New baby in step/blended family? - Mothering Forums

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Old 12-30-2005, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all. My DH and I have been married for 3 years. His son from his previous "marriage" is almost 10. DH's ex has primary physical custody, we have eowe and every wednesday with DSS.
We are expecting our own child in June/July.
I have major issues with this entire stepfamily situation, which I realize I should resolve with a professional. However, I think there are two things I am most focused on now: 1) DSS is raised by his mother in a way nearly completely antithetical to the way I run my household and plan to raise my children (values, habits, tv, diet, etc), and I certainly have no control over this, and 2) DSS will have a marked effect on my children's upbringing, leading me to feel I have little to no control over my own family.
Has anyone else had a similar experience, and how did it work for you?
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Old 12-30-2005, 04:34 PM
 
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not a problem with us yet but you can stress to SS that your house has differnt rules that need to be followed...and cut him some slack....also as yours get older, tell them others do things differently but that no one is wrong or better - just diffrent...so if SS wants a Pepsi and your new baby wants one too....you can remind him that as a family you choose no soda because of what it does to the teeth - etc!

i worry about this too......
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Old 12-30-2005, 10:31 PM
 
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Similar situation. We have a 2.5 yo together, and dh has primary custody of dss 10, though he is with his mom eowe, every Tuesday, eo Thursday. We have TOTALLY different households, but, dss is part of our household, so they way he is just has to worked into the mix. I find that kids are pretty amazing at going back and forth, knowing whats ok at moms and whats ok at dad's. We don't buy soda, his mom does, that's it. He gets to do things like R rated movies and no bed times over there, that doesn't happen over here, but he has never complained. That's all he's known.

We have turned out to have more "stepfamily" issues between dh and my self than between our house and her house. There are some thing I learned are important to me and not dh, since our babe was born. For example, dh is a computer game addict and he lets dss play for hours. Never bothered me, it was their thing from before I was around, but when ds was born, I relized NO WAY is he ever playing videogames for that many hours! That is a stepfamily issue, but between dh and myself.

As far as dss influencing your child-- well, he is his brother. I know, I sometimes feel, if it was his REAL brother, raised by me, I'd have more control, but maybe not. He has your dh's genes, and influence from you both to grow up with. Your dss will be influenced by you and your family and you have a right to expect certain behaviors while he is in your house. . .do you have real reasons to worry about this child? Does he have behavior problems? Or is it just that he is a child from another family?
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Old 01-03-2006, 02:47 PM
 
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I really agree with what others have written so far.
To add my two cents: We have a similar situation, where my dsd was 11 when my dd was born. She not only comes from a totally different type of household, but has a personality quite different from my dh's and mine. She's really loud, assertive, high-energy, while my dh and both tend to be pretty quiet and mellow. She lived with us full-time last year (when she was 13-14 and my dd was 2-3), then went home to her mom's for 5 months, and is now back full-time with us.
Firstly, I really agree with what others have said about how kids know very quickly what is okay at one house and not at another. They're quite smart that way, and the clearer you make your rules and expectations, the easier it is for them to adapt. Of course, you'll want to push your spouse to help you establish those rules, since it is easier for kids to accept when it comes from their parents. (I always try to keep in mind that I am not, and should not be, the primary disciplinarian.)
Second, as far as having control over the environment or conditions that your children are raised in, I really identify. Through no real fault of her own, my dsd has developed a lot of habits/behaviors that I really don't want my dd picking up. I was pretty worried that she would have a real impact in shaping my dd's behavior. And I suppose there's no way to avoid her having some impact on my dd, but I think it's important to let go of the idea of "controlling" your children's upbringing--as much as possible. If you can provide a basic foundation of love, support, structure, etc. for your children, they develop personalities and values culling from a broad range of influences.
I was interested to see whether my dsd's absence would have any impact on my dd's behavior when she returned to her mom's last August. I found that it really didn't. Specifically, my dd is pretty high-energy, gets frustrated easily, needs a fair amount of attention and interaction, etc. She's very much like her sister in that respect. So I wondered if she would mellow or have an easier time when it was just my dd and us. Not a bit. I really couldn't see any differences in her.
It reinforced for me the importance of something I had already been trying to do, which was resist the temptation to scapegoat my dsd for my dd's behavior. It would be a really unfair thing for me or my dh to do, and her absence for five months helped prove that.
I also think, in writing this, that it's important to think about the good things your stepchild(ren) can bring out in their sibling(s). My dd really, really loves her sister, and clearly enjoys having her back in our house. I love to think about how she will be able to confide in her as they both get older, and "escape" to her house when she needs a little break from us. I'm really glad that they both have an additional source of love and support in one another. It's important for us to help them cultivate their relationship.
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:29 AM
 
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Also, to dss, he knows that ds is his "half brother" and all that, but to ds, this is his real, only brother who has been his brother for his whole life and he adores him!
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Old 01-06-2006, 02:53 PM
 
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having a blended family can definitely make me feel out of control! Very true he will have an effect on your biological child since he will spend time away from your home. That is something you simply have to accept. Just be sure that he knows the rules in your home. Make sure your DH is with you on this one.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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Old 01-27-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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Not sure I'm adding anything new here, but wanted to voice in with the "it will be OK" camp for more support.

