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Forum: Blended Families

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  #1  
July 28th, 2008, 06:35 AM
Ellemphriem's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dreamland...........
Posts: 2,646
Hello everybody,

I am new here and i wanted to introduce myself. I am new to blended families since i am married to a man that has a 9 year old daughter from a previous marriage and i am new to families in general since we are expecting our first child in December. I have no experience whatsoever to all this and somethimes i feel overwhelmed. I try to get everything in order and i want to the kid to feel at ease with me, as also i want to feel that i am not turned upside down each time she visits. It is not her fault and that is clear because she does EVERYTHING in her power to help and be gentle to me and her surroudnings. She helps and she is tender and caring. It is me that is upside down at moments. I think it has to do with my own past (never met my father and i see a resemblance to the situation) and my own insecurities about life. Now that i am pregnant i feel more senstive to all this. I have to find my balance and just when i manage to get some kind of level she leaves and there we go again. It is much easier when she is with us the 1 month in the summer. At those days i manage to find my balance much easier and i am having a great time. I hope this summer turns out well since i have also my pregnancy to consider (which is terrifying me )....My little story has it's ups and downs as everybody elses. Meaning that during all this time the little one wanted mommy and daddy back together and her dad (because it was his domain to speak) tried to make understand that mommy and daddy had their differences and split to never get together again. We had a little pouty face during our wedding where she was standing right next to her daddy all dressed in a little white dress. And then we had the sudden peculiar ones like her calling my mom. Me trying to explain that i am not her mom and that mommy is only one. I can be mommy Kelly but that is about it. We tried to balance that. Didn't work out well. She called me one day mommy and then with the name of her mom. I flew into a frenzy (almost)....calmed down with the help of my husband and explained again. Now after a year she started calling me mom again, but this time it is different. She is not trying to project her mother upon my image (understandable), next to her father. She accepts that i am mommy Kelly and not mommy and that i am more of a friend than any other thing. But it makes her feel good to call me that, because it gives her a sense of belonging, and to such a child belonging is very important. The next drama was the new child to which she reacted coldly by saying 'that i don't want a sister i am used on my own'. We didn't reproach her or anything. Her dad almost told her 'get used to it' which wouldn't be correct either. I told him to let it go and see if she gets used to the idea. She seems to be warming up to it a little bit by saying 'at least it is a girl, i'll have someone to play with'. Will see more about that when we come back from holidays. I think to sum it up we have the usual blended families problems, but we are trying to learn......

I am glad i found you guys....
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  #2  
July 28th, 2008, 07:52 AM
Story's Avatar French Canadian
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Montrťal
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welcome!
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  #3  
July 29th, 2008, 03:00 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Florida
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Welcome to the world of blended families, Kelly! It's hard at times and at others very rewarding, just as parenting of your own children can be. You'll settle into things as time goes on. The good thing is that your DSD loves you and sees you as an important part of her life. Yes, it is hard trying to figure out what you should be called and helping her to understand what your role in her life is...helping you to understand too! But you seem to have a good start on things so I think you'll do fine.
Unfortunately, her visits are going to change the dynamics of your family. Especially once the new baby comes. She's been an only child until now and therefor has had some sense of "entitlement" by virtue of that fact. Now she's going to have to share her daddy and mommy Kelly with someone she didn't want to come into her life and had no desire to have either. Expect some acting out and temper issues with her as she struggles to accept the new baby at first but hopefully, you and your DH will be able to reassure her that she is still very much loved and wanted and that her new sister is in no way a replacement. Imagine how you'd feel if DH suddenly told you that there ws going to be a new wife in the family! Obviously this is a little different but to her it is just the same threat as that situation would be to you. Make sure that you encourage her to take part (as much as is feasible given her age) in caring for the new baby and stress how important she is not only to you and your DH but to the new baby as well. Let her know that as the new baby sister grows up, she is going to need lots of help from her big sister in learning things about the world and how much her little sister is going to look up to and love her. When she comes back from a visit, tell her that her sister missed her while she was gone and how you can see she's happy now that she has her big sister back. We all need to feel loved and valued and if she gets the idea that life goes on perfectly without her, she's more likely to give you troubles while she's visiting. But, if she thinks that everything fell apart while she was gone, she'll feel like such an important part of the family and it will make her less inclined to cause trouble. When you think about it, it takes so little effort to make someone feel special it makes you wonder why we don't do that more often--especially when the consequences of not doing so can be so difficult to deal with!
As far as your feelings of "being upside down", it sounds to me like you may have some unresolved issues from your own childhood that you might need some help getting through. I've struggled with abandonment issues throughout my life and have only recently managed to cage that particular tiger. It's awful! It's also hard on those who love you. Being pregnant, as you know those feelings are a lot closer to the surface. Have you considered counseling? I was in therapy for 5 years and it helped me tremendously to see what I was doing to myself and to others and to help me get those feelings under control.
I hope this helps. Congratulations on your baby girl! It's such an exciting time for you and so much going on. I hope you'll continue to post and keep us updated on how things are going!
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  #4  
July 29th, 2008, 06:37 AM
Ellemphriem's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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Location: Dreamland...........
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Quote:
As far as your feelings of "being upside down", it sounds to me like you may have some unresolved issues from your own childhood that you might need some help getting through.[/b]
Yes i know Even though i say what is past is past (since both my mother and father are dead, same year) i cannot come to terms with what i am learning about the whole history. The fact that my dad NEVER accepted or wanted to see me even though i tried at least once myself as i was older. NOR the fact that i hear that my mom was not an angel to him either. It seems that everything i learned during childhood must be unlearned and that is tough. Sometimes i feel jealous (not in an evil way) that Daphni, DSS at least has her dad. I was not so blessed......he didn't want me. He discarted me. I think there lies my unresolved issues.....

