First time stepmom needs help

Jen4cwsoxApril 18, 2011

Hello! I am a first time stepmom. I am having problems with my 11 year old stepdaughter. Her father and I have been together for 3 years. We see her and her brother primarily on the weekends all throughout the year and we live close enough to her to go to school functions, athletic games, etc. during the week. My stepdaughter has started telling her mom and dad that she doesn't like me and hasn't like me in 3 years. She is saying that I stress her our and she doesn't want to spend time with me. This is obviously very upsetting to me. I am trying hard not to take it personally but I am. I would do anything for this child. But she will not talk to me (I can't make her because it stresses her out more) -- so I have no way of knowing what can I change/fix to make her feel better about me.

I do NOT bad mouth her mother, her mother's family or her dad at all. I do believe that I have a different parenting style than bother her biological parents and I do respect what they want done.

I just don't know how to go about things and my guy doesn't want to be with me because he feels his daughter should be able to tell her mom that she likes me (if she indeed does). Now when she comes to the house, she will talk to me, we play the Wii and we IM on facebook when she's not here but she tells her mom that she doesn't like me. Is this normal behaivor? He believes that she's just telling me what I want to hear in the moment and telling her mom the truth. But I feel like even if she did like me, she wouldn't tell her mom because it would hurt her mom's feelings.

I'm just trying to get a feel for what to do. I feel like I'm the only one here fighting for me to be in the position of stepmom.


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Hi Jen, Welcome to the forum.

I have to agree with you that it sounds like you are the one fighting for the position of SM, especially since the father of this girl seems to have taken the daughter's side and is not supporting you in your efforts to build a relationship with her.

If I were in your position, I'd hit the bricks. Cut your losses and move on. This guy isn't going to be in your corner if you do stay in the relationship and BM and SD will make your life miserable.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 10:58AM
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Hi there, I still consider myself a new Stepmom also. I have been married almost 2yrs and we have had some good and bad times. But I have learned alot about kids, and how they think, manipulate, and whats important to them. Your SD very well may like you but feels she needs to protect her mom and be loyal. Her father is probably feeling guilt so he is siding with her.

A while back mt Sk's told my DH that they did not think I liked them because I stayed in my room too much and that I worked on the Saturdays that we had them. The girls were crying and it made him take their side he came home pretty much mad at me like I had done something to them. I knew we had to take care of that problem right then. I explained to him that when I do go to my room its becasue they are screaming at the top of their lungs, wrestling around in my house and he did nothing to stop the behavior. I told him I have done nothing to them, I dont get onto them, I dont tell them whatto do, if I have something to say I say to him. Anyway he started seeing my point and they just wanted to get daddy mad at me. I later found a list of things they had wrote title "Things to do at Daddy's to make Jess mad". Once I showed it to him he was onto them as well. We had a family meeting and went over why they felt like I did not like them. None of their reasons were valid. So I asked (and this has been over a year ago) do you like me?, the oldest said "NO" so I said "okay, then why does it matter if I like you"? She had no answer.

My point in posting all this is that stepkids are so torn between two housholds and their feelings get torn also. When my stepkids come in from DH picking them up for the weekend, they come strait to me and start chatting it up. They tell me about their week, ask if we have recored shows to watch, ect. We have great weekends, we just got them a horse so they are thrilled. The minute their mom comes around like at ballgames, they will not speak to us. The have told her they hate it at our house, they dont like us but their actions when they are with us prove them wrong.
My SS11 had a baseball tourney this weekend, as we were walking out of the park him and DH were a little ahead of me, he stopped and waited for me to catch up to him so then my DH stopped. That is something so small but meant alot to me. If he did not care about me he would have kept walking, talking to his dad and not cared. He is such a good sweet boy.

I dont think you should cut your losses just yet, there were many times I thought about leaving but am so glad I stayed. Its not easy. I would not try to make her talk to you at all. This may sound mean but ignore her. I did this when my SD would just try to be ugly when I talked to her, so she could get me mad and then I was the one being ugly to her. So I quit giving her the oppurtunity. Unless she directly asked me something by saying my name first and then asking I did not respond. I would catch her starring at me probably wondering why I was not talking to her. About a month later she was back to her old self. Hang in there, talk to your DH to help him understand that its okay if she does not like you right now, and its okay for her to tell her mom she does not like you. If her actions are telling a different story than her mouth is listen to the actions. Good luck, its not easy!

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:07PM
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- It wouldn't be at all unusual for an 11 year old girl to tell her mom she hates you, even if she doesn't, just out of loyalty.

- Nor would it be unusual for her to *try* to dislike you, just because you claim some of her father's attention that she would prefer to keep for herself.

- And it wouldn't be at all unusual for BioMom to send signals to her daughter that she wants her daughter to dislike you, and enjoys hearing her daughter bad-mouth you.

So -- Just because she says she dislikes you, doesn't necessarily mean she does. And even if she doesn't like you, that *doesn't* mean you should bend over backwards trying to make her like you. First, it gives her *all* the power, absolving her from any responsibility to behave decently just because it's the right thing to do. Second, it really messes with your judgement, and makes you a bad 'parent', and that's bad for the kid.

I'd give Dad one chance to 'get it' -- That his precious daughter may not be telling the absolute truth (and why) and that even if she is, it may not be for decent reasons.

If he gets it and decides to support you, then fine. But if not, wish him luck and tell him not to let the door hit him on his way out.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 12:12PM
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BD should be more supportive for you! To me it sounds like SD does like you but feels she should be loyal to her BM... Have a talk with DH - I would feel like he should have your back and help encourage a relationship (without being pushy) I would say if she is fine with you and you get slong and have fun - she likes you... She just doesnt want her mom to know it.. She knows you will forgive her for what she says to her mom! Its hard... Step parenting is very hard...

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 1:45PM
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I have had many troubled moments with my SD. I think it has a lot to do with outside influence. My SD used to have a really good relationship with me and once her mother and I stopped getting along (because of things she would do in terms of my SD's well being) she then started getting real nasty with me. I would always get called to do favors when her mother couldn't do them, which was about every day of the week. One day, I stopped my job to go pick her up from school because her mother was too busy to do it. SD got in my car and started right off with an attitude stating she hated my husband and I and that we didn't do anything for her, that her mom did everything for her. Mind you, this had been going on for years and I got tired of it. I told her and her mother that as long as she continued to disrespect my husband and I that they could not call me for favors. She was within walking distance to her school, so if she hated my husband and I that much she could walk home. I told them we have never disrespected her in any way and I was tired of being walked on.

I did not try to force a relationship with her. I spoke to her if I was spoken to, but I did not kiss her butt like I had in the past. Today, our relationship is better than ever. She now knows that she needs to respect me because it is a two-way street. It is fine if she talks to her mother behind my back, I really don't care about that, but I will not allow someone to treat me like a piece of garbage and then turn around two minutes later and ask me for a favor. Sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands if you don't think you are being treated the way you deserve to be.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2011 at 2:46PM
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