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Tia, it's normal to feel favoritism toward your biological children and it takes some effort to be aware sometimes about how your actions are being perceived by the kids. Try to include the step kids whenever you can and when they're visiting, try to keep things as even as possible. Your stepchild and you will bond if you're going to and not if you're not going to no matter what you want. Sometimes there is just no love there even if you think there should be. Remember, there are a lot of emotions on both your parts that can interfere with bonding. She wants mommy back, you want your DH all to yourself, she is bratty and undisciplined, she rejects you and your feelings are hurt, etc. The only thing you CAN control is how YOU react to her. As far as preparing her for the step-brother, try to get her as involved as you can. Let her feel the baby move inside you, show her pictures of what the baby looks like at this stage in the development and stress how much you're going to need her help when the baby does come. "Being a big sister is a huge repsonsibility and I know you are going to be the best big sister ever!" "Your little brother is going to need you to show him how to do things. He is going to really look up to you!" etc makes her feel a little more a part of things. I think just the fact that you're asking these questions now and not waiting to see how things go shows that you're devoted to your DSD and I think you'll do just fine!
I wish you the very best luck and hope that helped a little!
1) How do you bond with your younger step-children (mine's 4yr old) I am around my bonus son all the time. DH has custody so it was a little different for me. He was 4 when Jason and I got together and I kind of got thrown into the mommy role (taking him to school, picking him up, feeding, bathing, etc.) so it just kind of happened.
2) Is it difficult for you to keep from showing favortism to your biological children over your step-children? There isn't any favortism on either side probably because we both have custody of our kids. However, there was an incident when we first got together where the boys were arguing about something and we both took our own kids side. We realized then that there is 2 sides to every story and that both were wrong.
3) Any advice on how to prepare step-child for a new baby? She's a daddy's girl and get jealous very easily. How can I help her accept her new brother? Try to include her in as much as possible. Maybe let her pick out something special for the baby (a toy or new outfit). Make sure that her daddy still has some 1 on 1 time with her as well as time with both her and the baby so she doesn't feel like he replaced her. Let her come to the hospital and have a "I'm the big sister" shirt or pin for her to wear. My boys seemed to like that and they were 6 almost 7. How is your relationship with her mom? If it is a good one, maybe she can help too whenever she is with her.
1) I think you don't overtry, or try less either. Be kind and yourself. You cannot force her to like you and bond with you. And besides don't ever forget you are in the way of her daddy going back to her mommy. That is so natural and innocent but can be furstrating at times. I myself try to keep out of the way when she has her time with dad and she includes me herself. I never force her to do anything although when she is in our house i try to make her understand out living conduct. She is older than yours. 8 towards 9
2) I have no idea how much favoritism i would show my biological children since i am carrying our first (together). I don't know how i will react to her and to the new baby either. I just hope plain and cold logic will help here because sentiment won't
3) My DSD at first declared her opposition to the new baby by saying 'I don't want a sister i am alone and i am used to it'. I never forced anything on her that moment either. As time goes by and she sees that this won't change (unless God has other plans....... ) she is trying to accept it on her own. I told her that this is your sister and she said no, sister would be another child from mom and dad. I said yes, but she has half your dad in her so she is your half-sister. She seemed to understand that. I told her i'd need her help with the young one when she comes and she seemed pleased with that. I also told her they will share beds and rooms and all. She feels better when she knows she is not thrown out by the new arrival. DSD is a BIG daddy's girl also...
Wish you luck.....how far along are you?
" \m/ Now Iím riding through the air
going to where no one dares
on the way Iíll cross the line forevermore \m/ "
Welcome Jodi, I am a step & bio mom, I have it from both ends. I also have a decent relationship w/ my ex & his new wife but no relationship w/ my DH's ex-wife "or" my DSS. I am one of the co-hosts here on BF so I'd like to welcome you to the board. Glad you posted.
Now, as far as bonding, it can be little things, taking them to the park, coloring w/ them, baking goodies, arts & crafts, movies. The key is to find out what THEY like & tap into that. Make the bonding a short thing at first (an hour) & then let it happen naturally. Anything forced from you will be obvious & not well accepted by the step child. A 4 yr' old is more likely to be accepting than say a 7 yr' old or older.
