Having kid when a stepchild is involved.

music_teacherSeptember 12, 2010

I have a situation that is starting to put strain on my recent marriage. I married a wonderful man who has a 10 yr old daughter that lives with us most of the time. I have a health issue that made it risky to have a child, so while we were dating and after we were married, we both knew that we would not be able to have kids of our own.

That has changed now - doctors have found the cause of my problem and can fix it. This means I can now have children, and I desperately want a child of my own. I'm only 28, and my husband is 38 and enjoys the freedom he has now that his daughter is older. He absolutely doesn't want another child. His daughter always says she loves being an only child, and even when joking about bringing my nephew to live with us, she says she'll move out.

This is already causing problems for us, and I end up resenting the relationship they have because it's one that I will never fully understand.

I really love my husband and don't want to give up on our marriage, but I don't know if I'll get over this.

What should I do?

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I can see his point that you got married with the understanding of no more children. His daughter was getting older and he now enjoys his freedom. You were okay with this because you thought you couldn't have more children.

You need to sit down and have a serious talk with your husband. Let him know how important having a child of your own is to you and discuss it.

In the end if having a child is important to you and your husband is totally against it then you have some tough decisions to make. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:27AM
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IMO, his daughter may impact your feelings but she has nothing to do with the issue between you and your DH... you married a man that doesn't want more kids & he married you with the understanding that you couldn't have more kids. The rules changed for you & it's great that you can have children if you want, but you really don't want to have a child with a man that doesn't want one, do you? If you convince him to go along with the idea, HE may be the one that ends up resenting YOU, or worse.. the resulting child.

The answer may not be one you want to hear, but there is no easy solution to your problem. What should you do? You can accept not having another child with your husband or you can leave & find someone that wants to have children (& that you want to have children with). It's much better in the long run for you to get over not having a child... or get over ending this relationship... than it is to deal with having a child the man didn't really WANT. Children deserve two parents that both want them. The divorce rate is more than 50% chance that you won't be together forever & then you could be dealing with a man that doesn't really want to see the child or pay much support... and if he finds someone else that also does not want children around, those are things you need to think about as possible scenarios that may be WAY into the future.... but we all tend to just think about what we want NOW.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 12:14PM
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When you look at it like a math problem, it's easy:
it's either/or, which is a simple decision;
you pick what you want the most because you can't have both.

My own feeling is that if I'd agreed to not have children *because I couldn't*, & my spouse knew that that was the reason I'd agreed, & then my situation changed, I'd want & expect much more commiseration & consideration than what you're getting.

No matter what a 10-year-old child says, the decision is her father's.

If he & his daughter are getting what they want, he's not going to change.

If you're not getting what you want, the only way to get it is to change your situation.

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 2:47PM
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"My own feeling is that if I'd agreed to not have children *because I couldn't*, & my spouse knew that that was the reason I'd agreed, & then my situation changed, I'd want & expect much more commiseration & consideration than what you're getting."

I agree.

I think you and DH need to have a serious heart to heart. If he is adamant that he doesn't want more kids, no matter that your circumstances have changed, then, like everyone has said, you're going to have to make some hard choices---as in deciding what you want MOST. This man for your husband or a child?

It's a very personal decision and no one can make it for you.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2010 at 11:11PM
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I sorta disagree that having a heart to heart would change how he FEELS. It may change his mind and he may see how important it is to OP... given the option of a)have another baby to make wife happy. or b)wife is going to leave me. I believe most guys would go ahead and say "then let's have that baby" because they usually take the path of least resistance (just as they tend to do with their ex's). If he is adamant that he does not want a child, then he is either very secure in believing his wife will not leave him or he feels so strongly that he is willing to risk it. But even if he caves and says he wants to go ahead & have another child, there would always be a question in the back of my mind about how devoted he is to it and did he REALLY want this child? It's different than having a child with a man that wants children & wants you to be the mother of his children.

