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Messages By: nalysse

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October 12, 2005, 6:10 pm CDT

not easy raising stepchildren or bio children

Quote From: sarahjs26

I am 26 year old step mom of a normally sweet 11 year old girl.  I have been co-raising her since she was 4 years old, so it's not like I'm new to this.  but our custody arrangment basics are she stays with us for the school year, and spends more quality time with her mom during the summer months.  well every year she starts back to school with a bit of confusion, unfortunitlyher mom does not set any boundries, so when she comes home to our much more structured home, she fights us every step of the way.  refuses to wear her glasses, breaking school dress code, sneaking makeup (rule: off limits until she is 13), then lying about having brought the makeup here.and just basically her attitude has been mean and nasty to everyone in our home including her 5 and 3 year old brothers who adore her.  now I know these issues are more normal than extreme.  and I have talked to her mom about this stuff, I have been telling her for years she can't just let mandy run wild, so to speak, but it won't sink in.and in our home, I have taken unfavorable clothes (mostly skimpy shirts) and burned them, I have hidden the smuggled makeup. but that bad attitude just won't quit, my opinion, she waiting for me to cave in, let her do her thing cause it works on her mom.  but I am not giving in, but neither is she, so we butt heads every single day, how do I get some peace and happiness back into my home?

All I can tell you is that it is difficult to know what a teen needs. All they want to do is find their place in the world. Your stepchild is way too young to be asking for skimpy clothes and make-up. Your guidance is important when it comes to this issue. If mom isn't doing it, it is good that your stepchild has you as a role model. I don't know anything about her real mom. All I know is that bio moms love their children with an innate sense of love.   Are their bio moms sometimes misguided? Yes. Do they have all the answers? No. Please do not consider yourself the expert when it comes to this child. You did not give birth to her. Like it or not, this is a bond that deserves the highest respect (unless there is major physical and mental abuse on the part of the bio mom)  Give your love to this child, but do not overstep your boundaries. 

  

You are not scoring any points by burning your stepchild's clothes. You are not scoring any points by putting your stepdaughter's mom down. Your stepdaughter will rebel if you continue to bash her mom. Basically, it only gets more difficult -- especially when you are in a divorce situation.  

  

My advice:  respect your daughter's mom, and understand the difficulty that your stepchild faces as she tries to deal with two moms.  

  

My prayers are with you and your stepchild.  

 
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November 11, 2005, 8:49 am CST

Is anyone dealing with this?

I have a fifteen year old daughter. She has been living with her dad for a year. I have been very sad about it. Unfortunately, it was my idea. My daughter's dad filed bankruptcy, played my daughter against me, and now he doesn't pay me child support anymore. I've tried everything to get my daughter to listen to reason, but she is still siding with her dad. Her dad made my life with my daughter so miserable. He told me that if Nicole called him screaming and crying again, he would come to my house and get her. The sad thing is she knew she could get his support. He doesn't like me and he wants my daughter to hate me too. I have tried and tried to get my daughter help. Counseling was a dead end. She wouldn't go. Pleading with her to see me once or twice a week hasn't worked. Going to a lawyer and making her be with me will only cause more conflict between us. I'm at the end of my rope. I want her to see me, but not if she is going to come home and treat me like crap. The waiting game is driving me crazy. Any advice?
 
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November 12, 2005, 6:21 am CST

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: tlheisler

I left a marriage of almost 16 years in 2001. I got married at 19 to the first guy I ever dated. Needless to say, this did not go over well with my ex. He has and continues to make my life unhappy.  

  

My oldest daughter, doesn't even want to have a relationship w/him. She is now 17. My now 13 year old son struggles w/to like him or not and I struggle when he is liking him. Which is not fair to my son at all.  

  

I have a boyfriend that moved in about 3 years ago. My ex continues to leave nasty messages, calls me names, talks about me to all (and we live in a small town). He is unfriendly to my boyfriend who is great to our children and he is still in my business and wanting to know everything I am doing. 

