Is it okay to just not feel any connection to a step-child?

reluctantsm

I married my husband after 4 years of dating. He has two children from previous marriages. One is an adult and lives out West. He's an awesome guy and I enjoy being around him. The other is a 14 year old daughter, who, despite my best efforts, I just cannot "get with." I feel no connection to this child, no love, no desire to even be in her life at all. We get along fine, mostly, because to me she's just there. She has a great relationship with her dad and that's awesome but I find myself counting down to the day when she's shipped off to college (she has weekly/weekend visitation with her father) especially now that I'm pregnant with my first child. My husband and I plan to have more. At times, I feel like she's more of an intrusion or hinderance on my dream of an idyllic family. I'm very detached from her and I just go thru the motions of being polite and making small talk when she's around. If her Dad's not home and she is, I make it a point to go out and be somewhere else or go to my room and close the door. I'm not a mean person and I've never been mean to her but...gosh, I hate to say it but if I didn't have to see her ever again, that would be fine with me. I don't feel that way about ANY of his other family members...I love the rest of them to death. Am I a witch? Anyone else feel similarly about their step-children?

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so0830

it's interesting that you don't feel that way about any other of his children. I wonder if it's because she's "around" meaning in your home and not in some "far away" place. How long ago did you and she meet?

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serenity_now_2007

The short answer to your question is: feelings (and thoughts) are okay, it's how you handle or manifest them which may or may not be okay.

A bit longer answer is: feelings are important to acknowledge and even accept, but they're not always what a person should be solely ruled by when it comes time to make decisions and behave in the world. (Hence the reason we have laws, etiquette, and taboos, so that people don't just go around acting on all their feelings.)

On a more philosophical note, I can't seem to decide whether I'd love or hate a machine that could broadcast every hidden thought and feeling of people (including myself). But one thing does seem certain: with every person alive, we'd hear some really apalling things.

My opinion: it's "okay" for Andrea Yates to fantasize about getting rid of her children so she doesn't have to deal with them. It's not okay to actually do it. And while it may be technically "okay" for her to feel extreme indifference or dislike for them, given the amount of harm this can cause to everyone around her, in my opinion she has a moral obligation to work to overcome it. Not because I believe people are obliged to like everyone, but because it tends to work out better when people like the people they have actively chosen to share their lives with. Especially if they are in a position of power and/or care-taking for any of those people.

Doesn't make a person 'evil' if they realize they don't like someone, but to the extent they have put themselves into a binding situation with them, it just makes life harder and more unfortunate for themselves. When it crosses the line into making someone else's life harder and more unfortunate is where a problem can come in. I think it would be a fair definition to say 'evil' is making someone else pay or suffer for one's own discontent with one's own choices or actions. But short of that, it's not 'evil' to secretly dislike someone.

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reluctantsm

I met her shortly after my husband and I started dating. She's always been around and I haven't always felt this way. At first it was okay and she and I were connecting but then when she got to be a pre-teen she started doing and saying things, acting and behaving in ways where I really didn't trust her. Again, I am never mean to her and do not SHOW her my dislike although I do know she can feel that I don't have the warm and fuzzies for her. I think it's because she's a child (and not my child) that I'm very hands off with her. I think when she's older and more mature, I'd be able to relate to her better. That's my hope anyway.

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nivea

I think it is okay not to feel any connection to her, because that is how you feel. And you are not directly mean to her.

BUT, I think you should try to see into the future a bit. You are correct that it is most probably SD feels and sees it. If you are trying to have a child with DH, there's no telling how SD will react. She may be happy, but we have had a slew of posters who have come here with significantly older stepchildren that do not take interest in the younger siblings.

If she is taught what kind of family you mean to her, then she will likely treat your children the same way. You may not have a problem with it, but I have a feeling you will.

Is there anyway you can try to connect? Get nails done, shopping? Any shared interest?

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organic_maria

Its actually normal to feel that way and there is nothing wrong to me if you cannot connect with someone. You guys are polite and respectful to one another and i think that is a good environemnt. SHe's hit the teen years and she's interested in other things and she's now a on a different page from you.
My SD and i get along, but i'm indifferent to her. I honestly couldn't care less if she comes or goes. Shes a teen with the teen attitude and she'll grow out of it as most do.
She's a good girl but no i dont seem to trust her either..just a feeling...can't explain it. I just do not trust her. BUt then again she has been raised by bm who's morals i do not like. HEr mom is manipulative and she does the same tactics to her father that bm does. Not that it works and he slams her on it. SHe then apologizes the next day to her dad.
My SD is not around long enough for me to connect with her anyways...so no guilt there.
Plus you are pregnant and you are thinking of your own child now. WHen she or he is born, concentrate on your child and dont stress to much on not connecting with your Sd. We cannot connect with people all the time and that is normal and accept it. If you are both respectful to one another then i see no problem.
You are not a witch...lol..
I'm indifferent ot my skids. because bm has interfered for over 7 years with the relationship and has poisoned them. Plus they dont live with us so the connectiong is not there. I dont feel any love for them. I care for them because they are my husbands kids but i do not love them.

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mom2emall

"At first it was okay and she and I were connecting but then when she got to be a pre-teen she started doing and saying things, acting and behaving in ways where I really didn't trust her"

Your describing pre-teen behavior that does not sound all that unusual. I think most biomoms go through times with their daughters during the pre-teen and teen years where they don't feel so close.

But I guess it is okay not to feel a connection to your sd...but I think its wrong not to try to create one. I have to say it bothers me that you say:

"If her Dad's not home and she is, I make it a point to go out and be somewhere else or go to my room and close the door. "

I have to think she notices this behavior and on some level is hurt by it. She did not choose you....you chose her. Yes, by chosing her father you did choose her. And I think that you owe it to her to try to have a relationship with her and be genuinely nice.

I will admit that there are times where I look at my middle sd and I see her mother. And I HATE her mother! But I remind myself that she is only a child, a very loving and sweet child who deserves the best. And this is what you need to do as well.

