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Blended Family Stress Increasing Symptoms, Any Suggestions?

Discussion in 'General' started by Marilyn_S, Apr 6, 2007.

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  1. Marilyn_S

    Marilyn_S Well-Known Member

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    My two daughters are from my first husband. They are 16 & 19 and have lived with their step dad and me for the last 10 years. He seems to still be hurt by the fact that they do not call him dad. He has been their dad more than their bio dad ever has. But things are getting worse because he has such anger toward them. I know they are not perfect, and I do need to set some better limits with them, but he seems so angry at them. They sense this and it causes them to distance themselves from him. This really hurts me because I love them all so much and I hate the confusion, yelling, and then the girls end up taking it out on me, like I'm supposed to be the referee. They need to help out around the house more and follow the few rules that are in place. They do not. One will gripe incessantly but relent, the other will say she is going to help but never do it. But is this anything to get all heated up over! Its just a few chores. I mean, yea, they need to helpout and need to be respectful, but don't all parents of "mean agers" lol! have these problems? Why does my sweetie get so angry? I've ask him this but he gets defensive. Does anyone have any suggestions? Other than :stupid: beatin up on all of them with my handy shillelagh! lol!
     
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  3. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    I don't have any really good suggestions Marilyn, only wanted to post and say I had a stepmum until I was 17 (her death), and it was difficult at times. I had quite a few fights and power struggles with her as a younger teen (about 13-14) and for a while I was actively trying to break up the marriage. I wanted to live with my dad and little brother only, and not Cheryl. At 17 I was starting to get on with her better, but there was still conflict. I think it's a difficult situation in general, and lots of communication and compromises have to be made. Both sides need to respect each other. The adults have to really act as adults and not resort to any childish behaviour. I remember whenever my stepmum acted immature, I really capitalized on that, and treated her badly in turn. However, if she acted as an adult and treated me with respect, I returned that respect.

    I did have chores and rules, but in my family, my father was the enforcer and Cheryl backed him up, not the other way round. Perhaps because the girls are your biological daughters, you need to be the main disciplinarian, with your husband agreeing with you. It seemed to work in my family anyhow.

    I never called Cheryl mum, even though my real mum died when I was 5. I don't know what the situation is with your daughters and their biological father, but perhaps some part of them is still wishing that their "real" dad was more active in their lives. Or maybe they feel that calling their stepfather "dad" would be a betrayal to their bio father. I know I felt those things with regards to my mum. I don't think they should be expected to call him dad, as it's very emotionally-laden, and should be their decision entirely, with no pressure.

    To give you another personal example, my Uncle Jim and Aunt Kathy have told me I can call them Mum and Dad, but I don't feel comfortable with that, at least not now. It really has little to do with how I feel about them, as I love them very much and they have done so much for me. It also doesn't matter what my father did, or the fact that both my parents are deceased. It just doesn't "feel" right for me right now. I'm extremely glad there is no pressure from them regarding this.

    Anyways just my thoughts from my personal experience.
     
  4. Marilyn_S

    Marilyn_S Well-Known Member

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    Thank You Bat Girl,

    It was very sweet of you to take the time to share your experiences with me and it does enlighten me to the other side of the spectrum. You have a Happy Easter!
     
  5. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Coming from both sides here. Since I had a step dad who insisted I call him dad along with my mother I was always pissed off. No matter how big a jerk my dad was when I was a kid he was still my only dad. Pushing it just made things worse.

    Now as an adult I do not speak or have contact with any of my parents. That is not the reason why but now it is not an issue!

    Now your teens sound like teens. The adult one should act like one and learn to period, but that is just my opinion. But when my teen (my hubs is not the father of) acts like a shit I just point out to hubs that he is straight As, involved in school activities and sports, not on drugs... Can we really bitch?

    Teens are notorious lazy creatures and some are just terrible brats no matter the parenting (learned that the hard way). But they will take how they are being treated (or think they are being treated) and amplify at you. You are grouchy they go off the deep end. You are nice and do certain chores with them nicely and treat them on occasion to movies at the theater and involve them in running a household instead of barking orders (go clean your room is barking in teen talk) then they will usually come around.

    But no matter what never force or expect them them to call a step by anything other than his name. They will be very resentful, I sure was. Teens can show they love you in so many other ways and they can develop their own bond with the step parent if they are not forced. I mean if their dad is a loser then why would he want to be called dad? His relationship should be more than that.

