Step Parent Question

don’t let it bother you. You have been a big help to many with your sound and balanced advice. have a great day.

Here, here, mal.

Stepmother…your viewpoints and advice is well-respected on this forum. I too was rather offended by robinp’s post.

Stepparenting is one of the hardest roles to fill. There is little room for error. Too much involvement = trying to take the place of either parent…too little = perception of hating the stepchild or of competing with the stepchild for the other parent’s affection.

If you help out the parent to which you are married, you open yourself up to being accused of trying to take the place of the ex or take control of his/her children and “steal a family”. If you don’t help out that parent, then you are a non-supportive member of your relationship.

There is a fair amount of sympathy for a first-wife whose relationship failed for one reason or another, but little sympathy for the second-wife who is often seen as a usurper…a destroyer of relationships by our society. The second-wife has to take what she is given and make lemonade with it.

It would be very nice if parents and stepparents would approach such relationships as that of helpmate. You may not like the stepparent, but if you can put that resentment aside, you might be able to find someone who can assist you when the ex-husband is out of town on business and you have another appointment that can’t be missed, but the kids have needs that must be met too.

But, it requires having the confidence to know that the parental love bond isn’t easily hijacked and the patience to develop a set of rules and boundaries with the stepparent…which requires adaptation and cooperation. Not a dictation of terms to that stepparent, but a dialogue between all parties.

I appreciate the support. The only part that bothers me about this is a biological parent treating a child like a possession instead of a person. These children have feelings of their own. These children have family other than the parents. If the parents were still married, the children would not feel any differently about them than they do because they are divorced. A CHILD will not quit loving their father or mother even if you tell them that their father or mother doesn’t want to spend time with them. You hope that eventually they will quit letting themselves be hurt by it, but it does not happen until they are adults and know how to handle the rejection. I have lived this. No one is going to convince me that I would have been able to “move on” with my life if someone had told me at age 6 that my mother did not want to spend time with me.

My stepsons only get to see their father’s side of the family when they are with us. They see their mother’s family while they are with her. That is THIER time too, not just their father’s or mother’s custodial time. I have NEVER asked my stepsons to call me anything, though they did tell her otherwise once. I have made sure that the children respect the fact that she is their mother regardless of whether or not she ever earns that respect.
robinp’s suggestion that just because she gave birth gives her the right to be the ONLY person to love and care for those children is unrealistic. I was not suggesting to the original poster that she allow the stepparent to replace her only that the child is going to have other people in their life regardless of whether or not her mother approves. I do not agree with stepparents who treat the biological parents badly but that’s going to happen because parents ARE jealous of each other and the time they spend with a child after a divorce, and most of the time they show it. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a child learns to resent, learns to hate…

Of course your ex is going to tell their new wife/husband horror stories about you and tell them how mean and selfish you are. They are going to tell them how you ruined their lives. That’s all part of being an ex. But to suggest that the stepparent is overstepping their “place” and is wrong, because they want to spend time with the child even though the biological parent doesn’t, is absurd.
Your ex is a lousy father. Your new husband is a wonderful stepfather. He probably thinks that his new wife is a wonderful stepmother and that you are a lousy mother. Hmmmm…are we starting to see a pattern here?
The only thing you can do is to get used to the idea that there are other people involved in your child’s life, and there are other people that your child looks to for attention. Though they may not always influence the decisions that affect the child, it doesn’t mean that they are not affecting the child.
To do anything else would be to resign yourself to a bitter angry existence that is in constant conflict. Why would you not want to find a better way to live or want that for your children at least?

I’m not certain where the part about my step-daughter came from, but my step-daugther and I have a very good relationship still today. I love her and she loves me.

I think part of my statement might have been mis-interpreted. Step-parenting is the hardest thing I have every done. I would not choose to do it again, but I do not regret that I was there for her. She longs for her fathers attention, because he has always been a self-centered ass. When she came to visit us, she spent her time with me, because her father was always otherwise engaged.

What I meant by moving on with her life years ago is this. I wonder if it is worse for a child to have to deal with a single large rejection - a parent who does not really care for a child and does not see have them in their lives or is it worse for that parent to be wishy-washy and see the child sometimes, when the parent feels like it. Sometimes paying attention for a few moments, then not. It seems to me that this is a cruel form of torture. Like cutting the child, allowing them to bleed, patching them up, then making a new cut before the first is even healed.

My step-daughter now is scared of getting attached to people. She is scared of getting hurt.

I’m sorry if my rant was hurtful. I really am in a dark place at the moment. I have done nothing other than try to take care of my children and mind my own business. I am quite angry at having focus part of my time and energy on stupid lawsuits, criminal charges, DSS calls and inappropriate communications from my ex and his spouse. My time and energy needs to be spent on my daughters. One has health issues and both have educational issues.

It seems by ex’s new wife is hell bent on harassing me in any shape or form, although I don’t know why. I haven’t done anything to her.

I do still believe that step-parents are partners to the biological parents. I know that decisions may be made by a biological parent and step-parent together, but the step has to take a back seat and it should never appear as though the step is taking control and making decisions.