If you wanted an "idyllic family" then you should have chosen a husband who had no children.

Just think for a moment about your child. What if you and dh divorced and he remarried and had your child with him on weekends. Would you want his new spouse treating your child this way?

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lovehadley

Don't let anyone berate you for the fact that you married a man with children, made your bed, have to lie in it, etc.

Yes, it is true that you did choose to marry a man with children but we cannot always predict how a situation will make us feel. Feelings are feelings and we can't always turn them off and on. So don't let anyone make you feel guilty for how you feel.

"And while it may be technically "okay" for her to feel extreme indifference or dislike for them, given the amount of harm this can cause to everyone around her, in my opinion she has a moral obligation to work to overcome it. Not because I believe people are obliged to like everyone, but because it tends to work out better when people like the people they have actively chosen to share their lives with"

I could not agree more with the above statement.

You know how you feel about your SD and now is the time to work through those feelings, for your own peace of mind, as well as to better your relationship with her.

I think some of this is probably in part due to your first pregnancy. You are preparing for the birth of your first child and biology is a powerful thing. Instinctively, though you may not recognize it, you might feel that your SD threatens your child in some way. It's that whole "intruder in the nest" syndrome. Have you thought about getting your SD more involved in your pregnancy? Can she come to OB appts. with you? Maybe you could go shopping for baby items together? Maybe if you could view her as your baby's SIBLING, you might find your heart warming towards her more.

Good luck and hang in there as you work through these uncomfortable feelings.

I've been there in the past, and things do get better, but there are always backslides. One step forward, two steps back, and so on. If you try, I think you will find that things do get better.

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mollymcb

I don't think it's unusual for a non-custodial SM to feel that way. I have been a non-custodial SM to DSSs 13 and 14 1/2 for almost 10 years. When they were little, they came EOW, holidays, summers and we were very close (my parents were even very close to them.) As they have grown older, they come less and less b/c they want to stay in their hometown rather than come to our home 2 hrs away. They now avg. about once every 6 wks. I have to admit I have pretty much written them out of my life. I used to plan EOW around them to make sure they would have plenty of entertainment, fun, food they loved at the house, etc. but would get disappointed when they would cancel visitation at the last minute. DH finally gave in and lets them decide when to visit, to avoid the DRAMA of DSS 14 if he doesn't get his way. For many years, I hugged them, told them I loved them and tried very hard to make them have feelings for me. Neither of them has ever said "I love you" back, and their hugs are superficial and forced. DH says they feel disloyal to their mother if they show affection to me, so I "get" that. I finally just stopped forcing the issue, and I feel so much better for it. Yes, I really hate it that they feel that way, but the only way I can protect myself is to just detach myself from them, which is what I have done. Some people may try to "judge" you and tell you how you should feel differently and that your SD probably acts that way b/c she senses how you feel and therefore, it's all your fault. Don't believe it. I think it is just the nature of the personalities and the situations that can occur no matter how hard you try. Don't beat yourself up over it and just try to make the best of it for your family. Good luck!

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pseudo_mom

"If her Dad's not home and she is, I make it a point to go out and be somewhere else or go to my room and close the door"

I do this with my SD10 ... and I do it for my own sanity. My SD and BM have made it perfectly clear to me and anyone around them they hate and will do everything in their power to get rid of me ... SD told her counselor "she behaves badly at her dad's hoping I will leave him so her mom and her can move back in with daddy and everyone will be happy again" The next week SD's counselor told mom to find someone else for SD she couldn't help SD anymore because SD doesn't want to be helped. After a year the counselor saw no improvement infact a decline in SD.

So I choose to ignore the child ... :) she doesn't want a relationship with me so I don't want one with her...

So as far as I can see there is nothing wrong in what you are feeling. As a teen she probably wants her space too.

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lamom

reluctant, I don't think you are "mean", everyone doesn't like everyone else even if they are closely related. Your SD is going to be your baby's 1/2 sister and as was mentioned above, there a lot of posters here, including me, with older sibs not interested in younger 1/2 sibs. Especially if they feel displaced by them or in competition.

The baby is a good way to reach out, taking her shopping, talking about names etc. Lots of teenage girls are in to babies. This is a long haul situation.

There was a time when I felt affection for my SS and for his son, SGS8. But as things went along, I had my own DS6, SS29 made a lot of life choices including shunning my son that have changed my feelings. I used to feel like a fifth grandparent to SGS8 but now I don't feel any of that anymore. Like you, if I never saw them again it would be ok. I don't dislike them but I don't respect them. They don't care about my son so I don't care for them anymore. SD35 is a different story.

Just be aware that SD may become jealous of your baby. Involving her while you are pregnant can build a bond between you that could be wonderful for all involved.

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gabbiegrl1

Posted orginally by mollymcb : I don't think it's unusual for a non-custodial SM to feel that way. I have been a non-custodial SM to DSSs 13 and 14 1/2 for almost 10 years. When they were little, they came EOW, holidays, summers and we were very close (my parents were even very close to them.) As they have grown older, they come less and less b/c they want to stay in their hometown rather than come to our home 2 hrs away. They now avg. about once every 6 wks. I have to admit I have pretty much written them out of my life. I used to plan EOW around them to make sure they would have plenty of entertainment, fun, food they loved at the house, etc. but would get disappointed when they would cancel visitation at the last minute. DH finally gave in and lets them decide when to visit, to avoid the DRAMA of DSS 14 if he doesn't get his way. For many years, I hugged them, told them I loved them and tried very hard to make them have feelings for me. Neither of them has ever said "I love you" back, and their hugs are superficial and forced. DH says they feel disloyal to their mother if they show affection to me, so I "get" that. I finally just stopped forcing the issue, and I feel so much better for it. Yes, I really hate it that they feel that way, but the only way I can protect myself is to just detach myself from them, which is what I have done. Some people may try to "judge" you and tell you how you should feel differently and that your SD probably acts that way b/c she senses how you feel and therefore, it's all your fault. Don't believe it. I think it is just the nature of the personalities and the situations that can occur no matter how hard you try. Don't beat yourself up over it and just try to make the best of it for your family. Good luck!

