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  1. #1
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    Default Step parenting struggles

    I'm struggling with my roll as a step parent and connecting with and bonding with my 15yo SS. Maybe there are some others that have been through or going through similar feelings/struggles that can reassure me or give me some pointers/advice on how to work through this.

    I have no children of my own. I've been in his life for just under 2 years. He is with us full time, only goes away to mum's some school holidays. He has seen a few other women in and out of his dad's life (including a previous step mum around for about 4-5 yrs when he was a bit younger).

    He's not a bad kid and I don't ever get the "you're not my mum, you can't tell me what to do" stuff. He does make thoughtless and disrespectful comments at times but usually in an attempt to be funny or just plain teenage brain.

    The thing is I used to work with teenagers and thought I'd be able to take to this easily, but I found more to like about those kids who used to swear and curse and threaten than I can see in my SS. His interests are computer games and watching TV/movies. I need to remind him a lot about cleaning up after himself or just doing things properly (normal teenage stuff) but I hate feeling like I'm nagging.

    It just feels like we're living in the same house and I do stuff for him, he does help out a bit, so like I said not a bad kid but there's just no real connection. I'm struggling to get joy from this and not just feel like its a chore or a situation I have to deal with. I don't like feeling this way about my Husband's son or about my roll in the family.

    I do wish I had more time with my husband for us, but he feels guilty if he leaves him with his grandparents while we go off. We try doing family things fairly regularly like movies, walks, zoo etc. and while we do get along alright I just don't feel a warm bond with him.

    Maybe it's just the age he's at or maybe subconsciously he doesn't expect me to stay around like the last one. Maybe it's me, we do want our own child but what if the only parenting I get to do is for a teenage boy (I could list off all the joys of teenage boys but think I've complained enough). Maybe it will just take more time.

    I would just like to feel better about this rather than feeling like I'm whinging about something or nothing all the time. I don't know.

  2. #2
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    @Lizard, I understand totally where you're coming from. I feel like I could have written many of the sentiments in your post. Being a step-parent is far from easy!

    I have a 13yo SS and, even though I have been in his life since he was 3, I still find that sense of connection very difficult at times, particularly now he's a teenager. I think I felt more of a connection to him when he was younger but as he's grown up it feels like there has been more of a strain between us. He doesn't like having to do chores but he has to at our house; at his mum's I get the sense that she gives in a bit more.

    I agree it is incredibly difficult when their interests are TV/movies and computer games. My SS is exactly the same now, whereas when he was younger he loved family picnics and trips to the playground. We still do family outings and holidays but he doesn't engage with us in the same way that he used to. I do think a lot of it has got to do with age. They're going through that stage where they want to do what they want to do and hang out with their friends as well.

    I often feel like I'm beating my head against a brick wall and nagging about chores around the house too, so don't feel like you're the only one.

    The most important thing you can do is always take an interest in what he's doing at school and any extracurricular activities that he might be doing in addition to that. We also try to encourage other things/hobbies that we can do as a family so we have shared experiences together.

    I don't know if I've helped. Like I said, I still struggle myself even after all this time.

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    Lizard  (31-08-2014)

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    Thanks cat it helps just knowing I'm not the only one. I think a lot of it is the age. He's not really into any extracurricular activities, doesn't go out with friends, is quite happy to veg and play his computer.

    There's a few TV shows we both like so I'll chat to him about those (I'm really NOT a fan of the computer games) I try to show interest in his education but like a lot of teenagers he really doesn't like school so when I've made suggestions in regard to this it's more like nagging to him.

    I guess the fact that there aren't many things I can do with him (as opposed to a younger child) it's just going to take longer for a closer relationship to develop. I just wish I could do more or find a way to deal with it better.

