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Making a blended family work (need help)

Frustrated future SM's picture

What are different things you guys did and maybe still do to bond with your skids?

What has their treatment of you been like?

How has your relationship with them changed over the years as they've gotten older?

Did any of you end up genuinely loving your skids and did they express genuine love for you in return?

If you could go back in time, is there anything you would've done differently?


lieutenant_dad's picture

My SSs and I bond only because we have similar interests and personalities. I'm more "bonded" to OSS, partly due to age and because his personality is closer to DH's (where YSS is more like BM). If we didn't share interests, or if both acted like BM, we likely wouldn't have a bond.

Overall, we are all nice to each other and like each other. I'd take a bullet for one of them, mostly out of respect for the fact that they are kids and my DH's children. I don't think my DH could forgive any adult who would let his minor children die in exchange for their own life, and I wouldn't blame him.

As the boys age, they become more distant, as teenagers are wont to do.

If I could go back, I wouldn't have tried so hard to be a "bonus mom". It has been enough to be "dad's wife", and I do think they view me as a family member, similar to an aunt or cousin.

My username sums up my relationship to stepparenting: I am not a parent. I choose to help my DH in his mission to raise his kids. I do nothing autonomously in the parenting department. If I choose to help with something, I do it at the discretion of my DH. But I am fully within my rights to choose that the "stepparenting lifestyle" isn't for me. If I'm going to do it, I don't steer the ship. If I don't want to do it, I don't have to because it's not my mission to complete.

CANYOUHELP's picture

If I could go back in time I would have awakened earlier than I did. I was certain we would be one big happy family early on-- but there were subtle signs even in the beginning I did not see or refused to see, not certain which one. I would have disengaged years earlier had I known what was really going on.....Instead, I wasted years of time, money and emotion trying to be included in a family determined to show me-- I would never be "their family."

They did me a favor in the end......just hate I did not see it earlier.

Dovina's picture

How were you to know that you were treading in dysfunctional, toxic waters. Most of us come into these step situations thinking that we will have no problems bonding if we show warmth and understanding. The sickness creeps in slowly and then the "AHA" moment sets in that the skids, most often the SD's, do not want any of that.

Live and learn and may disengagement become your best friend!

Frustrated future SM's picture

I guess this is what I'm worried about. My bf and I want his kids and our daughter together to be a big, happy family and it's easier said than done. My bf is starting to work on his kids behavior so there is hope, but I definitely want to avoid devoting tons of time, energy and money into his kids if they can't learn to treat me properly. I'm already trying to plan birthdays and fun trips but I know I need to slow it down before resentment grows if they continue to be disrespectful and rude towards me despite orchestrating these awesome activities for everyone.

STaround's picture

She married a guy with a kid.   At first, the kid was nice, but sad that his parents would never get together again.   Even though his mom had already remarried before my sister met his dad.  She never tried to be even bonus mom  Over time, I think he has come to love my sister, but she doesnt have a need to hear that.  She had breast cancer and had to have surgery.  Her SS's wife came over to comfort her after the surgery.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words

Alien's picture

I don’t do anything. We don’t bond at all. I’m just present at some events and when they are at my house. Well, pretty much the same as my dh. They are bm’s kids who come visit occasionally. I would make an effort if I could feel that they are close with my husband or if I could at least feel they love him

elkclan's picture

I don't have a choice to not be a parent most of the time that my SSs are around, because 90% of the time my BS is, too. So I am a parent and I act in a parent fashion. They are roughly the same age, so at the beginning I didn't treat them much differently than I would one of my son's friends who came over and then maybe more like one of the boys I coach in sport (and have for 5/6 years) - so pretty hands on and ready to praise/discipline. Maybe that's made it easier.  Basically I muck in now as an extra parent. I don't resent it because my partner does it for my son, too. 

Wilhelm's picture

I wouldn’t say we ever bonded.

Ten years ago I moved  in with DH. SD 12 and SD 8 at the time. Supposedly shared custody but generally BM tried all means possible to make sure SDs did not have a relationship with their father. Even at school functions SDs ignored their father and me if BM was there.

Now one of these SDs is 22 and she comes around and treats us both amicably. sD 18 pretty much ignores us both but would say hello if we passed in the street.( as long as BM isn’t there) 

Ten years ago there were also SD 40, SS 38 and SS 36. I have never had any trouble with SSs. They are always polite.

SD now 50 is another matter, no open hostility but ignores us unless she wants money. Passive aggressive I suppose, I feel like I am on her territory.

Goodluck's picture

I see you have a tiny little one. Awww, adorable picture.

You really seem like a very nice woman.

Having been a member of this site for a very VERY long time, I can tell you I have come across some of the nicest, kindest, loving step parents along the way. Each of them had the purest intentions and each of them  gave their all.

Most of them were mowed over beyond their wildest scariest nightmares. First by ex spouses, then as the child grows, the child then takes over where BM left off...with intense vigor.

Blended family terms however a niceity, is an over used word that never meets the goal. It does make people feel incapable. Because IT never blends. We blend eggs, oil, water and cake mix. Ever noitce there is always little balls of cake mix no matter how hard you blend and blend?

Go easy on yourself along this journey. Be kind to his kids and defer everything back to their dad AND bio mom. Protect your home and all that live inside on a full time basis.

Your daughter comes first in all things. Always remember that.