...........................................................

This is perfect. I am feeling the same with both my SS and SD. I felt so guilty for pulling away (self protection!). Thank you so much for your posting.

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mom2_1sm2_1

When I was a teen my dad was married to a woman that did not show a whole lot of respect to me. She was afraid that I would come in between her and my dad, afterall, I was Daddy's girl. She would yell at me for any and everything and my dad would not stick up for me. We simply had no connection - she tried and I think I tried harder, but it just wans't there. The difference in our situations is that you are nice to your stepchild, I'm sure that helps. But, maybe there is something that the two of you can do together to help form some sort of bond. My SD and I cook dinners together, she helps me grocery shop, and helps me get my son ready for bed. I have a connection with her that is not forced. I know what it is like to not be liked by a SP, not easy. And I don't want my son or SD to have those feelings.
Does she like to cook? Ask her what she enjoys to do on her free time. Maybe you could create a family scrapbook together. Go get the supplies, pictures and do it together. It will help her see that you care and see the value of family.

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pjb999

I think it's something you should work on but being pregnant you are probably experiencing a lot of things hormonal and otherwise.

14 is a tough age at the best of times, and there she is lost and confused with a stepmother that avoids her when you're alone together. That has to hurt.

Kids need adults to feel secure, wanted and safe. You don't have to 'love' them automatically, but as part of the tribal extended family thing, any adult who sees a child lost, hurt or frightened etc, ought to be extending some sort of assistance or empathy, right? Especially one who is a parent themselves, it's the social compact.

Don't feel guilty for feeling or not feeling something, but in deed and sincerity be warm, compassionate and inclusive. The baby is a chance to bring the girl into the fold - have a talk perhaps, explain you don't want to replace her mum, you don't expect her to call you 'mom' but would like to be friends with her, and you are someone she can confide in, and come to when she needs help, and you won't judge her.

That's pretty much what my partner said to my daughter, her step-daughter, and they get along very well now. I do think they are friends, and I think she sees the warmth, empathy and decency that in her, that she confesses to me are lacking at times in her biological mother.

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poppy31

I feel exactly the same as you and its eating me up every day which is something I hate and wish to change but dont really know how.

My hubby has an 11 year old child who lives closeby with his mums. My hubby and I met long after the marriage breakup. We fell in love, got engaged and had baby twins together in a very quick amount of time. Until the twins came along, I had no issues with the situation as I got on well with his child and could come and go as I pleased as hubby did not live with me and his child lived with his mother so was not around an awful lot. I used to just go and see hubby for an hour or two if he had his son for the weekend. But when twins came alone it was a whole different ball game.
I had an awful pregnancy and ended up in a wheel chair and off sick from work for a long time. Complications in the hospital left me in agony, going to CT scans to try and resolve the issues, nurses telling me (as they did not realise at the time I had huge internal issues) to stop making a big deal of my c section and get out of bed. I was in agony and couldnÂt move!! Anyway, my hubby brought his boy to hospital to meet his half siblings and first thing he asked to do infront of all my relatives was to look down their nappies. My hubby dutifully let him!! He was 7 years old at the time.
I got out of hospital on a Tuesday, he had his son on the Wednesday and then all weekend from Friday to Monday. I had screaming babies, sleepless nights, I was in a lot of pain, boy was constantly asking for daddy to do things with him. And then we had a huge episode of his boy wanting my hubby to hold one of my daughters up naked so he could get a good look at her. Ofcourse hubby did I lost the plot and screamed at them to get out of the room so hubby took our daughter out so his boy could get a look at her in another room away from me. I have never gotten over this and have so much anger at my hubby and his son.

Anyway, its been about 3 years now and I feel no bond to this boy. He comes eow and one night a week, he constantly goes on about how we are one big family living under one roof. (He lives with his mum). At first my hubby told him he was getting new grandparents so he was telling all his mates that my mum was his new grandma. He would ask if my dog was his brother and my hubby would say yes. My hubby bought me a massive teddy bear one day and as soon as his boy arrived and said it was his, hubby agreed and proceeded to photograph him with "his" bear!

Things have never got easier. He loves the twins but is constantly calling them his sisters (which I just cannot help the fact annoys me), he goes to intervene if they fall over and are heading towards mummy and says, "come to your brother". And I ofcourse have the twins to look after a lot for hubby to take him camping/climbing/hiking/away skiing etc.

On top of all of this, the boys mum lives closeby, texts my hubby in the evening whilst we are snuggling on couch, goes on courses with my hubby (not his fault), if my kids went to best school in the area, theyÂd have to be in same class as her new child with new partner (who has not left as he does not get on with my hubbyÂs son), she has befriended again my hubbys friends and family on facebook and has her photo on my front page (not my fault and I cant change). And my hubby gets mad at me cos I want him to just to his pick ups of his kid at her house and cant see why I donÂt want her coming to my house.

So, how can I possibly feel bonded to this boy and its having a huge effect on our marriage. When he is with us, we charge around cooking and entertaining all 3 children and have no closeness between us. When he goes, we get this back but heÂs soon back again and it continues.

So I empathise with you 110%

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serenity_now_2007

Poppy--

How old are you?

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poppy31

I am 33, my hubby is 48

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silversword

I can see how a child age 7 would want to see how a child of another gender would look without clothes. And I can see how that would upset you as well.

It seems like you need some boundaries and your dh doesn't realize that.

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poppingrays

I've struggled for the last 14 years trying to have a "true connection" with my oldest SD (now age 20). She's always felt that I took her Dad away, has even stated that point blank, and has never really grown out of that feeling. Of course, it was the farthest thing from the truth...I have to admit I feel the same as you, could care less if I ever see her again. I'm truly only friendly with her to appease my husband and her with me to appease her Dad. I highly doubt we'll ever adore eachother... wouldn't matter how much scrap-booking, nail-doing, shopping, etc., that we do together. I just chalk it up to "one of those things".

