Posted by: Meg | 2003/02/18

Step children nightmare

I have been married for 8 months to a man who has 2 children from a previous marriage. The son is 19, the daughter 13. We have been together for 6 years already and since the day we met, these 2 children have done everything possible to seperate us. I could tell stories that would make your blood run cold as to how far these 2 have gone to split us up, but so far we are still going strong. Their parents had been divorced for 3 years already before I even met him but they still think that if they get rid of me, he will go back to her. We have tried sitting them down and talking things through with them, we have tried various punishments for their appalling behaviour, we have threatened, begged, pleaded, explained till we're blue in the face, nothing helps. My husband has made it clear to them that even if they succeed in getting rid of me he will never ever go back to their mother and told them that no matter what the situation with him and her, he will always love them and be there for them but that had no effect either. The mother aids them terrifically in their quest as she also still believes he will come back if only she can get rid of me and she eggs them on as much as possible and actually puts them up to telling their father that I have done all sorts of things behind his back, to cause trouble between us. Luckily (??) he has been through this with her before and knows better than to listen to anything she says or does.

Now the mother is having serious health problems and may be borded from work and has decided that she cant take care of her daughter anymore and wants her to come live with her father.

How do I handle this? I am afraid that the pressure of having this child between us everyday will put too much strain on our marriage and I dont know if we could handle it.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Meg, sounds like a tremendously annoying and frustrating situation. Thank goodness your husband has had the sense to recognize what has been going on, and to remain sensible about i.
Depending on the mother's medical condition ( and there are siome awfully phoney Boardings going on ) it doesn't necessarily mean that she's become a helpless invalid and unable to look after her daughter. If there is a good reason why she can't care for the child any more, then it would need to be negotiated, with it being made absolutely clear that the child can only come to live with you if she obeys the rules of your house, and stops all the mischief-making that has been problematic so far.
And isn't it about time that the 19-year-old started planing to fend for himself, instead of interfering in his father's marriage ? It sounds as if part of the problem could be a perceived lack of sanctions on your side ? Get together as paents and think this through creatively --- any malice from the kids and --- no TV for a week, no computer / internet access ; no prmission to go out to parties ; whatever works.
What do other readers think ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: vlooi | 2003/03/04

It is of utmost importance that you and your husband is seen as a unit which nobody can break.
I am in sort of the same situation. I fully agree with the cybershrink if she lives in your house, there are houserules and if she can not obey them, she can not stay there!
What my husband used to say to his children is that I am his "wife" and the woman of our house and only therefore they WILL have respect towards me and that it is NOT optional.(it also neutralises that weapon of "she is not my mother"). We have generalised houserules whenever we have the kids eg.
1. Everybody in this house treats each other with respect
2. No swearing is allowed
3. Nobody screams and yells at each other
4. Everybody works and helps together etc
By doing this, the houserules are generalised and neutralised and takes the "sting" out of the emotions re the stepmother vs stepchild setup

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Posted by: www | 2003/02/18

You never know, maybe once the 13-year-old is out of the mother's and older brother 's(who really should get over it, since he's not a child anymore) influences, she might get to know you and come around. Stick to your guns and good luck!!

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Posted by: nina | 2003/02/18

hi there

i think you should have a really deep talk to your hubby and even put things in writing
dicide together on the rules and punishments and make sure you have his support
tell him how you feel that you are scared and even angry and you find it really difficult to love his kids -

you need to make sure he knows exactly what you feel and how you are going to deal with the girl

but don't expect him to chose between you and his girl even if she is wrong

you sure have a difficult time ahead but with you and hubby standig together there is hope
and you have to hold on to that - and remember they won't always be at home this will pass and
you will either be poorer or richer as a person from this experience

good luck


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