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Step-mothering after the kids' biological mom dies - how to navigate the rough waters?

I would like to hear how others have handled it with their stepkids when the biological mom has passed on suddenly. My stepdaughters are 17 and 20, so the younger is now our legal dependent. The girls are grieving and shutting us out. Mom's relatives are arranging for them to stay in mom's house and we are not allowed to visit there because that's was mom's rule. (The divorce happened before I came on the scene.) I've been gently letting them know that I am here for them, but I wonder whether I should stay back completely or take a more assertive approach. One of them is not talking to Dad - I presume she is projecting her anger to the only person she knows loves her no matter what. Their mom did not tell them about her cancer for 5 years and died very unexpectedly one day after telling them, so it was a big shock. I've had a warm and friendly relationship with the girls up to now. I want the girls to feel my support but also want to respect their need to grieve. Any ideas?

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Asked by Aitipuoli at 3:52 PM on Jun. 16, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 1 (3 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • Wow. Thats hard. I would say stay quietly supportive. Don't force anything. They are a little older. But since the younger one is legally your dependent you need to be able to go to the mom's house to check on her.

    Answer by Shaken1976 at 3:59 PM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Ouch. I think I'd stay back, but stay supportive. Don't be pushy or aggressive. Just be there when THEY come to you.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:00 PM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • Man, you have your hands full. I have not been through this, but we know how teenage girls are just being teenagers. I think you've done perfectly so far by just letting them know you're there if they need you. GL

    Answer by yesmaam at 4:00 PM on Jun. 16, 2011

  • I think if it were me in your shoes, I would write them a "heart felt letter!" It doesn't sound like they want to talk to anyone right now, they're too hurt. So I would write them a letter telling them how much you care and if they need anything you are there for them. I think that would give them something to think about and in there own time, when they're ready , they will remember what you said. I wouldn't be be assertive, just sympathetic. That's a very difficult age to lose your mother! This is gonna take some time, but they will come around when they are ready.Be sure Dad is there for them too, they may need him even more now. Good luck, your hearts in the right place.


    Answer by anichols1 at 4:05 PM on Jun. 16, 2011

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