"Detaching" - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 41 Old 08-04-2008, 01:49 AM
 
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What bothers me is that in relation to stepchildren that this would be, like, named and ratified and proposed as a good plan for all sorts of difficulties.
My dear friend was having a very difficult time with her teenage daughter. Long story short she 'detached'. Her daughter went to stay with some relatives for a while. I am oversimplifying here and not getting into details however I wanted to point out that stepchildren are not the only ones on the receiving end of an overwhelmed (step)parent. Receiving end may not be the best language here but it's late and that's all I've got here tonight.

Some step/blended families work really well without a lot of conflict as pointed out by Oriole. Then, sometimes it doesn't work as well for any number of reasons which I think has been pointed out many times on this thread.

Detaching/letting go needs to happen sometimes so parents can parent their children or a (step) parent can get some perspective on a sometimes volatile, upsetting ____ ( insert unpleasant word here ) situation.

I'm not sure how many more ways I can put it. This thread is going to have some serious clarity. The explaining, sharing of stories etc. is great mamas!

Still wanting the sticky.
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#32 of 41 Old 08-04-2008, 03:02 PM
 
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We've had to do this. But it wasn't really by our choice- DSD is 24 and has decided that she wants nothing to do with us. Not anything we have done- it's just a really bad situation.

I don't know. I'm really torn about it. Detaching like this just feels like sweeping the elephant in the room under the rug. It's still there and everyone knows. Sometimes I feel like *I* need counseling!

Maybe it's because she has detached from us instead of the other way around. I just know it hurts.

Married to my best friend, expecting #1 6/09. Little angel came early- 4/10/09, 2lbs 5oz. Lilah Grace:
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#33 of 41 Old 08-04-2008, 05:12 PM
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Is this "incident" some kind of sexual abuse? I'd be really hesitant to judge what someone who survived something like that feels she needs to do to start making herself safe again. I don't think it's anything like what the OP was writing about, personally.
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#34 of 41 Old 08-04-2008, 05:20 PM
 
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After reading, just decided to pull the post because it was a little more personal than I probably should have shared.

Married to my best friend, expecting #1 6/09. Little angel came early- 4/10/09, 2lbs 5oz. Lilah Grace:
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#35 of 41 Old 08-07-2008, 06:23 PM
 
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#36 of 41 Old 08-07-2008, 11:40 PM
 
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I've only observed this forum for a short time, but it seems that stepparents have a very rough time with attachment vs. detachment and a lot of the emotions and drama that comes from ex- relationships and kids caught in the middle.

I've seen detaching mentioned a lot, which seems odd for an attachment parenting community, but it also seems this individual board has its own flavor. If I compare it to the gentle discipline board the tone is completely different. I think it probably is because it appears to be more difficult to attach in blended family situations, and detaching seems to be an alternative or option that becomes attractive and/or necessary for some families.

I've read about consensual living in other areas, but haven't explored it in depth. It seems that here in blended families there is so much more about control and boundaries, etc. Perhaps that's what is needed, but I also have observed a lot of negativity overall, and a lot of people who seem very stressed over family issues.

In the teens area, there is a real theme of respecting and valuing the teens, which is very interesting and mostly absent in what I've seen here. I tend to feel concerned for the kids who are in a difficult spot between two families and who are more likely to be blamed and misunderstood because of the challenging situation of split families and some of the emotional issues and baggage that goes with it.
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#37 of 41 Old 08-07-2008, 11:59 PM
 
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I've only observed this forum for a short time, but it seems that stepparents have a very rough time with attachment vs. detachment and a lot of the emotions and drama that comes from ex- relationships and kids caught in the middle.

I've seen detaching mentioned a lot, which seems odd for an attachment parenting community, but it also seems this individual board has its own flavor. If I compare it to the gentle discipline board the tone is completely different. I think it probably is because it appears to be more difficult to attach in blended family situations, and detaching seems to be an alternative or option that becomes attractive and/or necessary for some families.

I've read about consensual living in other areas, but haven't explored it in depth. It seems that here in blended families there is so much more about control and boundaries, etc. Perhaps that's what is needed, but I also have observed a lot of negativity overall, and a lot of people who seem very stressed over family issues.