Oh dear......

PS: I would have LOVED to go to counselling but being in Greece psychologists are NOT so popular or so good either. Psychology is not as respected here. My mom went to a psychologist during her last year because they diagnosed her with depression. He just gave her a ton of medicine which made her sleep all day, gained her weight and cause her (according to me) to give up on life completely only to be found head down and blue on the living room floor.......already dead ....one friday 2 years ago.....by me ........



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  #5  
August 3rd, 2008, 06:32 PM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: In the enchanted forest
Posts: 5,257
Hi Kelly, welcome to BF, I am one of the co-hosts here on BF, my name is Chantelle, I am about as blended as they get. I have a child from a previous relationship, my ex has since married so my bio-son has a step-mom (whom I get along w/), then my DH has a child from a previous marriage & I do NOT get along w/ his ex-wife, nor does his son want anything to do w/ me & the rest of us. My DH & had more children together, one is 2 & the other is 8 months (almost anyways). Our house is always up & loud, things can be hard one day & easy the next. We have our moments of positives & negatives. Most of the time our negatives are based around my DH's ex-wife or his son, which is so unfortunate, I wish things were like my experience w/ my ex & his new wife. Not that we've had a perfect time, we had to work at it, but since years have gone by, we've all realized how important my DS is & to put our personal opinions of each other aside for the child's sake.

There are so many things that you'll experience as a blended family, I am sure you'll have good ones & bad ones. Either way, we've all BTDT or at least are going through something similar.

Great to have you on board, can't wait to get to know you better!

Chantelle
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  #6  
August 4th, 2008, 03:36 AM
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There are so many self-help books out there that you can order online that will help you come to terms with your childhood. Since counseling seems not to be an option, I'd try those. When I realized I had issues from my own childhood, I read about everything I could get my hands on that dealt with the subject. (I was a survivor of childhood sexual abuse) I became very good at discarding things that didn't really "fit" with me or my situation and using the advice given when it did. I know how it feels to never have been able to conquer those feelings that are leftover from childhood because I repressed my memories of the abuse until after my grandfather died (when it was "safe" to remember what he had done to me). I also know what it's like to have been rejected by my biological father, since his response to my mother's announcing that she was pregnant with me was to tell her "I know a doctor who can take care of that problem" (this was back in the days before Roe vs. Wade, when abortions were illegal and dangerous.) I have come to realise that HE missed out on knowing me and that I am better off having had my (adopted) dad in my life instead of someone who could never love his own child. There are lessons to be learned from your past, just as I have learned from mine. First of all, don't let their actions make you change how you feel about yourself unless it's in a positive way. Just because they were so flawed that they could not love you does not make you any less lovable. Take pride in the fact that you have risen above what they left you and gone on to be a better person. Secondly, don't allow the circle to continue past you. I know that you feel jealous sometimes that your DSD has her daddy but she also has YOU! That is something priceless and can turn out to be one of the most important relationships in her life. Help make it so by being the best role model and step parent you can be. Help her learn the lessons she has to learn in her life and be there for her when she needs someone. Too many times the circle of abuse or neglect continues when issues from childhood go unresolved. Don't let what your parents did to you define you or how you treat your children and step children. My parents were the most unaffectionate people ever! I never heard "I love you" and rarely got hugs and kisses. My children had the opposite experience and I know in my heart I have broken that circle. There are many things I hope my kids got from their childhood and knowing that they were always loved and accepted for who they are is something I KNOW they got.
You're in a very difficult situation, trying to not only find your relationship to your DSD but also dealing with the excitment of a new baby and wondering how that is going to change your life and how things will be in the future. It's stressful right now and on top of everything else, you're begining to deal with the issuesyour own parents left you with. Becoming a parent for the first time brings all that garbage back up to the front of your mind. We've all dealt with that feeling when we were expecting our first babies too so we can all understand what you're dealing with. You'll do fine! Read everything you can find on the issues you want to deal with as well as any good books on parenting and step parenting. I'm sure some of the women here on the board can recommend some good ones. Like I said, if it "fits" you, keep it. If it doesn't, discard it and move on. Becoming a step parent is like getting married to someone you didn't choose. It's a lifelong relationship that is often very emotional and frustrating. It can also be very rewarding. It sounds to me like you have the potential for a wonderful relationship with your DSD and that is more than a lot of the members on here have!
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  #7  
August 4th, 2008, 09:01 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2008
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Welcome!! I agree that you need to let your DSD be as involved as possible with the care of baby when she is with you. I know one thing that was important to my oldest kids (step and bio) was to get to come to the hospital to see the new baby the day she was born. I am very big on bonding and I believe that siblings need to bond just as parents and baby need to. She will have a hard time at first but she is going to love and adore her baby sister!