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kkny

Poppin,

I cant figure out the years. You've been struggling for 14 years, but your hubby has an 11 year old who lives with his mum.

SD is 20, you are 33, so you became a SM at 19(33 less 14)?

Did I make a mistake with the years here?

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kkny

Oops sorry, two similar names.

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thermometer

I sure hope I'm not the only one who finds poppy31's post disturbing and awfully selfish.

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justnotmartha

Now Thermometer, how can you possibly see it as selfish that Poppy's SS wants to call his step sisters 'sister' and that annoys her? How can it be selfish that SS wants to accept her and her new babies as one big family and she just wants to shove him out so she can have her family without him?

I hope you can smell the sarcasm, and for lack of a better word, disgust.

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poppy31

I have been married for 2 years and with my hubby for 4 years. Our twins are 3 years old.

If you feel disgust, then thats up to you. You are not the one being repeatedly left to deal with twin babies alone while your hubby goes off skiing all valentines weekend with his son, goes hiking and camping out overnight, again im left alone. i deal with twins all week and then when hubby is at home at weekend, he's often going off to theme parks with son, hiking, camping, cycling etc.

i can understand a 7 year old wanting to see a girl naked but i think my hubby did not have to do it twice and did not have to do it in such an appalling manner with no respect for my daughter who had not only been looked at already once but was held up naked to his face to have a good look. when i intervened, he simply took her away for him to have another look elsewhere.

im sorry you feel disgust at me but i cannot help the simple fact that i cannot bond with this boy who does not live with us.

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kkny

What your husband did was wrong. Yes it is natural for 7 yo to be curious, but that has to be balanced with twins right to privacy. I hope you have communicated that to him. But the person who really needs to account and change his atitute is your dh, not the SS.

Your DH has his son EOW and one night per week -- I am certain he feels that he needs to squish in 24/7 in those limited hours. I can understand you need some help with the twins. I dont know if you work outside the home or not, but you should talk to your DH that if he is going off for weekend, you need some help with the kids to get you a break during the day. Possibly a GM could help. Also, fyi as 11 yo gets older, he will be spending more time with his friends and organized sports. At this age, Dad should start seeing that 11yo is involved in wholesome activities, like scouts, church groups (or whatever religion you are), sports. Its good that he lives near Xwife, so these activities can be better planned.

I can hear you were upset re Valentines Day. Grow up. As a parent, your schedule is not the same as a non-parent.

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kkny

Relunctum,

So many people complain, when child is 19 or so, my child does nothing, not work, not school. This is not just a step issue. Well the problem doesnt start at 19, it starts around 11 or so. I am certainly not suggesting 11 YOs work, but it is the time they should start taking responsiblity for themselves, and many of these youth groups do encourage that. You will be doing DH and yourself and the 11 yo a favor if you talk to DH and telling him that trips with dad are only going to encourage 11 to look only to dad. I am not saying dad shouldnt be a volunteer one or two weekends to go wiht the troup, but 11 is getting to the age when he needs to be developing his own ability, at a mimimun to entertain himself, but also to clean up after himself, etc.

I realize that this isnt the main part of your complaint, but I think it needs to be addressed.

From how you speak, I dont see a lot of love for SS. Thats OK, its how you deal with it thats important.

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poppy31

yes i do work part time.

my ss does not seem interested in outside activities. hubby has tried asking about scouts etc but no luck.

and as for valentines weekend, its not just the one weekend that this kindof thing happens. its time after time and there is nothing easy about our twins at all, they are feisty and spirited toddlers who require an awful lot of work. ihave had them in tears in the morning many a time as daddy is not there.

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kkny

Not every child is interested in scouting activities (but he goes camping with dad?), but what does SS like? Does he like to read? Sports?

If you tell me that all SS does is go places with Dad and play on computer, I see a problem happening down the road. How is 11 yo doing in school.

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poppy31

yes he just asks every morning, where are we going today dad and my hubby entertains him all the time, gets him snacks whilst he sits on couch watching tv. he asks for food all day long. we can prepare a big 2 course meal and within an hour of this he will say he is hungry so hubby provides another snack. he will often say he is not hungry at breakfast time as this will mean hubby will buy him hotdogs or pastie whilst on morning entertainment visit somewhere. ive tried to talk to hubby about it but he just says he was the same at age 11, always asking for food. but this boy has been the same since i met him at age 6.

i was out playing in street when i was this age but he rarely goes outside although we have lots of kids in street.

no probs at school.

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kkny

Well, no problems at school is good. Does he have friends at moms? Maybe Dad could let him have a freiend over, sometimes kids entertian themselves better with a friend. Does he bring homework over? Does he have library card, has dad taught him how to use library? Now is the time for dad to start teaching SS how to make his way in school etc.

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poppy31

yes he brings homework occasionally but tries to cover up the fact he has it so my hubby will play footie with him instead! library card etc would all be at his house with his mum. i think no friends near his mum although i get the impression he has play days at friends houses. but when he comes to stay with us, he is 100% relying on where and what my hubby is taking him to do.

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kkny

Dad is doing SS no favors. There must be a library near you, tell DH he must get card for SS (you dont sound like you are from US -- arent they free where you live). Dad must open or maintain communication with school re SS progress and homework and not sit back. Soon SS will be reaching age where students are eligible for honors classes, special programs. Does Dad attend parent teacher meetings? To me these things are more imporant than football?

