His Wife's picture
His Wife

Question for Adult Step Children

For those of you who grew up with step-parents, and didn't (or still don't) get along with them, what were the reasons?

What were things your step-mother and/or step-father did that caused you to feel this way?

What advice would you give to well-meaning step-parents who truly want a good relationship with their stepkids and unfortunately do not have this with them, even now when they are adults?

Appreciate the insights...



SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

Depending on age, children come with traditions already in place. I remember always celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve with my family. As soon as my father re-married this was changed. I was also not allowed to talk about my mother in front of my step-mother. It was like they were pretending she never existed. I resent that to this day. My kids have an open line of communication with their mother. My new wife takes them shopping for present’s for their mom and helps them make cards for her, I wouldn’t have it any other way. The kids talk about their mother often and speak with her on the phone daily.
Discipline needs to stay with the natural parent. There are step-parents who may have never had a child and do not realize the bond between a parent and child.

SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

A child loves their parents unconditionally, but that love is not usually felt by the child toward the step-parent. As I told my new wife long before we were married, you have to be friends with the kids and earn their trust and respect, it won’t come automatically. There was a post on here not too long ago that talked about a step-mother who was quite strict with her step-son. This will never fly with a child. You can ground and punish all you want, it will only make them resent and disrespect you more. When they are young it may not seem like a big deal, but when they hit their teens, whole different game.
Step-parents, as well as natural parents should never speak ill of the child’s natural parent; this hurts only the child. Let the adult issues be between the adults, and let kids just worry about being kids; they get but one chance.

SnglDad's picture
SnglDad

I remember a close friend of mine marrying a lady who came to the relationship with two small girls. One day we were having a BBQ at his house and he introduced me to his wife’s ex. I couldn’t believe that she would invite him, but she didn’t, he did. The kid’s father was welcome to come see his girls any time. At the time I couldn’t believe it, but as I soon began to see,it made perfect sense. I was judging it from what I had seen as a child. These are just from my experiences as a step-kid, I hope I said something that helps. Good luck.

Sorry for the numerous posts, but I have a hard time telling someone what time it is in under one thousand characters.

His Wife's picture
His Wife

Thanks for the posts Sngldad. I can definately see how changing traditions the moment the stepmother is on the scene or pretending the bio mom doesn't exist can create instant issues.

Seems like common sense yet so easy as a stepparent (or parent) to lose sight of the impact of these things.

Like you, my parents divorced (I was a teen) and my mother re-married. Although we had some of the typical divorce/step-parent issues, for the most part we had a wonderful relationship with our step-father, so I was completely unprepared for the resentment and sheer hatefulness of my step-daughers towards me.

If you have any other guidance to give, that's great.

And appreciate any other posts from step-children who are now adults and want to share what impact (good or bad) step-parents had/have on you.

Thanks!

2xstepmom's picture
2xstepmom

My mother, a widow w/ 5 kids and pregnant with me, met and quickly married my step-father. At 12, it was devastating when she told me he was not my bio-dad. My narcissistic mother made him responsible for our discipline, which overwhelmed him during our childhood. We were not close until his illness before he passed away, there was finally peace between us.

My advice is to not expect much from the children and expect the parent to parent their own children. I too had that situation with my 3 ex-stepdaughters. My children had no issues with my ex, they got along well as he had no responsibility for their discipline, and my expectation was that they treat him with respect. He refused to discipline his girls or expect respect from them, after 5 years of therapy and nearly constant heartache, we went our separate ways. As adults, his girls all did apologise to me for their negative treatment of me and my children. We have very little contact.

AnOregonian's picture
AnOregonian

To the Step-Moms and Dads here, as a step-child I just want to give a big thank you.

In the beginning you will always be seen as the villain. You will be compared to 'my real mom' or 'my real dad' and it will hurt. You will have to put up with us saying hurtful things even the 'H' word.

If you can make it through this phase (which may last years) we will soften, begin to trust, and yes even love. It took me my whole life to learn to appreciate the sacrifices my Step-parents made for me. Now that I am an adult I just want to say to all of you step parents who are waiting to be appreciated by your stepkids that the day will come. Have patience and thank you!

colleenk's picture
colleenk
THANKS FOR LETTING ME KNOW THAT MAYBE SOMEDAY THE KIDS THAT ARE 32, 31 AND 29 WILL SOMEDAY OR SOMETIME TALK TO ME LIKE A HUMAN. THEY MISSTREAT ME AND THERE DAD. ALL I WANT TO DO IS LOVE THEM AS I DO MY OWN SON. I NEVER WANT TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THERE MOM. THERE MOM WILL ALWAYS BE THERE MOM. I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH THEM. I TRY BUT THEN THEY CURSE ME OUT. I DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT I CAN DO BUT BACK OUT OF THERE LIVES AND POSSIBLY THERE DAD'S TO. SO I LOSE MY MARRIAGE BECAUSE OF HIS KIDS. GOOD LUCK TO OTHER PARENTS WITH PROBLEMS BELIEVE IN GOD TO HELP YOU.