You will also have a hard time at first. You are likely to have feelings that you don't understand towards your DSD when your new baby arrives. It is very hard on everyone to adjust to this new situation. This will be your first baby but DH's second. It used to annoy me when DH compared my pregnancy, birth, and newborn to his experience the first time. I felt as though he was taking away from my feelings and comparing me to his ex-wife when in actuality, he was just relating to his own personal experience. For some reason it was hard for me that DH and I were not experiencing first time parenthood together. I have sons from a previous marriage and he has 1 daughter. We had a son together and then a daughter. It really upset me when he would try to tell me all about newborn girl care! I don't know why this bothered me so much but it did. While, it is embarrassing to share these feelings. They were mine and I own them =) I have a few friends with blended families who had similar feelings when the first "together" baby arrived. GL
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  #8  
August 6th, 2008, 10:21 AM
Daisyfields's Avatar Platinum Super Mega Mommy
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: In the enchanted forest
Posts: 5,257
Just to add from personal experience. My DS (from a previous relationship) was VERY excited about the "arrival" of his new brother, he helped pick out the bedding, crib, saw the ultra sounds, you name it. My DSS, was NOT involved at all. I'd try to ask him for opinions or names etc., he wanted nothing to do w/ it.
Once my baby (now 2) arrived & my DS came to the hospital, he was not excited, he didn't want to hold him, he wanted nothing to do w/ him. To this day, even though he loves his brother, he picks on him, blames things on him, you name it, they are always fighting & it's usually my DS (older one) starts it. Now, once the baby was born, my DSS (who didn't seem to care prior to the birth), did a 180 when he was born. Wanted to hold him, couldn't get enough of him. So they basically switched places w/ one another.

When I gave birth to our 2nd child (now almost 8 mos), my DS (oldest) was so excited, wanted to hold him, still says how much he loves him, attentive, the whole nine. My DSS, w/ this new baby, wants nothing to do w/ him. So once again, they switched roles & how they reacted to the babies.

What I can say is that my DS didn't & still feels strange about his 2 year old brother. He stole his "thunder" & to this day, it's his fault. He is upset that it's no longer just him & I, but now he has a step-father, step-brother, and 2 half-brothers & it's no longer HIS world, he has to share things & he doesn't like that. He's in therapy & we've recognized how important certain things are & how to react to his difficult behavior as well as tend to his needs.

So all I can say is that you don't know what to expect. I even took the boys to a sibling class prior to the birth of the first baby (now 2), got books, I did it all. Nothing, no book, no class, no ultra sound, no helping w/ the crib etc., prepares a child from being an only child to having to share their spotlight. The reaction you will get will be either good, or bad. Either way, you'll get through it, I have & we're working daily on the positives & when my DS' act out, they get disciplined (i.e., privileges taken away or sent to their rooms).

All in all, it's been a experience that I wouldn't have predicted.

Be patient & if you get to a point that you feel you can't do it alone, getting therapy for the family & kids is a wonderful thing, it can't hurt anything. I've read 4 different books about Blending Families (Mom's House, Dad's House - Ex-Etiquette For Parents - How To Win As a Step-Family) no book is going to make things better. But educating yourself on what "might" happen or another way to look at an issue, can be helpful. It's been helpful to me. And, I like to read.

HIH
~C

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