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What works with skid/step relationship: advice from daughter

manicmom's picture

As some of you know I am truly at my wit's end with my SD15. Having exhausted every known (and possible) option, yesterday I had a chance to chat with my DD17, who's had a step mom for over 10 years now. It's been a non-issue since the beginning so I asked her how it was for her - what made it so easygoing. SM is a decent person and now has two babies of her own. She's not treated my kids like they were hers, but like they are respected visitors. My kids have always been respectful of her too though, and decent kids. My kids are close with her family and it's been a pretty uneventful for 10 years. SM has stayed out of the parenting and let my ex handle it ALL (no matter how poorly). Many times they come home from their weekends unshowered, and I wondered why, but whatever, it has worked well for a long time. He's not very involved in their lives at all though outside of their EOW visits - which works well for me... So I asked my DD17's advice b/c things are going well with her situation. I asked her what was different about our situation with SD15. She said it is because everyone involved at her dad's is decent and respectful - they are and SM is too. She said what's different here is that SD15 is a bad kid and is making it difficult and draumatic. She said that DH isn't treating SD15 like the rest of them either and that SD15 is very manipulative and disrespectful. She said she (DD17) hates the drama so much that she just prefers to stay in her room than have to be around it. So, basically, SD15 is ruining our family single-handedly...and we are all powerless b/c DH won't do anything about it, or let me either.

(We are NOT going to get a divorce b/c of this, we are going to figure it out. I am not going to give up on this "horrible" child either. I'm in her life for a reason and I'm not going to leave her like her mom did. I made a vow and a commitment and knew it would be tough...for better or for worse I am committed to my family.)


manicmom's picture

No one thinks that we are against anyone. And yes, I do seek advice from people who are in positive and working situations - that's just wise. I've raised a mature and clear-thinking and respectful young lady and value her opinions. She's given good advice in other situations as well.

twopines's picture

>>I do seek advice from people who are in positive and working situations - that's just wise.<<

Let us know what your DD's SM says when you ask her for advice with your problem.

manicmom's picture

My DD's SM, when I asked her, said that it made a difference that my kids are good kids and were always respectful of her and that she had the support of her DH (my ex).

alwaysanxious's picture

I think it was a good idea for her to ask her daughter about her experience with a SM. Plus, daughter already doesn't like SD15, why pretend. They didn't have a SD bashing talk, they were having a what helps me be a better SM talk.

manicmom's picture

StepAside, I think that you're correct and that my daughter's words were correct in the fact that the SM didn't treat her like her own. However, that's in an EOW situation - not the 100% of the time that we have. And it also is one where biodad is around to do the parenting... When my DH deploys, SD15 is left with just me and if I've not had help from DH to establish authority by then, then it's going to be chaos for sure while he's not around. That's part of what frustrates me and complicates this sitatuion somewhat. (There are no grandparents or family that can help while he's gone either.)

I wish that it was an EOW situation.

When you said "You have to fully understand a situation before you can work to change it. One destructive force in a family can cause a ripple effect for everyone else, and it's not fair to everyone else." That's all that I have control over. I'm working very hard to seek to understand SD15 right now, and I'm working on what *I* can change about me in this situation. And it's the realization that the ripples that SD15 makes in our family are destructive ones that's my motivation and my stress.

And for the other posters, I didn't talk about my SD15 with my DD17 - I simply asked her what worked well in her situation compared to ours. And having that open line of communication with DD17 has helped alleviate some of her stress; to know that she's not the only one feeling the heat of the house and to keep her from feeling alienated.