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How to tell your children they have a stepsister who resents them?

pinkskiesblue's picture

Long story. DS is 8 yo and DD is 5 yo. They have a stepsister that they don't know about because she pretty much hates my husband and I and has chosen to not be a part of our lives. Our DS saw a photo of her at her grandma's house and grandmother replied it's my granddaughter. Luckily DS didn't make the connection.

How do I tell him he has a half sibling who resents and hates him?

Here is the story. DH left a loveless marriage that was over for two years when we met. SD was 9 and loved the extra attention. She was an only daughter and only granddaughter so everything was always about her. Everything was fine and she absolutely liked me and I liked her, we took trips together and all was well. We got married and she was the flower girl and all was well until we started setting limits. Her mom had always hated me. We tried to set limits for spending money and she had to do minor chores and be considerate to others. we had her 40% of the time. Her mom gave her everything and she had no limits and could do whatever she wanted. When I got pregnant she was horrified, she was 12 and she was losing the "only" child and grandchild label. From the start she wanted nothing to do with our son. She commented to her friend "I hate the way she looks at him with so much love" when she saw me with my son. Her resentment grew even though we made her part of the family. She would get mad at us for not spending $200 on a swimsuit and was acting like a brat. Every time she left for her mom's house she would leave our house a mess. My son grew and when he was about 2 she would whisper mean things to him as he walked by her room to make him cry. She tried to burn him with a cookie sheet by letting him grab it as a toddler. At 14 she decided not to come over anymore. She was never the least bit interested in our DD. At 18 she told her dad she wants his money for college but wants no relationship or contact with him. DH would call her and tried to have a relationship with her without us to salvage something.

When I noticed her resenting and hating our two kids, I started having DH attend family things without us so that it could be about her when she was around him and the grandparents so our children would not steal her spotlight. But even that didn't work. Grandma thinks she is lovely and never sees her hateful side. I am at a loss, I don't want a family feud with my mother in law but I also don't want her to force some kind of relationship with our children and SD.

I don't want my mother in law to be the one to tell my children about her. My son doesn't even remember who she is. She has no contact whatsoever with us. She still occasionally sees my mother in law.

I don't want my kids around her to be honest with you. She has some narcissistic tendencies like her mother who is also bipolar. I have seen her be cold to my kids and the hate in her eyes. I saw her next to my son when he got hurt once and she walked away with a smile.

How do I tell an 8yo this? Please help me as hiding it until they are older may not be an option.

Thank you!

pinkskiesblue's picture

Thank you, this is a really tough one as our bkids are so young. How does your ySD act around your Bkids? Is she polite and nice? How often do they see each other?

Acratopotes's picture

I would tell them the truth..... a simply - Dad has another daughter but she lives with her mummy... maybe she will visit one day is good enough....

pinkskiesblue's picture

I completely agree with you and this is the way I would have loved to approach it. She is completely gone from our lives and my son does not even remember her (which is a good thing as she was quite mean to him).

The problem is my kids are at their grandmother's house 3 to 4 times a week as she watches them after school. The grandmother (my mother in law) has a large picture of my two kids and right next to it a large picture of SD. SO naturally my kids are curious and will end up asking who is that (as there are lots of photos of her in their house, none in ours). My mother in law already replied "my other granddaughter" so at some point my 8 yo will make the connection as my husband only has a sister with no kids.

I have no other after school care option and plus I want them to have a relationship with their grandparents. I don't want my mother in law to be the one explaining who SD is to our kids. If I ask her not to mention she will be mad at me and DH (very stubborn old lady).

I agree that it would be better for them to be older. But with so many photos around it was just a matter of time before kids ask more questions. Mother in law still sees SD when she is in town from College.

I also fully admit I have a lot of resentment toward SD as she was horrible to my kids and her dad.

Thank you everyone for your insight and opinions, I really appreciate it.

I also have half siblings and my parents forced me at 5 to all of a sudden acknowledge a brother and sister whom I had never met. I just don't want to throw my kids into something so strange without being considerate of their feelings. If I could postpone this, I would!

notasm3's picture

I have several friends who married divorced men with children. Sometimes the children of the two marriages blend. One of my cousins would not accept anyone calling her brother her "half brother".

But quite often when there was a significant age difference (10, 15 or even 20 years) and a geographical barrier the children of the second marriage pretty much ignor the older kids and vice versa. No hatred or dislike - just indifference. Now grown the children sort of look at their half siblings as distant third cousins.