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Disengage? How to with additional kids.

Missingca's picture

I’m out of ideas besides disengaging with SD. I’m too tired and at my limit with the way she’s treats me. But what about my kids? My sons (1 is NOT husbands bio kid but he’s been in his life since before he was 1, he’s 8 now,the other is). My sons aren’t aware but SD is talking bad about them to her mom. The latest being that it bothers her that my oldest son (her stepbrother) calls my husband dad. He is his dad in every sense, except biologically, and is the only father that he has in his life. Her mom told her to speak up and tell my husband so he can tell my son to stop. I know my husband wouldn’t, but I also don’t think he’d be firm enough with SD and more just say no and brush it off. He’s constantly being threatened by her and her mom with never seeing her again so he’s always afraid to say anything to upset the spoiled brat. He’s gotten better but he’s still too easy on her. Anyway, my oldest son will notice and wonder why I’m being different with her and not doing things for her that I always have. He’ll ask me why. He adores his sister and would do anything for her, he’ll stick up for her, having no clue the way she talks about him. How do I do this without hurting my son? I can’t twll him what she says. He’d be heartbroken. She’s complained he’s always around, and that she talks to him to much when she calls. She’s also complained about the 2 year old, her only blood sibling. I’m done with her. How do I not hurt my boys in the process, they deserve so better.

fairyo's picture

I feel really sorry you're in this situation, and compleely understand your dilemma but here's what I think:

What your son calls his 'dad' is one of their business, that is a matter for your son and your DH. If it bothers DH then let him explain things to his son too ,after all they are his DD and BM.My feeling is he should tell them to butt out.

Your DH is frightened to stand up to his ex and his DD- this is very common- they have no backbone so flop around these issues like lumps of jelly- he will always be too easy on her so don't think that is going to change. 

Why are you anticipating your son's reaction to your disengagement? Disengagement is for you- not him. You can't protect kids from reality for too long. so maybe he'll eventually find things out about his sister anyway- he may already know but wants to protect you by being so nice to her?

She isn't very nice to her siblings, whether blood or not, and some siblings just don't get on in this world- my two were sweet and very close when they were young, but now they hardly speak. 

Stop trying to control things you can't and think of yourself. You say you're tired- take some time out for you, get back in touch with the things and the people who make your life better and stop wasting time and enegy on those who don't deserve it.

Your boys may be hurt in the short term, but having a happy mum is the best thing in the world for them...

elkclan's picture

My son is an only child. He has had some adjustment issues dealing with new steps. We're not married yet so he doesn't call my partner's kids step-brothers. They all get along really well (with occasional squabbles), but he has had some issues with dealing with my affection towards my partner's kids. He asked me once if I loved them as much as I loved him. I told him no, I didn't and I never would, but that I intended to act like I loved them all the same when they are all together and he seemed to accept that.  I do it as much for him as for them. He is with me more than the SSs are - so we don't have the issue of them spending more time with me than he does, but you never know what might happen and that could one day be the case. 

Your SD is almost certainly jealous that your son - not your DH's bio kid - gets to spend more time with her dad than she does. She may feel 'replaced' - she's picking up on a single issue and needs reassurance that extra people calling her dad 'Dad' doesn't make him any less her dad. It's also really, really normal for siblings to feel resentful of each other and to feel annoyed by each other, but it just has to be clear that they're not allowed to act out on those feelings. When my OSS is feeling a lot of pressure from BM's home or other issues he can be really nasty to YSS and I have to watch both that and the dynamic of my BS joining in with OSS to pick on YSS (OSS and BS are thick as thieves).  

If I were you, I'd be worried that 'disengaging' from SD might lead to your DH doing the same with your son and not just dealing with the sibling issue. Families are hard. Step-families are harder. And it's just as hard for the kids as adults but they have fewer tools in their emotional toolkit to deal with it.