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Any Good Stories?

I am currently in a position where my husband's daughter of six years may be coming to live with us. We have no children of our own, the daughter is coming to us from a neglectful situation (her biological mother is now in jail), and I care about her very much. However, having never been a mother, I am very nervous about the idea. I've spent many hours on the Internet searching for stories from other stepmothers, but they are almost all very, very negative. Is this situation doomed from the start? Does anyone have anything positive to share about their role as a stepmother?
siren1971 siren1971 36-40, F 83 Responses Jan 17, 2008

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childen are very perceptive and intelligent. They SEE. If you give them unconditional love, they will not reject you. That is all they want. Unconditional love is so less in this world.

childen are very perceptive and intelligent. They SEE. If you give them unconditional love, they will not reject you. That is all they want. Unconditional love is so less in this world.

i can only speak as a step-daughter..but i no it may be hard on her. it was for me. just let her no that you do care and love her..just remeber just cuz your not her real mom doesnt mean you have to be super nice for her to like you. you do still have to put your foot down. but it was really hard on me. i felt like my dad was taking my mom away from me. but now i no it was better for me in the end.

I've been a step-mom for 12 years. My Boyfriend (now husband) got together shortly after his daughter was born in 96. Although their relationship had already ended, i was seen as a home wrecker. She fed his daughters head full of lies trying to get her to hate me but it didn't work because she saw through all that. I sat down and told his daughter one day that, "I know I'm not your mother, and I'm not trying to be because nobody can take her place, but i do Love you and hope to at least wish to be your friend and someone you can come to for help." Those words were all she needed. Now we have 2 children of our own and I have found this to be true, no matter if you are a mother or step-mother all you need to do is show a child Love. Take it step by step, one day at a time. find things that they are into doing, encourage them, play games with them and make them feel like they belong. Also, don't be afraid to tell them when they have done wrong, but be compassionate. Remember nobody is a perfect parent most of the time we have no idea what to do, but in the end it all works out if you have Love in your heart.

Well, I am not a stepmother and I certainly don't know the hardships, but one of my best friends inherited two children: a boy at the age of 7 and a girl at the age of 4, and all I remember hearing is how wonderful the experience was. She was learning new things all the time, and even though there were the occasional fights, my friend found a sense of purpose and an overwhelming new kind of love that could not have come from anyone but those children.<br />
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Good luck! But I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with how well it all works out. You'll probably surprise yourself and realize: hey, I'm a wonderful mother and she and and I have an incredible, even though, different, bond.

The fact that you are looking for information and taking this so seriously proves your determination and interest it doing a good job. At least she is still young enough to be shaped by a positive role model. I admire your desire to create a positive experience. I was in a situation like yours and I was nervouse too. and everything turned out okay. Just make her comfortable and try to relax.

If you don't know already, there is a group on Yahoo!Groups called ChildlessStepMoms. It is a great message board and very supportive. I a also a childless step-mom, and while it hasn't been a piece of cake, I wouldn't trade it for the world...

My wife's success recipe for being a step to my sons ranging in the ages of toddlers to your 6 yr old. She has no children of her own. In 12 yrs she has never ever once been sassed, intentionally disrespected or disobeyed. Yes she a world class mother but it requires me being a real dad so it doesnt put her in a bad position with my ex or the kids. My ex is a hi maintainence personality too.<br />
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One it is not her job to do primary disapline. <br />
Never has critisized the mother no matter what.<br />
We do not fight so it's a peacefull safe place for the kids<br />
Very loving generous caregiver<br />
supports and has never missed kids events<br />
Has done most the actual mothering in raising them and is first to take the back seat to their mother.<br />
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My first and foremost job is foe me to be consistant consistant consistant with the kids and handle the disapline. She helps me with input/decisions and I dont mention my wifes input to my ex to protect her from negative responses from my ex.<br />
From the start my number 1 teaching lesson is never disrespect her. I don't so it's not going to happen from them.<br />
I command respect not demand it just cause I am the parent. The kids found out early on step mom is person that commands respect too so they didnt challenge her and now it's the farthest thing from their minds now that their teenagers. Odd thing now is they know their really in deep even more than dad if step mom is not happy about some behavior they've done. <br />
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A neat benefit for the kids is in spite of coming from a broken home, they got to see an example of a loving working relationship, an example of mother/ fatherhood and were given great love and care.

As the natural father in the "Step" situation, I made sure that regardless of where they were living, with their Mother or Us, there were rules to be foillowed (the same in both households) and there is respect that would be expected. I made my partner feel as important regarding their upbringing as I or my ex-wife were. This worked well as they didn't have the ability to ask the other Parent if they didn't like the answer they got from the first. We were all on the same page, and mutual respect was a must.

