New step mom...advice??

Christina - posted on 08/28/2009 ( 25 moms have responded )

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I'm new to the group, and to being a step mom! My step kids just spent the summer with us and it was rough. I was wondering if anyone has any suggestions to make it easier for when they come next year??

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[deleted account]

I have been a step-mum for 27 years and yes it can be hard. It's always been okish. I refused to use the word step in my house and tried to treat all the children the same. very tough. Sibling rivalry is one thing but sibling rivalry over parents is hard. eg He's my Daddy of She's my Mummy. I held it all toghether for many years and have the most wonderful rewards.....three little grandchildren I adore to my (step) kids. I have never been closer to my daughter as she sees how much I love her children. Be Patient

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Fuchsia - posted on 09/06/2009

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With my step daughter I told her right from the start the I wasn't going to try to be her mom - she already has one of those. I said that I would like for us to be friends as we both love her dad. Our relationship has grown beyond a simple friendship, but that was the basis of it. It was a small step that we could connect on and grow with. At the start I was not the "parent" and let her dad do alot of that, but in time we worked out how I fit into it as well. Give it all time.

Nadine - posted on 09/03/2009

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I am a pastors wife and a step-mom. I can tell you the road is long and it is hard, all you can do is pray, let them know that you love them but their biological mom loves them too and you care about her! Dont let them see any differences between you and their biological mom, bc they will side with her, no matter how hard it is, pray and let her be their mom, you love their dad and you are 2nd to their mom! My step-son is 19, I married his dad when he was 11, we have had some hard times, but their are some things that I can listen to that his biological mom cant handle. You will become more of a friend than a mother and thats ok, bc they have a mother and in their mind they dont need another one>

Jenn - posted on 09/03/2009

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In my house there is no such thing as step children both the girls are MY girls, even though I didnt give birth to the oldest (who I met when she was 7 and is almost 12 now). We have full custody of our oldest and she is MINE through and through, I would die for her just as I would for my 11th month old. It took time to become close to her because of the fear she had of losing her daddy, but she will now tell you she didnt lose him she gained a mommy. My oldest will tell you that she depends on me for = sickness, homework, girl talk, showing her how to do the things females do, nightmares, pick ups and drop offs, cheerleading, slumber parties, birthday parties, christmas, easter, and anything else she needs or wants. She calls Me "Mommy" and it warms my heart every time. How me and her come this far was from the get go I explained to her the the things I done for her was because I WANTED to not because I had to or because it was a job, but because I loved her and wanted to do the things I do. She understood this and we have a very close relationship. Yes it takes time but it is well worth it. Just remember it is just has hard and new for them as it is for you. Be there for them and you will be amazed at the love you will feel and receive. Lots of luck and God bless you and your family.

Gina - posted on 09/02/2009

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I have 3 stepsons who live with my husband and I yr round. We gained custody of them about 1yr into our relationship. They were young then the oldest being just 7 and the youngest had just turned 4. I came into the picture with 4 children myself so I knew it was going to be stressfull. But it all worked out! I didnt want them to think that I was taking their mothers place but that I was going to love them and care for them the same way she would if she was there. I dont let them disrespect me or run over me but I dont let my own kids do it either. I feel like you should show them whos boss but let them know that u can be their friend to. I treat all the kids in our home as if I gave birth to them and they see that. I wish you all the best good luck!

Michelle - posted on 09/02/2009

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Let me tell you I am a step mom and recently new mom. My step daughter is now 9 but when we met she was 4. It was really rough on our relationship. I thought he was to passive and he thought I was to strict. I would say stick to you guns. But definately pick your battles. It's not always worth the fight. And the jealousy things is really hard....but just try to make it clear that you have different relationships

Tammy - posted on 09/02/2009

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Do you only have the kids in the summer? Do they spend every other weekend with you?
Until you love these kids you will not be able to be a successful step-parent (and that will come with time) You will only be the babysitter. Once you have established a real loving relationship with them it will be easier. Treat them exactly like you treat your biological child. When the kids see that you do not treat them any different then you treat your biologicals, things will fall into place. Also you need to be able to talk to their mother. When the kids see that their mom trusts you then they will too. Kids learn very early to manipulate the 2 family situation and once they see that you and their mom are on the same page and team they will be more likely to respect you and follow your rules. If you can not get along with their mom DO NOT let the kids know. They will feed off of the animosity and you will never have their respect. No matter how bad you think their mom is they love her and their allegiance is gonna be with her. As for letting Dad do the disciplining, it is your home they are children and you are in charge of them when dad is away. They have to know that you have as much right to discipline them as he does, because it is your home. Try not to threaten them with "Just wait til I tell you Dad". That will just make them look at you as a tattletale that can not handle the situation.
It is not an easy job but it can and does work if you really want it to.