  

For example, he never takes the kids...he calls up and asks my son to go to the mall. WHY? Because he drove by, saw that we were doing something to our deck and that I had a new car and he wanted to know what was going on. So it cost him an XBOX game to find out from my son why we had wood in the yard and if I bought or leased my new vehicle.  

  

He showed up at my daughter's football game (cheerleading, not playing!) on Friday after they have not spoken for several months, confronted her in front of her team on the track and said hi stranger...she told him to leave and she did not want to speak to him. He smelled of alcohol. He continues to say and do things that he has no recourse for.  

  

He drove by my house one day and I was gone w/my boyfriend in his truck and we were gone for the entire day. He kept driving by and thought I was home alone so left a message stating how it must suck to sit home all day by myself while my boyfriend is out f**king someone else. And he is proud of doing these things.  

  

He lost his job of 29 years recently for a racial comment at work. He calls me (and we don't speak) to let me know he can't pay child support. He also let the kids insurance go and I found out by a billing mistake that they had no insurance for  3 weeks until I added them to mine.  

  

I am so sick of this...feel like there is no end in sight. Any advice?  

Talk to your x and tell him that he can see his kids, but he cannot invade your privacy. Let him know the ground rules. Depending on how bad it is, you may consider getting a restraining order.  The only thing he should be allowed to do is see his kids. The rest of what he is doing is an invasion of your privacy. Making it legal, as to when and how he can see his kids, may make him see that you mean business, and hopefully he will get on with his own life and stay out of yours. If you don't do this, you may end up losing the relationship that you are in right now. How long do you think your new boyfriend will put up with your x's behavior? 

  

Good Luck 

 
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November 19, 2005, 6:34 pm CST

my prayers are with you ...

Quote From: maryannpar

I had this problem with my ex-husband.  he is an attorney and said that my daughter was 14 and could make her own decision about where to live.  I told her that if she wanted to live with her Dad I would fight for her.  She liked being there because she could do anything she wanted.  My ex fought me constantly, played her against me and basically put her in the middle.  What he really wanted was not to pay child support.  though my daughter remained with me, he was always manipulating her and causing emotional stress. Ibelieve this led to bad choices, confusion, and etc. which ultimately led to her death in a car accident.  Do not let this happen to you.  She needs stability in  her life and so do you and the ex.  You have to find a way to both spend time with her and make her feel loved and appreciated, not like a pawn in a chess game.  I know it is difficult but it is too important not to keep trying.

When I left this message, I never thought I would hear such devastating news. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like there is a lot of unresolved hurt. I don't know what to say. I haven't walked in your shoes. Although I know that you are right, as far as the child support issues go, please don't blame your x for the death of your child. This is so devastating.  

  

My prayers are with you as you deal with such a sad situation.  Thank you for your response. I will definitely keep my daughter close to my heart so that she doesn't make choices that will cost her dearly.  

 
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November 19, 2005, 6:43 pm CST

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: samanthab

I am a stay at home mom. I am 36 and my husband and I have a wonderful 1 year old son. We have been living in Europe for 7 years but when we found out we were having a baby we moved into the same city as my father and step-mother as we have been told by everyone we know that it is good to be close to family as you need all the help you can get-especially in the first year. Well, we took the help that they offered. Mainly watching the baby overnight once a week and now we feel that we are not able to set any boundries. We would love for them to be very close but now it seems that they feel like they are the parents. It is all a bit spooky how blurred the line between parent and grandparent is. It is blatent that they do not respect us or our opinions. It feels as if my step-mother, who is only 47, is regretting the fact that she did not have any children of her own. I tell them that I dont want the baby watching tv and the tv is always on. I dont want him going to eat happy meals yet and I am met with constant resistance. I didnt want them smoking in our house...and I just found out that one of them did. The latest is that they want to have a professional portrait done of the 3 of them and they want to send them out as their xmas cards. I said I thought it was strange and I was told that they would get the picture done whether I liked it or not. Religion is another HUGE problem. I think my stepmom feels it is her personal job to "save my sons soul" ...even though we had him baptised catholic...in Rome. Im so tired of the constant negativity to us, what we think and how we live our lives. She actually tells my son to please not be gay because God won't love him. What is that about!!! My husband and I are very happy people and dont believe in judging anyone and our goal for our son is to be a happy, healthy, well rounded and empathetic adult. We are starting to feel like our family is under attack. I try to speak to them about how I feel but they dont believe they need to speak to me about anything and pretend there is nothing wrong. I dont like getting the silent treatment in my own house, especially when I havent done anything. How do we begin to set boundries without ailenating the grandparents and keeping them in our babys life?

