new step parent uhg!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by medeafair, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. medeafair

    medeafair Guest

    Just found out that new stepdaughter doesnt want to spend anytime at all with myself or my daughter. my husband says she doesnt want a new family. I have never run into this before, we have been married for almost 2 years and I thought everything was ok. Now she expects him to visit her in San diego , which is 6 hours away. She wont come here. I know she is just a kid . My daughter accepted my new husband with open arms, she is 16. His daughter is 15. I want to know how to handle this. What would be a good compromise. I know he is stuck in the middle. I am sooo upset. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    Thank you, in advance
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I'm sorry that this situation is causing strain for your family.

    You know, I'm divorced and not remarried so the whole step family situation is not one I can speak to (other than that my kids do have a step mom but she is almost a peer, she is so young, so they don't even look at her in that stepmom light).

    All children are different and handle divorce and the remarriage of their parents differently. Your daughter's reaction has nothing to do with how your step daughter will do. They are two different people and it seems clear that no one really knows why. Is biomom supportive of her visits? Do she and husband have an amicable relationship? The root could be there. Or it could be something else altogether.

    Let me ask you, his daughter is 15, she has her group of friends, her room, her "comfort zone" and you guys expect her to drop and leave that all behind and come 6 hours to dad's house? Don't you think it is natural that she would want dad to come to her, perhaps having some undivided attention with her father in her own space? Perhaps husband needs to go to her a few times. Perhaps she will see his willingness to come to her and recognize how much he loves her. Perhaps they will open up and talk to each other about the situation and it will get better.

    I think having husband away to visit with his daughter is worth the time without him. His daughter needs to be a priority in his life and he needs to find out what is going on. There is no other way to do it than to spend some quality time with her in a place where she is comfortable.

    Having said all that (!), I am assuming here that your stepdaughter is a typical teenager - in other words, no real issues like the ones that most of our kids here deal with - adhd, bipolar, depression, Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), etc. If there is the presence of any of these, the situation may need to be handled with the assistance of her therapist or psychiatrist. This board is dedicated to providing support and information to parents whose children struggle with emotional and behavioral (among others) issues. Sometimes kid gloves are called for.

    I hope you all can work together to bring the family into harmony.

  3. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I had a very different situation, but from what I have seen in other stepfamilies... A teenager is likely to be resistant to anything the parent wants. Especially the non-residential parent.

    Honestly? If you and he are on the same page here - why not make it a vacation for all 3 of you? She does need to see that you and your daughter ARE part of husband's life now, and she may not have to like it, but she does need to treat you with respect - as any other adult. Period.

    Just my $0.02. And welcome!
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Although my steps lived in the same big town (no commute needed) one of the girls in particular was not a happy camper
    about visiting our home...the other two rolled with it and bonded quickly. Since all six were teens there were alot of different views. :surprise:

    It worked out for us by husband and I stressing that his relationship with his children was a priority. husband asked for input on what seemed fair to them and what was most important to them. Obviously all kids want their Daddy to themselves even when the first marriage is intact! I would suggest that he go visit her (without frequent interuptions via text or email from your
    home) and have that type of conversation. Let her explain why. Sometimes we just don't know what is in our kids heads.

    Then because she knows he loves her and because she also loves him...a compromise should come about. It may just be that she wants to stay near her friends. It may be that she can't stand him living a life with you and your daughter. It may just be a power play. It may be because of her Mom. Let him find out, address her concerns and then emphasize that each of them needs to respect the other's needs. One way trips is not a fair burden. She does not have to love you all but
    she must respect you.

    I'd suggest an initial one way trip to establish a workable pattern. Even teens should know what is fair. She wouldn't expect her friends to always come to her house...same goes for loved ones. It's a hairy situation but I'm betting it can be
    resolved fairly unless your husband gets sucked into a guilt trip. Daddy often does go overboard to avoid guilt...even when there is no actual reason to feel guilty! Sigh! Best of luck. DDD

    PS: When the steps came to our house they spent the whole day with their Dad. They played tennis or golf. Sometimes they did picnics. They had him all to themselves and then we all were together for dinner and the evening. It was good for all of us.
  5. Giselle

    Giselle New Member

    Honestly what I think is that for the next 3 years, he should go there regularly, alone, if she prefers. Unless she changes her mind and is willing to visit your family. HE left her. Or her mother pulled her away. I don't know which, but the reality is that her TWO parents didn't make it work, and then one of them decided to move away while she was still a minor. And if the mother is somehow crazy, well, he married her and made a kid with her, so he's party responsible for that. I think that, barring some terrible circumstances, parents need to stay in the same general area and parent their children until they are 18. She probably resents you and your daughter, and it's not the same thing for both girls, because YOUR daughter gets this other girl's biodad full time. He chose you and your daughter over her, from her perspective, because if he didn't, then he would be living in her town and seeing her regularly.