Danielle - posted on 09/02/2009

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Hello, Coming from a broken home and being a stepmom myself, I try not to push being their "mom" on them. Unless my husband is home, I do not do the disciplining also. One thing that you have to remember that there are boundaries with them; however, they just need to respect you. My stepson never tells me he loves me, but all I care about is that he respects me and he always makes me a mother's day card. Kids show their love in different ways. Just remember it is a slow process. They need to trust you. Please remember that it is always the dream of the biological parents to always get back together and to not get offended by that. Just have fun with them and show that you are interested. I care about my stepkids, but I don't love them like I love my biological son, and that took some time for me to accept and that is fine because I learned from having my son. However, kids to do pick up on things and your husband will appreciate you too. It is a hard job, but good for you.

[deleted account]

I have been a step mom for the past 11 years and even though it has had it's ups and downs, I wouldn't trade it for anything! In fact, as I type this, I am sitting in the waiting room of our hospital awaiting the birth of my oldest step daughter's first baby! The advice that has been posted here is VERY GOOD...get to know them...find a way to keep in touch with them (not just through their dad...you can send them little notes or cards throughout the year, just from you!), so when they come back the next time, they are looking forward to staying with you and you won't feel like a "stranger" to them (a lot happens in a year!) Keep in touch with their mom and like someone else suggested, just before they come out for a visit find out from her if there is anything special going on as far as new rules or whatnot. In my case, my husband and his ex were not very communicative, so I tried to be the go-between and keep things neutral; that seemed to work a lot better than the two of them using their daughter as messenger!

Becky - posted on 09/01/2009

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get to know them until they trust and respect you it will be rough i am a step mom of five and they were all different ages so i had to take different approaches with each child because each was different. just take your time and you could also explain to them that you are not trying to take their moms place but would really like to be their friend

Jackie - posted on 09/01/2009

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I hace 3 step kids so i know how you feel...just try to make a schedule so its not so hectic...make sure there is always something to do so they dont get bored...the park would be a great idea



Just like Nilda said i gained there trust.

I told my step daughter she could tell me her secret and i wouldnt tell anybody. If they are girls do there hair and paint there nails...good luck!

Janet - posted on 08/31/2009

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I am step mom too 3 boys its not easy at first but it will get easy just dont make them feel like u want to be there mom have a friendship with them then and gain there confidence

Jaelle - posted on 08/31/2009

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I'm in the same situation, though I was a stepmom every other weekend first, and have now spent two summers with them since we moved. I am blessed to have a tremendous relationship with my three stepkids, who range from ages 8-15 (they were 4, 8, and 11 when we met).



These two things helped me tremendously:



1. Remember that the kids didn't ask for this. The didn't ask for their parents to divorce, they didn't ask to spend summers with dad and school year with mom... They're just kids, and they just need love. Before anything else, love them. This means talk to them, play with them, wrestle with them, snuggle with them, tuck them in at night. If you haven't read "The Five Love Languages of Children", I recommend it.



2. Discipline is a tricky one. I struggled at first, especially with the oldest who thought I was bossy. But I took a step back, and have now taken the role of enforcing Dad's rules, not my own rules. At the end of the day, they're not my kids, and I didn't want that to backfire especially in the teenage years. So now--and I work this out as often as necessary with my husband--all of the rules are his. What is expected of them, if they need to clean their rooms, what time to go to bed, whatever. I simply help Dad with those rules. "C'mon sweetie, you know your father will be upset if he comes home and your room is not clean" or "Your Dad says it's bedtime" or "What would your Dad say if he saw you doing that? I think it's time to stop." This has been really effective for me. It allows me to be the good cop, and my husband knows that even as the bad cop, he has their love no matter what. The most important thing is that my husband and I are in agreement, and I have really been able to help him set some ground rules--but in the kids eyes, they're his rules and not mine.



I hope that helps. I wish you the best.

Céline - posted on 08/31/2009

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I agree with eveyrone. I have been a step mom for the past 4 years and i would not change this for anything in the world. I think what made it a little easier for me was that i have an adopted son and i treated him as my own ( i have to remind myself he's adopted ) and my step kids saw this and assumed that since i was able to love Vinny the way a mom should...i could do the same. My step kids saw and heard mommy and daddy fight all the time and when they come to our place....no such thing is happening....at least not while the kids are around. They see daddy happy and i guess for them this is all that matters. I had my step-daughter tell me not 2 weeks ago that she was very happy that her dad was with me and she asked me if i would say yes if daddy popped the question. She confided so much in my that time...made my heart swell up and my eyes tear up.
When i had first met them and several times after that...i told them that i was not with daddy to replace mommy but to make daddy happy.
For now...everything is working out well.

Andie - posted on 08/31/2009

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Just be yoursfelf and speak the truth!!You can also have fun by try new things out, like games or ¨discovery¨walks or sth they like.It´s not easy, but it´s helpful when they see that you are always the same (not moody or changing).Kid´s like stability & feel when it comes from the heart.