Athos made the point that I was trying to make. A step has to walk a very fine line. A line that is sometime difficult to even see.

I understand how delicate a step-parent/child relationship is and can be.
What I remember of my parents separation and divorce is very little. My parents split up when I was very young and my father remarried soon after. My memories of visitations consist of times after age 5 or so and even then I only remember short clips of scenes, something someone said and sometimes just a feeling.

Your stepdaughter’s attachment and emotional issues may or may not be due to her father’s attention. Regardless, you gave her support, guidance and love where she did not have it. I can’t agree that that could ever be a bad thing. It’s her father’s loss that he was not involved with his daughter as you were. You got to see her grow up into the woman that she is and you had something to do with her being who she is. Think of how she might be if you hadn’t been there for her…

Your ex’s new wife sounds like my husband’s ex. She still makes our lives difficult and most of the time, it has little to do with the children. The important thing to remember with this situation is that it will only bother you as much as you let it. If you allow this woman and your ex for that matter to force you to focus your time and effort on them, then you are allowing them to win. Some of the petty stuff can be brushed aside so that you can focus on the big things. If she calls, hang up. If she e-mails you, save it for future reference in court. If she tells your child things about you, simply live so that your child will KNOW that those things are not true. Eventually things will come back around and while I know that may be little consolation at the moment, think of how good it will feel when it does…

I appreciate your comments and thoughts. Yes, I did get to see my step-daughter grow into a wonderful young woman. I hope I had even a little part in that. It’s just that I see her hurt so badly by her father’s disregard. I want so desperately to protect my children from that.

Before he remarried, they didn’t have any clue that there father was not really there and they were happy to see him when they did. Now that the new wife is interferring in everything, it has become a big mess. For the first time, my daughters don’t want to see their father and feel uncomfortable when they are there.

I was 12 when my parents separated. I remember it all too well. My mother did not have much to say about it all, but my father was vindictive and bitter. He took every opportunity to say things about my mother. I once heard him tell her “something may happen to her brakes” and she would have an accident.

I just wish this woman would go away and leave us alone. Unfortunately, it isn’t something I can just ignore since there is legal action involved, but your are right that I can control some of the time and energy I spend on this situation. I shouldn’t care what either of them thinks or says about me. My daughters know the truth and all it does it make them not like their father and his wife more. I just hate to see them go through all this.

I’ll move my response to another forum to separate it from the ones who do not care about the drama:
robinp: I don’t care how well rounded your experience is, your opinion of how I live my life is not welcome. I do NOT wonder why I have a difficult relationship with the mother. I do not have a relationship with the mother. THAT is not my place. I do not care about their mother or her opinion of me. Her life does not affect me in any way.
My stepsons need as many people as possible who honestly care for them. They do not need their biological parent using them as ammunition to get revenge for imagined wrongs. She is NOT their primary caregiver and never has been. To their mother, it’s more important that they love her than for her to love them.
My stepsons are adjusting to a situation that was not their choice, as is everyone else on this forum. And they are adjusting to the every situation as best as they can. Please do not push your bitterness over the way your children’s stepmother treats you off onto me. I do not treat my stepson’s mother this way. Since I have no contact with her whatsoever I do not treat her good, bad or otherwise. I firmly believe that the universe does revolve around one point but as much as my husband’s ex would hate to admit it, that point is NOT her.
My “place” is by my husband’s side, to love and provide for my stepsons, to be a role model and caregiver. Your opinion will not make me question that.

From the sound of your post, you are one of the people who like to make life difficult for everyone involved. I am really sorry that you told your stepdaughter, who appreciated your involvement in her life so much, that your didn’t really care for her the way you pretended to. It’s a tragedy that you were involved in her life at all if the care and attention that you gave her was a lie. It sounds as though she really cared for you.
It is such a shame that you waited until she was an adult to let her know that your involvement in her childhood was an obligation and that if you had it to do over again you would not have had her in your lives. If you have done that to her then it’s understandable that she now wishes for a relationship with her father. “I think she may have been better off if she was able to move on with her life years ago.” You don’t “move on” with your life at 6 years old just because you find out your biological parent doesn’t want anything to do with you. If you think she would have moved on with her life then you are sadly mistaken. Her need for attention from her father is YOUR fault? Her emotional issues as an adult because of this lack of love from her father as a child is YOUR doing? have such power…
She needed you and you were there for her. How could that be a bad thing?

You should also realize that you can’t have it both ways. Your husband “is a very good step-father. He is more of a father to my girls than their biological father is” You should NOT be allowing that to happen. If your opinion of stepparents is so narrowminded, how do you sleep at night with the knowledge that you are allowing your husband to take a biological parent’s place in your child’s life? How can you preach what you don’t practice and expect anyone to take your opinion serious?

I’ll try to keep in mind not to respond to any of your posts from this point on, since you are not capable of seeing anyone else’s view point. I do hope that some of the others will respond to you so that you will be able to get the support you have come to this site seeking. I do wish you the best of luck with your chosen path.