One of the things learned about men is they tend to say what they mean... we just don't always listen or hear it. Sometimes, we only hear what we WANT to hear. (and I agree what the SD10 says is not really relevant. She doesn't get to make decisions like that & if she is allowed (by her father) to make those kinds of decisions... that would be even more reason to question having a child with him)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 8:34AM
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I know what you're saying, Ima. But I also think it IS possible for someone to not think he doesn't want another child--and to change his mind.

I think it's definitely worth OP talking about. I don't think she should cry/wail/push the issue. But an HONEST OPEN disucssion about why he feels that way, could he ever see himself having another baby, what would that mean, etc. would be a good thing.

If, after some reflection and an open conversation, he still is adamant, or less-than-enthusiastic, well, then OP will have some choices to make.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 1:31PM
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I think open discussions are always good. I also dont think OP "teasing" the 10yo about bringing her nephew there is very nice, nor would it impress me as the maturity I would want in a parent. Sounds like SM is allowed to tease, but can't take it when teased back.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 10:50PM
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What should you do? As someone who was in a similar situation (in regards to being told that I would have a very difficult time conceiving and, if I did, I would never be able to carry a child to full term - yeah right, tell that to my toddler!!), my advise would be: Men come and go, children are forever! I found that being a mother is much more profound and fulfilling than being a wife! Sounds horrible, but it's true!!! I never knew what true, unconditional love was until I had my son. Nothing compares.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 12:40AM
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Oh my. I don't think I would be judged as being very mature. I tease my DD about bringing babies home all the time. Or that we're having sauteed squid for dinner. I once convinced her mozzarella balls were octopus eyeballs and then made her eat one.

Honestly, I think teasing is good, as long as it's good natured.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 2:08PM
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And you think this is "goodnatured"? When does good natured become a power play by SM? When do people recongize they are adults?

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 3:29PM
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How appetizing or pleasant can it be to have someone suggest that your meal is something disgusting?

I'd bet if the child doesn't eat the "octopus eyeballs", the grown-up ridicules the child for being too sensitive or for not being a good sport.

Children's vulnerability being what it is, you likely won't hear about it now, but in 20 years time this child won't visit & won't bring his/her children around to be subjected to the same sort of stuff.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Well. There's a lot of betting and guessing and assuming going on around here.

Here's the whole story:

I had a plastic container from the deli section of the grocery store. DD walked up and, with a look of disgust on her face "what's that?". I told her it was octopus eyeballs, asked her if she wanted one. She said no, I said, just a bite? And yeah, told her she had to try it, she'd like it. She wrinkled up her little nose and took the littlest bite ever, then her little eyes got big and she said "it's cheese!"

She still asks me, years later, if I remember the octopus eyeballs. And she laughs.

My dd has to try everything food-wise. And if she doesn't like it, say no thank you. We went to sushi the other night and I "made" her try raw shrimp. She absolutely doesn't like it. And unagi rolls, which she said she didn't want because I made the mistake of asking if she wanted eel... oops. She didn't know it was eel. She ended up eating four rolls. She didn't like the shrimp. But she got a side order of masago (flying fish roe) and ate the entire thing.

Two nights later we coincidently went to the same restaurant, and when we were getting ready I said "last one to brush their hair has to eat raw shrimp!.... last one to get dressed, last one to get shoes on, last one in the car..." etc. We were racing like mad so *no one* would be the last one and have to endure raw shrimp again.

"Children's vulnerability being what it is..."

I think it's silly that you think you can make assumptions based on ALL children and their vulnerability and then predict what they will be doing 20 years from now based on those assumptions.

And I NEVER ridicule my child.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 2:58PM
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Hey, and sauteed squid is not disgusting! I take umbrage that you would suggest it's something gross! I love squid :)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 3:11PM
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Children's tastes are far different from adult tastes.

