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Old October 6th, 2007, 02:07 PM
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Building a better relationship with SD

Anyone have suggestions for improving relationships with step children? I talked with my DSD today & explained to her that her dad & I don't see eye to eye on some things. I'm not bad mouthing her dad, but told her that he has issues since her mom died- he's scared of something happening to her. I've mannaged to get DH to agree that she can go to a movie with her best friend without dad sitting in the lobby waiting for them.

I also told her I'd like her to come up with a list of things she feels we need for the four of us to be a family (her dad denighs it, but we don't function as a family- the two of us know better & my DS is too young to realize we don't act as a family). I'm going to have DH do it as well. And once we all have lists, maybe we'll see where we need to go.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu View Post
Anyone have suggestions for improving relationships with step children? I talked with my DSD today & explained to her that her dad & I don't see eye to eye on some things. I'm not bad mouthing her dad, but told her that he has issues since her mom died- he's scared of something happening to her. I've mannaged to get DH to agree that she can go to a movie with her best friend without dad sitting in the lobby waiting for them.

I also told her I'd like her to come up with a list of things she feels we need for the four of us to be a family (her dad denighs it, but we don't function as a family- the two of us know better & my DS is too young to realize we don't act as a family). I'm going to have DH do it as well. And once we all have lists, maybe we'll see where we need to go.
Snafu--

Just to clarify: By the four of you, you mean you, DH, DSD, and DS, correct? How old are the children?
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Old October 6th, 2007, 03:32 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

Quote:
Originally Posted by snafu View Post
Anyone have suggestions for improving relationships with step children? I talked with my DSD today & explained to her that her dad & I don't see eye to eye on some things. I'm not bad mouthing her dad, but told her that he has issues since her mom died- he's scared of something happening to her. I've mannaged to get DH to agree that she can go to a movie with her best friend without dad sitting in the lobby waiting for them.

I also told her I'd like her to come up with a list of things she feels we need for the four of us to be a family (her dad denighs it, but we don't function as a family- the two of us know better & my DS is too young to realize we don't act as a family). I'm going to have DH do it as well. And once we all have lists, maybe we'll see where we need to go.
Like Elaine, I would need more background to fully answer the question. I'm a stepdaughter, but I didn't live with my stepmother because my mother was still alive when I was growing up. I think what you are doing with the lists is a good start.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

snafu -

My stepmom was the world's best. I adored her.

What she did with us was make it 100% clear that she did not "replace" our M. (She had actually been friends with our M in college). She mourned her death along with us... honored my M, encouraged us to tell her stories about our M, told us good things about us that reminded her of our M (i.e. my S has beautiful green eyes just like my M did).

She learned what we missed most about our M, and asked what she could do to ease the pain. She took us to see our M's grave whenever we wanted, told us often how proud our M would be, etc. She'd have my older S's pick out their favorite of my M's recipes and help her make dinner. etc.

Hope that helps somewhat. Mostly, IMO, your DSD has had a lot to deal with lately (mom's death, dad's remarrying, GP's making her help with their grief). I'm not sure I'd put the burden of "what do we need to do to make this a family" on her. I might frame it more as "what do you need from me". Make it about *her*, helping *her* move forward in life, since it doesn't seem like anyone else is.
You're a good person to care so much about her.

BTW, your DH doesn't sound like he is handling HIS grief well. Does he belong to any grief support groups?
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Old October 6th, 2007, 08:57 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

Quote:
Originally Posted by elaine View Post
Snafu--

Just to clarify: By the four of you, you mean you, DH, DSD, and DS, correct? How old are the children?
Yes - DD is 14 & DS is 9.



On my wedding day there is one photo of me with my face buried in DH's shoulder- everyone thinks its so cute - I was actually crying because I was thinking how hard it had to be for the PIL's to watch him get remarried & that they were probally thinking of when he'd married thier daughter - (they were seated with my mom at the wedding).

Today I had a talk with DD (DH is out of town)- we were both teary at one point.

Last edited by snafu; October 6th, 2007 at 09:04 PM. Reason: add more info.
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Old October 7th, 2007, 06:23 AM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

I like what FLAlady advised.

My DH and I have friends who've been married over 20 years. The husband was a widower with 10 kids and she was divorced with 6. They both believe the first wife picked her.

The first wife had cancer, and when she got too weak to take care of the children, she hired the second wife as a nanny. I don't know how the working relationship became a love relationship; but I do know the first wife made her husband promise to keep her on as she would make a good mother for her children.

Our friend never replaced the children's mother, however. The mother is very much a part of their lives and the step-mother sees her as a friend who looks out for her in heaven. Although they moved to a new house, many of the mother's favorite things were brought with them and kept for the children, including pictures. She helped to keep those memories alive.

It sounds a little weird, but it really is a beautiful thing to see. And I imagine it must've been very difficult at times, to live with the memory of a dead saint when you're cleaning up the lose ends that she left behind.

It takes a strong woman to do that, but I think you can. Simply because you're asking questions and looking for ideas, you've shown you've got what it takes to help this family grieve and learn to live life to the fullest again.
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Old October 7th, 2007, 02:36 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

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Originally Posted by 1dilwhosreal View Post
They both believe the first wife picked her.
/snip/
Our friend never replaced the children's mother, however. The mother is very much a part of their lives and the step-mother sees her as a friend who looks out for her in heaven. Although they moved to a new house, many of the mother's favorite things were brought with them and kept for the children, including pictures. She helped to keep those memories alive.
This is what happened in our family. My M knew she was dying and leaving behind a family with 4 kids. She made it clear to my D that she wanted him to remarry, and left a list of women she "approved" raising her kids. My D was too heartbroken to consider it, but my M had also enlisted the help of good friends who pledged to keep after him. Two years after she died, my D remarried the woman at the top of my M's list. It was a great choice.
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Old October 9th, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

When I had a talk with my DSD I told her that her dad & I don't always see eye to eye (niether do her grandma & I). I've told her that I have no idea what its like to be in her position (mom died when she was 8); her dad has issues with grief & fear of "messing up" with her (told her to talk to her aunt, uncle, and mom's best friend- instead of taking my word for it). Also told her that when her dad and I were first married that I wanted him to take her on "dates" with dad (just the two of them) like I did with my son (the two of us played air hockey 1x week). He thought she was fine & didn't need the extra one-on-one time with him MEN!!! I told her - not to bad mouth her dad, but to let her know I knew she needed more of her dad's time and that I'd tried. She also knows that I'll support her if she still needs/wants a "daddy date" to Starbuck's a couple times a month. Things are looking up a bit...I know it will be rough, but....it'll be worth it if I can pull this off.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 06:47 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

Its been a month... things are better My DSD will ask my opinion about some things - without going to daddy first! This past weekend we actually left her dad & had girl time We had dinner out, spent the night at a hotel (about 10 min from home)- the hot tub was great- then spent time at the mall. It was relaxing & I really enjoyed it.

(My DS spent the weekend with my X.)
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Old November 12th, 2007, 07:10 PM
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Re: Building a better relationship with SD

Snafu,

I'm happy to hear that things are going better. It sounds like you had a good time with your step daughter. Good for you for working so hard at making this relationship work.
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