A new child is so life changing. Don't be too hard on everyone involved. They are just as amazed by the life change as you are. I don't think they are trying to be hurtful. I just think they are doing all that they know to do. At the same time, I think it is important for you to set the boundaries in your child's life. Don't make your child feel like his grandparents are wrong, just let the grandparents know that you are the parents. This is a difficult time. Try to find a fine line between love and security for your child.  

  

  

 
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November 25, 2005, 3:32 pm CST

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: anon81974

 Why don't you just concentrate on raising your own children and start dating when the youngest turns eighteen.  That way you are in total control of what goes on in your home and how it affects your children.  It will be the safest place for your kids to be.  And the added bonus will be that they won't have to compete for your love with your fiancee or her kids.
You have three kids.... it's not ALL about YOU anymore.
 Just a thought...
Children are so complex -- at any age. When you add in ex-husbands and ex-wives -- watch out!  The most important thing is to understand that children ages 0 to 25 are just reacting to their upbringing. They are struggling to understand what it takes to make a relationship work. Based on my own experiences, children and adult children seem to act out violently because they feel cheated from having a real family life. How do we even know, as parents, what a real life for our children looks like anymore?  We live in a society that shrugs off real commitment!  I'm dealing with enough just having to deal with my teens emotions. I'm dealing with even more than that when you factor in her dad. He doesn't even parent with me much less believe in commitment! Can you only imagine what happens when each parent gets married and tries to make a life with someone else?!  As hard as it is, the main focus has to remain on the children/adult children -- to a degee of course. In other words,  when the children are really small, you have a chance in heck of helping them know how loved they are, but when the children are older, I believe, you reach the point of no return. At that point, older children have to face the music. How on earth do you try to love, and at the same time, try to make the older child understand that parents have needs too? This is something that is only taught through life's lessons. This is something older children will understand once they have their own children. I guess what I'm saying is that adults have to be more mature than the children. As obvious as this sounds, sometimes it is just too hard to do.  It is so difficult, as adults, not to be dragged in to our children's hearts. We want them to be happy. We want them to feel loved. How on earth do we, as parents, do that when we ourselves are trying to move on with our own lives? How do we make our children, who only wanted a simple life, understand that we only want the permission to move on and make their lives happier?  Ultimatley, I hope you and your significant other are able to do this with grace and with love for your children.
 
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January 14, 2006, 4:29 pm CST

your situation

Quote From: paladium

I am a step-father and find myself backed into a corner between my wife and her 14 year old daughter.  No matter what I try to do or say, regardless of intent or good will, my every word and action are looked at with suspicion, and often with hostility, by both of them.  I am continually accused of being emotionally "mean" to the daughter because my comments are always taken as "critical".   However, if I don't say anything to her daughter at all in order to avoid those very problems, I get blasted for ignoring her daughter and not showing her love and respect.

  

I'm screwed! 

  

We also have a son between us who is 19 months old.  I often feel as if my wife is holding him hostage in order to force me to comply with what she wants, and how she wants me to treat her daughter.  Can you say "resentment"?  My wife refuses to attend family counseling to work out these issues, stating that she knows that she is partly to blame, but doesn't intend to change her behavior. 

