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Stepparent survey

hollyissad's picture

Just wondering about the trends of step life!

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? How old are they now?

How has the relationship changed? Or has it stayed the same?

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is? If you have a negative relationship, what do you think the barriers are?

Advice for future stepparents:

classyNJ's picture

I was 41. They were SS11 and SS7. They are now SS17 SS13

Our relationship has not really changed. We still have a date night once a week. Some are sitting in and drinking on the deck and others are dinners or meeting up with friends. The weekends when we are not running from field to field, the four of us either just relax or find something local and fun to do.

I have a positive relationship with both of them. I think its because when we started dating both boys told me that their father was so much happier than he has ever been. DH told them that they are to show me respect whether they like me or not - that you respect all adults. I have never tried to "mother" them and I do not handle discipline. The only time I will intervene is when DH will tell them to do something. If he has to tell them twice I know the 3rd time is going to be yelling and a pissy DH. I will say "do it now before he yells and pisses ME off" They jump right up.

I don't have any real advice. I'm still wading in the step pool trying not to drown the BM. But pay attention to your instinct. If you feel something is off GET OUT! Do not wait until your married and fighting daily because of his kids.

BSgoinon's picture

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? I was 26 SS was 1

How old are they now? He is now 12

How has the relationship changed? Changed for sure. He was a baby and just wanted his mom. It didn't help that she was filling his head with crap about me. Telling him I was a monster and teaching him to call me bitch.

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is? By always remembering that he was only repeating what his mom told him He was just a kid, and a very little one at that. I loved him through it, and have never wavered in my love and support of him, and only want what is best for him, even if it isn't what we want.

Advice for future stepparents: Tough one, since everyone's situation is different. I would say as a "blanket" statement, invest in a really good wine opener Smile

Evil3's picture

I was 31, SS was 5 and SD was 7. They are now 24 and 26.

Our relationship is forced and fake. We get along to each other's faces, but I'm sure SD would be doing cartwheels if I disappeared. That way, she could have DH to herself. The SKs' BM PASed the SKs against DH, and everyone on his side of the family, especially me. DH never stood up for me, so the worse the SKs treated him and I, the more DH suckholed to them. I think the relationship is contingent upon whether or not the DH stands up for his DW or not. I think my SKs never learned to respect me thanks to DH being too chicken to do anything about their rotten treatment. I'm courteous to the SKs, but I secretly hate their fucking guts. I'm thinking that if I feel that way about them, they must feel that way about me, so whatever. I don't care. I'm not sure whether or not DH really knows just how much I can't stand them or if he thinks I simply don't approve of only a couple of their behaviours.

My relationship with SD has changed in that for seven years, she shunned me. She would snap her head in the other direction if I was in the same room as her. Now, she talks to me and even contacts me during the day. I have no clue what turned it around. I ignored her right back, so maybe she knows I don't worship her like everyone else does. Maybe it's the history, because I've been around for almost 20 years and I didn't back away when SD pulled every tactic in the book to split DH and I up. I don't really know.

My advice to future stepparents is to run fast and run far. If I could go back, I would have never gotten involved with a man with kids. I've been through hell and have basically only become happy recently. I had zero self esteem left and no man is worth it.

ChiefGrownup's picture

1. SS was 10, SD 12 when I met them. They are now 14 and 16.

2. My relationship with ss was distant at first because he is autistic and I had little experience in how to cope with or connect with him. It is now quite close. My relationship with sd was warm and fond for the first 6 months. It is now hostile and frigid with some slight calming down in the last few weeks.

3. I have a positive relationship with ss because he is a cheerful kid with no agenda. He--and his parents--accepted me as an authority figure because it's plain he needs the supervision. It became closer because I started spending more and more time with him. I now am dh's main interface with the school and all ss's friends. SS will sometimes ask me for permission for something before he asks dh even if we are sitting right next to each other. SS accepted my style of parenting (far stricter than both his parents) and has still become very fond of me.

Negative relationship with sd because, honestly, something is wrong with her and neither parent addressed it or was willing to see it. She is aggressive, domineering, and mean. I think she was being a false self the first 6 months. The strain of that proved too much and her real self came out. She cannot dominate me and it drives her crazy. If her parents would give her limits and expectations, I think she would have a much happier and more successful life. The barrier to my relationship with her was years of bad parenting of a kid who happened to desperately need parental guidance. She was allowed to marinate in her anti-social behavior instead of taught to grow beyond it.

