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July 29th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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Keakie Keakie is offline
Learning to walk in faith
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Near the land of cream cheese
Posts: 5,617
Hi there. I'm the other international couple that Ashley mentioned. I moved two years ago and met my dsc for the first time a little over a year before that, during their summer visitation with my dh.

I wanted to second (third?) what the other ladies have said regarding the timeline. It is absolutely normal for it to take a little bit of time for a child to warm up to a new person in his/her life, but this far along there should be SOME improvement. I'm not sure what kind of a time line is normal for a more shy child (none of my dsc are what most people would consider "shy" ), but it concerns me that he doesn't seem to be comfortable speaking to you at all. I was also wondering what the relationship is like with his bm.

How often do you try to initiate conversation with him? I have an almost-7 yo dsd (she was 3 when I met her) and she was a little stand offish when I first met her - she told me that I wasn't allowed to know the names of her Littlest Pet Shop pets - but she warmed up quickly once I started to ask her questions about what she was doing/playing/drawing and especially when I would do some of those things with her (I still colour with her sometimes). She's now the child I bond most easily with.

If you don't already, I would make a point to address him similarly (and not take it personally if he doesn't respond well/at all). I have a mostly peaceful but largely detached relationship with my own stepmom because she always felt that it was *my* responsibility, as the child, to come and talk to her rather than the other way around when she came into my life. It's always bothered me because *I* was the child going through a major life transition and she was the adult.

I also think that your SO needs to play a more active role in the fostering a relationship between you and his son. While I understand not pushing you on each other, the fact that so much time has gone by and nothing has improved should signal to him that his approach isn't working. It can be something as simple as doing activities together, as a family, which IMO is non-threatening and doesn't place either of you on the spot because it keeps your SO there as a buffer but still allows you room to bond. He can also make the effort to bring you into his conversations or playtime with his son. It doesn't mean he needs to force his child to call you "mom" and give your hugs and kisses against his will.

It sounds like your SO's son needs to feel that you're a safe person to be around, and your SO reinforcing that you are one (by integrating you into activities and conversations) is probably the best way to start that process. I don't think it's intentional, but your SO may be inadvertently sending the OPPOSITE message by ignoring his son's obvious discomfort with you and failing to step in. It creates an obvious divide (i.e. daddy's relationship with me vs. daddy's relationship with her) as opposed to a more unified family feeling, and divides are NEVER a happy thing when it comes to blended families. It will lead to a feeling of discomfort for your entire family during visitation periods, and likely resentment in you (and possibly in your SO if he (unrealistically) expects you to conjure a relationship with his child without any help from him and you can't do that).

Originally Posted by caliroo34 View Post
I try to remind myself that he doesn't see his dad much and this probably contributes to it. He's not really here often enough to feel like this is "home" or that I belong here. As far as he's concerned, this is somewhere he comes to see his dad for a bit and I'm interfering.
Honestly, I have a 4 yo dss and I really don't think most children at that age think this way. He may feel uneasy if he isn't there all the time and is accidentally (or not, if the bm is encouraging the stand-offishness) receiving mixed messages about who you're supposed to be, but the kind of resentment that you're describing here would be, IMO, unusual for a child that young.

In addition, it sounds like you and his dad are starting your own family and you're planning to be together for a long time. While his one on one time with daddy is absolutely important, I don't think it's a negative thing for him to view visiting with you guys as visiting with his family on his dad's side vs. visiting his dad and you're just sort of there. Your SO should really be encouraging that in an age appropriate and gentle way, ESPECIALLY with a new sibling on the way.

You said your step son is 4? That is very young and he is likely still confused. That said, your OH has to facilitate the relationship. If your DSS asks him a question about you, your OH has to tell him that you are standing right there and he can ask you himself. It can be done in loving and sweet ways.. it doesn't have to sound as cold and mean as I know it did when I typed it out.
It's not mean or forcing anything to say, "She's right there. You'll have to ask her yourself. "

*Excitedly expecting baby girl number two!*

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