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I'm a stepmom, has this ever happened to you?

I've been a stepmom for 5 years. My ss is 9 and he relates all of his experiences toward his mom and her household. My dh and I see him 3 days/evenings per week and even every other weekend. We went to Disneyland last month with him, and the whole time we were in line for a ride, he told us the number of times he had been to Disneyland. When we told him not to forget about going with us 2 years ago, he said he remembered nothing of the trip and that the only times he remembers going to D-Land is with his mom and cousins on his moms side. This has happened with other events, and even happened when he was asked to name all of his cousins. He has 4 on his dads side and they were not even mentioned! Why would my ss be leaving his dad and dads family out of his memory? They all love him very much and this is a shame to see happenening.

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:19 PM on Dec. 22, 2009 in Tweens (9-12)

Answers (8)
  • You have to remember he is 9 y/o. It is hard for a child to have two families. I would not take it so personal. I know it is hard when a child you care for and do for does things that hurt you. Plus, he may know it bothers you. I am not sure I do not know the kid. A child does not always "click" with a step parent. I have two half sisters. My mother was great to them their whole lives. She was better than their own mother her left, but they still always had a something against her and still do due to the step parent role. It has 20+ years. I wish you luck.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:25 PM on Dec. 22, 2009

  • My guess is that it's his Mom making sure he has no good memories of him doing anything fun with you. I have the same problem with my two stepdaughters. Anything we do with them, it's "oh we did this with my Mom and we saw this with her" and on and on. I know it's really annoying and I sympathize with you. My stepdaughters also act like their Mom's family is their only family and never ask about their cousins or aunts on hubby's side. And I know in our situation that their Mom has a big hand in making sure they never talk about hubby's family and she does NOT want them to have any fun with us and they are not allowed to talk about anything fun we do with them or anyplace we go. Could this be going on with your SS? If it is, it's a really sad statement on how a parent can really mess things up with kids. It hurts our feelings a lot.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:26 PM on Dec. 22, 2009

  • It could be influence from his mom. His mom might have negative feelings towards her ex and that side of the family, so she creates a situation where the son feels he needs to eliminate the memories he has.

    Answer by JazzlikeMraz at 10:52 PM on Dec. 22, 2009

  • Op again. Can I add that my ss moms parents both died a few years before he was born. Even though his mom was apparently close with them both, my ss had no clue of who they are when I brought up "his grandparents in heaven". I've been in her house once and there were no pictures out of them anywhere, not even in my ss room at her house. I think his mom may do a good job of "shutting doors" when people die or leave her life, and chooses to only incorporate the here and now and what's going on in "her" life, not her sons.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:42 PM on Dec. 22, 2009

  • sounds like his mom ma be putting stuf fin his head( some moms do that and its a shame) making him feel guilty for not staying with her.

    Answer by angelairelan at 9:47 AM on Dec. 23, 2009

  • I would take pictures of the fun things you do together and put them around the house - post them on the frig, frame them and put them on top of the tv, on his nightstand, etc. Point them out regularly when he's around and talk about them. For children, sometimes it's hard to remember things if they aren't talked about regularly. With my kids we do a lot of "remember when" while we're eating or at bedtime when I'm having special time with each of them. My dad died when I was 7 and I have VERY few memories of him, even though my mom talked about him often. His memory will stick more as he grows older. Just stay positive and try to enjoy him.

    Answer by missanc at 1:48 PM on Dec. 23, 2009

  • Suggestion: Don't pressure him into having to name events and persons in his family on his dad's side. Continue to include him in family events and to make lasting memories. When he talks about his mom or activities with the other side of the family - just acknowledge it sounds like he had such a great time and your glad he has had the opportunities. No need to remind him about other things he has done with you and his dad. He may be in funk or a phase that could last a long while. This is normal for kids who have experienced divorce and two homes. My guess is at nine he does remember but is most likely trying to communicate his issues on divorce in a way that is not very desirable. Here is the thing: he may or may not even realize why he is doing it. Whatever the reason just have a good time and respond positively about his other experiences. All you can do is your best. The rest is up to him over the years.


    Answer by frogdawg at 6:58 PM on Dec. 23, 2009

  • Don't feel like you're competing because at that age you won't win with him. Mom will come first. He's probably just working out some of his divorce issues. i agree with the idea to take pictures whenever you do fun things and put them up around your house. Don't give him copies and expect them to be around at his mother's. if your man's ex is anything like MY mother they'll be burned. I did the same thing and a lot of it had to do with my mom guilt tripping me into favoring her. I could have had so many fun times with my stepmother, she's such a great lady, but I felt this need to always side with my mom, no matter WHAT.

    Answer by metalhealthmama at 10:05 PM on Dec. 29, 2009

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