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#71000 - 04/18/05 05:11 PM Step-Son
Mary20783 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Florida
Please don't discontinue the step-children thread. I just discovered this web sit yesterday and need help and advice on this subject. My story is a rather long one and I just tried to post it and it rejected me. If anyone is willing to listen and help me I would appreciate it beyond words.
This is the website I have looked for.
Mary--Step mother of 6 weeks to a 17 year old boy.

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#71001 - 04/18/05 06:18 PM Re: Step-Son
Dotsie Offline
Founder

Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 23647
Loc: Maryland
Mary, I'm glad you found us. I'm not sure what happened. If this post is here you should be able to post about about your step-son.

Why not give it another try?

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#71002 - 04/18/05 06:20 PM Re: Step-Son
chickadee Offline
Member

Registered: 09/26/04
Posts: 3910
Loc: Alabama
Mary, A warm welcome to you and so glad you found us. I am the mother of step children. I raised a little boy since he was five and six years ago, added two who are ages twenty one and twenty five. All three relationships are doing exceptionally well. I know lots of secrets, but many step parents refuse to listen. A book is in the works but you don't have to wait on that because I am here. I will be glad to help in ANY way I can. I don't have step - daughters but my biological children are female. I think my rules would apply for either sex. It all starts with us. Try posting it again and we'll help you down your path to becoming a happy step-mom.

chickadee, A.K.A. Mommy, Mom, Mum, Andria, Mother!!!...and sometimes "Whatever"! [Wink]

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#71003 - 04/19/05 07:29 AM Re: Step-Son
jawjaw Offline
Da Queen

Registered: 07/02/03
Posts: 12025
Loc: Alabama
Mary,
Welcome friend. Please visit this site, http://www.stepfamilieswork.com/ and tell Kelly that Queen Jaw Jaw sent you. She's an expert in the step-family arena and is a kind and loving person. She would be happy to assist you, I am sure of it. Not only that, Chick-a-dee fits the same mold. So you can't lose here! I look forward to getting to know you better and once again, Welcome!

JJ

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#71004 - 04/19/05 05:09 AM Re: Step-Son
Sherri Offline
Member

Registered: 03/12/04
Posts: 1177
Loc: Decatur, Illinois
I am also a step-mother, the kids are all grown now, but we started out pretty rocky. Thank God we are very very close now. Step daughter Heather and two step sons, Brian and Josh.

In my family, you could hear any of our 5 kids say "There aren't any steps in our family except the ones that go upstairs!" I feel fortunate.

Sherri

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#71005 - 04/19/05 04:37 PM Re: Step-Son
Mary20783 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Florida
Thank you all for such a warm and loving welcome to this website. Your words of comfort have brought me to tears. Never would I have thought that complete strangers would open their arms to me with such compassion. Browsing through this site perhaps I should have introduce myself in the proper thread first, but I did an goggle search with the horrible words, I want to kill my step-son. Through that search it lead me to this truly God sent website. I am so blessed to have found all of you and tomorrow when I have more time will explain my story. I am sure that their are a lot of people going through far worse problems than mine, but at this moment I feel completly overwhelmed and reaching a breaking point in my life. Again thanks to all of you.
Mary

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#71006 - 04/19/05 06:07 PM Re: Step-Son
Dianne Offline
Queen of Shoes

Registered: 05/24/04
Posts: 6123
Loc: Arizona
You have found the right place! I'm also a stepmother or as I now call myself, a stepmonster. Two grown stepsons that have nothing to do with me, which I find the best way. So, vent away because I completely understand. Detachment works best for me!

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#71007 - 04/19/05 09:14 PM Re: Step-Son
DallasGal Offline
Member

Registered: 04/14/05
Posts: 218
Loc: Dallas, Texas
Mary,

Welcome - I know that we can help you, or at least direct you to the sources of help.

Some of the things I did before I got married was insist that my stepdaughter get into counseling to deal with issues re: her parents divorce and her relationship with her Mom.

Kaile was distant from her mom b/c of the circumstances surrounding her parent's divorce and her mom choosing to go live with another man and leaving her and her half sister from her mom's other marriage for my husband to raise.