    It is a balancing act here as there are certain lines I have liberties crossing simply as I am mom, but hubs I won't let as well no matter what he is my husband and not their dad. Being my husband will have to do! But they do have to respect him and I will not tolerate them being an ass to him. But I am the one who does something about it. Not him as that will just make it worse. I know as I have been on the kid end so I just have more experience and know how it feels. My mom could say something and I may have rolled my eyes, but if step said the same thing in the same tone I felt like a wall was coming down and I felt compelled to fight about it.

    Blended families leave you feel like you are always being a referee. It is pretty normal. But things have improved even more with my son as my hubs makes special time for just him and they go to movies. A couple weeks ago it was male movie night, my hubs and his dad both took my son to the movies and they all sat together, my son is really starting to eat up we have a real family now and it is almost impossible to pry him from my inlaws' house. While my daughter who moved out and in with her dad could not throw it back in our face hard enough. Some you win, some you lose so no promises. But with my daughter I could not even leave her alone with hubs... those two would go at it like pitt bulls. She has a special talent at pressing buttons and could make a saint blow their top in 2 minutes.
     
  6. Marilyn_S

    Marilyn_S Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Veiled! That puts things in perspective and helps me not feel so stressed out about it. Sometimes things that are just a normal part of life I have a tendency to blow out of perportion because of my PTSD. But when you normalize it like that it really helps me to not be as stressed about it. I always have a tendency to take up for my girls because they are really good kids all in all. No drugs, good in school...
    my sweetie doesn't seem to ever be able to focus on any of their positive attributes. Its like he rolls all his anger out on them. That is what hurts me most. I love him so much but my girls are and always will by my daughters and the pride and joy of my heart, dispite their sometimes meanager ways. Big deal if their rooms are a mess! So is mine, I'm a slob were it comes to my bedroom. The rest of the house is pretty clean but my me and my sweetie's room is a mess. That's why I do not make a big issue out of it. Well, thanks Veiled. I'm feeling a little bit better about this whole thing. Think I'll just lighten up a bit and tell the sweetie in a nice way he needs to do the same. Sometimes I think he needs counseling but I ask him about it once and he would have nothing to do with it.
     
  7. becvan

    becvan Queen of the Blunt! Premium Member

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    Yes, no pressure about the name!

    I also come from a major blended family (and have a blended family myself). Although I was never required to call my step-father "dad", they acted like he was the replacement. He was sooo much better than my dad.

    So be careful in your attitude too. Kids pick up on a lot that is not said and no matter what kind of piece-of-shit you think their real father is, he is still their father. Trying to force any other bond or name on them will really piss them off and make them resentful.

    Also, talk to you hubby. Why is he mad at the girls? It's not their fault they have a different dad and most certainly should not be punished because they wont' call him dad. That is just wrong.

    I also agree with V, the responsibility to ref is yours. It's also your responsibility to put up healthy boundaries between your hubby and your girls.

    Good luck with the teens! *giggles* Matt is turning very "teenish" lately!:biggrin:

    bec
     
  8. permban0077

    permban0077 Policy Enforcement Banned

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    Just dawned on me... Your hubs is a bit protective? Well, if the girls stress you out, then in turn it causes a symptom flare up. Right? Hubs will in turn try to "control" and "fix it". Male trait. So he will go for a source of stress and trust me they do not realize they are as big of contributors of the stress when they do this.

    With teens, if they keep their noses clean I just go with the flow. My room is a wreck too. I do not ask more out of my kids than I can do. Even if I cannot do much.

    Teens are well just teens. Able to feel compassion and not knocked up and on drugs these days means you are doing a great job as parents.
     
  9. Marilyn_S

    Marilyn_S Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Bec & veiled. I'm feeling pretty calm today. My sweetie kind of lightened up a bit about the room when I pointed our room out to him. I think you are very right veiled, about the over protective thing. I also very much agree they shpild not ever feel pressured to call him dad. Their dad is not too horrible with them when they see him. They like it because he always gives them money. Because Kat is 19 he only has to give me half of what he was before and he rarely does that. But, oh well, I like doing well without his stinking money! The girls are pretty respectful with wayne, but he doesn't see that. But that's OK! I got my black & white striped shirt and my big wistle and I plan to use them! lol! I even have my trusty ol' shillelagh if they get too out of shape! By smacky cracky!!!!!!!!!
     
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