1. How many of you are part of a stepfamily? I have a son but now live with SO for 4+ years, and son regards him as his dad.

    Knowing the current divorce /remarriage statistics are any of you step parents, or is your SO step parent to any of your children? Do you think your family dynamics differ from a family that has two parents and their biological kids?
  2. I'm a stepmom of two kids, 17 and 21. The family dynamics are definitely different and not necessarily for the better.....

    My husband and I have always tried to be the 'bigger people' in our situation but his ex has always caused problems. She's unstable and unfortunately her problems have spilled over onto the kids. The oldest girl is turning into a mini version of her mother and often carries out mommy's "dirty deeds". Not a fun situation sometimes.
  3. I don't know if I'm the ideal responder to your post, because I don't currently live in a blended family, but for a while, when I was 14-15 years of age, I lived with my stepmother, father, and their two biological children.

    I don't want to bore you with the entire miserable story, but it wasn't good, as the police got called to the house a total of three times in a two month time span.

    As for the dynamics as per your question, it was hard because my stepmother did not regard me as one of her children, but expected me to behave as one of her children in regards to dress, manner, etc. The boundaries are unclear in one way because the adults in the household are necessarily parental figures to the children, even though the child or the step- parent may or may not recognize or fully embrace this type of relationship.

    The question becomes, how much you recognize and respect the fact that the child already has a biological parent (who may or may not be involved), and how you balance that with the authority that you must maintain as a co-head of household over said child. For a family like yours, this balance seems more of a non-issue, as your child recognizes your SO as his parent.
  4. I am right there with you....feel your pain :sad: Living in a very similar situation.
  5. It is different with every case.

    The younger the children, the better. The mom really has to put her children before the man, while the children are young (until 18) at least. My mother put men first (it was all she knew).

    I think the dynamics can vary greatly. Both parents have to be beyond reproach. But parents are people too. They play favorites. They usually treat the younger children better. It is easier to establish a relationship with them. It is easy for parents to ignore teenagers and their issues.

    Here is an very partial explanation of how bad it can be. Each relationship in our family is complicated.

    My stepfather really bonded with my youngest brother. He was only 8 years old when my stepdad came into the picture. The rest of us were 12, and 13. My little brother still had to be taken care of. My mother checked out on me and my older brother, when she started dating (after divorcing my dad). My mother actually moved with my stepdad to another city while we were still in high school, so we stayed with my dad (a nut) so we could finish school. They were not married when she moved. So that was pretty much the end of a close relationship with my mother. She had other priorities. If we wanted to see her, we had to go to her. My mother, to this day, has never visited me or my brother in our homes. She never came to one apartment.

    My little brother never really "knew" our father (who remarried and had a child).

    My stepmother was great, until she had her own child, then she played favorites. I am talking on a major scale.. school, dentistry, clothes, etc. We did without while her child got every lesson, toy, etc.

    My stepdad has his own son the same age as my little brother, but he was not as close as the boy was raised in another state (by his own mother).

    Now that we are older, my stepdad is pretty good to all of us. The same rules and standards never applied to all of us children equally. His son and my little brother are spoiled rotten and given Hundreds of thousands of dollars, yearly. My stepdad cannot stand his own son but treats him better anyway. (blood thicker than water, I guess). Their children are sent to private school and their wives don't work. The both live in multimillion dollar homes. They both have 2 nice luxury cars and get them replaced every few years. Both have worked or work for my stepdad. Both belong to country clubs (paid for by stepdad). Both have never really accomplished anything on their own and were not worth what they were paid. My stepbrother did finally go to work for someone else and broke away. My little brother drove him off.

    Those children will inherit the bulk of their estate (millions). My older brother has a child, and it is not considered so far. My youngest brother lives in the same town in California as they do. Everytime Stepdad has moved so has he (3 states). I am in Georgia and my other brother is still in our hometown in Louisiana. So, I guess out of sight, out of mind applies to my mom and stepdad. My younger brother's 3 girls are their WORLD, to a sickening degree.

    The rest of us get nice gifts at Christmas and we were each given a car. We each had help with very modest first homes( and are still in them). We are also kept at bay by my greedy younger brother and his wife. They want it all and want to make sure we are never included in holidays, etc. They run interference with all kinds of crazy drama. My parents are aware of it, have talked about it, and say they don't like it. But they continue to reward bad behaviour. They have never been able to stand my (beyond wicked) sister-in-law. But her kids are GOD.

    I am the oldest (48) and have always been the most independent. I had to raise my brothers while my mother divorced, dated and worked. I really did not have a childhood. If I wasn't babysitting, I was cleaning up after them. I guess that is one reason I did not ever want children of my own. I had already done it, and it was no picnic.

    I have chosen to stay away from the disfunction. It is all too dramatic. I see my mother every year and a half or so. I have not seen my nieces in 7 years. I have talked to them on the phone when they are at my mother's.

    I don't expect much anymore from any of my family. I tried to talk to my little brother last year about all of us moving forward, without re-hashing the past and possibly including the rest of us. He chooses not to. Says his wife has a problem with it. (She hates my parents but still takes all of their money).

    I have tried everything I could think of to get along. I give up. My mother is so guilt-ridden, that she is miserable, and she has talked about it. I have always told her that people do the best they can, when they can. She can't seem to move forward and have much of relationship with us now. I am still the adult, consoling my mother the child.

    Things I have learned:

    Money doesn't make people happy, it makes some of them greedy, bored and miserable.