Another thing I did was read everything I could on "blended families", Some of my best reads were:

"Stepwives : Ten Steps to Help Ex-Wives and Stepmothers End the Struggle and Put the Kids First" - This book helped me understand the relationship and conflicts between birth moms and step moms and to respect Kaile's Mom no matter how much of a "Momma Bear" she was and REQUIRE that Kaile respect her in front of me as well. (One time Kaile criticized her mom in front of me, and I looked at her and told her that she may not agree with what her mom did but she is NOT allowed to disrespect her mom in front of me or in my home - this had a two fold impact on Kaile, it established that I and Kaile's dad would NOT be criticizing her birth mom in front of or with Kaile, and also that the respect that we wanted her to show to Me, as her stepmom, was also required for ALL of her parents. Was this easy to do - no, it is a natural way of behaving for a stepmom to behave badly and criticize the "ex", the only problem is the "ex" is a "current" mom to all stepchildren). "Stepwives" helped me understand more about Kid's in divorce and how they are often "caught in the middle" and why they respond the way they do.


"Living In A Step-Family Without Getting Stepped On" by Dr. Kevin Leman - This book really helped indentify how a blended family "upsets" the nature way of life for BOTH families. Coming from our family with ALL Firstborns, I got quite a few chuckles as Dr. Leman had many "lightbulb" moments for our family as far as establishing a new family birth order and meeting the needs of our children inside of our blended family.


I know that if I had to base my love for my husband and the desire to fulfill the commitment of my marriage upon the initial attitude of my daughter, Kaile, when we(Me and Little K) first came into the picture, I would have never married my husband. I found that by praying for Kaile, my stepdaughter, and for God to show me ways to meet her needs, that it really strengthened our relationship.

Kaile at first was vicious - she attacked everything about me - my looks, my weight, even my voice (I am conference vocalist), said I was only after her dad for his money (even though I had more in the bank than he did), and etc., you name it it was attacked.

The thing is, when stepchildren lash out it is because of grief. It really is not personal against the new stepparent, it is their grief.

I have always defined grief as this way: Grief is the disruption of our heart as it beats and longs for what was. Grief is an interruption of the mind as we think about what once was.

Divorce does terrible things to children, and most of the terribleness is not seen until later, when teens or older/grown children are learning about love and relationships for themselves and are exploring the world of interpersonal relationships with some missing information on what actually makes for a good marriage. Most kids of divorce have never seen a marriage in which conflicts are resolved without shooting to kill in conflict. The odds decrease with every new marriage that they will learn new conflict-resolution skills, because parents forget that divorce is only a legal end to a past problem, and if not dealt with AFTER the divorce, the problems of each person just keep getting added into the "blended and extended" family until ALL problems are either dealt with or the stepfamily implodes.

Most parents/stepparents can't get beyond justifying the REASONS they are getting divorced or have got divorced or choose to get remarried, to recognize that there is a responsibility to the children/stepchildren that are part of the package.

Parents/Stepparents can't overlook the emotional needs of the child, even if the divorce is "years" before the new marriage. Many emotions from divorce are dormant in children, because they lack the skills necessary to process the emotions.

When I am talking to moms on Blended Family topics I say this: "Being a mother is the toughest job that you could ever love, Being a stepmother is an even tougher job because it is a struggle against all things natural to love."

Early on as a stepmom, I set boundaries for myself and my stepdaughter. I made the decision that I would let my husband discipline Kaile. If she was disrespectful to me, then her Dad would take care of it. I made it very clear to him that him stepping up to the plate in this area was honoring to me as his wife, as well as honoring to his daughter. By not letting bad behavior go unchecked just because it is a "tough topic", He would show his family love and concern, and cement in all of our minds that he was committed to making our blended family marriage work.

This does not mean that I would not hold my stepdaughter accountable. I would tell her that she had no right to disrespect me and that she had to give me at least the courtesy of a stranger. I didn't require her to like me, much less love me, but she could not call me names, or be disrespectful without consequences.

At one point, a few months into the marriage, we sat down with Kaile and explained to her that she would not be allowed to visit if she could not be civil and be respectful of both her dad and myself and her stepsister (less of a problem since she took to "sistering" easier) while she was in our home. We explained to her that her rights of expression ended at the point that our began. And that we had the right to have a peace-filled home that was a testimony to genuine caring, concern and love for everyone inside. If she choose to come into our environment, she would be choosing to give and recieve the same type of emotions/action. If she did not choose, then visits would be structured outside of our home and would be fewer and far between. We made it clear to Kaile that our marriage came first. We made her understand that we were not going to become a statistic and in doing so reinforce her fears of more people leaving, and further create conflict for her.

