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How do I deal with strange step-kids?

I have a daughter who will be two in a few months. My boyfriend and I have been together for about a year and a half now, and he has two kids ages 3 and 5. They live with their mother full time, and my little girl gets so excited when they come to visit. As soon as they walk in the door, she gets all excited and says hi to them, but they never look at her, or say hi. It bothers me a little, since my daughter is so happy to see them. It's a let down. In fact, though, they hardly ever answer questions at all. If you ask them how dinner was, they kind of just look at you. I find it really weird, since my daughter is almost half their ages and twice as vocal. Is this normal for some kids, and I'm just not used to it? Or should I be sitting down my significant other for a talk??

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:59 PM on Dec. 1, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (16)
  • That sounds odd. I would talk to your SO and find out if the kids were always like this. It could be a result of the divorce, it could have something to do with things going on in their home, they could have disabilities. There's a million possibilities really.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:01 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • No one (kid or not) would be ignoring me or my daughter in my own house. Yes def talk to your sig other. Maybe the kids are shy, but being polite is a must.

    Answer by MLM0503 at 9:02 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • I would ask bf if they talk when you are not around. some kids hold resentments towards new people in their parents life. My step kids never have had a problem of talking to me or anyone else for that matter. But my oldest resents me when I am near her dad. And now she shows it by lying all the time. And being sassy to everyone. She will not even let my dh have his arm around me at church. She is 7 and was all into me and dh getting married... until she realized that I am not leaving. All kids react differently. I would ask him if they are always like that... it can also stem from their mom and what she is saying.

    Answer by SuzanneL09 at 9:07 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • i think it's less about them and more about you..... more like they are upset that their dad is with you and not their mother. jmo

    Answer by princessbeth79 at 10:31 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • [I am the question asker] Princessbeth79 brought up a good point- and it might be my boyfriend's son's deal.. but his 5 year old daughter tells me that she loves me and gives me hugs and whatnot.. And I carry on a lot of conversations with them, and they don't really ignore me if I get down on their level.. so I don't know that they're being vindictive or anything. But MLM0503 also has a good point- it's rude, no matter which age they're doing it at. It's probably a habit that should be stopped, right? I think I might just sit the significant other down, let him know it's stressing me out, and then have a chat with the kids next time they visit and let them know that it's rude not to say hello back to someone who has greeted you. Does this seem like a decent course of action? Helping raise kids who aren't your own is so stressful- I never gave decent step-parents their due credit..!

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:38 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Part of the problem might be because you and their father aren't married. Their mother may say negative things about you living together and not being married. I know my ex-husband would have been very upset if I would have lived with someone without being married. The kids may not know what to think of you since their father has not made you his wife. They may not know what to make of your child even though she is their half-sister because you could up and take her away at any time.

    Their father and you got pregnant when his other child was a baby. They may resent that he left them for you and had another child right away. Why would a man have a baby with another woman when he has a baby?

    It's a bad situation. It's no wonder the kids don't talk much.

    Answer by Gailll at 10:55 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • [Question Asker] I'm actually rather surprised by the negativity of your comment, Gailll. The children are 3 and 5. They weren't around when their parents got married, so I'm sure that marriage in-and-of itself doesn't really mean as much to them as it does to an adult who understands exactly what being married entails. Aside from that fact, he didn't run off and have another baby right away; the child is mine, not his. We were two single parents who fell in love. I believe that a year is a little soon to run off and get married, especially in this economy where we're trying to support three small children in a good neighborhood.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:06 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • Cont: [Question Asker] For you to just walk in and pronounce it as a "bad" situation seems disrespectful to me, as well, Gailll. It's not as though I'm their evil step-mother who tore their parents apart. It sounds as though my situation tastes bitter in your mouth. I'm sorry for you if you've been on the bad end of a situation seemingly similar to this one. It probably has to be tough to have the father of your children move in with another woman. However, in the future, I advise against taking the time to intentionally make someone feel bad. This is a place to help people, not patronize them. Loving a man who already has children is not something I need to be scolded for, and for you to blatantly tell me that I'm the problem and "no wonder they don't talk much," is just rude. I don't know why you're hung up on the fact that we aren't married, but I'm pretty sure the lack-of-a-ring isn't our problem. Thanks anyway, Gailll.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:11 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • I doubt they're doing it intentionally. If they're doing it rudely, that's different, but still...they're so young, so I doubt they could even have intentions like that. I would talk to them and encourage them to play with her. Maybe try to get them to play with some sort of toys or game together...all kids love toys, right?! I suppose their mother could be saying something to make them act that way, but maybe not. I don't know...that is strange though, and I wouldn't like it either, and I feel bad for your excited little girl.

    Answer by StefanieN84 at 11:17 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

  • [Question Asker] That's great advice, Stefanie. I mean, they have toys to play together with.. but maybe I should look for an activity that they might all enjoy. I just don't know what to make of it, because once they're here, they all run off to play together after awhile. I'm not entirely sure what more I could do to make them bond together. I don't think it's necessarily that they dislike my daughter, [or myself], I just wonder if their mom talks to them much. They don't really know how to answer me when I ask how their day was, or what they did at school, or how they liked lunch. My sister gets the same reaction out of them.
    I don't want to push them, but once I get them going, they tell me lots of stories from school and their mom's house. So maybe it's just a stage they're going through or something.. Hm...

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:25 PM on Dec. 1, 2009

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