If the situation were reversed, how would you feel if you were forced to drink cherry KoolAid & eat fish sticks?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 4:34PM
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This just in! "Fish Sticks Added to New Half-Sibling in Guantanamo Torture Scandal! Al Qaeda Uses Cherry Koolaid Reports as Recruiting Tool!"

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 6:11PM
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I see nothing torturous about making children taste new things. Forcing them to eat it after they have tried it & said they don't like it, well that would be wrong. But then again, lots of parents forced kids to clean their plates and eat their veggies... kids turned out ok.

If parents would "parent" and not cater to the kids, we would have a lot less adult 'babies'. AS for teasing, it is NONE of ANYONE's business, except the teaser & teasee. If the child is not a willing player, then it should stop & ONLY then should the other parent, teacher or anyone else intervene on the child's behalf.

I know it's not exactly the SAME as teasing but when my SD went to her mom to 'complain' that I put peanut butter sandwiches in her lunch, her mom then had a right to speak up as she believed her daughter was being mistreated. My only problem with THAT situation is 1) SD never told me she didn't like it. 2) BM never asked what was going on before she ATTACKED. 3) As it turns out, SD was just blowing smoke up BM's backside for attention... and it HAS negatively affected my relationship with SD, who I do care about, I just can't trust her as she continues to use me to gain her mother's attention, causing more conflict & headaches for me.

and Sylvia, I love Cherry KoolAid, fish sticks, mac & cheese, spaghetti O's, and chicken nuggets.... they are not my favorite foods, but if I were forced to eat them... and if my kids told me the spaghetti o's were brains, I would laugh and play along. If a kid seriously thinks they are being forced to eat something they honestly believe is gross or disgusting, like cat poop... then I believe that may be emotional/physical abuse. If they know it's not REALLY cat poop, but it just looks like it... that's not a big deal, IMO. I mean we took the kids to Jelly Belly factory & they have beans with flavors like barf, dirt, etc. Some kids think it's funny... especially boys. It's all about the perception & relationship. One of the only things that lightens the tension with SD is if I tease a little... but it has to be so outrageous that she KNOWS it's teasing & not real. But, she is also not like any kid I've ever met... she has mother issues & abandonment issues so she reacts to things differently & uses what she can to get attention.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 6:17PM
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What a bizarre thing to do feeding people meals and lying about what it is.

I think it is perfectly fine to teach children or even adults to taste new things but it is unkind to lie to people about nature of the meal offered. You want people to try different foods, why not say what it is?

I think it is very unkind to not tell people what they are about to eat. I understand joking about food but not when a person is about to taste it.

I also do not understand treating children as they are lesser human beings than adults. I love to joke around with DD and we are the best friends, having funny names for each other and goofing around. But it never occurred to me to trick her into anything. People treat their children as they are mindless creatures and then surprised their kids are so immature. Why not treat children with the same respect you treat adults?

    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 7:04PM
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LOL. My child has never eaten a fish stick or cherry kool-aid (at least, not with me). Where I'm from children regularly eat octopus and squid and dd has been eating Japanese food since she was a baby. It's her favorite kind of food to go out for. She came home from school yesterday and made herself a bowl of miso soup, from scratch, with endamame and tofu chunks (that she cut herself). That was the snack she wanted, not one of many offered.

We have a rule in our house, you have to try anything served. I don't serve bad food, and once dd says she doesn't like something she doesn't have to eat it. She doesn't like broccoli, so I don't serve it to her. But there are very few foods she really doesn't like.

Children may have different tastes than adults (they do have far more tastebuds) but mostly that's because adults treat kids like they have different needs. My dd has been eating "adult" food her whole life. She was disappointed we didn't have any more seaweed for her to put in her miso. She ate sweetbreads this summer and loved them (I can't stand them!). I don't understand how that is treating her as if she is "lesser". IMO, feeding kids fish sticks and vanilla pudding pops is treating them as if they are lesser. What bland, non-nutritious glop to give a child!

