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Treating Adult Stepchildren the same as Biological Adult Stepchildren

livelaughlovejs's picture

My stepadults live with their mother. They're 30 & 31. My daughter is going to school and working my stepadults aren't. I'm told by people I need to treat them all the same. I do but family acts like its my fault my stepkids aren't productive people. I'm drowning in guilt and resentment. How do I get above these feelings.

livelaughlovejs's picture

I didn't mention that alot of the guilt is because I was part of their lives since 5 & 6. They call me mom and I thought we had a good relationship until they didn't become productive adults. Then they stressed me, my husband and our daughter. They had minimal contact with their mother until now.

SacrificialLamb's picture

Is anyone else making you feel guilty that you don't love them all the same?

I mean, really, how would you? Did you see these adult skids as babies, the way you did your own?

When my DH and I got married, my kids were in junior high, his were pushing 30 (he had kids early, I had them closer to 30, he is 12 years older). We had no delusions about loving the other's children like our own, but we both thought we could be of value to our blended families. 3 of the 4 kids might agree with that; the oldest of the 4 has other issues that I am NOT responsible for.

You didn't give much detail about why family would be saying it's your fault your skids aren't productive. But even if you did, they are ADULTS and have been for quite some time.

As for why you are drowning in guilt and resentment, that's a good question. Did you do anything to hurt these kids? Or was it the fact that you just existed and daddy spent time on you that they thought should be theirs? More info needed at this point.

hereiam's picture

Whose family acts like it's your fault that your husband's adult children are not productive? Your husband's, no doubt. And how is it your fault when you are not either of their parents? Don't let yourself be the scapegoat.

Please let go of the guilt, not your circus, not your monkeys. In other words, you are in no way responsible for your step adults. I mean, they live with their mother, why doesn't she make them be adults?

My SD26 is not productive and lives off of the government, refuses to get a job (even though she has 2 kids to support and be a role model for). I feel absolutely no responsibility for this and my husband is beside himself because of her life choices. BM had (and still has) much more influence over her and this is where it has gotten her. Not my fault, not my problem. No guilt, here.

Life is too short to take on the guilt for someone elses failures. And these adults ARE someone elses failures, not yours. The guilt belongs to their parents and to themselves, don't take it on yourself.

And there is no reason to treat them the same as your daughter, they are not the same people and they are not your kids. Ridiculous.

livelaughlovejs's picture

I don't think I did anything to hurt their feelings that I haven't apologized for and fixed. My stepadults are just underachievers like their mom.

Just writing this post has made me realized I shouldn't feel so guilty they don't get jobs or go to school at their age.

I care about them but my inlaws seem to have taken a lot of the stepkids affection. I have to hear about my stepdaughter calling my mother in law about her life instead of stepdaughter calling me but I also feel glad stepdaughter calls my mother in law because my stepdaughter has too much drama in her life.

My mother in laws saw my stepdaugher a few times a year. I was there from 6-18 almost every day. Its frustration to feel underappreciated but I shouldn't expect anything from the stepadults.

queensway's picture

Their mother needs to feel guilty not you. These girls are adults. At this point what could you really do.

still learning's picture

If you were actually their mother they'd likely be much more productive and responsible people. If anyone tries to guilt you about them refer them to DH and BM, THE PARENTS. I'd just laugh if anyone tried to blame me for for ss32 being jobless, homeless, and getting his car repossessed. I mean really?! Not my kid! Obviously BM is a huge part of the problem since she is coddling 30 something yr old adults.

SMforever's picture

"I'm told by people I need to treat them all the same". What people? The Queen? The Star Alliance Counsel? Nosy friends and relatives?

If anyone tried to guilt me about ANyTHiNg to do with my life, I'd have a snappy sarcastic comeback for all that rubblish.

Guilt, quite frankly, is a wasted emotion. Leave the past in the past.