4. Advice to future stepparents: A. Do not be afraid to enforce your own personal boundaries. You don't have to "parent" their kid but you CAN say "I don't allow this to happen in my presence or in my home no matter who it is." B. Speak up to your partner. Don't assume s/he knows what you are feeling or thinking C. Make your marriage the top priority and make sure your spouse does, too. If the two of you cannot hang on to each other, the whole solar system blows apart. Constantly feed the romance and good feelings. Let skids see a united front. Keep difficult conversations out of sight.

Cover1W's picture

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? How old are they now?
Me, mid-40s - still am.
Prior, SD7 and SD9
Now, SD9 and SDstb12

How has the relationship changed? Or has it stayed the same?

It changed once I moved in, about 1.5 years ago. The SDs completely rebelled. "You're not my mom." "I hate you!" "You can't tell me what to do!" This was in reaction to my realizing there were no rules, the SDs were tearing apart (literally) the furnitue and house itself, DP was shrugging his shoulders and they had no normal eating schedule or clothing. It was shocking. And they naturally freaked out and DP didn't know what hit him.
It came to a head when they damaged some of my things on purpose, as "a joke."
Since then I slowly learned to disengage (from here after a desperate internet search like many) and am still working on that.
It's much, much better now.
We bought a house together and are engaged (next year...sometime...?).
SDs are happy and we get along pretty well.

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is? If you have a negative relationship, what do you think the barriers are?

I think it's 1) because DP stood up for me and made it very clear that he wouldn’t tolerate them treating me like they were. I was an adult in the house and had authority, maybe not like their mom but as a functioning adult 2) I stopped disciplining and I stopped doing much cleaning up after them. I also stopped “telling” DP what they need to do – this is still an ongoing issue because he literally doesn’t see things, both objects and situations very well, but he needs to and I can’t be the “tattletale.” 3) DP and I talked a lot about how to handle our “family life.” What I was able to do and not do and put up with and how he wanted to handle things.

Advice for future stepparents:

If you can’t talk with your SO it’s going to be impossible. I am very lucky in that DP and I respect each other completely. We may not agree but we can clearly understand where each other is coming from and we don’t stay angry/frustrated long.

Know exactly what you will/won't tolerate so your SO knows. I won't tolerate a dirty kitchen or SDs in bedroom w/out permission, and no crap left around living area. I don't care about their bathroom, bedroom or hallway unless I can't get through. Very basic, but keeps things sane and lets me maintain the general house like I want to. Things will disappear if not cared for.

Make time for yourself. I make time with my friends whether or not we have SDs.
Who cares if your SO hasn’t made dinner and it’s 7:30 pm and you’ve worked late. Is that your fault? Eat cheese and crackers and call it good. If your skids don’t have the appropriate, or any coat? Not your problem (don’t lend them your stuff because you’re not likely to see it again).

blayze's picture

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? How old are they now?
SD’s were 3 and 6… now 6 and 9.

How has the relationship changed? Or has it stayed the same?
The same, but it's easier for the oldest to love me now that she doesn't go back to BM after each visit. The skids crave positive female attention and they are all up in my grill asking me to take them places and do things with them. I do my own thing without them every weekend and pull the “Your dad missed you all week. Have fun with him!” But I do plan at least one kid activity (a craft project or something) each weekend.

The one thing that has changed is I am now vocal about their manners and “place” in the family. They know I'm the queen that their dad has chosen and WE are in charge. I say what’s on my mind. I used to be afraid that BM would get mad and take them away from their father, but she’s done it twice. Who cares now? Life goes on – and SO and I have a great time together with or without the kids. If she takes them away again, it’s HER and THEIR LOSS. And SO will grieve a bit, try to take his mind off of it, and give me incredible sex since that's how he "copes"...so I win regardless. Wink

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is?
The relationship is positive right now because their mother is not around (she dumped them "temporarily"). It used to be strained because she was in the background keeping a loyalty bind, talking crap about SO, and encouraging SD's to act up with us. Now her influence is minimal and that’s good for everyone.

Advice for future stepparents:
Hold your partner accountable for the shitty behavior of his kids. I stay on SO's ass about consistently parenting and let him know that I will not live with or be around his kids if he doesn’t do his JOB. He knows that if he wants me to be around (which is more fun and easier for him), he needs to work...treating me like his precious lover and policing his kids. I now know what I bring to ALL of their lives, and I insist on goodness in return.

