Fairytales like Snow White and Cinderella just go to show that the battle for security and acceptance in a blended family (both as stepchild and stepmom) is as old as the hills.
Here is an ongoing conversation from the Step Parenting Support forum – tell us what you think.
Bio-moms treat step-moms as monsters
My step-daughter was 3 (going for 7 in September) when I met her father. We got married last year in January. He and the ex broke up when she was still pregnant so she was out of the picture already when he and I met, but I promise you as soon as she knew that there was someone in his life, she started harassing him and refusing to give him access to the child.
When the child was 4 they came to an agreement that she should go to multi-racial creche to prepare her for school. The agreement was that dad won't be giving her money anymore, but will take care of school/creche expenses (school fees, transport etc) and the mother will feed her. We both buy her clothes. I thought that the ex would appreciate this. On top of that, my step-daughter is on dad's medical aid. A couple of months later the ex started calling us demanding money and threatening to take my husband to court.
He just ignored her until he received a court letter. They went to court and her case was dismissed due to the fact that he was doing right by the child. The calls and harassment continued until he encouraged her to go to court. It's clear that it's money she wants, and not so much concern about the child's welfare.
Well, she was awarded an amount of money which is far less than what we used to spend on her every month.
The child started school last year, but I had to claim my deposit back from the school I had enrolled her in, because her mother didn't approve of it. She then enrolled her in another school. In her eyes I can't do anything right.
The little girl also started giving me attitude, wouldn't talk to me when she visited, only talk to her father. She wouldn't let me bath her, saying she wants her father to do that. Fortunately, he didn't take her nonsense. I am now tired of her nonsense, so I told my husband not to bring the child to my house. If he wants to spend time with her, which he had to get lawyers involved for access, he must pick her up and go somewhere like the movies and take her back to her mother later.
I don't feel guilty at all for not wanting her to come to my house, as much as the child is innocent in all this, I won't allow myself to love a child whose mother always threatens my life and influences her child to disrespect me.
Before the schools open in July she texted my husband and asked him for a loan as she didn't have money for transport. He told her to speak with me, as I manage finances in our house. She didn't speak to me, however I refused to give her the money. She embarrassed us when she took DH to court, as if he runs away from his responsibilities, so she must pay the consequences. I don't even care if the child goes to school or not. That woman put me through hell. We had to get a court order to stop her from harassing us.
Some comments so far
Mother and Step Mother:
Congratulations now that you have your husband to yourself, but remember what goes around comes around, you could also end up as an ex.
Calm down, don't let her upset you, she's not worth it. They all use the same handbook, nothing new. I'm just glad your husband is with you 100%. She has no power, even trying to use her child is not working, you have already won. It would have been bad if your husband didn't agree with you, its very rare to find a man not accusing his wife of being jealous of his kids. Good for both of you. The child will grow up and see, don't stress, for now, no law can lock you or him up, he is abiding 100% from his side. Don't feel bad about not wanting the child in your home, she can stay with her mom until she learns YOU are daddy's wife, whether her mom likes it or not.
I strongly disagree, Mother and step Mother
Most of us here are moms and stepmoms. We do not use our kids to make our ex's lives with their new spouses miserable just because we lost what they have. That is plain downright jealousy, bitterness and spitefulness. That child may hate her mom one day for using her!
You obviously do not have kids of your own. Once one has kids you understand that they are just kids. Try and ignore the mother and just give love to the daughter. You are the better person.
While I understand that the ex is acting unfairly and needs to be dealt with firmly, punishing a 7 year old girl in order to prove a point is unacceptable.
And just because your husband agrees in order to keep the peace, it doesn't mean that having to visit his child in a shopping mall is making him happy.
I'm not sure that this is the way to strengthen a marriage - playing "us against them" - it's definitely not attractive to men in the long run.
The original poster:
It's not my intention to keep them apart and there's no point to prove, but I expect to be treated with respect in my house. I play my part but if I'm not met halfway, what then? In my culture when a child misbehaves we give her a hiding, but if I do that to her I'll be labeled bad and abusive.
What would you rather I do then? You try to get along with your step-child, set the boundaries and they turn around and tell you you're not their mother, so you can't tell them what to do.
I've been through the same before and I sometimes pray that the ex meets a new wonderful man.
My husband believed that his dad was the biggest loser until he was 18 because his mom made him believe so. So, she might have this kind of feeling towards you for a very long time. Just remember she's a kid that believes everything her mommy says.
It's hard to sometimes hold yourself back when the step-child says something that you know comes from her/his mom, but I always remind myself that it's only a child and doesn't know any better.
When you look at kids and see how they behave, it gives you a very clear picture of what kind of parent(s) they have.
The most important person in your life is your husband, because he will always be around, sometimes you need to bite the bullet for the sake of that.
I can't tell you what to do, but having been in both positions, I can tell you what works - a little patience, a slightly thicker skin, and a bit of wisdom. Your husband has chosen to marry you so you've won already - how can it possibly hurt you to rise above the normal behaviour of any seven-year-old being used as a weapon?
Imagine if you hung in for just one more year, biting the bullet and being nice to this kid (no matter how she responds) – she'd end up seeing that you're a wonderful person. What a great investment in your own marriage.
(Joanne Hart, Health24, July 2010)