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Advice for a future step-mom

Ok, my bf and I plan to buy a house soon and get married. He has a 13 yr old daughter (never married) who is a great kid... but I am clueless, lost, scared about this... how and where do I fit in? I feel like a 3rd wheel with he has her for the weekend and I just don't even know how to talk to her when he leaves the room. I plan on a project with her this weekend (sewing a dog bed) just to spend some time together. I know I won't ever be the parent, and I have no say, and I'm lost as to how I fit in... how do I do this?!? I was a step-kid.. but my step-dad was no example to follow. And I read everyone's input of how there are so many more cons to pros for this position... is scaring me more!! So much of this freaks me out and I don't know what steps to take so make things smoother... if that's even possible. EEP!!

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Asked by new-to-this at 1:36 PM on Mar. 24, 2009 in Teens (13-17)

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Answers (16)
  • It is definitely hard, but if you REALLY love your SO, it can be done. What is his custody situation? How often is she with you guys? Have you and SO sat down and discussed this, I mean REALLY discussed it? What role does HE expect you to take with her? Are you in agreement that he will handle all discipline? What is the role of her mother in your lives? I married a man with a son, he was 6 when we met, 11 when we married and is 17 now. It has been a very rocky road, but mainly because his mother is an evil person who wants to "take us down" .. lovely, I know. Anyway, I always felt that my role was "cool aunt" type of relationship. I don't discipline, if I have an issue with SS, I go to DH and DH takes care of it. SS has 2 parents that are very involved, he does not need another. I do my part by leading by example. 13 is a horrible age, just know they aren't 13 forever.

    Answer by gramsmom at 1:44 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • You've already isolated yourself with the comment about "knowing you won't ever be the parent, and I have no say". You are the parent. You do have a say. I have never been a step-mom.... but I've had to integrate a step-dad into my sons lives.... it wasn't easy, but I continued to assert that WE are their parental team, WE are their parents, WE, WE, WE..... I think you're comfort zone is going to lie with your DH. If he opens the door to let you be the mom (step or not), then you can get more comfortable. I've found that when it becomes difficult are in those times when discipline is a factor. You need to know that your DH trusts you explicitly in this department. If you know you can enforce rules, the it makes it easier to take the lead. If you are entering a situation where you have no power in the face of power-struggles, THEN you have no say. She needs a mom, even step-mom, not a friend. She has friends

    Answer by PaceMyself at 1:45 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Sorry, but I totally disagree with Pacemyself. Perhaps it worked in her situation, Pace, how old was your son? What was his father's role? Are you full custody? All those things make a big difference. At 13 and a girl you will not succeed if you step in and try and be the same as her mother, won't happen. She will hate you immediately. You are not her parent, that is the way it is, but that does not mean you get walked on or disrespected in your home, you are co-head of the household and that gives you plenty of authority, just not directly over parenting their teenage girl. It would take YEARS before you'd ever remotely be in a spot to directly discipline this girl.

    Answer by gramsmom at 1:52 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • I like the "cool aunt" idea... and I agree to the "WE" scenario. I guess I have isolated myself by saing I don't have a say.. but a while back she had been watching some very grown-up movies that freaked me out so I had my say with my man and he totally agreed... though I'm not sure if he ever actually had a talk with her about what she was watching. He gets her every other weekend, and if he wants to hang out with her any other time he just arranges this with her mom. Her mom made it clear I am nothing to her... "met" her at their daughter's school choir thing and she acted as if I wasn't standing in front of her and no one introduced me. Ok, cool, I can live with that... but she apparently likes to rip people apart.. not a nice person. So I just won't have anything to do with her. But it worries me about what she may say about me in front of the kiddo... she's already said she likes me, but she's still influential...

    Answer by new-to-this at 1:55 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • ...and I got cut-off... ha ha ha Anyways, no my man and I have not had a sit-down yet about my role with his daughter... and I know we need to... we need to before we start house shopping.. and he still needs to have his sit-down talk with her about the permanence of our relationship.. i.e. sharing a home and will be married and all that future stuff. WOW! So much! I agree with the "cool aunt" role... that sounds do-able! lol

    Answer by new-to-this at 1:57 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • That's why I said; I have not been a step mom but had to integrate a step dad into the family. I was just saying that she and DH will need to work together to help establish the proper role with the daughter. My sons were older, their bio dad was not part of the picture, I had full custody. But there was still plenty of contention and horn-rutting going on. It just worked way better when I stepped up and let my sons know that they were dealing with US, DH and myself. The discipline issue was never a real issue considering we're talking about guys and not gals. My DH takes the role of my protector, my helpmate, and when there was a problem w/ one of the boys not behaving, he stepped in and was direct , never a spanking or anything like that, just direct and to the point of 'this is how it's gonna be' . I still stand by that she will get her best ques from her DH and she will need to know where he stands on her role as SM.

    Answer by PaceMyself at 2:11 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Well, now I totally agree with you! =) Her STBDH definitely needs to be VERY clear with his daughter that she is just as in charge as he is regarding respect and authority in the home, but just having her EOW isn't enough "in charge" time to do the daily parenting stuff. Sure you do things for your step child, I just mean the heavy duty discipline. It will not be received well from the stepmom. Again, establishing rules and demanding respect and all that falls in his hands in this case, as if fell in yours, Pace, with your DH. If SD smarts off or disrespects the SM, DH needs to step up in a huge way and be clear that it is totally unacceptable behavior. As soon as the SD can play you two against eachother, you're toast.

    Answer by gramsmom at 2:24 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • I say take a day to spend with just her. Go get hair or nails done, go shopping, go out to eat, talk to her and get to know HER. It would make a good impression and those are lasting with teens. This would show her you are not an enemy nor a friend, never be your childs friend.

    Answer by mehamil1 at 2:28 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • I dated a guy once who had THREE daughters from 15 to 7 years old..... oh my it is difficult with girls, because, lets face it, you're dealing with little women and women (even little ones) can terrify the crap out of you - it's like they have a sixth sense and they can pick up on ANY insecurity you have. And they will (let's face it.... we know we're good at it....) manipulate a situation in a heartbeat, if it fits their purpose. Sweetie, I wish you the best of luck, and I mean that in the best kind of way. This is definitely doable.... especially since you were once a little woman yourself.... you have great potential to way better understand this young lady than her father ever will. Ya know. You're a woman, once a girl, now a mother.... you can do this. She's not a monster, she's probably, no likely, just as scared and unsure as you are. Go slow, be strong, you'll be a great SM.

    Answer by PaceMyself at 3:04 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

  • Exactly! lol I was thinking if it were a boy it may be a bit easier, but you are also right that having been there myself it would give a bit more perspective. Thank you, ladies, for you input!! I greatly appreciate it! I do feel better about it getting some experienced advice! :) And I definitely plan on spending some time with just her... Thank you! :)

    Answer by new-to-this at 3:28 PM on Mar. 24, 2009

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