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Not included in “About Me” project

sNew26's picture

Today was a tough day. As I was driving my step-daughter to school, she was telling me about an “All About Me” project she has to do for school. She has to present pictures of what is most important to her. She started telling me about the pictures: her cats at her mom’s house, her mom and step-dad’s wedding that includes her and her step-sister, and some other photos from her mom’s.

She didn’t include any picture of her bio-dad, me (step-mom) or her half-sister. I know it’s just a school project, but it really hurt me and her dad. Has anyone else dealt with this, and if you did how did you deal with it/have a discussion?

Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

GoingWicked's picture

Kids at this age compartmentalize homes.  My SD would just draw one family when at school, usually the one she is staying with at the time... and can you imagine the work and size of a two family project?  Not to mention having to explain it all...

notsurehowtodeal's picture

How old is she? How much time does she spend with you and DH? I can understand why you are hurt, but if she is young and spends more time with BM, that could explain why that part of her life looms larger.

Rags's picture

SS never included the NCP clan in any of his "my family" projects.  He did upon occassion include then in his "what I did this summer" reports though rarely.

SKids tend to encapsilate their experiences to each home and side of their blended family.  

I get why you and DH are hurt.  The two of you should tell SD that you are hurt that she did not mention that her family also includes you, DH and her sister.

Steptalker2's picture

SS had to draw his house and family in fifth grade. He drew everyone else except me and DD. DH said he’s a kid that’s his world don’t take it personally. By then we were on his life for two years. DH did talk to SS and SS said he didn’t realize it. No big deal. The kid didn’t have to change. It hurt but it was good information. I don’t do anything for skids anymore. 

shamds's picture

To eradicate bio dad and half siblings and replace it with stepdad and stepdads kids maybe?

i’ve been married almost 5 yrs to hubby and ss21 still tells daddy i’m a stranger and my 2 kids with hubby- his half siblings. I wanted to feel hurt about it until i saw ss21 with his full sisters and believe me they didn’t act like siblings, they acted like total uncomfortable strangers to one another and thats a product of bio mums alienation and abuse

Thats why i do not prioritise skids or do favours because strangers don’t do favours

Harry's picture

Or more in the school project.  SD does not think anything about you.  Most likely never will, no matter what you do, so it’s time to disengage from her.  Don’t drive her to school. No vacations for her. No spending your money on her. BM or SD or both want you out of the picture,

Survivingstephell's picture

Did you point that out to her?  When you don't point it out, it like accpetance of the alienation tactics.  A pointed question to make SD consider things is all you needed to do.  

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

SD6 compartmentalizes homes... We did her about me poster, I let her do as she pleased, just wrote what i was told.  Psycho, druggie, and the spawn weren't included.  DH, myself, SD10, the dogs, heck event he turtles and her cousins were included. 

They seperate, it just is what it is.  I wouldn't read too mcuh into it.

ndc's picture

How old is the child and how often is she with you?  If she's a young child, and she spends most of her time with BM, then I'd guess she's compartmentalizing.  Last year my SD had to do a project about her family for kindergarten.  DH and BM have 50/50, but the project went home during BM's time.  So SD had a photo of herself, her sister, her mom and mom's boyfriend, and that was her family.  When the project came back home, it was to our house.  I looked at it and asked her why she hadn't included her father.  She looked at it and said "Oh, I forgot Daddy and you and Magic (the dog)!  When Mommy was getting me the pictures and helping me she didn't get any of you guys."  And therein lies one big difference between our homes.  Had the project come home during DH's time, we would have made sure the other household was included, because both households are her family and she spends equal time in both households.  

If the child is older, or if the child spends roughly the same amount of time in each home, then I think it's more than compartmentalizing.

Dontfeedthetrolls's picture

Sadly schools and teachers aren't really supportive of "broken" homes. Most times these projects are presented with a sort of fill in the blank feel with only enough space for one family. One mom and one dad. On set of pets and one set of siblings. While young kids are aware their family is different it's not something at the forefront of their mind. As kids get older they might have more compacity to consider both homes and could more effectly share those through projects like these but by that point those projects aren't really done anymore.

Basicly I wouldn't worry to much if this is a young child. We've seen this sort of thing with the little one. When it comes to school BM and her home is priortized because that's the home he's with during that time but when we have them at other events it's our home that he thinks about. When were together and he is given a project to make something for a parent I'm normally the one who gets it because I'm the one who's there. I'll remind him of mom and ask if he wants to send her a picture and at that point he'll remember her.

Thumper's picture

Please dont 'have a conversation' with her about this.

Stepparents learn to show grace and compassion. This is one of those times...let it go.

JMO of course.

EDIT to add totally different story when safety is a factor OR stealing, drug use. Then you protect your family and home.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

I guess it depends on the age of the child. If we're talking younger elementary aged then it doesn't seem malicious and like others have said, they definitely have short term memory in terms of who does what and where.

If this is an older kid then yeah, I'd be hurt and annoyed that I wasn't given credit.

I think it's important to try and  look at the context of these things, because even bio-kids do and say crazy stuff about who their favorites are all the time, most of it being the family pet! So, you do have to take some of the kid antics with a grain of salt.

Ispofacto's picture

Take a picture of the project for documentation.  If it is a single incident, it may be nothing, but if this is part of a pattern of alienation, you'll want evidence.

Yes, when Killjoy lived with Satan this exact same thing happened.  She was only in second grade.  We didn't say anything to her about it.  BM would have gone nutzo if Killjoy included DH's side of her family.  It was part of a pattern.  BM lost custody in part due to alienation.



irishtwins1617's picture

I understand why you're feeling hurt... I know its easy for someone to just say don't worry about it, they are compartmentalizing, etc. etc., but if it was someones bio child, let's say, who drew a picture and left them out (and drew the other parent and their step parent instead for example), they would most likely be feeling the same way, or maybe even jealous or resentful of why someone else was represented and not them.

The world still has a lot of accepting to do in terms of blended family- although they are becoming more and more common, a lot of people still have such an "old school" way of thinking, including school institutions themselves.  As a former teacher, I would commonly hear grumblings from other teachers during conference time about why in the world does the step parent have to come they aren't even the "real" parent, etc. etc.  Sadly, and often, that step parent that is taking time off work to be there and support the child, does more for them than anyone else. 

So it may be quite possible that if this is a younger child, and the "All About Me" section wasn't fully explained to them, they could have just picked and chose who to put on there without full rhyme and reason. 

As I say in a lot of my postings, peoples opinions are really based on their personal experiences, and what they have or haven't had to actually deal with themselves.  I have dealt with this before, and it isn't fun.  The best I get referred to as is usually "she's kind of related to me."  And my partners family will explicity say that I am not my step kids' mother and they don't have to listen to me.  So when you are left out of something, like a family picture drawn by your step child, I am sure you question why in the world you are doing all of this for a child that doesn't really acknowledge you anyway. 

It's one of those things that makes step parenting such a thankless, and often times selfless (because most of us DO have good hearts and try really hard to do what we feel is right) job.  I may or may not have said something- it all depends on how emotional I was in that moment, and even then, I would have been rather passive like, "oh, did you forget a few people that love you too?!" with a smile on my face.

That doesn't mean she will include you, her half sibling and/or her father in the next picture, either - so just decide how much emotional energy you want to spend on something like that (and, not to sound negative, but there's a good chance when she's older she won't include you anyway when her terrible teens start into her adult years), or if you'd rather spend all of that energy on yourself, your partner and your child.