    When you are old, your past actions truly do haunt you. All the money in the world won't fix that.

    One party can't fix a disfuntional family, no matter how hard they try. Some people like the disfunction and even create it for their own gain.

    You must move on and make your own life, no matter how much you want your own family to be the traditional family. There aren't that many of them anymore. Maybe you can create one for yourself.

    Life isn't fair. Nothing About It. But are you going to quit??? Hell No.

    My Motto is: Your Friends are the Family You Chose.
  6. How sad that the "adults' couldn't parent and caused so much dysfunction and pain. the lessons you learned are valuable - unfortunately you learned them the hard way. You're a survivor and you can be proud of that.
  7. I dont have stepchildren nor stepmother/stepfather. But my cousins do. Their mom (my mom's sister) passed away and their dad got remarried. This woman got in my nerves sometimes. She hardly cares for my cousins. One of my cousins is autistic. And being the evil *witch* that she is, she doesnt care for him at all. She yells at him all the time when he does something wrong. Something that I dont think you should do to an autistic kid. People need to have extra patience when dealing with autistic kids, and she definately does not have that. She does this in front of her husband too and surprisingly, he does not really do anything. I dont understand... Thankfully my mom is always with me everytime I go to visit, otherwise, I would have given that woman a piece of my mind..... :cursing:
    There are other things that bug me about her, but I am not going to say anything....

    Dont get me wrong... there are wonderful and loving stepmothers/stepfathers out there... but this woman is not one of them.
  8. My oldest son is from my first marriage...but I am extremly husband (and his whole family) treat him no different from the 2 that are ours.

    My son calls DH dad...and he has been his 'dad' in every sense of the word...from helping with homework to coaching his baseball little league to the sex talks...while he calls my ex (his biological father) by his first name, he totally recogonizes (thankfully on his own) that he has never been a dad to him.

    My in laws have been amazing too...he has the same college fund and trust fund and the 2 that are biologically theirs.

    Could I be luckier, I think not.
  9. We have basically had to detach from it all. My stepkids were raised primarily by their mother, and because of her influence they now have issues. My husband and I have tried over the years to be a stabilizing influence, but you can only do so much when you have a manipulative and unstable person doing everything they can to be an alienator. Eventually you just have to cut your emotional losses and walk away... with the hope that someday the kids will wake up and realize what's really gone on.
  10. my family is dysfunctional.........ok try to keep up: :nuts:

    marg & bert - had older sis & me
    marg & dave - had younger sis
    bert & ther - had two younger bros and bert adopted her son - previous marriage
    bert & kim - had younger sis and kim had a son from a previous (whatever)

    so there are 8 of us total.

    my stepdad has always been my "dad" (married when I was 6) but I have never been able to call him dad, older sis and I called him pop.

    my real dad passed away this past oct and unfortunately I never had a relationship w/him because my mom and stepdad didn't want anything to do with him. So as a result I really don't have a relationship w/my younger siblings either, except the one my stepdad and mom had.
  11. My parents both remarried when I was about 11. I love both of my stepparents as if they were my own...and feel so lucky to have them. It wasn't always easy, as I was a WILD teenager, but they tried their best, and loved me through it all, and my parents ALWAYS supported the new parent (mother backed up stepmother, dad backed up stepdad).
  12. I'm a step child, and I think it depends on how the step parent is. My moms ex boyfriend was like a dad to me and my bro. He took us out every weekend and we always went on summer trips together as a family. He really treated us like we were his kids, we even called him daddy. But my stepmom is evil, I can't even call my dad on his home phone because he is so worried she is going to attack him. So I have to call him when he is at work. So I guess it depends.
  13. I think the worst case of step-parenting I've ever seen (apart from downright abusive people) was when someone we knew got remarried. He was a widower and had two small children and actually wanted to marry a woman who had children of her own because he did not want more children, and wanted a woman who didn't hear the biological clock. We all sat back and thought 'what a wonderful man!'.

    After he got married he refused to have the wife's kids in his house. They had to live with their dad and she had to parent his children while not seeing her own. Several years into this relationship the kids' biological dad died and they came to live with their mom and stepdad.

    The stepdad once invited us for dinner, and as we had car problems offered to send his own car over. He said he'd send the car over with 'the boy who lives in my house'. Until we saw who the 'boy who lives in his house' was, we thought he had a chauffeur! This guy didn't even have the decency to say 'my stepson' when referring to his wife's son in public!
  14. I find it really interesting that most of the stepdad stories are positive and almost all the stepmom stories are negative. Our society does not value stepmoms at all. We are ignored on Mother's Day and generally disrespected. We are also the subject of nasty and inaccurate stereotypes. It is very hard to raise other people's kids- and with the divorce rate being so high, there are many women doing this. Many are also making great financial sacrifices to do so. I think we need to start treating the stepmoms out there with a little more appreciation. When you are treated like crap, you generally begin to treat others that way too. Over the years I've had my birthday forgotten and the death of my father totally ignored by my stepkids. These are the same kids that I've taken shopping for proms, school clothes and been involved in major life events. I am the one they call when they need help. My husband finally laid down the law and told them that they need to start being more thoughtful about my feelings. The last couple years they've tried harder, but this was only after my husband threw a fit after the lack of thought towards me went on for nearly a decade.
  15. That's an interesting point....I have no first hand knowledge, but I suspect it has to do with children usually living with mom, and thus step dad. Familiarity breeds intimacy?