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thermometer

kkny, I don't understand you addressing the concerns of this child with poppy31. Those problems are way beyond her because it is not up to her, being that there are so many other problems she is not able to deal with. The first of them is the fact that she needs counseling to figure out why she dislikes a 7 year old child who has done nothing to her or her babies except try to love and accept them. The second is she needs counseling to figure out why she blames the child for the stupid, weird, and immature behavior of the grown man who is her husband. The third is she needs counseling to address why she got pregnant with this man. The fourth is she needs counseling to understand why she married a stupid, weird, and immature man she cannot talk to and does not respect her. The fifth is to wonder for the rest of her days in what other ways this man will disrespect his daughters. She is hardly the only person that ever had twins or two toddlers at one time and I know they can be a handful, but she did this all to herself. The normal reactions and behaviors of a 7 year old are the least of her worries, and he shouldn't be blamed for all her problems.

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kkny

I did not blame poppy31. I said that I realized that 11yo wsnt main focus. And I mentioned what I thought the DAD should be doing.

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organic_maria

I think dad in this case , caters to this child way too much. I remember my sk went into this pattern of expecting EOW to be entertained adn my dh put a stop to it and told them you come to visit me and be with me we do not have to go out to a movie etc..etc..
They got angry and still are but too bad. I think my dh did the right thing.
Poppy's problem is dad nto managing time and events. He needs to put his foot down with his son. And yes EOW is short but events do not have to be planned every weekend visit they can be spread out throughout the years.
Dad is catering, its a disservice to his son. I agree on many points with kkny on this one.
As for valentines...i can understand the hurt and i'm sure it must be difficult to have twins. But your husband should have thought of your feelings and not skii or camp on that particular event. Its valentines and i know in my situation my sd gives my dh testing every year now with that event and every year he straightens her out. Valentines is traditionally between lovers...not a love between child and parent. That is Parent day.
I've noticed in the last 2 years or so...she's challenging her father about me. She didnt' do it before. She's turn teen now and i guess she is focusing. She challenges time spent etc...i get it...but she doesnt live with us, doesn't want to ....so........my dh explains it all the time. We live with him 24/7..of course we have his time, she doesn't...she doesn't want to come to live...so dont cry wolf. ...sorry rambling..a situation happened over the week and i'm not impressed with her behaviour again..

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barb5

I have never posted on this forum, but I have been a stepmom and I can relate a bit to what is being said here. And some things I have learned are: parents can feel guilty about divorce and try to compensate to thier kids, sometimes going overboard in avoiding discipline, or buying material things. Poppy, have you considered that your DH may be trying to compensate to his son, and because DH knows how you feel about SS, that he tries to get SS away from you, and one way of doing that is to take him camping, skiing, etc? If I were in DH's position, I might very well do the same thing- get my son away from a step parent who feels so hostile towards him.

And I remember hearing what a psychologist said when asked this question about "what do I do as a step parent when I just don't feel love towards a stepchild?" And the answer was, "Fake it. If you don't feel it, act like you do." When you are faced with a situation, ask yourself what you would do if you did love this boy, and do whatever that is. And hopefully in time, the feeling will come, as the child can come to trust that s/he will be regarded with affection and positive affirmation.

I agree with Thermometer, some counseling here could be beneficial. Both family, and individual if necessary.

And what can be gained from it? From my own experience, a real feeling of warmth and connection between SD and myself, and a very close connection between BS and SD. That is the best of all, knowing that when DH and I are no longer on this earth, that SD and DS will have each other. They really regard each other as brother and sister and that alone has made all the effort worth it.

Good luck, and don't forget that your little ones are picking up on their mom's anger and hurt. If you can't get help for your and SS's sake, then do it for your own kids' sake.

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poppy31

hmm, i am sensing a lot of hositlity towards me so perhaps i was wrong to post on this site. i have had counselling on my own and my counsellor was very good and said the most important thing for me was to stop beating myself up about the fact that i did not love this child and this it was totally and utterly normal and that i just have to learn how to live with it best.

she also thought my hubby was overcompensating in a big way and asked me to try and talk to him about this. she thought that there were circustances in which i needed my husbands support in the early days of the twins being born and did not get this so the resentment began. For example when i got so sick, hubby could have waited a bit later to have his son and let me have some time to get stronger and to bond with the twins. she also thought the naked thing was handled very wrongly. but she was right in saying i need to learn to put these things behind me.

I strongly disagree with the comments someone had put about my hubby. I love him, Im glad I married him, I love my daughters, i cannot help the fact i dont love his son. I do my best to accommodate him seeing his father as much as possible, i look after the girls many many times so that they have one on one time together. he gets far more one on one time with my hubby then any of the twins do. My hubby is just trying to keep everyone happy by trying his best to give everyone time but he's struggling with that. His boy had 100% attention EOW before I came along and then the twins. so he continues to expect that.

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justnotmartha

DH and I fought for and received emergency of my (then) 5 year old SD a month before I gave birth to my first child. I spent my maternity leave learning to care for a newborn I had an emergency c-section to deliver and caring for a 5 year old who couldn't figure out why mom called and cried all the time and told her daddy and JNM 'stole her' and she'd never see her again. It was not the ideal situation and far from what I planned, but I survived. We all did. I'm stronger for it.

There is no 'waiting' when it comes to being a parent. You can't put aside one child for a while to make it easier on another, or the parent of another. I'm you you understand the love he must feel for his son because you feel it for your twins. How could you expect him to put that aside to make it easier on you? Parenting isn't easy - it's sacrifice and difficulty . . . and the most rewarding thing you will ever do.

There needs to be compromise, but there needs to be a little more compassion and understanding on your part, IMHO. Your DH is in a no-win situation. Your SS

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nivea

I think the naked thing was a tad odd, lol and I don't blame you for your feelings on that. However, I do think it's a normal thing for kids his age to wonder about. Your husband handled it wrong, but I don't think the kid should be blamed.

Barb also stated what I thought and I wonder if you will ask your husband. But it sounds to me and the resentment you are carrying, that everyone around you feels it. I think your husband is getting SS out of there to avoid further hurt to SS. I think it has nothing to do at all with SS expecting your husband alone EOW, as you've said yourself, SS has tried proactively to call you guys family.

