Step Mom Feels Threatened By 7 year Old Daughter - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 01:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello there.
I have one daughter (just turned 7) which I have week on week off with my ex. For the last couple of years I have been with a new partner who has two of her own children pretty much full time.

Just recently my daughter has been saying on and off that she wants to marry me. This upsets my partner even though in my view I think nothing too much of it. I've had a word to my daughter saying fathers can't marry their daughters etc but every now and again she will say and it really angers my partner (to the point I feel she feels threatened to some extent).
My partner wants me to get harsher and to tell my daughter if she says it again she will get a smack.

I was firstly wondering if people out there think little girls saying they want to marry their dads is OK or abnormal.

I take it with a grain of salt but my partner thinks its wrong and an issue.
What do people think?
Any suggestions (other than smacking of course).
Much Appreciated.
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#2 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 02:08 AM
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I would seriously reconsider the engagement.

I think this is normal. Doesn't every litle girl want to marry thier daddy before they get a grasp of how that whole thing works. in my ds heads marriage = love for ever and be the main girl in his life. um yeah little girls want that. I don't think it is unusual for little boys to want to mary thier mom. add into this that marriage and love is being talked about and so on and so forth. you may want to reassure your dd that your new wife isn't takig her place and she doesn't have to marry that you will love her forever no matter what.

i am very concerned that you fiance is so upset by this (of course if she really gets bent out of shape your dd might just be having some fun with all this ). this is not a competition. She is a grown up. she needs to cut a little kid in a new situation some slack. And if she wants you to smack her over this there are going to be a hundred other thing that come up she will want you to smack her over. If she is taking this persponally is she going to take it personally everytime she feels like a little girl is competing for your attention? it doesn't sound like your df is too keen on sharing you.

I recommend some realy good premarital conseling with somenoe who specializs in blending families.

The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it.  We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.

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#3 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 11:50 AM
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I think this is a forest throught the trees issue- as in both of you are missing the real issue.

Stepfamilies are hard. generally in a bio family the adult partnership comes first and is strongest- then the kids are added. The husband-wife bond is clearly the primary bond and while the kids are loved totally the husband-wife bond is first.

In a step family the kids are already there and you have the primary bond with them. And yet your new partner wants you to have that same primary bond with them- and they deserve that from their spouse. After all your seven year old daughter will be gone from the home in 11 more years but presumably you hope to keep your partner considerablly longer than that.

And yet your partner may not feel that. She may feel she is playing second fiddle to a child. She may not be able to identify just exactly what makes her feel this way so she looks for things and often they will see the child's behavior (because it is easier to see problems in them then in the partner they so adore and look at with rose colored glasses) and kids do do a lot of things that are very attention getting and yet normal. Things like trying to always stand between you or always trying to sit on your lap when she is having an intimate moment with you or trying to break in between your hands when you and your partner are holding hands. And the "marry you" comment. This is normal developmental stuff that is on overdrive in a divorce situation since she sees that your new partner is taking your attention away from you and of course kids want your 100% focus...and she may be jealous and she may also want to get in on the "marriage" love that you have for your partner.

So your partner may not be imaginging things when she says what your daughter is doing is more than normal- but it isn't abnormal- you get it?

I think the solution is two pronged.

First you need to get real and see what is going on.

Then you need to educate your partner aobut what is normal- I suggest books like "your 7 year old" by bates ames. These will talk about how this is normal but she is on overdrive. I think you need to talk honestly with her about what is normal and what is a bit much so she feels heard. When you don't feel heard you start to notice more and mention more in an attempt to get heard yo know?

The second thing I think you need to do is to make your partner feel like she is first. If she feels more confidant in her role she is going to be less likely to feel actually threatened by a 7 year old's jealous moves. It is clear by your partner's reaction that she isn't feeling like she is first.

Now last there are some people who you can't make feel confidant enough- if she is one of those people then I guess you will have to call it....but many a normal sm has been driven nuts and brought down to silly behavior by feeling like her dh didn't notice what was going on.

A little "I see it" goes a long way.

I wouldn't ever spank a kid for this bheavior- even if I spanked a kid. BUt I doubt your partner is the kind who would really either....she is just confused and frusterated and you can really help her.
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#4 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 11:55 AM
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That is sooo totally normal! I remember wanting to marry my dad when I was little.
I also think when your ds says that, make light of it. Tell her something along the lines that you think it's great she loves you so much, but little girls don't marry their dad's, but you hope one day she finds someone she loves just as a much!
My dad said something like that to me, I was disapointed that I couldn't marry him, but after that I always said that I'm going to marry someone like my dad! (and I did :P heehee)

What ever you do, DON'T make your dd feel bad/wierd/strange about her feelings. It's just another stage in her development!

I also think you should talk to your partner about this! She sounds like she is jealous of the relationship you have with your daughter... this really needs to be "cleaned" up sooner rather than later.
I went through this when my dad re-married. My stepmom was very jealous and it caused a lot of problems/hard feelings growing up, and honestly I'm not very close to my dad as an adult because of it.
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#5 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 12:15 PM
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Your partner is really overreacting, imo.