If these sorry-ass adults can't launch themselves, then either someone is enabling them to stay put, or they are intellectually challenged. You don't mention that they are, so one has to assume they are simply manipulators looking for the easiest way out.

Avoid the circus, they have two parents. Well done looking after them all those years. You did volunteer for that, and the number one groundrule of stepparenting os have NO expectations of gratitude or closeness. SD probably avoids confiding in you because she knows you dole out tough love...hopefully.

This is the time to focus on enjoyimg your life.

Curious Georgetta's picture

Treating them all the sane and felling about them all the same is two different things - actions vs feelings.

Perhaps you are in someway soliciting input by discussing your concerns about your step daughters living and career circumstances.

At ages 30 and 31, where they live and where they work should not be s point of discussion for any one who is not being asked to house or support them.

You should tell any one who wishes to make commentary on the lives of these 2_adult women that you feel that this is not a situation to be discussed and move on to different tropics.

People can offer their opinions but you are in control of how you let it affect you.

If these women moved out if your home at age 18, and they just recently moved in with their BM is it reasonable to assume that they have managed their own lives for quite some time?

sammigirl's picture

They are adults! Let it go and give your energy to you DH and DD. You can treat them civil and with respect; but that is all you have to do. You can set boundaries for yourself and move forward.

Guilt is not necessary; you did the best you knew how, while helping raise them. They are adults, I can't believe you are even worrying about the way of life they chose for themselves. Don't waste your precious moments worrying about what they have chosen to become.

Turn your thoughts and life away from them. They have a mother and father.

If these Skids had any respect for you, they would have chosen to become productive citizens. Sounds like my YSS53 and I've never engaged with him. He chose to be a criminal, nobody forced him; his problem, not mine. What my DH feels about this failure is his problem also. I was there thru the years and did the best I could, but my YSS53 was never MY problem and I never made it MY problem. He also has a mother and father. They are the people that enabled him and failed him, not me.

Goodluck's picture

OP you wrote:

I didn't mention that alot of the guilt is because I was part of their lives since 5 & 6.
May I offer something for you to think about.
GUILT is for an immoral or illegal action that a person has done to a group of people or a individual.
What have YOU done that was illegal or immoral against the 'children'. I"ll take the chance and say you probably did nothing of the kind.

Next, who told you that you must/should treat everyone the same? THEY are wrong, it is impossible to feel the same way as a mom or dad does about their own blood. SURE it sound cozy and nice. But in the nitty gritty of bonds, it's impossible. Not in a bad way. (always be polite and offer kindness but do not be a door mat to anyone)

Question: Do you treat the neighborhood kids the same as you do your own bio children? Do you treat your nieces and nephews the very same way as your own bio's....doubtful.

FOCUS on your bio's. Sounds like you did a decent job. If you keep hearing people scolding you about what you should do, tell them to read up on inherent bonds going back millions of years. THEN ask them to pay for your kids tuition since everyone should treat kids the same way. That will end that.

momjkm's picture

I came into my step situation with the mindset I would treat all 5 kids equally. my 3 and my DH's 2. I had a hateful stepmother and I never wanted anyone to feel like I did with a witch in my life. What I did not know was that that would not be reciprocated. I knew my husbands family from way back and they are very loving people. My SS"s are not like the rest of my husbands family. They are very damaged because of their damaged mother. Add in 2 controlling wives and you have my situation. I hoped to at least friends with my SS's( 27/30). But they act like I am a disease. My DH gets along great with my kids.

mro's picture

I don't even treat my own kids the same. They're all different with different strengths and weaknesses, and matured on different schedules. So I kind of see the step/bio thing as being a moot point. Not that it is any of their business anyway.

SugarSpice's picture

one word: disengage.

your steps are not your children and you are not responsible for them.

let your dh raise them. do not let dh spend any of your money on the.

also see the disengagement section on this board.

the least a step mother needs to feel about her unproductive skids is guilt.