I don't think anyone is trying to give you a hard time here, but a lot of these ladies have been through it from all different sides of the stepfamily fence. Ask yourself if you knew that someone didn't like your twins, would you send them to this person EOW? If you want hubby to be home, then I think you need to change your perspective.

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thermometer

poppy31, I don't have any hostility toward you. I think you are wrong in the way you think of your stepson, but it does not affect me in the least, so why would I hold hostility? Therapists can be wrong too and from what you say, it sounds like your therapist condoned your hostility toward your stepson by tracking its origin. But, there is nothing to dislike about the child that you have described to us. I do not understand a therapist saying it is okay to transfer hostility onto one person (much less a child) because of the actions of another. According to your consistent defense of him, your husband can do no wrong. That tells me you only have consideration for those you care about and have no concern for those you don't care about, which explains you blaming and disliking a child for all your husband's wrong doing. I guess if hubby harmed someone, you'd find a way to blame the victim because that is exactly what you are doing now. A good therapist would have helped you work through your feelings to see how they are misdirected, instead of supporting your pity party and your own ill-placed hostility.

Since a therapist cannot help you, I suggest you try to help yourself to see what is actually taking place here. I will tell you something else too, you will need that child one of these days. Hopefully, you will have a much better understanding of your own feelings by then to see this child has done nothing to you. Whether or not you ever understand, you will need him one day and, in the very least, you will see how much time you wasted that could have been much better spent on a shred of concern. And something else? If you hubby stand the test of time, look out for your daughters. Through the night and through the day, look out for them. I already know you do not like what I am saying, but I am saying it nevertheless. You do not believe me, but still look out for them.

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barb5

Poppy,

I would really encourage you to get your DH to go to counseling with you. You have so much resentment about things that really need to be aired and out in the open. And an objective third party can be invaluable.

I am sure your DH has a lot of feelings that should be aired as well.

Not only will you and your marriage benefit, but your kids will benefit as well. They have a big brother, which can be the coolest thing in the world, and they should be allowed to love him. And you need to be assured that the love they feel for him will not diminish the love they feel for you.

Good luck to you. I remember some difficult times when DS was young, I was working, and yes, I resented SD. And I didn't have twins!! But if you really want it to work out, and you can take a non-defensive look at the situation, you might end up with a happy family, and the joy of knowing that you were a good influence on your children, and a young boy who doesn't have any responsibility for the situation he finds himself in.

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organic_maria

You know i've reread your post about your husband holding up his naked daughter for his son to look at her privates....thats not normal.
in fact, that's disgusting. That's perverted.
Your SS at 7 shouldn't be asking to see prevees..and your husband should not be condoning this!
You say it was wrong for you to post here? Is it because you are not liking what you are reading?????
Poppy...that scenario you just described is not normal and iwould watch my daughters EXTREMELY CLOSELY . Make sure of that.

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mollymcb

Poppy, I know how difficult the situation can be. I got very angry at my DH when I was 8 mos into a high-risk pregnancy and he insisted on taking DSS on a father-son weekend they had planned, leaving me home alone. I did understand that DH wanted DSS to feel important (DSS has always been very demanding and always needing to be the center of attention) just as a new sibling was about to come into the world. We compromised and he still went on the trip, but they went 3 hours away instead of 6. My aunt came and stayed with me and we enjoyed our time together. What I have learned from 10 years as a SM is that you (and your children with DH) have to learn to take a backseat to the SKs from time to time because of the dynamics of the relationship. Had DH been taking a trip with our other DS (with whom he's NEVER taken a father-son weekend, btw) I would have been just as angry and would have been more insisting that he stay home. But as many people on here can attest, when it comes to SKs, as a SM, everything you say is perceived in the worst light. (I.e, if you criticize your bio-child, it is out of love, but if you criticize your SK, it is out of dislike.) I have never raised my voice to either DSS yet everyone (DH, DSSs) feels it's perfectly fine to scream at DS 7 when he's out of line. It's a double standard and that's the way it is. I made a decision years ago for the sake of my marriage and out of love and commitment to DH (who is an outstanding father) to just roll with it. Now that my DSSs are 13 and 15 and do not want to visit EOW because it "inconveniences" them, I have a clear conscience and know that I did my best (and DH knows it also.) I wish I had some advice that would help, but unfortunately, after 10 years, I still have no real solutions. All I can say is, having a stepchild is a long, hard, complicated battle. My best advice to is to do the best you can and keep your marriage strong--whatever that means to you. Good luck!

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poppy31

well i do trust my husband with our daughters. He loves them an awful lot. I just think he is wracked with guilt about leaving his son when he was so young. the naked thing he now deeply regrets and knows he handled it wrongly although at the time he thought it was very normal for a 7 year old boy to want to do what he did. unfortunately the girls were only 3 days old and i was at my highest emotionally and with the trauma of a tramatic birth so it was a horrendous thing to happen at the time. I will take on board what people have said. I liked the advice someone left about what a pychologist said, if you dont feel it fake it. Its just so hard. My step son is a nice boy but no angel. he tells my daughters that their house (which i owned long before i met my hubby) is his and not theirs (even thought he lives with his mum) and that my hubby is his daddy and not their daddy. and when my hubby's father comes for weekend, he cant stand the fact that the twins get attention and shoves them on to the floor. so its not easy all round.

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barb5

Poppy,

I do feel for you. I well know that all this is not easy. But you are not powerless, and you have the ability to change things for the better if you want to.

For instance, when SS says that DH is his dad and not the twins: that is a powerful teaching moment. Take your SS to the side at a calm moment, and tell him gently what you have heard. Tell him that his dad loves all three of his children. Tell him that love is not like a bowl of popcorn where there is only a certain amount, and the more people there are eating it, the less there is for him. No, love is magical.... it grows and grows. His dad will always love him, even tho he has other children. Reassure him, and deliver this message gently and with a hug.