In the teens area, there is a real theme of respecting and valuing the teens, which is very interesting and mostly absent in what I've seen here. I tend to feel concerned for the kids who are in a difficult spot between two families and who are more likely to be blamed and misunderstood because of the challenging situation of split families and some of the emotional issues and baggage that goes with it.
If you're interested in the idea of detachment in a blended family (or blending in general), there's a number of great books out there that explain it. I can dig up some titles if you'd like. It may sound odd, but for some families, it's what works. And I'm too tired now to type it through clearly

Being part of a blended family is different than being part of an unblended family. Very different. Before I married dh, I never would have guessed how difficult it would have been. It's hard to truly know what this life is like until you've lived it. If we sound stressed, it's because we are! (Sometimes, not always). And lots of us don't have other people to turn to for support, so we go here, where people can understand what we're talking about, who speak 'our language', and can give us sound advice, or just an ear.

Also, look at the sticky in this section - there are pages and pages of what we've written about the GOOD things in our blended lives.

We're not here to talk about gentle discipline. I go to that board for those issues. When I want to ask about how to deal with my stepson in a situation that I feel is 'blended' in nature, I go here if I feel I need advice from other people in my living situation.

I guess my main point in this long ramble is, please don't judge us. You haven't walked in our shoes. We're trying to find out how to be the best parents we can. And what may not make sense to you may be a perfectly legitimate (and gentle and kind) parenting technique for a stepchild.
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#38 of 41 Old 08-08-2008, 12:52 AM
 
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I tend to feel concerned for the kids who are in a difficult spot between two families and who are more likely to be blamed and misunderstood because of the challenging situation of split families and some of the emotional issues and baggage that goes with it.
Right, hence the detachment, from the husband or wife of the bio parent, so the parents can do their jobs.

The term step parent is not that great in the first place. It's as if one is "stepping in". The child often already has two parents that is doing their job. Whether the parent is doing the job or not is another thread. However for two parents to do their job and parent a child the (step ) parent has to step away sometimes.

I'm not sure if you have read the responses in this thread however to reiterate: If a step parents does too much parenting it takes away from the relationship with his/her bio parents. Parenting is for parents. The spouse of said parent shoud be the friend, mentor or other such role until the 'parenting' role falls into place because of time or other life circumstance and the child is able to see a 'step parent' in a parenting role.

It's late and I can't think very straight tonight either . . . I'll continue to add more later.
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#39 of 41 Old 08-08-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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What seems to be the most difficult situation is for stepmoms who are put in the position to care for stepkids while the dad is at work or doing other things. Which is a position that happens all the time for a lot of families.
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#40 of 41 Old 08-08-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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What seems to be the most difficult situation is for stepmoms who are put in the position to care for stepkids while the dad is at work or doing other things. Which is a position that happens all the time for a lot of families.

Yes! That's exactly it. I've come to love being a 'custodial stepmom', but it took time.
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#41 of 41 Old 08-12-2008, 04:47 AM
 
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What seems to be the most difficult situation is for stepmoms who are put in the position to care for stepkids while the dad is at work or doing other things. Which is a position that happens all the time for a lot of families.
This is true, but I don't think it's right.

My husband's visitation schedule is centered around HIS availability, not mine. And I think that is as it should be. His time with his daughter is HIS time with his daughter. It is time for them to bond and enjoy one another. I was clear with DH about this from the very beginning. While I do have a relationship with SD, I am not her caregiver and never have been. When he is unable to be there 150% for his daughter, then she is with her mother (or whatever childcare provider her mother chooses), not me.

The ex once asked me to watch SD (on my day off) because she was unable to find child care (DH was deployed in Iraq at the time). I agreed to do it, but it never came to fruition. I had asked her to send SD with some snack food, since SD hadn't been to the house in 6 months (because of the deployment), and there wasn't much in the line of kid food for her. I thought it would be nice for SD to have some familiar food items with her. Apparently, this was too lofty a request and the ex called it off at the last minute due to what she viewed as insolence from me.

If I'd had any reservations about my decision to hold my ground as a separate entity (not an additional caregiver) before that point, the experience with the ex served to solidify my early concerns. I will not put myself in the position of having all of the responsibility of being a parent, but none of the liberties or the respect (Or in some circumstances, the boundaries, safeties, or social understanding). I expect her parents to parent her.
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