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The Happy Stepmother

Posted by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 9:56 AM
  • 22 Replies

Hello,

I am new to CafeMom and am hoping I can connect with a few ladies that have the experience and advice for stepmothering.  I am reading "The Happy Stepmother" book right now and hopefully, I will have a clearer picture when I am finished reading.  This blended family situation has only been 4 months.  My husband has a 15 year old teen that looks at me with venom.  Sometimes she will talk to me and most the other times, she barely acknowledges me and goes to her room forthe night.  The tension in the house could be cut with a knife.  My husband had a talk with her a while ago that he loved me and that he and her mother would never get back together again.  I too, had a conversation with her stating that I was not taking her father away and that she was extremely important to him.  I also said that there was plenty of love from him to go around for all of us. after the conversation, she seemed to be ok with the interaction.

I feel so unwelcome in my own home.  I have spoken to my husband and he and I are on the same page with the "respect" stance in the house.  I gave him a "heads up" that the time was coming up soon that I would be saying something to his daughter about respect.  He says he supports me 100%.  I guess I will find out when I do so. 

I would like to reach out to other women and ask them what they have done to take their power back yet not cause an authoritative tension in the household.  We are newly married and are still in the process of adapting to living together.  He has vistation days of 2-4 days/week with his daughter.  I too have a daughter that comes over once a week.  I just want to feel relaxed and happy!

KD

by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 9:56 AM
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Replies (1-10):
spicy0425
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Welcome !!

whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:03 AM

What "power" are you looking for? The girl doesnt seem to like you. Have you tried to be likable?

how is she disrespectful?

laughnchica
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:07 AM

She is fifteen. Tension is prett normal at this age. How is she being rude? Does she HAVE to talk to you? It has only been 4 months...you can't expect this to be going perfect in just 4 months. Let her be. I mean be nice to her and interact with her how you can but don't FORCE her or confront her about respecting you...I feel like that is going to blow up in your face. Just be friendly and there for her if she wants. Teenagers are challenging in general...don't make it harder.

DDDaysh
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:41 AM
1 mom liked this

Well, maybe you are unwelcome in her home?  

Was she supportive of your marriage?  How would you feel if someone foisted a random stranger into your life without giving you any say in the matter?  That's what happened to this girl, and she's coping with it her own way.  

I think you "saying something" to her is a bad idea.  If your husband REALLY supported you 100% (rather than just wanting whatever will make his life easiest) then HE would be the one constantly engaging with his daughter and trying to make the situation better, not leaving it up to you to probably drive the girl further away by attempting to punnish her.  

Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:47 AM
1 mom liked this

Let's think about this.  There has been a lot of change.  In the last 4 mos, you and DH got married, you're trying to blend your homes so not only are YOU now in "her" home with Dad, so is your daughter.  She only gets to see Dad a couple of days per week and you are, for all intents and purposes, an interloper who is in competition with her for Dad's attention and loyalty.

For starters, I don't think that it's wise for Dad to put you in a situation where you're have "a talk" with your SD.  You don't have that kind of relationship with her.  What WOULD be fair would be for him to sit down and talk to her about how he views your role in the home and what constitutes being respectful.  She doesn't have to like you, but she CAN be polite.  That's about all you can "expect" per se.

It might be wise for you to read another book called "Stepmonster".  Both my husband and I read it and it was very helpful with regards to the dynamics of a blended family.

Ultimately, I think that what you all need is some time.  It's only been 4 months.

amantonacci
by Platinum Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:49 AM
1 mom liked this
How is going up to her room disrespectful? It's not like she's using profanity on you or anything, she's following the rule if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything at all
singlemom416
by Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:53 AM

I read that book,didn't help me one damn bit. Stepmonster is a great book and helped me a lot. Take it slow,this is still new for every one. Right now you should not say any thing to her. If some thing must be said let dad talk to her with you by his side. Pick your battles esp in these early stages of building a relationship. No matter how much her dad tells her that he and her mom are not getting back together it is some thing she will still think about and wish for. Only time and a loving,caring relationship with you and her dad will ease that thought,over time she will make peace with it. 

whatIknownow
by Emerald Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 10:55 AM

And as part of that conversation, he can ask his daughter if there is anything the SM can do differently that would make the SD happier. It would be a good venue in which the SD can voice her opinions and concerns.


Quoting Birdseed:

What WOULD be fair would be for him to sit down and talk to her about how he views your role in the home and what constitutes being respectful.  She doesn't have to like you, but she CAN be polite.  That's about all you can "expect" per se.


jlg12678
by Gold Member on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:08 AM
2 moms liked this

I'm going to start with teenage girls are hard in the best of situations.

I think your dh needs to make sure your home is blending appropriately. That means he should be the one ensuring she is respectful and he should be the one ensuring that she understands and is shown that he loves her/isn't replacing her.

It seems so much more common for stepdaughters to feel competitive with their stepmoms...not quite sure why that is. My osd struggled with it alot initially (she was barely seven) and still does on occasion (at fifeen). I think there have been less than three times since I've been around that I have actually addressed it with her as I normally make my dh deal with it.

What would also help is if you and your dh are on the same page regarding what is expected of all the kids in the home. Make things fair between the two of them so there is no competition.  Make sure you each handle your child regarding their behavior and don't leave it to the stepparent to correct or admonish unless there is no other option.  Things are still very new and it takes time to blend a family.

MojoRsn
by on Sep. 24, 2013 at 11:47 AM
1 mom liked this

No book is going to help in my opinion. Trying to blend a family with teens who are not "into it" is almost impossible. Some people would have just been better off forging their relationship with another spouse when the kids left the nest (graduating and moving on). I really think you will end up being frustrated for the next 3 years no matter what you do.

Even if this 15 year old girl was still in her nuclear family, it would be a hard time right now.

There is no good answer and there is no book.

Be dad's wife...be nice....do no harm....stay out of their way and just keep watching the clock. You are in a no win situation here.

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