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Hi, everyone!! I am so excited that my bf and I are talking about getting married. I love him sooo much. He has an 8 year old daughter, whom I love so much as well. The only problem is, I have not met her mother yet and he and I have been together for a little over a 1 1/2 now. His ex, I dont think really likes me, but then again I am not sure.
How do you all deal with the parenting issue? I mean sometimes how he disciplines her, is soo different from the way I would do it. Sometimes he let's her talk back to him and yell at him, just because she doesn't want to do what he tells her. Or she throws these tantrems...in public with the both of us mind you. And the WHINING!!OMG! Don't get me started on that one!
Its soo hard sometimes. I keep my mouth shut and times, but at others I just can't take it and I have to say something. Thankfully, he and I have not had fights about when I step in, but I just am not sure as to when I can step in. I mean since I am only the gf right now, not the step-mommy, ya know.
HELP PLEASE! If anyone has gone through this, advice please. How did you do it??
First of all, Welcome and congratulations! Exciting times for you!
I think you should probably sit down with your fiance and set some rules that will be enforced by both of you in your home. What is punishment going to be? There will be no ___ in our house (yelling, disrespecting parents/step-parents, siblings, etc) Let him know that YOU intend to enforce that as well and that you expect him to back you when you do and to enforce the rules as well. You do NOT want to be the "bad guy" all the time! At the same time, when you have to reprimand her for something that she does or says, you need him to be strong with her as well. If he disagrees with you, he should not do so in front of the child but when you're alone. She has to see the two of you as a united front that can not be torn apart or she will move in for the kill and pull that "You're not my mommy" stuff. When she whines, ignore her. She needs to learn that she will NOT get her way by whining. If she continues, remove her from wherever you are so that you don't have to listen to it. Temper tantrums should be treated the same way. The first time my oldest threw a temper tantrum was in a store. He literally threw himself down on the ground, kicking and screaming! He was about 3. I calmly walked around the other side of the aisle and waited for him to notice. You've never seen a child pull out of a tantrum so fast! "Mommy? MOMMY!?" at which point I poked my head around the corner and said "Are you done yet?" "Yes" "Ok, now let's go finish our shopping". The second time he did it we happened to be in that same store (no wonder they went bankrupt!) I started to walk away and I heard "OK! I'm done, mommy!". End of tantrums. He never did it again. He learned that he could not get his way with that behavior. If your DSD starts whining or throwing a tantrum, either walk away or send her to her room. If she won't go, pick her up and take her there if you have to but she needs to learn that those actions don't get her what she wants!
As far as her mother not liking you, she doesn't have to. She does, however have to be in your life so to try to stay on her good side is in your best interest. When you meet her, try to let her know that you would really like that. As mothers we get territorial with our kids very easily. If we feel that some other woman is trying to play mommy to our kids, we get deffensive and angry. Don't correct the child's behavior in front of the mom. Let mom deal with it. This sends the message to BOTH of them that you know she is mom and most important in the girl's life and you defer to her rules. Now obviously if you're standing in your living room talking to mom and the child walks up and yells at you and kicks you in the shins and mom does nothing, then all bets are off! Most mothers would never allow their children to act like that without taking some sort of action...they may "high five" the kid afterwards but right in the heat of the moment she's probably going to at least say something! Bottom line is she needs to understand that there are rules at mommy's house and rules at daddy's house and although they may be different, they are rules and will be enforced. Consistency is the key. Don't let your emotions dole out punishments tht don't fit the crime. Don't let her get away with something one day then the next tell her she will be punished for it. Kids NEED rules! Rules tell a child "I care about the kind of person you become and I am going to work to help you become the best person you can" Rules show a child that you value yourself and that you don't allow others to treat you poorly. Rules teach a child respect for authority and for you....and for themselves. When my dd was about 4 we met another mother and daughter and became friends. The mother had 5 kids and every one of them was disrespectful, rude and ill mannered. Whenever we would go anywhere with them, the daughter would act out. When we'd leave, my daughter used to tell me "Katie sure doesn't know how to act right. She shouldn't yell like that." or "Katie is so spoiled! I would never talk to you like that, mom!" and I would tell her how glad I was that she was not like Katie. Katie is now 16 and an unwed mother. Rules matter.
You'll do fine. It's hard to manage at times but it can be a very rewarding experience for everyone if done right. We're all here anytime you need advice or to vent or gloat...we love to hear the gloating! lol
First off, welcome... I am Chantelle, one of the co-hosts here on Blended Families. I am a step-mom & a bio-mom who's ex married (so I deal w/ ex's & step-kids as well as my own bio-kids).
Being a step-mother is difficult. It's important to set boundaries (discipline) but be sure it's carefully done, in that I mean the discipline needs to come from her dad, not you, however, if he isn't around & she is misbehaving & you are watching her, you need to be firm too.
Most of the discipline should ALWAYS come from her bio-parents, not the others (step-mom's or step-mom to be). Also... be prepared you may never have a good relationship w/ bio-mom. I have a good relationship w/ my ex's new wife (to an extent, we are respectful for my son, wasn't always this way but we've made it work for my son, and it's been great) but w/ my DH's ex-wife, forget it, we do NOT get along, she's threatened me verbally, we've been in the same room together, she's NEVER acknowledged me or said "hello"...she's rude, and I don't think she'll ever change. She's insecure & thinks I am trying to take over her son, I am not, I have 3 kids of my own & I don't want her son as my son. All I want is respect, and I dont' even get that, but that's another story all together.
Basically...you don't know what you are in for w/ bio-mom & my advice is to bite your lip & not say much to her, you have no rights to the child, you never will (unless bio-mom signs papers that you do), so keep that in mind. SHe may like you, want to talk to you, but the moment it comes to something like advice or discipline, she may remind you that you aren't to be involved or part of the equation. Do not take this personally, it's her own insecurity.
Be a friend to the child, be there for them & listen. Be a good role model for the child, as much as possible. You can't change what goes on in her mom's house, but you can in your presence.
I'd like to recommend a book if I may, it's called Ex-Etiquette for Parents, it's been helpful to me. I have a couple of other reads, but I'd say this would be best for you to start with. It's easy reading & available in soft cover, cheap too.
On that note, keep us posted, ask anything you want & vent, we're here for that. One of us has either gone through it or is in the middle of it. So we can give you the basic advice of how things will turn out (good/bad).
I hope you continue to post & I look forward to getting to know you better.
Thank you SO much for all of your advice!! Im totally excited and ready and willing for all of this to happen, but scared at the same time. Im very happy that I can come here and get some good advice and first hand opinions on all this. I don't know anyone that has a step daughter or son, so this is wonderful to be able to talk to you all and share and vent and gloat and anything else!!
I will totally be back to give up dates and for ALL my questions, cause I know I will have many many more!!