowledged her as any kind of parent. She is my father's wife.

But...the way she treated me and my siblings has deeply affected the way I see things with other children. For instance, my girlfriend had perterm labor at 21 weeks, and the baby was born and then died. She spiraled downward for several weeks, and then admitted herself to the hospital for emotional issues. I had care of her two youngest children for the almost two weeks she was in the hospital, and then for a couple of weeks after that that she was in the day program. I made absolute SURE that her children KNEW where the food was, and that, as long as they cleaned up after themselves, and were not wasteful, they were welcome to eat when they were hungry. I also went to target and bought them little sterilite dressers,so that they had a PLACE to put their clothes, and made sure that my son's room was clean and the sheets were fresh, so that they had a PLACE (my son sleeps with dd anyway most nights, so wasn't hugely traumatized by this) to be. These seem like small gestures...but when they came in after the weekend with their dad (dealing with his own greiving and keeping the household together issues), and found the dressers? THey were sooo excited, they were jumping up and down! Realizing that kids are adaptable, but still need to feel as if they belong is an important thing. Kids just want to be loved and made to feel safe and secure. That happens by remembering that YOU are the adult, and acting as such (ie: not like a territorial animal).

My father has his issues. It took me many years of counseling and WORK to realize why he did what he did (and continues to do so). I have forgiven them both, because I can't just CAN'T walk around with so much anger and hurt inside of me. It's not healthy! And, too, the experience has made me who I AM, and led me to my husband and children. SO.

To reiterate, I strongly understand that all step parents are NOT like she was. She is one sad, messed up woman (I just described the tip of the iceburg, mamas). Luckily, I had a fairly stable mother, whose mama-bear capacity was incredibly huge, and helped me to get through the crap still a sane person. However, if you/your DF can come out of my story realizing that even small actions like helping consistently to make sure that the child feels loved, safe, and secure, no matter how they act...then it was a story well shared.
post #38 of 56
I wish my stepfather hadn't been a UAV in nearly all respects. I wish my mom hadn't had to spend so much of her precious time (she had me summers and half of the other school breaks) with me mediating between us. I wish he had pulled the stick out of his a** just a little bit... Like, it really is okay to lean on a wall!

I wish my stepfather hadn't tried to hide all the wedding photos and memorabilia from my mother's marriage to my dad when I was going through her stuff after she died.

I wish he hadn't taken my several hundred dollar inheritance from my mother.

My step mom and I have a much better relationship now than when she was married to my dad.

But I wish that, after she had a baby with my dad, she had not told me flat-out that she felt I was an intrusion into "her" family. Like, seriously, I saw him first, lady!

I wish that, after I ran away/moved out at 17, she had allowed me to come back. I know my dad wanted me to, but she put her foot down. I wish she had allowed me to even visit more than the very infrequent visits I had. I wish my dad hadn't had to surreptitiously slip me money I needed.

I wish she had seen me as an equal part of the family.

However, now... She and I are really good, even if only superficially. When she introduces me, she introduces me as her daughter. She has only done this since my mom died, and it means a lot to me.

And there was one really good thing she did when they got married, that I didn't know about til years later. My dad has insecurity issues, and for the longest time was desperate to create that perfect nuclear family that he never had. It was why he was with my first stepmom, and why he married this stepmom. He wanted me to call her "mom", like I did with my first stepmom (this really, really hurt my mom). But my stepmom nipped this in the bud, before he even brought it up to me. She told him, "she already has a mom, a wonderful mom, and I am not here to replace her. Period. I want to be her stepmom, but I cannot, should not, and will not try to replace her mother." I am tremendously grateful to her for that.

Also, it is really important to have the stepparent's parents treat their new grandchild no differently than any grandchild acquired any other way! That gave me a really great, stable foundation. My stepdad comes from a Jewish heritage, and because his family integrated me so fully, DD sometimes forgets that we aren't technically part Jewish !
post #39 of 56
My stepfather is fabulous. I can't think of anything he didn't do for me.
I actually rarely even refer to him as my stepfather - he is my dad!

These are the things he did that really stood out for me -

1.When he started dating my mother he took my sister and me out too. He asked us how we felt about him hanging out with our family. he and my mother did things alone but we also did lots of things all together and jus with him.

When they got engaged he asked us how we would feel about becoming a family. Allof us children were included in their wedding ceremony.

