What can I do to help my blended family?

Mom Of - posted on 04/06/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )

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I have never been one to join a community discussion/thread and air my dirty laundry, but I am desperate for some down-to-earth advice because I am tired of of hearing it is 'just my distorted perception'. Here it goes:

I am 32 and educated, married for 4 years, and have two daughters. My oldest is 10 and has never had a relationship with her bio father. When she was 4, I met my now-husband and they adored one another to the point SHE asked him to be her 'daddy' out of the blue. He was so thrilled that he proposed to me and then planned a beautiful church-wedding ceremony to be held the day after her 5th B-day. He wanted all 3 of us to 'marry' for her bday and his special gift to her was placing a set of a 'child-sized wedding bands' around her neck to show he is forever hers, simulatenously with mine. The wedding ceremony was tearfully-sweet for everyone, especially her; she was a basket-case.

When we married, we were also 6 months pregnant with his first child. Since our marriage, and birth of his first child 3 months later, we have had our fair share of disputes regarding his treatment towards my daughter/his step daughter. All of a sudden, she began to feel like an outcast by him as well as his family. Our new baby was the 1st 'real' (in their terms) grandchild in their family and she continued to hear this. That is primarily when it all began.

We have had our fair share of disheartening conversations/disagreements regarding his behavior and parenting skills. He has developed a brilliant defense that it is 'only my perception and it is a disorted one'. Unfortunately, it is not distorted nor is it only my perception. I tune into my children's physical expressions as well as their emotional responses and it is has become quite disturbing. My 10 year old has isolated herself and turned into a shy/introverted child who is afraid to tell her 'dad' how she feels. She witnesses him giving her little sister massive bear hugs and loving kisses, every-now-and-then one-on-one time, playful conversations, positive remarks and encouragement, answers her questions, and praises her intellect, ONLY WHEN HE FEELS LIKE IT THOUGH. While my 10 year old hasn't felt any of this from him since she was born.

Lately, it has become worse. We have had some major changes to our lifestyle in that we have moved (3 times in 1 year), change of schools, losing friends and so forth. He has disregarded her 'new' need to feel MORE secure, stable,and accepted, and expects her to rapidly adjust without emotion, like a big girl. He does not converse with her except to 'clean her room, take a shower, get off the couch and do something'. All while he is buried in the computer or "chillin" himself in our bed with the tv on football.

The 10 year old has begged for 3 years to be in gymnastics, but only to receive a quick "no" even though she is athletic and flexible. However, her little sister demonstrated her ability to hang from a monkey bar upside down over the weekend, and he tells our little one, at the dinner table last night, she should be a gymnast and we should put her in gymnastics. Now, is it my imagination (a distorted one at that) that it was a bit innapropriate on his end to announce that at the family table when the 10 year old has been asking for years, only to receive a no? She then asked him twice, "well daddy what should I do then"??? His one-worded statement finished her off last night and she tried everything to hold back her tears. He, once again, was completely unaware of how she was feeling. How difficult is it to see a child is hurt by your comments?? Why should she feel under-valued and underestimated when it comes to her needs, wants, and desires? And when I bring it to his attention, he acts like he is dumb and doesn't see it the way I do. Not to mention, he often makes her cry because he says she did or said something, and she says the opposite. It hurts her, and it hurts me. She is a very honest, well-behaved girl who wouldn't hurt a fly in this world. She would not lie even if it meant getting her rear out of trouble...she even helps her little sister so the little one doesn't get in trouble. But see, none of this amounts to any positive feedback to her or additional recreation. It has become an expectation of his and anything less shall be pointed out immediately. He's quick to discipline, and very lazy to praise.

Any help would be appreciated. I am in a tough situation here and I am beginning to believe that maybe my thoughts are distorted (I've heard this a lot lately). I need some down-to-earth advice, please...anyone.

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Teri Lyn - posted on 04/06/2011

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Honey, I feel for you.... this is a hard situation. My husband and I have run into discussions similar to this, we each have 8 year old daughters from previous relationships. It's not to the point to where yours is at. We have been married 3 years. Sometimes we work it out and sometimes we just agree to disagree. It's still a work in progress for us.
I have also been that little girl. It does hurt. but I always knew that my mother would do what was best for me. You talk to her. Let her know and feel that she can come to you. Have you thought about some family counseling? We are thinking about it. My step daughter does go to a counselor for ADHD and some behaviors, but that has also helped us as a family.
My thinking is if one child is in an activity then the other one should be in something too, if they want too. Does your husband have the final decision?
Like I said we are still a work in progress but if I find something that works I will let you know. Please do the same!!!
Take a deep breathe, think logically, and do what you feel is best! And give that little girl a hug!

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