Crystal - posted on 08/31/2009

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i was kinda in the same boat. with being far away from eachother. my stepson lives 9 hours away. so we only get him in the summer. and this last summer was a little hard because he wasnt used having a brother. but he also has a little sister at home (his sister just turned 2 and his brother (my son) will be 2 in october) so that made it a little easier with him knowing what he could do with his brother. but this summer was a bad one because i decided to take the summer off of work to spend time with him. my mistake. before he left we had a long talk (he is 8) and we agreed that next year i was going to keep working and he would go to day care with his brother. we agreed that in this small apartment it was to hard to be together 24/7. and he has no rules at home. so the first half of the summer was trying to enforce rules. the second half he was getting used to them and it was great. he actually cried when he left and said he didnt want to leave yet. (thats when we found out his mom lied to us about when he went back to school, he had a hole nother month.) ok so that was a little off topic and im sorry.



my advise would be talk to their mom. and see what rules she has there if any and try to not CHANGE everything. but if you all have more rules then she does slowly introduce them dont overload the kids with rules. play with them alot and make them feel like you are another mom (not just the evil step mom lol). give them loving when they are hurt ect. but dont baby them all at once. let them help out around the house, it helps them feel your home is theirs also and they arent just a guest. do alot of things as a family when daddy has time to. or make the time to. so what if its after bedtime, the family time will help alot too.



by the time this summer was done brandon corrected my brother on be being his stepmom. he looked at my brother and said shes not my stepmom, shes my other mom. which made me feel good. it sounds strange but you would have to be a stepmom to understand lol.

Sherri - posted on 08/30/2009

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It's hard.... my SS was 8 when I first met him. He's 12 now. It's only started to get easier (as far as my ralationship with him) since about April. Take it slow and be patient. I've been through it all with his kid... it's worth it in the end.

Christina - posted on 08/30/2009

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Goodness, Teresa, it sounds like you've been through the mill and with teenagers too!! Whew, you're a strong woman! I think I had such a hard time because it was really their first time away from their mother and they live in colorado and we live in new york and they were adjusting to me, and I to them. I think It'll be better next year when they and my son are older.

Teresa - posted on 08/30/2009

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OH...I so agree with Melissa...this whole being the "step-mom" is difficult and I have dealt with the whole "You are not my mom", "I want my dad to be happy, but not with you", "it used to be COOL coming over to my dad's but now, it's stupid".....the struggles that we have been through would amaze you, but I have stood strong and stood my ground....I have a 13 year old daughter of my own that lives with us.....and he has two children of his own, both that live with their mothers...(and they have different mothers by the way). We have our son- who is 10 years old, every weekend and our daughter who is 14 at least two weekends out of the month. we treat all the kids equally...they are "OUR" children and we treat them as such. Yes, everything changed when I came in the picture...and I could describe everything that has changed, but to just put it into a nutshell....its all called structure and discipline. The trick is both parents to be on the same page and support one another. It is an adjustment for everyone. I will say this...our kids fought this new way of life, but now they are used to it, things are much smoother.

Melissa - posted on 08/30/2009

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We have a saying in our house. One I adopted from a dear friend of mine. It is : the only steps we have in our house are the ones leading into the front door. Treat them as your own. Once my kids decided I wouldn't treat them like a step kid...they trusted me, things flowed well.

Christina - posted on 08/29/2009

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Yes, their dad took over on the weekends, but he's an Army recruiter, so he works long hours during the week, so I had them for 90% of the time. I don't think their mother was talking bad about me to her kids, I just think they didn't know me and were testing me at every opportunity.

Tammy - posted on 08/29/2009

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Make their dad be the disciplinarian, the potty trainer, the one doing most of the work on raising them. I'm not saying that you shouldnt correct them or do for them, but he should be the main one doing this. Otherwise the kids will resent you and you will resent your husband. Blended families are hard , I know. I'm a step mom myself. When we first got married we had a4yr old (mine) 3 & 1/2 yr old(his) and two 1 yr olds (mine & his) then a year after we got married I got pregnant! For the first couple years I did most of the work raising all these kids. Then I finally told him that it wasnt my weekend and summer visitaions. They wanted to come over and be with him and not me. Especially since from the beginning their mother has told them constantly that I'm bad and dont mind me etc etc etc. Good Luck

Christina - posted on 08/28/2009

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Yeah, I think I did things wrong from the start. I automatically expected them to follow my rules to the letter, plus I was freaking out because we have neighbors below us and boys will be boys. Not to mention the youngest of my step kids is still potty training. Whew! I hope and pray things will be easier next year. Thanks for all your advice, it will come in handy!

Nilda - posted on 08/28/2009

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What worked for me ws to first gain their trust. I would play with them, really get to know them. Put yourself into their shoes. Make them feel comfortable and welcomed. Once they can trust you, you will be able to earn their respect. Only until them, you will be able to lead a positive sharing relationship. Put your heart into it and everything will be ok!!

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