New teenage daughter to our family

Danielle Zaha

My husband and I have been together for 19 years and we have a 16 year old son and 12 year old daughter. My husband recently found out that he has a 16 year old daughter with another woman. We discussed this and I have come to terms and excepted that it happened, please no judgment. We live in Ohio while she lives in Missouri. I set up us meeting in Missouri and we invited her to come stay with us for her spring break. She ended up being able to stay with us for 2 weeks and by the end I was sad yet excited to have her leave. While she was with us my husband acted different, everything was all about her, and he stated that he was trying to make up for lost time. I attempted to bond with her and do things as a family and most of my attempts were meet with complaints or the new daughter and my husband together and the other 2 children with me. I felt, based on her actions, that she was not interested in having new sibling or a step mom and was only willing to spend time with her dad. This hurt my feeling immensely. I put a lot of time and energy into making her a picture book, getting us to meet in Illinois, getting her to Missouri and than I felt left out of everything. After she left I asked my husband to have a group text with her, in a way to attempt to build a family bond, and he refused because it isn't personable. Now when I text her she might answer back but it is usually with one or two words. She seems to text him regularly. The other children haven't heard from her or reached out to her since she left. I am wondering how to make her a part of our family and not just have her be his daughter. Any advice?

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shead

Having an adopted child that we adopted when he was older (8.5) almost three years ago, all I can say is that bonding takes time. This is an overwhelming time for everyone involved. Biological connections are deep so it’s really normal for her to want to build a relationship with her dad first before opening up to others in the family. When we came home from overseas with our son, we “cocooned” with him for several weeks and kept his outside interactions limited in order to foster trust with us. I totally applaud your intent and your desire to build a relationship with her but right now, it’s probably best to back off. If you haven’t already, counseling may be beneficial for everyone involved.

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bleusblue2

I agree that counselling is usually a good idea. I am not of the school that says "all men are like this" etc. forgive me for saying it then. I think that men who are in rather traditional families simply are unaware of the amount of attention and work the wife does in order to make life worthwhile. Since the young girl was born during your marriage I can only guess what you have had to contemplate to get to the point of trying to take care of all the relationships and have her be part of your own family. It's sad that your husband is so involved with his own situation that he is unaware of what you try to do but maybe that's all the emotional reserve he has at this point. What do you think?

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Izzy Mn

Maybe the sixteen years old girl is having a hard enough time dealing with the new found father. She doesn't feel comfortable enough to let everyone else into her life. I would be overwhelmed with all the new people. Also, how would you have felt about this in her shoes? Tough for a 16 year old girl. She needs her space, just follow her lead. How uncomfortable for her, she is not doing this to be mean, just to protect herself.

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Kim Aves

I applaud you for this, " I am wondering how to make her a part of our family and not just have her be his daughter. Any advice?" However, it appears your husband is already setting you and the rest of your family up for failure on this. He is the one teaching her it is him and her and that's it. (By the way, adoption is totally different from step-parenting.)

You don't want any judgement, but It can be crucial how this all came about. Were you and your DH married at the time? Are you sure this is his biological child? I’m not putting any blame at all on the child, but your DH should not be completely left off the hook for this. He needs to step up and be a father to this new child, yes, but he also continues to need to father his other children, and still be a husband to you, and think more-so about integration. He’ll be the one who will have to lead there, because he is her bio-father, and the dad has to lead. If SM tries or tries too hard, that can build up the resentment.

On the other hand, if your husband has gotten away with crap in the past, lording over the family or what not, and gets to do as he pleases, then he is going to continue to think he can do as he pleases, and to him that looks like it could mean having a 1:1 with his daughter, while counting the rest of his family out or at least off to the side. Some people would try to claim this is “their” right—for the father and daughter to have their own personal relationship; however, it is exclusionary and in a weird-bizarre sort of way, can almost come across as him emotionally having another woman on the side

Anyway, best of luck to you, but unless your DH is invested in blending, it is highly unlikely that this will happen. HE needs to be held accountable, and not you.



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