From day one, I had expectations for Kaile. She was to treat me with respect and when she didn't there were consequences. When she did, I rewarded her on a level between us, or my husband and I rewarded her together or my husband rewarded her himself. Rewards are verbal praise, expression of gratitude and sometimes gifts. Reward is a tough thing to do as a parent/stepparent when kids are "doing something they should be doing anyways", but it very important to reinforcing positive behaviors and diminishing negative behaviors. (Sometimes it was just something as simply "Thank you for coloring with Kayleigh")

I have also looked for ways to bond more with Kaile. At first I had the Stepmom-Cinderella mentality, that I was God-given to Kaile for a special purpose for her life. Although, I still believe this, I now recognize that magic doesn't happen overnight, I was not issued a magic wand and love doesn't grow in a single heartbeat at the words "I do". I never expected for the "motherly love" I have for Kayleigh, to magically appear with Kaile - I prayed for this love to come into my life, as I prayed specifically for Kaile and her needs, struggles and concerns. Last year, I began a monthly e-mail to Kaile called "Letters To Kaile On her Way To College" in these emails I do NOT talk about any frustrations, I don't vent, I simply talk about the journey ahead and reinforce to her that I am praying for her and that I support her decision to go to college and that I know she will be a success at whatever plans God has for her life.

I have learned from being a stepmom that whatever emotion I feed the most as a stepmom is what will grow. If I feed resentment from the horrible things she did in the past or when Kaile in her immaturity, grief, anger, confusion somehow hurts me, my resentment will grow. If I feed the mothering instinct, the role of nurturer and mentor, that will grow.

Response is a choice.

I choose to realize that the relationship between my stepdaughter and my husband is the most important relationship to ensure the happiness in our blended family. When Kaile visits there is always at least several hours (4-5) that is only Dad/Daughter time. These special times were tough at first to "let go" and "let be". But they were necessary for our family. These times were more important in the initial years that ALL of us being together.

We even practice Dad/Daughter, Mom/Daughter, Dad/Son, Mom/Daughter date nights for the reason of strengthening each part to strengthen the whole.

Mary, I hope that you are strengthened as a Stepmom and realize that there is hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and this too shall pass.

When I get emails back from my daughter, Kaile, that say "love, Kaile" or "I am sorry I didn't notice what a wonderful person you were before. I am glad God put you in my life" - my heart SOARS!!! I know that had I not made the choices that I did early on regarding my boundaries as a stepmom and placing expectations on Kaile, this would have never happened.

Another website resource opening up beginning May 2005 is "Surviving The Blender"(TM) on www.inspiredmoms.com, I will be heading up this area with a team of Christian writers to help stepmoms in their Mom relationships with their children/stepchildren.