And tell him that you know that it isn't easy for him to have a dad that isn't with him all the time. And that it isn't easy being a SS. Tell him you know that because you were new at being a SM, and that you have had to learn the ropes too. And that you know that you have made mistakes but you are going to try.....

And Poppy, know that praising good behavior is a 100 times more effective than criticizing bad behavior. For instance, when SS does play well with the twins, praise him and let him know how pleased you are. Again, message delivered with a hug, if you can and if he is comfortable. If he has a night where his table manners are good, praise that and tell him what a pleasure it has been to have him at dinner. Tell him that you are proud of him for something- "I heard how well you are doing in school. That is wonderful and I am proud of you!" By doing this, SS will want to please you instead of make you mad. And do it now, because the teen years are approaching fast!

And don't be afraid to apologize when you mess up. Far from weakening your position with SS, it can strengthen it. "I'm sorry I yelled at you. I am tired and cranky, and I'm mad at someone from work, and I took it out on you. That was not right and I am sorry."

Engage him as an ally. If the twins are fussy at eating, ask SS what worked with him in getting him to eat something. When you are going for a walk, ask SS to take one of the twins hands. Get him to read books to them. Take them all to the library and ask SS's advice as to what books he loved at that age. Train him to be the wonderful, protective big brother that the twins can one day turn to for help and advise. And do it by praising him when he takes on that role. Bring the twins if you can to watch their big brother at school events or sports.

You can change the dynamics in your family. You are not powerless, but it takes patience and taking a deep breathe when you want to lash out instead. I think you want a loving, peaceful home where children can grow up to be good people.... and you can have it, if you play your cards right.

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serenity_now_2007

That's excellent advice, Barb.

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smerngong

Reluctantsm, I think your situation
is very similar to mine. I do to think long and hard about my relationship to
my SD and how I feel. Most of the time I feel guilty and condemned for not
having the fuzzy feeling that most people do. It would be easier for people to
sit on their high horse and judge you but I applaud you for speaking about it.
At least now I know I am not alone. My situation is similar to yours because
when my eldest SD (I have two SDs) reached adolescence her attitude and behavior
started changing. Her stealing and lying increased. She is still going through
her adolescence transformation but I think I’ve struggled with the transition
more than she does. I’m losing my connection with her and I don’t really enjoy
hanging around her. Most of the time I anticipate her next lie. Hang in there.
I don’t think you’re evil. I think your struggling just like some of us do with
exception to those who are “perfect stepmoms” (sarcasm).

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Zero Lee

Yes you unfortunately are becoming the evil stepmom. Im not trying to be cruel, but it looks like you need a very large wakeup call. You married a man who you knew had a daughter, and i really wish you hadn't. That child didnt ask for this situation, and you shure arent helping with your, ugly attitude, because how you are currently acting is down right cruel, heartless and just plain selfish. What right do you have for treating a innocent child this way, she was there before you, and will be still there after you.Would you want your children to be treated the same way? No you wouldnt, and also you trying to decimate her bond with her father, with such horrible reactions to her is inexcusable, and it seems like she is a wonderful stepdaughter, are you even aware of how many loving stepmothers and fathers there are that would love to have such a nice stepchild?. So im going to give you some sound advice, leave that man , and his childs life if you want to do anything right by that child, leave now. And if that i hope her father sees how you treat her and he leaves you , because any parent worth their salt would never let their child ever be treated the way your treating her.

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aidalyn

Your feelings are completely normal. Step parenting is the hardest thing you'll ever do- you can't feel love for someone overnight.

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cherry4774

I am totally understand what you are going thru. My husband has a son that is 8. We just had a daughter together and she is 10months. I do not love his son the way that I love my daughter. I tolerate him. I guess it all started when he was 6 and he pooped on my floor because he had to go to the restroom but didnt want to stop playing with my nephew(who is the same age). He had enough sense after the fact to come tell his dad what he did but not enough sense to stop playing and ask for the restroom. Things got worse from there. The weeks immediately after that consisted of constant disrespect and back talk to me and his dad. He has told me "my dad doesnt love you" at times. And most recently he I heard him tell my nephew "she is not my mother, if you think that lady is my mother then you are crazy" Now I am aware that I am not his mother. In fact I am not trying to be his mother but when he shouts it from the mountain top at every opportunity then it does get a little annoying. He comes to visit EOW and I hate it. I wouldnt lose any sleep if he never came to the house again. I have expressed these concerns/problems with his father but he just blames me and says im not trying. BUt I have tried genuinely with no success. He is trying to make me love him because in his mind he doesnt see what the problem is. He is so hell bent on having one big happy family until it is stressing me out. I think he feels guilty for his son having to have a separate family but that is not my fault and I shouldnt be forced to fix it. I am waiting for the day that he is old enough to decide that he doesnt want to come anymore.

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yabber

Hi Cherry, sorry to hear about your problems. This is a very difficult situation and it is not going to go away any time soon; how can you make the best of it? Your husband wants to see his son and this is a good thing, imagine he couldn't be bothered with him? Would you want to be with such a man?

It looks like this boy will continue to come and stay EOW and it is up to you to get your head around it. I absolutely understand how hard this can be, having been there myself, but I always knew that for my husband to be involved in his kids lives and for them to stay with us was more important than my struggles. What did help is to take a big step back. You don't need to fix anything, for now you just want to get through the weekends as best you can right? Does your husband step up when his son visits? Who does the discipline? is he spending the time with his son or does it fall on you?

I could write a book about all the problems we had, and for years and years, it nearly did my head in, but they do grow up and it won't always be like this, hang in there!



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Evilstepmum

I just read your entry and I have to say I feel the same way you do about my SD! I was thinking I was the only one and a terrible person. It's good to learn I'm not the only one. My SD is 11 and moved in with me and my husband permanently August 27, 2016. She's a good kid, kind, and makes honor roll. I have to admit if she moved back to Indiana I would be happy. I know it may hurt my husband and that would be the only downfall. I do the same as you do...when her dad is not home and she and I are, I end up in my room with the door shut. I know this isn't good to do probably but I just find her so annoying. A miracle from God is the only way I see my situation improving. Good luck to you

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colleenoz

So if this child is good and kind, what does she do that's annoying?