2. He always referred to me and my sister as his daughters. Not "Leslie's girls" or "my stepkids" but simply his daughters. He even refers to my dh as his son! He now refers to our children (including my stepson ) as his grandchildren. He actually asked that we please have the grandkids refer to him as "Grampa" because he had to call his granparents "Grandfather and Grandmother *lastname*" and he thinks it affected their relationships. He didn't want to be this cold, detached person for his grankids the way his grandparents were for him.

3. He never took sides with his biological children over my sister and me. He did have kind an old fashioned attitude about the boys doing more physical chores and the girls doing more homemaking - which never bothered m, I liked that stuff and I also like being "daddy's little girl" - but he treated all of us girls the same. In fact, of all my siblings he and I probably have the best relationship.

4. All through highschool he continued to do special things with each of us. I went away to boarding school and he was usually the one to come and get me for breaks. I really treasure the conversations we had on our drives to and from school. He made an effort to know us - and he does, really well. I still get phone calls from him when he's heard something ona radio show he thinks I might like, or to ask if I heard about this or that. When he visits he brings me books he has read that he thinks I might like, that kind of thing.

5. He was really open with us - he wasn't blabbing about his sex life or anything, but he shared his life experiences and how he tried to process them with us willingly. He and my mom struggled and he always let us know how things were going. When I reached adulthood he even asked for advice sometimes.

6. He never said bad things about our biological father and that side of our extended family, even though just about anything he could have said would have been justifiable. I know, just because I know him so well, that he can't help but hate my bd, but he never actually said anything about him. It can't have been easy, but I think it was another sign of his respect for us, espcially my sister. She had a very hard time with bd - love/hate.

7. He is a really good role model all around - he works really hard and is know for being an unusually honest business man, he is very much involved in community and social programs, he doesn't overindulge in anything,he eats very well and is active, he is constantly trying to "improve" himself - he has in college all through our childhood, after that he started taking seaman's classes and is now a licensed sailboat captain....

In case you can't tell, I him. I even named my little boy after him!

Anyway, it thought it might be helpful for you to know what a wonderful stepparent looks like along with the not so great ones. He hasn't been a good stepparent, but a really respectful, loving, supportive parent.
post #40 of 56
My SO offers the following advice as someone who became a stepchild in his teens:

Sometimes stepmothers become stepmothers as a result of an affair with their now-stepchild's father. This will not necessarily doom the stepfamily relationship, but it complicates things, especially when the child is old enough to figure out what is going on.

However...most stepchildren at one time or another will blame their stepparent for the demise of their parents' marriage (or for a lack of reconciliation). This is normal (editor's note: I get that occasionally and I didn't even meet my partner until more than a year after my stepdaughter's parents split), but try not to get defensive--in this case, there's at least some truth to it. Your stepchild may be angry. This is normal too--don't try to refer your stepchild to counseling (he or she may need it, but that's not your call and it's insulting to be told reacting normally to a difficult situation is somehow deficient).

And, another point: Eventually, your relationship may become solid in spite of the circumstances of the beginning. However, this does NOT give you blanket license to call your stepchild your "son," especially if he's quietly harboring some last resentment over your role in his parents' divorce--some people upthread indicated they were happy their stepparents called them their children, but that should be the stepchild's (as well as your) call.

Finally: If your stepchild's mother dies, all of the goodwill you built might go out of the window for awhile. This does not matter how old your stepchild is. Regardless: Do NOT call yourself mom and your stepchild your child during the grieving process unless specifically asked (the possible exception: if you've done it for years and your stepchild would welcome that consistency). And whatever you do, do NOT badmouth the late mother, her parenting, or really anything concerning her, to your stepchild. If you must, call a counselor or a girlfriend or post here...but as far as your stepchild is concerned, his or her mother was perfect.

My SO's mother died when he was in his 20s, after his dad and stepmother (a former affair partner) had been married for almost a decade. His stepmother swooped in and declared that she was really the real parent, because his mom was a busy professional and outsourced his care to others (never mind he didn't see his dad or stepmother for about five of his teenage years). This poisoned the relationship for many years; only in the last five years or so (pretty much since my SD was born) has the relationship between my SO and his dad and stepmother become OK.

He's still uncomfortable with his stepmom calling herself my SD's grandmother--but I asked him: "If SD has children, would I be one of their grandmothers, or just their grandpa's wife?" His reply? "Of course you'd be their grandma." He realized the lack of parent-child bond between him and his stepmother doesn't make her a bad or invalid grandma (especially since he likes that my parents are becoming grandparental toward SD as well).
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