07-29-2019 02:15 PM
Apologies if this is not the right place to post this!
I'm a new-ish stepmum of 4 kids that my partner has from a previous marriage. When I say new-ish, I mean my partner and I have been together for almost 4 years, but the kids didn't know I existed until late last year. Since then we've moved to the area where the kids are to be closer, and since Christmas three of the kids (10, 12, and 14) have been visiting every other weekend. So it's been from zero to 100 in an extremely short space of time.
Needless to say I'm having a lot of trouble with the changes. I'm starting to read a lot on step parenting to try and get my head around it, but there is a sad lack of resources and support where I live. Awesome support if you're a parent, no support if you're a step parent, and trust me these things are totally different!
So I'm looking for people I can chat with to be able to bounce off, understand what I need to do, need to NOT do, and generally get my head around an extremely large shift in my life.
Any help or resources would be much appreciated!
07-31-2019 12:47 PM
you are in the right place.. welcome!
Blending families is never easy for anyone involved. My partner and I are still struggling 3 years on and we have separate houses still. Like you it was well over a year before my children knew about my partner, I think that is very good idea after watching my kids come over and regularly tell me about there mothers latest boyfriend.
Step parenting is tough! Where do you have authority over the kids and their behavior and where are you intruding? There is no simple answer and it is different for every family.
In my family I am very direct and have solid boundaries where my partner is the exact opposite.
I set rules and if my kids cross the boundaries the consequences are known and enforced.
Moving into her house 50% of the time with here daughter where everything is negotiated and battled over each time it comes up did my head in.
For me I had to learn I was not the new Dad I was Mum's partner. I can assure you her daughter had some choice other descriptions for me and some of them were quite insulting not just to me but her mother.
I would suggest you start by talking with your partner.. what is their expectations?
Are you expected to help raise them or there as your partners new partner?
By the sounds of it the children other parent are active in their lives so you also need to be considerate of that. The other parent might be very resentful of any role you take up in the kids life.
Once you have worked through that you and your partner need to agree on what limits and roles you will have. IMHO this is critical is to have a clear commitment and understanding between you and your new partner on what they expect in different situations.
Then when the situations with the step kids go pear shaped (and they will) you can support each other and not have that conflict flow into your relationship.
I would not necessarily suggest sitting formally down with the kids and stating what you agreed unless they are used to such an approach.
In my case it was simple.. I had to keep my mouth shut in front of my step-daughter. If I had "advise" or "comments" there were to be done between just us when things calmed down and Mum would deal with step-daughter directly.
07-31-2019 02:01 PM
Thank you so much for the response and the advise.
I don't have kids of my own, so I have nothing to compare step-parenting to which doesn't help sometimes. There's no baseline to play off or compare to.
My partner is lovely and tries to help as much as possible, but i think there is something of a disconnect with the expectations as well. Sitting down and talking through some things, making some plans and guidelines as you've suggested will probably help a lot.
There's been so many changes this past 9 months (moving to an area I don't know, buying a house, the kids starting to come over, my partner had major knee surgery at Christmas and could't really do a lot for a good 8 weeks, new job..........) that they all start to pile up. It's overwhelming trying to deal with it all.
I've read some good things online about step parenting which has helped a bit. Some sites actually recommend NOT spending much time with them when they are over as they are there to see their parents and not me? I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do or not - though I suspect it would make things a little easier for the older ones at least. I also read not to expect too much, and any expectations that I did have, roll them back and reconsider them?
What do you think?
Any other advice on managing the transition?
07-31-2019 02:12 PM - edited 07-31-2019 02:13 PM
Suddenly having three teens in your life would certainly make it a big change!
it appears from the post they are there only every 2nd weekend (no week days?). If they are only there 2 days in 14 that would be different than a 50% arrangement where you would interact a lot more.
I would agree if there is very limited access 2/14 days that trying to force time with the kids would be a bad idea. That is different from engaged with them if they want to when they are there, which you should never limit.
You can even expect a difference between the three children on how much they want to interact with you. And it will change from day to day, even hour to hour. One things step-teens are good at is being inconsistent in what they expect of you
07-31-2019 02:48 PM
Thanks @PapaBill very much appreciated. I'll see how talking some boundaries through with my partner goes and see what happens. I'll also keep in mind that 2/14 days is not a lot of time, and they are there to be with their dad - and give them the time to do that.
That will actually likely help a lot
If anyone else has ideas or advice to add, please do, the more the merrier! Thanks again!