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Struggling to "connect" with stepkids

Posted by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 6:30 PM
  • 21 Replies
I have two boys whom I totally adore. A is 13 and M is 10. My husband has a 17-year-old girl and a 9 year old boy. He has pushed them from the start to call me "mom" and gets angry when I tell him that it makes me uncomfortable, as I can only imagine how that makes their real mom feel. And honestly, they are SO different from me, I just can't relate at all. They are good, nice kids, and are smart. But I feel like they are my stepkids. I don't feel like they are mine, like my husband wants me to feel. He says he feels that way about mine, but I just don't feel the same. I'm not mean to them and I'm not hateful or anything. I don't treat them the same because I don't feel the same way about them. Is this normal? And if not, what should I do? I find myself wishing it was all just over.
by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 6:30 PM
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by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 6:34 PM
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Your husband is being unrealistic. He should be happy that you LIKE and respect his kids (it seems that you do). If he keeps pushing you into an artificial relationship, he risks jepardizing that. Chances are, the kids feel equally uncomfortable with this artificial relationship. He should stop trying to engineer this family, and let the relationships build naturally.

by Bronze Member on Jun. 29, 2014 at 6:45 PM

 I think you need to have a long talk with your Dh about what exactly he wants. He is probably just looking for the feeling that you consider his children part of your family like he considers yours his family.

I know that with my Dh, I would say statements like I got our two girls ready to go. And he would get upset because it made him feel like I was excluding Sd. (even though she wasn't with us at that time). After I talked to him, because he was snapping at me, I have worked on adjusting my statements to be all inclusive and he has tried to lighten up when I slip.

There's got to be something, other than forcing the kids to call you Mom, that will make him feel like you love and accept them. You should also bring up that he could make the kids resent both you and him if he keeps it up.

Good Luck!

by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 6:51 PM
1 mom liked this
I try so hard to treat them all the same, by not being harder on his kids than I am on my own. When I would be quick to ask my own, "what on earth were you thinking?" when they do something dumb, I walk on eggshells and think extra hard about what to do and if it is even worth it because his son is so anxiety ridden and "odd" that I don't want to freak him out. He runs the show with his mom, who lives with her parents. He knows that won't work at our house, so I feel like he's nervous all the time. And his odd mannerisms, poor speech, and overactive imagination (which may be typical for a child who is basically an "only"; his older sister lives with us.)

My parents and my own parenting style is SO different than his and his ex-wife, so of course, the kids are different. And since this is the case, I DO treat them differently. I am probably overly- attentive to my own. So I either have to stop saying the sweet things to my own so that he doesn't see that I'm showing favoritism to them, or I have to "fake" saying sweet cheesy "mom" things to his kids, too. I just can't relate to them at all, especially the 9-year old. So when I grab M's cheeks and smile and tell him he's so darn cute, whether his kids are here or not, he takes note that I don't do or say the same kind of things to his.
by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 6:53 PM
1 mom liked this
What does Dh stand for?
by on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:13 PM
So as I think about this, I feel guilty because I really don't like his kids sometimes. His daughter is lazy and has no problem telling you. She has no desire to get a job. She's perfectly content to sit on her ass all day. Every day. I have had a job since I was 14, and a few years ago, I had two jobs, averaging 60 hours a week to make ends meet. My dad is a farmer, so long days and hard work is the "norm" and is very important to me. Laziness isn't an option and is the worst trait one can have, in my opinion. His son isn't lazy but he is just different. He's a Pokemon-kid. He loves fantasy-based cartoons, which he quotes all the time. I can't understand what he says half the time because of poor speech, which no one at school nor his mom seem to be concerned with. He only eats processed and preservative-laden foods, so for someone who cooks a lot for her own children, who will eat everything including sushi, it's stressful to have him here. It's not unheard of for him to vomit if he even just THINKS he won't like something. And projectile vomit, mind you. He doesn't like to go outside because he gets "too hot" and frankly, he's not good at any sports. Even throwing a ball is excruciating. He just learned how to tie his own shoes and can barely ride a bike thanks to his father and me. So my kids struggle to relate, too. The only thing he likes is video games and his parents have made sure that he's never without a devise of some sort, I think to avoid having to deal with him in a developmentally-appropriate manner. But what's done is done. And the 4 days a month I have to be with him is not enough time to make a difference anyway. So I focus on just getting through those weekends and preparing for the next time I have to be with him. But I really feel like I need to "fake it til I make it." It just pisses me off that I have to be everything to everyone when all of these kids have their own mom and their own dad. I had two, raised them the way I thought was best and therefore relate very well to them. It's going to be hard to fake such a relationship with kids that are so different from me and my kids.
by Silver Member on Jun. 29, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Your husband needs to get a grip on reality. I don't love my Steps like my own, nor does my dh love my children like his own. I don't get why people put on the fake face, it's ridiculous. AND; do you think their real mom isn't saying all the things that you are saying to your own children, to her own children. Come on. Love your kids when the steps aren't around, you can bet their mom is doing the same thing. YOUR DH needs a chill pill

by Silver Member on Jun. 29, 2014 at 8:37 PM

I think it's ridiculous to expect anyone to love someone else's kids as their own. They are not yours. They will never by yours. It's unfair for him to even suggest such a thing.

by on Jun. 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

First, BF needs to get a grip. Making his kids call you "mom" is not going to help anyone.

Second, you are putting way too much pressure on yourself. Step back. Being a SM is like walking a tightrope. You want to balance running your own household (especially when you have your own kids) with getting to know and form relationships with these new kids. And their ages really count too. I approach my 18 year old skids way different than the 8 year old. It's hard work to jump into the middle with kids who have been raised by someone else. Pick a couple of your household routines that you feel are really important for everyone to participate in. Then be flexible with other things. Work it like a dance - one step forward, two steps back. Over time, as all the relationships are nurtured, things will get easier.

by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 11:33 AM

 I don't feel SO's kids are mine, he doesn't feel like my DDs are his. He made it clear at the beginnning he was not interested in being a psuedo father, replacement father, or what have you. Just an adult in my life.. my kids don't need another father. I don't really feel like a mother to his 16 yo, either.

How long have you been married?

by Member on Jun. 30, 2014 at 2:51 PM sound very much like me.its nice to see some honesty on here for once. I've gotten slammed on here by other moms for saying similar statements.  I feel the same way about my new step kids. My new husband has a 12 year old boy ,16 yo boy and a 14 year old girl. The daughter is just really going through a rebellious stage and could care less about her Dad or me.  I would like to get to know her better, but she makes it very difficult. She basically just sulks the whole time she's at our house.  His kids live ft with their mom and we get them every other weekend and more in summer here.  The 12 year old boy is very odd, just like you said, and just not what I'm used to!  I do think he may be a highly functioning autistic child, but I never said it to my hubby.  I'm just observing the whole thing!  I just can't relate to him at all and I can tell he's uncomfortable with me and my 2 daughters that are 9 and 4.  He is very anti social anytime he's with us, and doesn't even like being with his Dad, and he's a great Dad.  I've never seen any of his kids say or do anything kind or respectful to him and it's very hard to watch.  I may put up a post about the boys behavior to see what everyone thinks.  I'm freaking out now too, because it's been mentioned that he wants to take on this 12 year old son full time and go to school in our area instead of his moms, who is about N hour away!  I seriously do not think it would be a good situation if he decides to do that.  I would not be a happy camper!  Just being honest....

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