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Ideas before tonight's counselling session wise step parents please?

Freshstart's picture

Quick recap SD18. Was 50/50 and now with us 5 nights a fortnight. SD finished 1st year uni. 13 week holiday until February next year. Husband working. Me part time around 5 year olds school and holidays. SD18 sees herself as direct competition to me and has taken step down from percieved Mini-wife status to heart. SD appears to have no regular hang out friends (talks alot about "my group" at uni but does not go out and catch up with them, no boyfriend, no hobbies. SD tends to sit home on the holidays. Minor improvement recently, DH got her a job which is typically 2x4hour shifts a week. She is a good student doing double degree. I fear that she will want to stay with us for another 5 years at least to complete it.

Particularly frustrating last 5 days with her, sat home all day every day. Insights rudeness in my 5 year old, sniggers and smirks while I try to get my normally good little boy back on track. SD tells lies to daddy. Didn't go out all weekend. Had a particularly superior attitude. We had previously been doing a better job of being a team e.g. he would say each morning "Right what are you doing today? I want you to make sure you get out and do something. Let Freshstart know when." He has stopped stepping up to the plate like that at all. He just chuffs off to work and leaves the homebody to me.

DH promised to have a serious discussion with her about expectations for the holidays. His requirement for her to fill in her time constructively and preferably out and about e.g. charity or volunteer work if she really cannot find more part time work, join a singing group whatever.

So nothing has happened.

Counselling session tonight. Where do I start? How would you approach it?

Pilgrim Soul's picture

I think you need to frame it as your concern for your SD's social development.
Can you suggest she look into 5 different avenues each day - volunteering, teaching ESL conversation at the local library, dog-walking, baby-sitting, anything that will get her out of the house. Is there a hobby or activity she is passionate about? How about her dad research it with her on the weekend, and then ship her off to explore it? FOR HER OWN benefit. Small steps every day aimed at making new friends, trying on new jobs.

She will be happier and more fulfilled if she had places to go. Can she tutor kids in your neighborhood? Is there a community center that needs volunteers? A nursing home? It will look good on her resume too if she has experience working with ... you name it (the elderly, young children, dogs - depending what her degree is on).

Good luck! You are doing it for her, remember!

Freshstart's picture

Ha. You are funny. Like your style.

An answer to your question. I was asking the same. "Why does he hurt me and make our lives uncomfortable rather than do straight forward parenting and yes perhaps raise the wrath of BM in the process." The answer in my case is because I am less scary than either BM and SD however he is starting to learn that I am good at standing my ground and being clear on boundaries. Still could never touch either of them for crazy melt downs for one and crying fits for the other.

Freshstart's picture

Hello there. My time zone means tonight is 7 hours away. Thankyou for asking and i will also write some information down about what I want to get advice on. Great and yes agreed will keep a focus.

Freshstart's picture

Thankyou PS as well for volunteering idea. Just looked up and found 5 in the area!

Freshstart's picture

Well for some reason I ended up crying like a baby at the counselling session. I was all organised and had written things down and in the end just started boo hooing. Although before that I was making sense and the counsellor said she thought it was a good idea that I cried because the arrangement is very hard on me and it was good to release some of that.

Today I am totally drained.

Freshstart's picture

Thankyou. Feeling sort of washed out and embarrassed and honestly a seething anger and resentment is surfacing.

DH said to me this morning that i am a great wife and mother and step mother. He thanked me from specific things I have done lately. Inside I wanted to feel better but i felt numb. I do get that he was trying to reach out and am not turning my back on it. In my head I was thinking that I used to be more than all those jobs that i do. I used to be fun and someone people took notice of and liked. I used to have a career and a life. Everyone thinks he is so wonderful. Sometimes I am down but I think its because I do all the heavy lifting around here.

Freshstart's picture

You sound like you have some good experience and have figured some things out. At this stage it appears like my body is doing a smarter job then my brain or heart. My body was not trusting the information. Yes quite a mess he has made for us. An 18 year old who sits around all day except when she has her head in the books when she is still sitting around. She will be with us for eternity at this rate. His fault not mine. My 5 year old already shows more signs of independence.

sandye21's picture

I agree. Getting therapy for just you can sometimes be better than marraige counselling. DH and I went to marraige counseling several times. It seemed that the marraige counsellors were more intent on applying a bandaid instead of dealing with the issues. Our relationship would be better for a short while but soon we were back to the same scenario. Nothing was really resolved. When SD had her meltdown I asked DH to go to marriage counselling. He said, "No." So I went by myself and it was one of the best things I did. The counsellor advised me to make a plus / minus list for DH. She even said divorce was a possiblility but made me feel that if we got a divorce she would help me through it. She helped me gain enough confidence to set boundaries for DH and make permanent resolutions. She also worked on my PTSD. I realized that a good part of my problem was from accepting the role of a doormat which was a result of the PTSD.

I think many of us have PTSD due to abuse early on, and it just keeps repeating itself throughout our lives. This extends to whom we marry and how much abuse we allow from Skids and others in our lives.

Freshstart's picture

This all makes sense. Good to know that i have the sense to draw the line somewhere. One of my good friends said to me last time we had holiday together that i am too fearful at this point in my life, that something is causing me to be that way and she worries that I have PTSD. I did not think too much about it because its like I am not sure what to do. Good advice re counselling for me. DH and SD18 are unlikely to change or seek help so guess its on me.

The Disney Dad Equation: Denial + guilt = Poor parenting