  

OK, so now I'm screwed x 2! 

  

I have tried to research these kinds of problems on the web and have sent her articles on how important step-fathers are, and what some of the major problems are in step-families, all in the hopes of educating each other on the difficulties and dynamics of blended families.  I’m not sure if she is willing to even try…  As one article I recently read described "... for a stepfamily to work, the stepdad must have the respect of his spouse and stepchild.  Without this, stepdads always becomes the odd man out".  This is how I feel I am treated. 

  

I do not know how to turn this ship around, but above all, I do not want our family to become just another negative statistic.  We have no other major issues in our husband-wife relationship, and very few minor ones.  We are very compatible in many, many ways, and our morals and beliefs are identical.  We do not smoke, drink, party, or anything else that could cause problems in a marriage.  We are both home every night and on the weekends, we go out and do things together as a family regularly, and together we are able to provide well for our combined family.  And yet despite all this, we are on the verge of disaster. 

  

I'm afraid that if we can not overcome this issue, it will lead to divorce.  I do not want that... not again. 

  

  

Help! 

  

A loving husband and step-father, 

  

David 

I admire your desire to keep your family together.   

  

I want you to hear me when I tell you that teens add a dimension of drama to a relationship that goes far beyond anything a couple can understand!   

  

My fifteen year-old has created quite a lot of drama between me and her dad. Neither of us have remarried. This last year has brought so much sadness and despair. Her dad and I don't communicate anymore.  I have been my daughters rock for fourteen years. When her dad wasn't there for her I was the one to pick up the pieces. Her dad has made many mistakes which have caused him to lose his job, his house and his car.  He filed bankruptcy for the second time and apparently that was the last straw for him. He didn't want to pay me child support anymore.  Suddenly, I found myself  with a daughter who was very unhappy. She would come to me stating that I love money more than I love her. Before I knew it, her dad was defending my daughter's bad behavior because of his hatred for me. Her dad finally gave me an ultimatum. If my daughter called him crying again, he would come to my house and take her from me. The most heartbreaking decision that I ever had to make was to tell him to ask her if she wanted to stay with him. I figured that she would be happier. Never in a million years did I ever think she would be gone for a year. To this day, she still thinks of me as the bad parent.  

  

What I have come to understand is that teens act out because of the unhappiness that they feel inside.  In addition, teens are trying to work out their own feelings about why the marriage between their parents failed. Not only that, but at fifteen, teens are dealing with the stress of realizing that they need to get good grades in order to graduate from high school and get into a good college.  

  

What I'm trying to say is that raising a teen is difficult. You have added another dimension of uncertainty into this teens life because you married your teens mom. 

  

I would say ask you significant other to stay focused on your relationship. Let her know that  "this too shall pass."  I would hate to see your relationship end. Once your stepdaughter is older, and is able to understand the adult world better, you and your spouse will have a much better relationship.  

 
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January 15, 2006, 5:56 pm CST

Just tell them ...

Quote From: newmom26

  

I have a three month old who is bothered terribly by cigarette smoke.  I do not let anyone smoke around him, but even the stale smoke from  his grandmothers clothing will cause him to caugh and get stuffed up.  I have no problem telling anyone in my family to not smoke if they plan on coming around him.  The problem is my husbands family.  He will not tell them that smoke bothers our baby because he doesn't want to hurt their feelings.  I already feel that his parents do not like me so I don't think I should be the one that has this conversation with them.  How should I let them know that if they want to see our child they can not smoke? 

If they don't like it, too bad. You are protecting your child. If they have gone this long in life, and feel that they are entitled to smoke around their grandchild, they don't deserve to have a grandchild! 

  

If they truly love their grandchild, and want to see their loved one raised happy and healthy, they will abide by your decison.  

 

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