How to deal with an adolescent step daughter of school going age

MaaLizzy - posted on 04/21/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )

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I have a step daughter who lost her mum through child birth. I have loved her way back on the very first day I set my eyes on her when she was age 2 who is now age 11, but my love for her has started going down because her late mum's siblings are interfering with her upbringing which has made her disrespectful. Do you think it's a good idea to let her know I'm not her real mum? I'm confused because I believe that is what her late mum's siblings are using against me, which she has not known for all these years. Please HELP.

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Ledia - posted on 04/21/2015

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Yes! She should definitely know that you are not her biological mom, and who her biological mother was. Honestly, she should have been told a long, long time ago. Like, from the very beginning.

Not being her biological mother does not mean you are not her "real" mom. My real parents are not my biological parents either, but they are very much my REAL parents. The thing is, you are living a lie, and forcing her to live one too. It will be very hard for her to ever trust you if she finds out through someone else that she has a biological mother, who has just been cut out of the picture and erased. Imagine if you died during childbirth, wouldn't you still want your beautiful child to know who you were, how much you loved her? I would. If your sister died while giving birth to her child, wouldn't you want to share with the child wonderful memories of her mother?

You need to tell her now. You might want to enlist the help of a family therapist to help you through it. Expect some rebellion as she comes to terms with the fact that you've lied to her for the past decade, but eventually, she will come around and accept the fact that you did it because, at the time, you thought it was the best thing for her. She may also have trouble coming to terms with her new identity--she is at an age where identity is uncertain as it is, and this will certainly impact how she sees herself, and who she believes herself to be--just keep loving her, try to help her get to know her mother. Talk to her mother's sisters and ask if they would be willing to spend some time with her looking over old photographs and telling her stories about who her mother was. She is also going to grieve the loss of her mother, and she may need some therapy to get through that as well.

It will be a painful process, but it will be much less painful than finding out from someone other than you. She has the right to know who her biological mother is, or at least who her biological mother isn't.

Dove - posted on 04/21/2015

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It should have been something she was raised knowing.... Keeping a secret like that from a child about their OWN life is wrong. She needs to know the truth, but I am horrified that you would say your love for her is going down since her attitude sucks. Would you love your bio child any less if they were being a brat?!

11 year old girls are FULL of wicked hormones under the best of circumstances. That is normal. The attitudes and behaviors may not be acceptable, but it IS normal for them to start acting like brats at 10-12 years old... it's up to the parents to let them know that the behaviors will not be tolerated and to give them appropriate outlets for their emotions... pretty much the way you do w/ toddlers (though obviously it's not exactly the same).

You really need to sit down w/ her father and discuss how and when you will tell her the truth about her bio mom, but I highly recommend therapy for yourself if your love for her is dependent upon her behavior. If you want to tell her that you aren't her biomom because of how she is acting and NOT because she has a right to know the truth... it's likely to all blow up in your face very, very soon.

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