Shaman29's picture

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? How old are they now?

I was thirty-nine when I met H. She was nearly eleven and is now twenty.

How has the relationship changed? Or has it stayed the same?

I treated her the way I treated my numerous nieces and nephews. However she wanted nothing to do with me and after H received custody, treated me like complete s**t. H did nothing about it. I nearly left him. Now we have an okay relationship. I still keep my distance but it's somewhat on friendlier terms.

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is? If you have a negative relationship, what do you think the barriers are?

I had a negative relationship with skid. And it was all due to H and his unwillingness to be a parent. He wanted (and still does want this) to be her hero. To swoop in and save the day whether it's to save her from Uberskank, mean people, money issues or emergencies. H was forever running immediately into the fray, instead of teaching her to be self-sufficient and showing her the tools and life skills she'd need to be that way. He put her wants (not her needs, I had no issue with his responsibility as a parent) ahead of everything else. Including our marriage and relationship.

Advice for future stepparents:

If your SO is not treating you with respect. Not making your relationship their top priority (minor skids are first responsibility, there is a difference). Putting you in the position of parent but not giving you any authority. Making you feel like the afterthought. Telling you skids always come first. Allowing skids to speak to you and treat you disrespectfully.....then it's time to leave.

GRITSinAL's picture

Just wondering about the trends of step life!

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? How old are they now? I was 33. SS11 was 6. I am now almost 38. SS is 11.

How has the relationship changed? Or has it stayed the same? I used to bend over backwards trying to make SS like me and picking up after him and waiting on him hand and foot..I really did this as a way to please DH. Now I do NOTHING for ss, and I don't care what DH thinks. I used to be all friendly and nice to BM and the inlaws. Now they are all blocked from my phone, and i refuse to interact with them.

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is? If you have a negative relationship, what do you think the barriers are? I don't have either a positive OR a negative relationship with SS. I was being taken advantage of by MANY including him with no appreciation. Also he is not being raised the way that I personally raise DS14 or approve of, so I have distanced myself from everything involving SS. I am polite to SS. I no longer pick up after him, do his laundry, cook for him, do ANY transport, care if he does his homework or showers or brushes his teeth--not my monkey.

Advice for future stepparents: I am not leaving DH at this time. I do love the man. I would NEVER be involved with another man with kids, though. If I had it to do over again, I would not marry DH. I MIGHT date him for an extended period of time...or we might be FWB...but I would not live with or marry him. My advice--If you are not already married or wrapped up too tightly, run.

z3girl's picture

I was 29 when I came into my SD's life. She was 15. She is now 24.

The relationship has definitely changed. We have never been close, but at least we are now somewhat warm toward each other.

I think things have changed because we both have changed. She was (is) very entitled, spoiled, and immature, and I was battling infertility. I now have children, so I am not as touchy about her. At the same time, she has grown up a bit, and DH also puts his foot down a lot more with her.

I'm not really sure about advice for stepparents, except let the bio parents do the parenting. I'm not SD's mother, never acted like one. Also, don't get in the marriage if DH can't act responsibly with your (collective) money.

notasm3's picture

I was in my 60s and SS30 was in his early/mid 20s when DH and I got together. I made an effort to include SS, but I had to limit his exposure to my family because of his drug and alcohol abuse. (I have LEO and NARC relatives). My family is very accepting of new people, but I just could not inflict SS on my relatives.

I took SS on some trips even though he was not my cup of tea. That will never happen again.

But as of two years ago I have 100% removed SS from my life. DH went to pick him up today (we'd been gone for a couple of weeks) so I just left to go run errands. I made sure he was gone before I came back home.

I have not had a totally frank conversation with DH that I have no use for SS, but DH is not stupid. He's figured it out. Plus wife # 2 (15 years) banned SS so this is not new for DH.

DH and I had a couple of horrific arguments about SS. Now that SS is never around we are just a little lovey dovey couple who never have a cross word. If DH ever wants to discuss SS's removal from our lives I will point out how happy we BOTH have been - and why would he want that to change.

