Want my Stepduaghter to have relationship with expecting child - FamilyEducation
Want my Stepduaghter to have relationship with expecting child
10/21/2009 at 12:09 PM

I am new to this forum. I have looked around on some other sites and have seen attacks and no good suggestions. I am hoping to gleen some ideas from anyone willing to help. I have been trying to seek professional help, but it is not entirely possible at this moment; I hope to soon.

I have been married to my husband for 2 years. He has a daughter from a previous marriage. She is now 14. Her mother had two more daughters, but they live far away. SD communicates frequently with her mom, but they are not super close. Meanwhile, because of circumstances before my arrival, SD lives with my Husband's mother, her grandmother. It is a symbiotic relationship that I have been trying to understand for a while now. I can see the many drawbacks to a woman in her 70s raising a teenager. She is loved, in a stable environment and well-behaved, so I do not fear for her safety, only the lack of a male influence to model behavior. Her Dad loves her, though since the "teen" years set in, I sense a distance between them, which may be imagined or real. I have tried approaching my husband about this, but he is not as emotionally expressive as I am and thinks everything is perfectly fine. I arrived on the scene when SD was 11, just on the cusp of teendom. We are somewhat close but I feel an increasing barrier, mostly as a result of control issues brought on by the grandmother. As you can imagine, it is very difficult to discuss with my husband, though we struggle through it nonetheless. Another problem is I see patterns of promiscuity emerging, about this my husband and MOI are completely in denial. This is an immence fear for me, and I have no skills or support to help manage it. I have been reading books, but none address the issue of overpowering MOIs.

I am now pregnant with my first and we recently found out it is a girl. While I am ecstatic that we are having a child together, I am very concerned about SDs wellbeing. As a sidebar, I was an SD myself. My sis and I lived with our father, who remarried and had 2 more boys. Neither my sis nor I are close to our mother or stepmother, but we learned to love our little bros.

Prior to the pregnancy, I felt restricted by the grandmother's actions, and gained no support from my husband. He does not feel there is a problem like I do, so it is a challenge to try to get him to see my point of view. Basically, SD is allowed to put sports and friends and other family members before us EVERY TIME we try to schedule time with her. In fact, there is no point in having a schedule, because it is constantly changed and we are placed on the backburner if something better comes along. I feel like we are being punished for something. It is very clear that the grandmother overcompensates for the lack of two parents in her life, and therefore SD is given free reign to do whatever she wants. When I make a big deal out of it, there is friction between the following parties: me and my husband, me and my MOI, and me and my SD, although, she keeps in good spirits about it most of the time, thankfully! I have accepted the fact that fighting for opportunities to spend time with her will make me the bad guy each time, and that is okay, it is worth it. But it is defeating sometimes to be so de-prioritized. I don't blame SD, she is a teen, but the grandmother is modeling this behavior in her own self interest. She admitted that she does not like SD to spend time w/ us b/c she might enjoy it too much. It is her own insecurity that manifests in a lack of trust that we can care for the SD. I used to be real mad at my husband for all of this, but now I see it is her "enabling" that has brought us here and I want to learn to cope better, without harboring so much resentment.

With new baby on the way, I want more than anything for SD to feel included. However, I don't think that MOI or husbnd is going to *require* her to particpate, except when she wants, which a typical teen, NEVER wants. I had no choice when I was raised, I was "stuck" in the same house with my half-bros. and it resulted in a wonderful closeness that we share today. I am going to have to think outside the box to convince her to get involved. My efforts in the last 2 years have been extraordinary, but I am getting tired of doing it all on my own and it is not important to MOI and husband. I know I should not "force" the relationship, but I feel allowing things to continue will be same as not giving the two girls a chance to love each other as much. Anyone have any ideas? It is unusual to have the strong-willed MOI in the picture where most have the ex-wife which is another set of issues that I am fortunate to not have to deal with much. In fairness though, the MOI is putting in all the hard work, but she needs to understand that it is her choice, not my husband's and not mine. We left it up to the SD, who understandibly did not want to move,and change schools and MOI insists that she stay with her. My husband will not force her to move b/c he moved in H.S. and did not like it. I moved all around my whole life so it is not a big deal to me. But it is not up to me either. How can I deal with my MOI better and therefore get more time with the SD?

By MOI, I meant MIL (Mother-in-Law). I had trouble typing into the box and seeing what I was typing. Hope it is not too confusing.

I'm thinking about my relationship with my oldest brother (intact family). He's 7 years older than me. When I was a kid, we pretty much ignored each other, except when he picked on me or when I got him in trouble with our parents. Now, I'm the one who is liason between him and the rest of the family. You can't set these children up to have a relationship, they are practically in different generations. Give up the dream, don't force it. Appreciate any good thing that happens.

I agree with you, but I guess my concern is creating opportunities for us to function as a family. The relationship will be what it will be, but we are always at odds with being able to spend time with her. That's where the "force" needs to come in in my opinion. Teens need family time, even if they don't want it, and she is not currently getting it right now. Her time with my MIL is spent in her bedroom, on the computer, iPod, Wii, TV and phone, or always at a friend's. Frankly, I think my MIL is too old and tired to do much, and who can blame her? She constantly drives SD around to and from practices, sporting events and her friend's homes. MIL's whole life revolves around SD, with no life of her own. It seems unhealthy to me when she has two adults who love her and just ask for one weekend day every other weekend of her busy life. We also try to see her during the week at her games and off-times (she practices 6 days/week, and her sport has become year-round, so time is limited). It crushes me when our plans get cancelled and bypassed for something her grandmother believes "can't be missed". Also, being a girl, I worry about her sensitivity toward her dad having a new little girl in his life. SD will always be his number one, but our limited time with her doesn't give us a chance to show it. Like her dad, she is not the most communicative, so I worry about how her feelings will manifest, whether it is acting out or holding it in. Remember, her mother already did this to her by having 2 more daughters in her second marriage. I just can't imagine how sidelined she might feel.

Keep trying to see her/support her in her activities. You catch more flies with honey . . .. Make your home inviting to her, perhaps plan an activity that her friends would enjoy, too. She sounds to me like she is living a normal adolescent life.