Any advice for a step mom?

Tasha - posted on 12/28/2011 ( 1 mom has responded )




I have been married to my husband for going on 5 years now. My step daughter was 7 years old. We got along perfectly. We enjoyed each other's company, watched TV shows together,cooked together... And she never wanted to go back to her Mom's house during most of this time. My husband said it was because she couldn't get any peace and quiet over there. Her mom would say bad things about us and my SD didn't want to hear it. She would talk with me about it. We had joint custody and would get her every two days. For example, some weeks we would see her on Monday and Tuesday, then Friday and Saturday and her Mom would pick her up on Sunday.

Over the past year my SD has gotten very distant. My husband found out he had a serious heart condition a year and a half ago. My husband passed out at work twice - since he worked in a factory setting this was very dangerous. He was dismissed from work until the doctors could find a solution. During this time, we had to make different arrangements for visitation because of all the hospital visits. We now get to see her every weekend. This worked out well at first, but now she is making excuses to not come over and excuses to leave early. She is very distant. She is like another person. I know some of this is just the 'tween' phase all girls go through. Hormones and puberty can be a real issue to deal with, on top of parental stress.

So, I've let my husband manage the issue with the ex-wife and talk to our daughter about what has been going on. Now that the medical issues have been settled and all is back to normal in that department, we are considering taking the schedule back to the way it was before. I don't think my step daughter wants it that way - but my husband and I miss her very much. And our family really wants to see her more often as well. We are a big, close family and it breaks my heart that she has suddenly decided to hate all of us... She just won't speak... she's so distant whenever she is over that it breaks my heart... I've cried so much over it, but I don't want to confront her. Everytime someone tries to talk to her about it, she starts crying. She told her mamaw (my husband's mom) that she didn't want to talk to her dad about what is going on because she couldn't do it without crying.

We were able to keep her from Saturday night around 8 pm until yesterday at 3 pm. Last night I went to brush my teeth and the bathroom is next to her bedroom door... I told her that I wasn't sure she was awake, and she didn't have to say anything if she was. I thanked her for spending time with us over the past few days and that it meant a lot to me and her dad. I told her we missed her very much and that I wasn't sure what was going on, but life happens and you can get pretty busy. I told her that sometimes her dad gets upset and doesn't say things that he wants to, but that he tries. I told her that if she needed anything I would always be around to talk if she wanted and that I was lucky to have such a wonderful daughter. I told her goodnight...

Not much changed through the day. She thought we were going shopping and pulled the "I feel faint and light headed... I don't think I can go shopping today..." but then I said "Oh, we're not going shopping. We're going over to Denna's house (which is closer to her Mom's). Maybe you should stay home and rest a bit." That was a little reverse psychology on my part... but she certainly perked right up...

Is there anything I can do to help? Should I try talking to her about it or should I leave it alone?


Ruthie - posted on 12/28/2011




Tasha, when a parent is diagnosed with any type of a serious medical condition, a lot of children will become distant, as a means of escape, from having to face a potential loss. Right now she can't talk about her feelings with you or her dad, because it 1. hurts too deep to think she could lose her dad. 2. she is afraid of losing her dad. 3. She doesn't know how to talk to you and your husband, because she thinks that it might hurt your feelings.

Continue to be supportive, available and patient. For you and/or your husband to try and force the issue of having her more often could cause further problems such as, outbursts of anger, frustration and rebellious behaviour.

If possible maybe you and your husband can get her into therapy, so that she can openly discuss her feelings with a neutral person.

This is my opinion Tasha. I will be praying for you and your beautiful family.

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