I felt EXACTLY the same way you do when I was expecting dd 4 years ago. Dsd was almost 9 at the time. Now that dd is 3 1/2, and very much her own person, I think I worried needlessly.

Everyone who mentioned how adaptable kids are is totally on. Dsd is a DIFFERENT person when she's at our house than at her mom's. There is a different energy, volume, pace, value system - you name it, it's different between the houses - and dsd seems to adapt very well. I think it's similar to how she morphs at school or friend's parties. Kids just know to get along, they need to act differently in different environs. I guess we all do it - I certainly speak and act differently when I'm at home vs. work vs. my parents vs. a party.

I'm still wary of how dsd's teenage years/behavior may impact/influence dd, but I must admit she's going to be exposed to, and maybe "try on", plenty of behaviors/ways of speaking etc. that conflict with my parenting/values from her own friends, neighbors, classmates - not just her sister.
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Old 02-01-2006, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your thoughts... I think I too have more to think about.
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Old 02-03-2006, 07:03 PM
 
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I totally understand where you (Selesai) are coming from. I have been married to DH for 3 yrs. and we are expecting our first child in June 2006. DSS is 10yrs with diagnosed behavioral problems, hence the reason he is with us, BM doesn't want him to live with her, b/c she feels her young son was threatened by DSS. Thsi brings me to my point, when I have my son, I am automatically going to be cautious with DSS around him. BTW - DSS told me, when I have my son, he will teach him to be evil like him. How crazy is that? What should I do?
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Old 03-27-2006, 09:32 PM
 
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hi all,

just wanted to jump in because i am in the same boat....

dp and i just had a baby 4months ago, he has a dd from previous marriage who is almost eight. she doesnt spend that much time with us during the year but we have her all summer.....i am freaking out a little because i will be her primary care person all summer and she's not super stoked about me or the baby right now (which is understandable because she too would like to live with her dad but her mom won't allow it)..she has a lot of rage (also understanable) but i definately feel the need to watch her around ds...and feel bad about that

this blending is feeling a little choppy!
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Old 03-28-2006, 11:33 AM
 
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Hi, everyone. Just wanted to give my two cents. I had the same feelings about our situation when my daughter was born. I think it all disappears when you see how much your child loves his/her sister or brother. You start thinking about things a lot differently.
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Old 03-28-2006, 04:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danni_Baby
Thsi brings me to my point, when I have my son, I am automatically going to be cautious with DSS around him. BTW - DSS told me, when I have my son, he will teach him to be evil like him. How crazy is that? What should I do?
It sounds like your DSS is desperate for some attention. Do you spend a lot of time with him one on one? Maybe he is feeling threatened or left out with a new baby coming? I'd say to him "You are not evil, you are a good person, you just have trouble expressing yourself sometimes". It sounds like he is reaching out for help in the only way he knows how. I hope things get better for all of you.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:20 PM
 
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I think that no matter what your values and habits every blended family deals with this on some level. I think that the more polar opposites you are from the other household makes a difference in the level of conflict that will arise. Also it depends on the individual childs personality and willingness to cooperate and be a cohesive part of two different units. I know we deal with this issue when it comes to diet and that pretty much will probably never change. We also deal with it on a host of other levels as well such as discipline, which is a very delicate subject. We view appropriate behaviors differently is what I mean, I'm not talking about how we discipline per sey. We don't allow tv in the bedroom, i.e. to fall asleep, like dss's mom does. We initiated potty learning because our son was way too old and intelligent to still be using a diaper. We also don't conduct ourselves the way that dss's mom and her family/friends do. We don't have to make it a huge issue b/c dss is young and he learns by our example what is appropriate. I don't have a 9 year old but I do have an almost 7 yr old and her father(who she lives with primarily) is a criminal and acts totally inappropriate 70% of the time and so far we have not had any issues with her being able to adapt to the 2 very different environments It's really sad in our case, but that's another post. Just remember, and I say this ever so gently from a perspective of being there with dh and from having done so myself, that it's not your dss's fault that your dh choose to marry and procreate with someone who turned out to be so "different" than you, KWIM? He didn't get to pick his momma and hopefully he will reap great benefits from having you and your more healthy perspective's, even if it doesn't seem that way now. I'm sure it will all work out.
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Old 03-28-2006, 09:09 PM
 
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Sounds like just about all the blended families I know about.

The ups are to think about the fact that if he is ten already, he will probobly not be visiting regularly much by 16, you can keep many of the differences from your kids until six- six is when it starts to get tricky.

Since your ss is so old I wouldn't try to fix what you see as broken. Let his dad handle it instead. Stand up for yourself when he runs into you but don't try to re-parent him. He has his parents already.

Best of luck. It will work out but it is much harder than a nuclear family.
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