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#71008 - 04/20/05 08:03 PM Re: Step-Son
Mary20783 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Florida
Yet again many thanks to all of you for your insight, experiences, wisdom, and caring that you have shown me.
Time for my story. I have been married to a wonderful man for 14 years. Both of us went through tough divorces before finding each other.
By choice I never had any children during my first marriage. My husband came into the relationshp with a 15 year old daughter from a his late teens years. He and his Mom raised her from her 2nd birthday. He later married a woman with 3 girls, then they had a girl of their own.
His 15 year old girl and I hit it off right from the start. We became close friends and remain so after all these years. During his relationship with his wife, mind you that union now has 4 girls in it they took guardianship of an infant boy who was born addicted to drugs. He was the child of the first wife's sister who literally left him on their door step. My husband has no blood relationship with the boy or 3 of the girls. Yes, very confusing. That marriage only last 2 years, so my husband never had any time to fully bond with the boy and the 'mother', the now ex-wife turned everyone against my husband.
It's very obvious to me that after being with my husband for 14 years that he is not the monster the ex claimed he was. He also has an excellent realionship with his oldest daughter from that early relationship.
Through the years we have always sent his biological daughter and the boy presents and cards for every major occasion, the kids living with the ex-wife. When we lived in the area they would also come for visits. After we moved away we also had them visit us on school breaks.
The thanks that we recieved from all of our efforts was non-existanct. Never once did they call my husband on his birthday, Father's Day, Christmas and so on. We never received an acknowledgement of their cards or gifts. Nothing!
3 months ago, the 'son' (remember he was never adopted or has any bloodline to my husband, and we haven't heard from them in 9 years now) called and said he was in trouble and needed a place to live. My husband called his ex-wife and she explained the situation. Here is a bit of the problems: He's 17 years old and had failed the 10th grade, then got expelled from school when he went to repeat the grade the next year for threatning a teacher. At first he was allowed to stay at home during the day while his 'mom' and sister were at work, the older daughters had left the nest. After he had stolen money and items from the home he was made to leave the house each day while no one was home to watch over him. Then he started stealing from the homes of his friends. No one ever pressed charges. At some point he just had to find his biological mother, the sister of the woman who was raising him as her own. He found out that she litterally was a whore on the streets and still a drug addict. She had over 5 children from various men through the years. His bio-father is in jail.
My husband and I discussed it and decided to give the boy a chance away from his current enviroment to give him a fresh start. Yes we did go out on a limb since we weren't related to him, and me, the motherless child by choice, but I agreed. The major reason I agreed is that I was adopted 52 years ago by the most wonderful 2 parents anyone could ever ask for. I was and am truly blessed. Both of them are still alive at 86 and 90, a present from God! So I thought is was my turn to 'give back' the blessing I had been given by being adopted. So he came to live with us 6 weeks ago.
It has been my worse nightmare come true. Yes DallasGal I too had the Cinderella mentality. I thought at long last I would have a son to take to baseball games, to pal around with while my husband was at work. I was dead wrong. He is lazy, shiftless, self-centered and a slob. He has no respect for our home. The only thing we have asked of him is to keep his room picked up and the guest bathroom that he now uses clean.
None of that was and is on his agenda. He lost his first job in 3 hours. So far this second job has lasted 9 days, but he gets paid today and we'll see if he then quits. He is extremely disrecptful to me, he leaves a mess in the kitchen, and until I put my foot down, blarred the TV in the living room whenever he was home.
We bought him his own TV, VCR etc (used) for his room. Now he has removed the DVD player from our bedroom along with a boom box thing from my computer/relaxtion room. He just takes whatever he wants from us and places it in his room.
The finally straw for me was when he had spilled his drink all over the kitchen floor and I asked him to please clean up after himself as he was walking away from the mess. He turned back to me and told me to clean up his mess. Then he got right in my face and started screaming at me.
He was nasty and ugly. Basically he stated he didn't care a dam about me, this house or anything or anyone but my husband. He didn't care about the rules we laid out and wasn't going to live my them. I let him have his say and somehow or another told him that it wasn't important if we never became friends, but he would respect me, and he would respect this home, that he would do the simple tasks required of him.That I had the full backing of my husband and we would discuss this later with him. When I told my husband about it late that night after he returned from work, to say he was livid was an understatement. He wanted to snatch the kid up and throw him out that door right then and there. We talked about the outrage further and decided to have a family meeting the next night.
The jist of the meeting was, that he would respect us, the house and would follow the rules or he had the choice of leaving then. If he ever got in my face again that he would be asked to leave the house immediately. I am so very thankful that my husband took my side of the arguement. The fact is he knew the 'rules' of the house before he ever came down here and agreed to them, yet now he doesn't care.
My husband feels that no man ever should disrespect a woman and scream and yell at her for any reason. We have never had a realtionship that included screaming, we calmly talk out any probems that we may have. In the last 6 weeks I can't tell you how many times my husband has lost his temper with the boy. As a matter of fact I never knew my husband had a temper as such until the kid moved in. My 3 cats, who are my babies, sorry if I offend anyone, they have never been so scared and skiddish since we got them. The tension is constant, I walk around on eggshells when the child is home. My husband is a manager of a retail store so his hours differ from day to day. Before the boy moved in we had what I termed the perfect little life. We adore each other and or little home that we have struggled for and I had the 3 cats in the yard life....they are indoor cats by the way, but I think you know what I mean.
I truly wanted this to work out with all my heart when he walked through our door, but I will say now, I just wish he would disappear from our life. I have to take medication for high blood pressure now. I have lost 15 pounds due to the stress and the worse thing of all is I fell off the wagon and started smoking again.
So that's the story, sorry it's so long.
Diane thank you for the invitation to vent.
To all of you thank you for the advice and the other websites that I can check out. Your guidance has been most valuable and priceless to me. To know that there are other women out there who care and are willing to take their time to help me is a blessing.
Mary

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#71009 - 04/20/05 10:15 PM Re: Step-Son
unique Offline
Member

Registered: 12/21/04
Posts: 483
Loc: North Carolina
Mary, That kid needs to go. Where he goes and what he does is HIS problem. But he is causing you problems, very serious ones at that. At 17 he isn't a child any more and really, there isn't anything you can do for him. HE has to make up his mind and so far all he's decided is to be a user and a loser and a sponge. I wish I could get the sweet deal he's fallen into and I'll tell ya, I pick up after myself and I'd be so grateful I'd pick up after you, too!!! You live in Florida, maybe the Boys Ranch has a place for him. For your own sake, do it soon.

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