Frankly, I can't help but feel that if you are shutting yourself in your room and leaving this poor child alone, you ARE a terrible person. Don't be surprised if she grows up and rejects you as you deserve to be.

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Evilstepmum

The problem isn't with her really, it's me and the way I feel. I do not have a clue why I feel the way I do. Believe me I wished I was not this way, it makes me miserable and stressed out. I just don't want to be around her. It's not her fault. Over all she's a good kid but I've caught her in lies, she's lived with us almost 2 years and we still have to tell her things over and over. She talks and talks and switches subjects we can't keep up with what's she's talking about. I know these things are not that big of a deal but you don't live with the child. I'm probably wasting my breath here trying to explain myself because no one will understand. It would be real nice if someone can relate or give me some useful advice on how I can stop feeling this way.

Thank you

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sushipup1

You need to talk to a real therapist. Seriously. We can't help you here, sorry. But please get yourself professional help.

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gl0ssy (Ontario zone 5b)

Evilstepmum, it sounds like you need to do some soul searching and perhaps speak to a therapist like sushipup1 suggested.

If this child is a good kid, and her infractions are having to tell her what to do, and fibs.. this all sounds like normal kid stuff to me. Is she treating you poorly? Is she giving you a hard time? Have you tried to do activities with her? Tried to engage her? She's likely not thrilled about the situation either

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lisaw2015 (ME)

Poor kid.....and we wonder why they act the way they do these days (sigh)

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Karen Peltier

You are not alone Estepmum. Just Goggle or Bing ‘I cannot bond with my stepchild’ and you will find multiple well-written articles and discussions about how missing the biological bond, unrealistic expectations and so on can interfere with child bonding. And, just as an FYI, you can google ‘I cannot bond with my child’ and find just about the same number of articles. So, whether step- or bio- you are not alone.

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Sara Tilmont

There is a colossal barrier to bonding in stepfamilies, and that is the expectation to share and possibly lose a primary family member to a complete stranger. It often causes tremendous fear and hesitation.

That fear manifests in rejection or the unwillingness to accept the new person, on either side. Nobody seems to know how to talk this out, so everyone is reacting to behaviors/body language/subtle messages. Both sides jockey to assume the priority status in the man's life. Then he feels "stuck in the middle".

There is no motivation to accept a stranger who, from the start, presents as a threat. This new person is poised to take the father's time, love, attention and assets from his original, "blood" offspring. There is no shared foundation of memories, love or a relationship to build on. The relationship is tainted from the start.

One of my grown stepchildren told me never to forget that she came first and that she is #1 to my husband. Another of his family members told me never to forget that blood is thicker than water. Just the most barbaric, uncivilized comments were made to me out of their fear of sharing my husband or losing him to me.

I really wanted to win the challenge and prove that I had the strength to work through it, to wait them out, to remain hopeful for a successful blended family. After 20 years, they win.

I no longer spend time trying to empathize with how they were raised, how they feel, what makes them tick. Their message, even if based in their own insecurity, has been consistent. My problem was not listening to it.

As much as I never wanted to be seen a stepmother, that is precisely what I am. I am not their counselor, a blood relative, a coach or friend. I am the target of their childhood disappointments. The best thing I ever did was accept my title, along with all the disdain and judgment that comes with it. It makes no longer caring easier for me.

I disengaged, and through lots of failed attempts, I finally was able to shift my focus away from trying to win them over. They are no longer headlines in our family, the one they have rejected for over 2 decades.

So no, I don't think it's a sin not to bond with stepchildren. I also don't believe that stepmothers should actively try to carve the children out of their father's life.

I do believe that if a family can not ever blend after many years of trying, the people involved need to make healthy decisions for themselves. Life goes on.

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colleenoz

I get that a SM may not bond with a SK, but abandoning a pre-teen (who you admit isn't mean or hostile) to her own devices and shutting yourself in your room isn't even civil.

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Ariel Anderson

Abandoning is a judgement term. My bio-parents stated to me more than once that they could leave me at home alone at age 11 with my little brother, and I'd take better care of him than my 16 year old sister. Were my parents abandoning me and my little brother? I certainly don't think so, but others might. If my mom or dad shut their door and left me to my own devices at that age, I'd love it. Not that I'd do anything that off, but I loved the faux independence.

You could be right, but with what is given here, I don't think one can assume a lack of civility is taking place. I see it more as a bonding issue too.

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colleenoz

If every time you visited someone’s house, they went into their room and shut the door, even at age 11 I think you’d work out that you were unwelcome and unwanted.

If you personally have visitors you haven’t “bonded” with, do you think it’s acceptable behaviour to hide in your room? No. Functioning adults pull up their big girl panties and at least interact in a civil manner. SM doesn’t need to “do things” with SK, but at least being out and about in the house carrying out her own activities as most parents do in the normal course of life, would not signal total rejection to SK as shutting her out does.

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Ariel Anderson

I still think you are reading into it. For one thing, Estepmum stated she ended up in “my room with the door shut.” She didn’t say she started out that way or as soon DH left the house and SD showed her face, she went into her room and shut the door.

But, I admit to giving Estepmum the benefit of a doubt. I do like that you bring up the importance of being civil and civil manners, since that seems to be so lacking nowadays. Not the best role models out there right now. Not sure what that means for our future, but when you have ‘leaders’ of our country who cannot even act civilly, it doesn’t look good.

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Nina Kang

Hi poppy, I’ve been reading through your thread and really feel for you. I’m sorry to see some negative comments on the thread.


im a new step Mum, and find it so difficult to connect with SS. You have to keep fighting and setting boundaries so everyone knows exactly what you expect in the household. Good luck to you

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