    I'm very sorry if I rubbed anyone the wrong way, and I know there are sometimes circumstances beyond someone's control. But I wish that people were far more conscious before they decided to have kids, and that once they did, that they made them a priority, even over their own love lives. I don't necessarily think he should have left her (or if she was pulled away then I think he should have put up a fight, if he didn't), and I'm not even sure that he should have married you and become the dad figure to your child until his own daughter was 18. I can imagine his daughter feels quite slighted or jealous and doesn't have the maturity and courage to know how to express it (or would anyone even listen?).

    But I should ask - you say in your post that you're very upset. Why? Is it loss of time with him? Feeling rejected by her? Sense that because she's the child she should have to do the traveling? Other? I realized in my post that I have a strong opinion, but maybe that's bypassing some thought or emotion that you have that would make it hard to let this go until it was explored.

    I also wonder - were you a child of divorce with step-parents or were your parents together when you were growing up? If they were together, imagine what this would be like from her perspective and how resentful you might be if your dad had a new family with someone else, especially being the new dad to a girl the same age.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2010
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Giselle, I think what you're trying to point out, is that the kids in this situation will always see it only from their point of view. It's definitely a typical teen thing. And when it comes down to having to organise the practicalities of such a visit, the kids involved, who have been feeling powerless and rejected (not necessarily with reason - but those feelings are normal, they've been caught up in a marriage break-up when they had no say in it at all) will often test their parents (both of them) to try to work out what the boundaries are.

    It is difficult when you don't live in a more convenient location. For example, we chose to live where we do, it's beautiful and by the sea, surrounded by wilderness. But because of this, it is isolated. Our kids, especially easy child, resented the isolation. While the kids were growing up, we had to make compromises in order to compensate for where we lived. We could have done what other families in the village did - moved to the city while the kids were in their teens. But we felt this was too expensive. We also didn't want to sell and move, because we knew we'd never be able to move back and husband & I both hate city living. But our kids were disadvantaged due to where we live, so we did our best to make up for that and make the effort to take them places they needed to go, to wait outside various after-school activities, to generally make their lives easier than we would have, if we lived in the suburbs. And now the kids are grown (except for difficult child 3), we have our beachside home to ourselves again, no kids nagging us to move. And when the kids come home for a visit, they are glad we did not move, because now, like us, they value the peace and quiet!

    But in the meantime - we had to make compromises, in order to ensure our kids' needs were met.

    Does this analogy help?

    You married a guy who had baggage. You had baggage too. But your daughter is OK. His is not. So compromises will need to be made.

    There are other step-parents here on this site, stick around and let us know how you get on. It won't hurt to extend the olive branch to this girl, and for her to see that he is still her daddy, even if he doesn't live so close.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with Giselle.

    I divorced and remarried several years later. I wanted the divorce for various reasons and the kids knew it and were not at all interested in mom marrying somebody else and were not willing to accept my husband. Any authority he tried to show was rejected with "You're not my father." Nothing changed it. My hub stepped back and me and ex parented the kids together by phone. Once hub began "friend only" it got better, but it didn't really improve until they were adults. I had to learn that it was not their problem, it was our problem. WE divorced; the kids didn't want us to. Then *I* got remarried. The kids didn't pick him, I did. Being teens I can only imagine how hey felt when we went to bed them, that was reserved for their father and me (one of my kids who is now grown told me this). Two of my three kids were teens when I remarried. One was eight...she took it the hardest, but they all did.

    Let her have all the time she needs. This isn't about you; it's about the child having to see her parents split up and then decide to marry somebody else. I would not give your hub a hard time. This is something you both should have realized could have happened. What worked for us was patience and for ex to step back and not try to play a parental role. Now everyone gets along well. But it took looking at it through their eyes.

    Good luck :)
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    My parents got divorced when I was an adult. I was very angry with my dad for how he treated my mom. I was angry for good reason. When he got remarried he made the mistake of trying to force us to accept his new wife without really working out his relationship with his children. I was basically estranged from him for 10 years. Eventually we did work it out but it was difficult.

    So give space to his daughter and encourage him to go see her alone. This is about their relationship and no matter what she says is not really about you or your daughter. Once they have a better relationship she will probably be more open to seeing you.