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    I am not a step parent so i really hope you don't mind me adding my thoughts and experience. I am a step child. My mother only ever introduced us to one boyfriend. He moved into our home when I was 13 and my brother was 15. It's such a difficult age. My brother and I were not happy about this arrangement. Our mum would not tolerate any outright rudeness to her partner but we were resentful and we showed it by being stand offish and surly. My mums partner didn't have children and I knew he wanted to he close with us but I would not allow that for many years- I just stubbornly didn't want to give him too much when he was 'taking my mum away from me'. Seems silly now but thats how my teenage mind worked. My mum handled this by doing her very best not to let him parent us at all. She wanted us to develop a friendship. She was always the one to discipline us, tell us to do chores etc. her partner did have conversations with us about issues and our behavior but it was more like what you would have with an Aunty or uncle. So now the good news.... It's 20 years later and they are married. We are all very close. We love this person as a step parent and I LOVE that my mum has him. When you're a teenager you only think of yourself but now I see that he is good for her and what's good for my mum and makes her happy, makes me very happy. It took many many years to get here and to be honest it was really when my brother and I moved out in our early twenties that our relationship with our stepdad really flourished. He is also now a very involved grandparent to my son- something that he is incredibly grateful for.
    So without being able to tell you what to do in any way, I hope I have helped you a little bit. Good luck. X

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    HappyBovinexx  (31-08-2014),Lizard  (31-08-2014),PomPoms  (31-08-2014)

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    I think you're doing an amazing job! The fact you're here asking for opinions and help to connect better with your SS, means he's in good hands. If I was the mother of a child living full time with another woman and my ex, I'd want to know she cared enough to try to do everything possible to care for and connect with them.

    I've been a step parent before, it's a thankless job in many ways but can be so so rewarding too. Stick at it!

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    Lizard  (31-08-2014)

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    @Lizard I hope you don't mind me responding as I'm not in a similar situation, so don't have any helpful advice, sorry, but I just wanted to suggest the Step Mums group if you haven't already joined

    It's here (I think you have to be logged in to see it) : http://www.bubhub.com.au/community/f...-Social-Groups (PM a mod for the password)

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    Lizard  (31-08-2014)

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    @RedCreamingSoda thanks for your insight it's good to hear your side and that things have worked out well in your family. I think there may be a bit of 'me taking dad away' going on as they are very close and for a lot of the time it has just been the 2 of them.

    It's also taken a while for DH and myself to be able to discuss this easier. Initially he would get defensive or take things personally which I thought was just unreasonable. Now I realise I need to choose my topics and how I word them in regard to his son and he has also gotten better at listening to my view point and feelings.

    He also seemed to think step parenting should be easy (especially given I worked with teens) it's taken me a while to convince him otherwise and that it's going to take effort on all our parts to make it work well. I do often get a "you're a good step mum" from him but I also know it bothers him when we don't get on so well.

    Thanks to everyone else too it's good to know a lot of this is normal. And it helps me look at my situation a bit better, knowing it's not just me being overly negative or not trying hard enough.

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    What you are feeling I think is normal. You can't force yourself to love a child that isn't yours. My dp has been in my children's life for 3 years, no children of his own. He struggles because he has no real connection with them and doesn't love them, and he thought he should. For awhile I expected it of him as well. But it just wasn't working trying to force these things, so now I have accepted and told him that he doesn't need to love them, just to be respectful and kind to them, that's all I ask. It's relieved a lot of pressure for us both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sairz View Post
    What you are feeling I think is normal. You can't force yourself to love a child that isn't yours. My dp has been in my children's life for 3 years, no children of his own. He struggles because he has no real connection with them and doesn't love them, and he thought he should. For awhile I expected it of him as well. But it just wasn't working trying to force these things, so now I have accepted and told him that he doesn't need to love them, just to be respectful and kind to them, that's all I ask. It's relieved a lot of pressure for us both.
    Thanks Sairz it's good to hear your side too being the biological parent. The 'Love' thing is definitely something I struggle with, I do care about him and his well being, his education, making friends etc. but to say I love him just feels against my real feelings. I can't really say this to DH but I think he knows it. Early on in our relationship SS said before going to bed one night 'love you guys' I didn't say 'love you too' back because at that early stage I really didn't feel I could throw the L word out there (I'd only been in the house a couple of weeks I think, so really early on) DH thinks this is part of the problem and that now SS won't want to get close to me because I didn't say it back then.

  14. #10
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    hi lizard, im not in this situation but I think there is mostly normal teenage angst going on, and really nothing much to worry about. I would suggest, don't get hung up on the 'love'. it is true that love grows., so give it time. but also on the point of saying ' I love you'. we say the word 'love' so many times for so many things, why hold it back from people you care about.?? im not having a go at you, just thinking out loud. we can love a song, a tv show, some kfc, whatever, but yet hold back from saying ' I love you' to someone who is significant in our lives. hugs, Marie.


 

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