Do your stepchildren accept you?

Ah, stepchildren. I don’t dare write what I want to write today for fear it will make my stepchildren dislike me more than they already do. It’s not all their fault. Their father never reached out to them. Although I never missed sending a birthday or Christmas present, they seem to feel that we didn’t care about them when they were younger, so why should they care about us now?

The thing with adult stepchildren is that they no longer have to visit the non-custodial parent. They don’t have to share their children with you. They don’t have to remember your birthday. If you didn’t build a relationship when they were young, it’s over. Recent events have made it clear they don’t consider me family. So now I hug my dog, the only “child” I raised well.

Stepchildren are so tricky. They’ve got all that divorce baggage. How often do they love and respect both parents after the split? I suspect it’s rare. They’ll blame one or both for breaking up the family. Along comes the innocent new spouse, who is battling forces set in place long before she or he arrived. God bless those stepfamilies that blend together like flour and sugar in a cake batter. The rest of us separate like oil and vinegar. Heavy stirring may blend them for a while, but they inevitably separate again.

How is it with your stepchildren? Are you close? Do they include you in family events? Let’s talk about it.

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6 thoughts on “Do your stepchildren accept you?

  1. I'm an “adult stepchild”… my parents divorced when I was 20. My mum got together with her new partner when I was around 27, 28, I'm 38 now.
    This man has adult children after a divorce himself.
    the problem is he treats me like his children. It's normal in a family that even as an adult, parents and children retain their role to a certain extent. When I'm with my mom, we are two grown up women – but I will still act as daughter, she as mum. this sometimes causes conflict, but it's ok, it's like that in all families. But the problem is that her new partner treats me in this way as well. And that's not ok. I'm a grown up woman, I got to know him as a (young, but still) adult, and I'm in my late thirties now. He is still the “new” guy in the family – and that's ok as well, it's the situation with a “stepfather”, we should be able to handle it. But he makes this really hard to handle by not treating me like an adult.

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  2. What relationship? My step-daughter is 27 yo. I have not seen or spoken to her since my MIL's funeral. Husband rarely talks to her. We still send a birthday card and a Christmas card. Never does my husband get anything in return. To tell you the truth, I'm glad she is out of my life.

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  3. I am going to guess that this extra anger/frustration/hurt arose from the birth of Serenity, since this post was just a few days after her birth, and the fact that I didn't contact you about it.

    Brandon & Hope sent out birth announcements a long time before she was born. I believe that Hope was just three months into her pregnancy. I was always willing to share my children with their father and any of my relatives that wanted to spend time with them. Their father and my mother were the only ones who took interest in that.

    I appreciate the birthday and Christmas presents, but they weren't necessary because all my kids and I wanted was your time, and we didn't get that. We wanted to be thought of more than two days a year. All I wanted was more than a quick visit with a meal, or even the ten minute stop at my work to “visit” on the way to your family's or on your way home.

    We can't change the past, we don't forget it either. We could have blended better if my Dad wanted to be a part of our lives. Yesterday was my Dad's birthday, I didn't forget. Unfortunately, he can't remember mine anymore and never did know my kids birthdays.

    You are loved Sue.

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  4. (For those who don't know, Gretchen is my stepdaughter.)

    Gretchen, thank you for the love. I appreciate it.

    I didn't get a birth announcement. Otherwise, I might have been more involved. But I'm happy for all of you. Enjoy every moment of it.

    I'm sorry for the quick visits. All I can say is try living 700 miles from your family, working full-time and trying to take care of an 88-year-old father who is impossible to please and a husband with Alzheimer's.

    Your dad has not forgotten things on purpose. He and I both would give everything to have him back the way he was.

    You were a stepmother; you know it's hard. I'm doing my best.

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  5. I'm not married yet but I have gotten to know my boyfriend's three teens somewhat after three years of dating. The two boys are friendly towards me but his daughter can be difficult at times. I do not force myself on the kids and just try to slowly get to know them.

    Holidays are the most awkward because I feel like a stranger at the dinner table. Most of the time I just wish the time would go by quickly so I can feel ok again! I hope it gets easier but I have a feeling it won't. I'll just have to accept the void that separates us.

    I'm a nice person and work with teens as my career but no matter how nice or easy going I am, the reality is, is that I am just dad's girlfriend and if we get married, I will be dad's wife. It's ok though, as long as I understand that their aloofness has nothing to do with me as a person but because of the circumstance, I think I'll be ok.

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