On my part I no longer point out how disgusting SS is. I just ignore, ignore, ignore.

thebrokenrecordmachine's picture

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? 26 SD- 14, SS 12
How old are they now? SD 17, SS15

How has the relationship changed? Or has it stayed the same?
At first, like most things it seemed to be good...then last year C U Next Tuesday aka "Their Mom" decided to be a bitch and take SO back for more CS, turns out we were expecting at the time(she even had the balls to ask me for my financial statements and proof I was attending university- we were not married...which I had to prove in court ):)...the skids got weird on us and starting asking us financial questions and became jealous that SO was suddenly(even though we were living together for a few years prior to this) doing things for my BD...and its been a little strained/awkward since...I don't trust them in any way and luckily SO feels the same...they've also been PAS'd...

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is? If you have a negative relationship, what do you think the barriers are?
Barriers:
-their mother
-financial interest
-jealousy
-trust issues
Typical things you find when a Mother hasn't gotten over the fact that their EH moved on, even though they were divorced for 10 years prior to you meeting :).

Advice for future stepparents:
- do not get married until your SO/Husband stops paying CS
-maintain separate residences until your SO/Husband stops paying CS
- do not tell the skids anything personal
-be cordial
-if you have to deal with a psychotic ex wife, let your SO/husband deal with her
-if the psychotic ex wife talks trash about you, let your SO/Husband tell her to F-off and make sure he stands up for you
- do not get embroiled in his drama caused by the ex
- you don't have to like the skids, but at least try to be nice(never tell your husband this)

Monchichi's picture

Chucky turned 3 when we first started testing the waters. I went to his birthday party 3 weeks in to us dating. He is now 7 years, 1 month and 3.5 weeks. Chucky used to the think the sun rose and set on me. Now he wishes he could smother me to death. Good times Smile

sickofitall's picture

I was 23 and SD was 3.

I now am 43 and SD is 22. After years of bending over backwards and rearranging our lives Queen Mommy has
succeeded to PAS SD in the past 3 years or so. We were always a very very distant 2nd to SD and made no bones about showing it. Talked to "Mommy" twice a day when with us with SD calling her and would ignore DHs calls to her between visitation completely etc. BM is diagnosed BPD and SD definately has something going on mentally probably NPD.

So zero contact with me DH and BDs though she keeps very close
with DHs family and makes sure everyone knows how she is a sad victim of us supposedly abandoning her. DHs family now treat our BDs crappy because of SD after being close with them their entire lives. I have no idea why people believe her when they can see with their own eyes she has been a huge part of our family. Everything revolved around her. We treated her equal not better than BDs. Therein lies the problem.

Relationship is bad due to BM making SD super special snowflake even over her own other biological children. She PASed out years ago due to wanting to be number 1 over here not just equal.

Me and DH are ok. Not our best. Hes changed and I feel ripped off that hes not the same man he was up until SD stopped talking to him. Waited 15 years for her to be on her own and he has changed. Not abusive or anything. Just not as happy as he used to be like theres always a slight grey cloud over things. It sucks.

drew's picture

How old were you when you came into your stepkid’s life? How old are they now?
-- I was 37 or so. Step Daughter was about 5. She's now 12.

How has the relationship changed? Or has it stayed the same?
-- The relationship has not gotten much better. In some ways worse because now she's going through pre-teen problems and has more of a vocabulary to express her disgust with me whereas when she was 5, she couldn't say too much.

If you have a positive relationship with your stepkid, why do you think that is? If you have a negative relationship, what do you think the barriers are?
-- The relationship I have with my step daughter is negative despite my wanting otherwise. She is undisciplined and has a strong sense of entitlement. She has admitted both in words and in writing that she doesn't respect me, but does want a more productive relationship with me, yet hasn't let up on the attitude and defiance when asked to complete the simplest of tasks. I believe the guilt her mother feels for having her daughter go through a divorce so early and the financial woes that followed as a result has caused the mother to now spoil her.I feel her mother is the barrier between step daughter and I resolving the issues we have and how they currently are. I'm not allowed to insist the step daughter do her chores let alone do them correctly.

Advice for future stepparents:
-- Being a parent is hard. Being a step parent is the hardest!

Mr Meanie Man's picture

I was 26, they are now 7yr SD & 6yr SS

As for SS, were father & son and our bond is strong. SD diff story. Shes a coddled spoiled brat & she manipulates her mother by saying, "u don't luv me" The relationship is "awkward" I'm more of a disciplinarian that comforts when necessary. But I honestly don't like her.

My SD feels I've taken mommy her mommy away. She's use to having her time. She still trys to sleep in our bed & whines when she can't, which is never so...