Yes, favortism is an issue & it's something you need to try to keep to yourself. You are obviously gonna have more of a bond or love for your own bio-kids than your step-children (unless you've been in their lives since birth) but even at that, it's just different. KWIM? It's something that you have to be aware of & the fact that you're asking about it on the board shows that you are aware, which is great. Keep that awareness & you'll be golden.
As far as preparing a child for a new sibling that will be their "half" siblings. Well, it's different for everyone. I know in my case I took my then 5 year old to all the OBGYN apt's, let him hear the heart beat, got books, took him to siblings' classes & he was super excited. The moment our new baby arrived, he did a 180 for the worst, wanted nothing to do w/ the baby & still to this day is not that good w/ him but it's due to "stealing" his spotlight & he's having struggles w/ that. We're in children's therapy for that currently, trying to work that out.
However, my then 7 year old DSS wanted NOTHING to do w/ the baby prior to his birth but the moment the baby came out, the 7 year old wanted to be around our new addition all the time. He changed & did a 180 for the better.
My DH & I have since added another baby to the mix (all boys)... and my almost 8 yr' old is very adoring to his new 8 mo. old brother but is still struggling w/ his 2 yr' old brother (both half brothers). My DSS, is never around, his bio-mom basically has put stuff in his head that we are not his REAL family, that these siblings are not his REAL brothers & as a result of this trash talk, my DSS has no relationship w/ his half-brothers "or" me. It's a sad situation but something that is out of my control.
This is just the half of it. I know you're asking specific ?'s regarding your situation to come but I want to say this, you haven't a clue how the 4 yr' old will react or how they'll blend in. I can say that BLENDING a family is hard. You are mixing 2 separate families w/ different environment, backgrounds, beliefs, the list goes on. I struggle to date w/ my DH about issues, we aren't on the same page when it comes to disciplining & it's obvious as a result of our children's demeanor around him vs. me.
Hang in there, things do get better, it's a hard thing to do but they can work out w/ the right attitude, & even counseling. Talking about YOUR expectations after the baby arrives. How even though the 4 yr' old can get away w/ this or that, you will not tolerate that & expect the 4 yr' old to be angry w/ you b/c you are changing the dynamics of their life. Which is understandable. The 4 yr' old didn't choose you or this new sibling, so think of this like your DH coming home & saying "honey, this is Sally, she is also my wife, you will share her w/ me & some days I will sleep w/ her & some days you will sleep w/ me" etc. Think of that...you wouldn't tolerate that, you have a voice & you'd leave, right? Well, this 4 yr' old doesn't have the words to articulate how they feel but that's the just of it, going from having daddy to themselves to a new 'step-mother' & 'step-sibling' w/ new rules. You have a good chance of things working out w/ a 4 yr' old but at the same time, expect the child to fight you along the way. Remember, they didn't choose the situation so it's normal to feel that way.
I hope this helped & I hope you post more. I am very curious on how things work out & what comes out of everything.
My only advice "now" w/ your DH is to talk about expectations once the baby arrives, down to every detail. Because if you don't (and I really didn't in my situation) you'll have a lot of issues/arguments about things that you could have solved before hand. The last thing you want to show the 4 yr' old is that you & their father are divided on ANY issue, so be sure to talk to your DH when the child is NOT around. Kids are smart, they pick up things fast & that's an easy one to pick out.
Take care & GL
3) Any advice on how to prepare step-child for a new baby? She's a daddy's girl and get jealous very easily. How can I help her accept her new brother?
As far as bonding, I found it easier to bond with my youngest SD over my oldest. The oldest was 10 when we met & is now 13. She was much less accepting of the situation than her younger sister who was 6 & is now 9.
Our blending is more challenged by the fact that they live 4 hours away from us & our time together is limited.
Now the favoritism situation is interesting. I tried with Christmas & Bd presents to be equal until I realized that DSD were getting double what my kids were getting in the end. My kids only get presents from me. DSD get from us, their bio mom & stepdad, grandparents & extended family members. So basically all added up my kids were getting the short end of the stick. So I changed that & DH has explained to them why it looks like my kids get more when in reality they actually get more.
My other challenge is that I am an over indulgent and over protective parent & make no apologies for it. I parent completely opposite of the way their mother does. That has posed a ton of problems for us as well. I'm not changing my parenting style to fit their mother's mold (nor do I expect her to change hers)so we continue to struggle to find a way to make it work.