My ds is 10 and at 7 he wanted to marry me. It's normal. I smiled and hugged him and told him that marriage is a different kind of love and once he experiences boyfriend/girlfriend love when he's older, he won't want to marry me anymore.

Well, he had a crush on the neighbor girl over the summer and he actually said, "Remember you told me that when I'm older I won't want to marry you? Well, I get it now."

He understood "different kinds of love" because he once came to me upset, telling me that he loved me more than God (he learned in Sunday school that he's supposed to love God the most). I told him it's ok to feel that way...that love for God and love for your mom are two different kinds of love.

There are lots of different kinds of love--love for your dog, love for your sibling, love for your mom, love for God, love for your friend, etc. I think your dd could understand that love for your partner or husband is another kind of love, too.

But please make sure that your partner doesn't make your dd feel bad about wanting to marry you--it's totally normal and your partner really needs to get over it.
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#6 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 12:17 PM
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It's totally normal behavior!! And as a stepmom, I can tell you that I have never felt threatened by my DH's relationship with his daughters. In fact, I've always admired it. I fell in love with him partly because of how in love he is with his daughters, and I wouldn't trade that. He was a father first, and then my boyfriend/fiancee/husband. It would be ridiculous of me to think that in the beginning of our relationship I would come first.

But as time has gone on, and the girls (now 6 and 4...we've been together for 3 years) have started calling me "mom" and DH and I have gotten married, the dynamic and relationship has evolved. DH and I are husband and wife, and while all decisions we make involve all three of our children (soon 4!), our marriage does need to come first, because if our relationship fails, our children will suffer. It's a give and take, just like any relationship, blended family or not.

I definitely agree with the PP who suggested making sure your DP feels as though she is important in your life too. You said you have your daughter every other week, so when she's not there, make sure you spend quality time with your DP. Also, maybe you could suggest that she spend some alone time with your DD trying to find things that they have in common.

As far as your DD wanting to marry you, like I said, totally normal. Our year old (DSD2) was all about wanting to marry Daddy. My DH asked her permission to marry me, actually, to make sure she was alright with it. Now that she's older (she was 3 when we got married) she has started talking about marrying DH and wanting to have babies, which is where we've had to draw the line. It's great to idolize your daddy, but crosses over slightly to creepy (for DH anyway) when your daughter starts talking about procreating with you, KWIM?

oh, date night with your daughter might also be a good idea. Since she's older, she may feel that her relationship with you is being threatened by your DP, just like your DP seems to feel. I think you're gonna have to coddle both the women in your life for a while here, Milo. Good luck!

Sarah - Mama to Vic (1/19/00), Syd (4/06/02) Sam (4/20/06-born at 30wk2d), JackJack (2/14/07) and Charlie (4/30/10)
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#7 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 01:20 PM
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I think this is totally normal for young children at this age to feel this way. It is also normal for young kiddos to become more affectionate to their parents when a new partner is around. When I first married my DH, his DS was overly affectionate and would always say things like "I got two kisses and you only got one, ha ha!". I remember one time telling them to get a room becasue she was kissing him all over and it was kinda gross for me to see them practically making out. Its better now (a year and a half later). She just loves her papa and wants any new woman to know she comes first. It is also natural for your partner to feel threatened by it. I know it sounds weird for a grown women to feel threatened by a 7 year old, but thats probably whats happenning. They both want you all to themselves but they both know that can't happen. Its hard to deal with. You are not a woman dating a man with a kid, so quite frankly you just don't understand. It will pass, its nothing to worry about. Just try to be understanding of them both. It also probably has something to do woth how she was raised, was your partner raised in a house where affection was not really common? I never knew it until recently, but I grew up in a home where we really were not very affectionate. Thats part of why the kissing between my DH and his DS was so odd to me. Hope this helps and good luck!

edit to add: I don't think you should smack your child over this and I strongly disagree with your partner on that response. I also very much agree with mommymine on this issue. It is absolutely about playing "second fiddle to a 7 year old". I know thats what I experienced, but I think it should be a little different since your partner has children and I don't. I would think your partner would be more understanding.
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#8 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 06:17 PM
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It's totally normal for little girls to want to marry their dads at that age. Your daughter doesn't understand the difference between the type of love shared in a marriage and the type of love she feels for her dad. She probably only knows that you marry the man you love and the man she loves is you. I would sit down with her and explain that one day she will find a boy her own age to marry. I honestly wouldn't worry too much about this as it will solve itsself by the time your daughter is about 12 or so.

I think the person in this situation that needs the most talking to is your significant other. It's silly for her to feel threatened or even get upset about your daughter saying this. I would sit down with your partner and explain to her that this phase your daughter is going through is completely normal and that she should simply laugh when your daughter says it. After all, it's really cute when you think about it. If you don't have any luck there and you seriously want a relationship with your partner I would seek counceling. Maybe she just needs to hear it from a professional.
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#9 of 9 Old 09-25-2006, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone who has given there thoughts and advice on this. A lot of it is so pratical and all of it very helpful and appreciated. Thanks again.
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