Too many step parents for what ever reason,  put their kids last,  not on purpose. Weird thing bm's hackle and cause bio dads lots of drama "YOU never do anything with the chilll-- dren" and boom, Before you know it dad is spending his last 20bucks to take the kid to movies, batting cages, out to eat just so HE can say "see family court I do things with my kids". That 20bucks should have gone to a pack of diapers and wipes. This starts the endless amount of craziness. ITS a game to many BM's high can I get my ex to jump.

Good Luck and I do hope you stick around awhile here on ST.






Frustrated future SM's picture

Thank you! I adore my baby girl so much! She's what I always wanted so I knew it was a blessing when I found out I was pregnant with her.

That's exactly what I'm afraid of. I don't want to start acting like their mom, we're not married but even if we were I'd still want to take a backseat, especially when it comes to parenting his kids. And I don't want to go all out buying them things and taking them out to do fun stuff all the time, then regret putting in all that effort. I don't want to stay in this relationship and move in with my boyfriend with the assumption that things will get much better and we'll actually become a family, and the opposite happens to the point where I can't even stay in a relationship with my boyfriend. He's made it clear his kids will always come first no matter what and I'm okay with that, but as long as he doesn't allow his kids to get away with mistreating me, especially as they get older. 

I will always be kind to them because I want them to be close to my daughter and I don't want to make them feel excluded or like they're intruding, however I'll never put them on a pedestal and treat them better than my daughter. I've read many posts on here about SMs treating skids better than their own BIOS and I'm always baffled by that. I could never do that. I will treat them all equally and there will be times when I do special things for my bio but she's my bio! Thankfully I'm not one to care what people think of me, so even if people try to say I'm evil just because I decided to do something special for my bio, well screw them!

You're right about them spending their last dollars on the kids. I've discussed this with the boyfriend, as well because he continued to buy all kinds of nonsense for his kids when he should've been buying Pampers and wipes for our daughter, so I've definitely made sure hes doing his part with our daughter.

Thank you! I won't be leaving ST anytime soon!

Petronella's picture

This is great advice. Never allow your child to come in second to the SKs. She is every bit as important and as deserving of her fathers attention and resources. There is a lot about step-life that makes me angry, but the biggest thing is when the stepmom’s children are treated as less than. 

Frustrated future SM's picture

I'm working on this right now because so far she has been coming in second and I finally became fed up and I'm putting a stop to it. It's ridiculous! She's a baby and we're in a relationship so she should be first! My boyfriend's exBM tried to put it in his head that I would want our baby to get all the attention and want him to ignore his kids and only do things for/with our baby and she was 100% false. He was actually ignoring our baby when his kids came around and I let him know that yes, our daughter should be coming first and she should be gettting attention (she's a baby for goodness sake!) But I'd never expect or want him to ignore his kids when they come, and he shouldn't ignore DD either. His own family would notice him treating my daughter and I like third wheels, but he's improved. He's also done more contributing when it comes to buying things for our baby, as well.

GoingWicked's picture

I love my SD, probably because DH and I started dating when she was 2, and we had time to bond before PAS and SDs own defensiveness towards her mom kicked in.  I’d say her behavior towards me was rejecting, she spent a lot of time telling me how much better her mom is than me, how much more fun her mom is compared to me, and really doing a lot of outright lying about it.  It was an obsession, like all she would talk about when I was around.  I think her story telling bugged me the most, it was the hardest to deal with, whereas if she said something obviously mean, it was very easy to see.  So, I eventually just avoided being around her at all.  

If anything, I would have disengaged sooner.  I wouldn’t have encouraged DH to get full custody (the kid turned out screwed up anyway).  I also would have spent less time feeling guilty for excluding her for my own mental health, or making my own kids a priority.  

The last couple of months, her behavior has been a lot better.  BM just got divorced, so maybe she’s got her hatred aimed in a different direction.  Or SD may just be growing up.  So, I’m cautiously hopeful.

StepUltimate's picture

.... between me & SS19, but that wasn't enough for me to be willing to live with him as a h.s. graduate who failed to respect the very few, basic household rules (as codified in the Launch Plan me SS & DH agreed to), so he got kicked out. Still lots of love, but now there's distsnce & SS resents me forcing DH to keep his word & send SS on to BM. 

In hindsight, I wish I'd have been prepared for what I was taking on. I learnt here on StepTalk that I'm not the only one... who didn't "know [the full scope of] what she was getting into."

I can relate!

LostHopeRN's picture

What are different things you guys did and maybe still do to bond with your skids?

I tried taking SD to do “girl” things, like getting nails done, shopping, etc .  We had family time with board games and movies. We went on family vacations when we could afford it.  

What has their treatment of you been like?

SS has always treated me with respect. If he didn’t like me, I’d never know it.  SD has had a like/hate relationship with me at best. She would probably be happier if I dropped dead. 

How has your relationship with them changed over the years as they've gotten older?

My relationship with SS has matured as he has matured. He treats me as a parental figure and respects me as such. SDs relationship with me has just evolved into her being more vocal of her distain of me. 

Did any of you end up genuinely loving your skids and did they express genuine love for you in return?

I love my skids but in a different way than I do my own. It’s hard to explain. The best analogy I can give is that I love them as an aunt would love her nieces and nephews. I think SS feels the same....he loves me as he would an aunt. SD....she tells me she hates me to my face, so no question there. 

If you could go back in time, is there anything you would've done differently?

i wouldn’t have put so much of my energy into trying to build a relationship with SD growing up.  It didn’t do any good. I spent a bunch of wasted years of heart break trying to just get her to like me. I didn’t try so hard with SS....maybe that’s why our relationship is better.