My neighbor loves to have my dd over to eat at her house because dd will try anything and will eat what is offered. Her niece is the same age and turns her nose up at anything unless it's "kid food". My daughter regularly eats Vietnamese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Hawaiian, Mexican, Irish, French and German dishes and loves food in general. She loves to cook and will try just about anything willingly (some things I do have to say, just take a bite... but I don't think that's cruel and unusual punishment). She loves these little headless fish that are dried and come in little packages... and when we went to a beach bbq the other week she tried little crabs that were fresh caught. None of the women there would try them, she tried a couple and said they tasted like crunchy shrimp but she didn't want any more, thank you. I think it's pretty cool that she doesn't just automatically say "ew" at new foods, and that's what I'm trying to cultivate. She has a very healthy attitude toward food (usually if it's there, she's eating it). I don't like fish eggs, even expensive caviar, but she does... and when I ordered the wrong kind for her once she tried them, she didn't like it and she didn't have to eat it.

And she thinks it's funny when I say we're having bat-wing bbq. I do believe if bat wings were on the menu she'd enjoy them...

As an aside, I just went in to kiss her goodnight and laid halfway down with her to snuggle. She kissed my cheek, and then reached her fingers up to tickle me under my arms. I giggled and then she started laughing, and I moved my arm away because it really tickled. Then a couple of seconds later... up went her little spider fingers again to tickle me some more. I called her my little giggle-bug and kissed her goodnight.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 2:16AM
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My DD eats absolutely everything but I still never fed her meals and lied about it. Your DD eats everything because she does not know what she is eating. I think it is dishonest and just plain silly thing to do. Maybe it is funny for adults at the table but I don't think it is good enough reason.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 6:28AM
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My dd does not eat everything because she does not know what she is eating!! What a gross assumption. And by gross, I mean huge. In your mind everyone is sitting down and I'm making jokes at her expense, when in reality this is a one-on-one interaction and there is no one laughing but me and her. I have only done this a few times and I don't make up silly names for everything we eat.

You also have the reasoning completely wrong. It's not so I can laugh with others at her expense. I can't explain further, it's one of those things that if you don't get, you don't get.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 1:25PM
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Wow, did this ever get off track:)

kkny, I'm not sure how you interpreted that as teasing her with so little information. Joking and teasing are different things. My husband, SD, and I frequently tease each other in a friendly way that doesn't offend any of us. I frequently see pictures of my infant nephew in situations that are not the way I envision parenting - not enough to have the child removed from the home, but not ideal. My SD is always upset when she sees these photos because she recognizes the danger in them, and I said that it would be nice to have him come stay with us so he won't have to eat rocks anymore(as per one of the pictures). She loves being an only child, though.

My husband's concerns were not with having a child, but with my safety. He is afraid that pregnancy and childbirth still present too much risk. We have decided that once SD is older and more secure with us together, we will adopt a young child. I'm happy with that, and the situation is resolved. Thank you for your comments in regards to that.

As far as the food issue this has turned into, my SD is extremely picky, and only eats about 5 different meals. My husband has always made her separate meals, but now she even turns them down after they are already prepared because she already had it that week. My thought is let her have a peanut butter sandwich if the 2 meals cooked aren't good enough because she doesn't feel like eating either isn't even a matter of not liking them).

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 2:51PM
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"but now she even turns them down after they are already prepared because she already had it that week"

OMG! I am convinced that this is part of my DH's OCD... he won't eat the same thing two days in a row. In fact, he would not eat the same kind of meat, prepared differently... twice in the same week. He has some really strange eating habits.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 3:23PM
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Sounds like our Skids are alot alike.

I'm happy to hear your issue is resolved.
So sad about your nephew, I would be trying to get him to come stay too. Its so hard to see kids/baby's in bad situations and nothing you can do because "it's not bad enough".

    Bookmark   September 23, 2010 at 4:16PM
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