I have two children, now grown who lived with me and my second wife. My second wife would never give them any love or hugs. She was super strict with them. When I came to her and told her they were children, that children acted up sometimes she was angry with me. When I came home and one of them was crying I would try to console them and ask them what happened. My wife would go off the wall, telling me that I shouldn't molycoddle the "two brats." Well, to make a long story short, that wife is now gone. My two children are succesful adults. Once they left the house they never talked to their step mother again.<br />
If you want to be a successful stepmother you will have to realize that the child will try you. Be firm, but be loving. It's better to grab the child and hug them while telling them what they did wrong than to belittle them. Give her whatever punishment is appropriate but always always tell her that you love her. Don't tell her she is bad, tell her what she did was bad. As I said, there will be days you want to pull your hair out but if you stick in there and give the child all the love she deserves when she is grown she will bring her children back to grandma's house and hug you and tell you, thanks

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Love is the key. Just be in love with the little being! She is being drawn to your life for a reason, trust it, go with it. <br />
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I am a mom of three, and we adopted two. I love them all. I am so incredibly in awe of who they are as young beings. When you come from love, everything just works out.<br />
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Don't get too carried away by the title "stepmom" and just be of total commitment to the happiness of this person. I think step anything sometimes causes a distance and issues just by and in and of itself.<br />
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Love is where you accept, care, and show your authentic emotions. You are clear and comforting and encouraging. Plus you get to go cool places!!! Good luck.

I am a step-child and it was very difficult for me as an eleven-year-old to have a new dad. And it was till I was in my early twenties and realized that all those mornings reading the paper, or renting a vcr for movie nights every two weeks, the random drives for adventure in the country-side along with stories. The patience and love that greeted all my tantrums and tears and silences made more of an impact on me than my biological parent ever did on my life and how I now conduct my life. These are just a few of the memories that I have that my step-parent slowly and patiently gave to me. It was very difficult and sometimes the rewards can take years, but the patient, calm, gentle persistence given unconditionally with love will make more of an impact than you will every know!

Try to see it from her perspective for how she's going to have to learn to respect a new set of older people. She'll probably blame the new situation for not feeling just like the old one she was used;<br />
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But hopefully you can show her a new friendship and a better learning environment--and she might be young enough to appreciate it and grow with it.<br />
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If you can do this without condemning her personally for acting out, maybe she'll begin to see you as a wonderful role model.<br />
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You just might see her bloom over time in a way she never would have.<br />
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Patience is probably the key in any long term adjustment.

I too was a step-mom, and although my step-daughter did not come to live with us until she was 16 and an emotional reck, I did learn the most important thing I could tell any step parents, that is treat them with love and respect unconditionally, nurture them, and set boundaries. It is very difficult at times, but the rewards are ten fold. At this young age, you are very blessed to be able to help this child. Don't be afraid, as if you show love, then you will receive love. My step-daughter and I are very best friends now, and I know that coming to live with us was the best possible situation for her as well. Just one other thing, please dont ever put down the birth mother, as this litlle one is already confused just as you are. Good luck to you and your new family.

I was a stepfather to a daughter and learned the hard way to not try parenting a non-biological daughter, at least, not until you establish a very strong bond of friendship.<br />
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Be her friend, - leave the parenting to her father.

I am a step child and I came to live with my step dad at the age of 6 as well. There have been rough times, but I don't think it's been much worse than for any other parent raising a teenage daughter. be prepared that there will come a day when she challenges you and says something really hurtful: "You're not even my real mother". Don't let this get to you. Let her know that you are very well aware of this but that it doesn't matter much. You're her family now just like her real mum. Of course it isn't the exact same situation. But since you said you cared about her very much I'm sure you can be a good mum to her. And I'm sure she'll appreciate it a lot, but especially in her teenage years might not be able to show it. <br />
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Just don't panic too much. ;) i love my step dad very much and I'm incredibly thankful for his unconditional love.

I am the daughter of a step mother. Although we had our ups and downs, like any parent step or biological, we worked through it. All realtionships require work and understanding. Dont look at it as doomed but a work in constant progress. Love her and care for her no matter what and you will be fine. Btw. My step mom and I are as close as my real mom had she lived to know me. She is amazing and your interest and questions already show that u care:-)

Hi, Being or taking any role in life can be challenging but you should realize that its all a phase and you will soon be manifested with that new sense of feeling of being a mother.

honestly, as someone who has a stepmother AND a stepfather, i can just say this:<br />
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you get out of it what you put into it. i LOVE my stepdad more that anything. i'm very close to him. BUT, on the downside, my stepmom has never been a good person to me. me and my sisters have had quite a few problems with her because she's clearly a gold-digging wench. and she's said alot of cruel things to me.<br />
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so i'm sure if you walk into the situation thinking you'll never have a good relationship, you won't. but it seems like you really want it to work out. so i have faith it will al work out.

I am currently in a similar situation. I married knowing my husband had children and so did I. His children lived with there mothers for the majority of the time. One even visited only in the summer. That soon changed from visiting to permanently living with us. I found my self very stressed out and still am,but I remember what it was like to have a step parent. I gave my stepmother hell foe awhile because I felt like she was taking the place of my mom. It's funny because my mother was neglectful to me but i still didn't want her replaced by anyone else. I also did not like to see my father with another women. So after taking all of these memories in to consideration, I made my own decision on what part I was going to play in each of their lives. I don,t like the word step mom or step dad it just sounds so negative to me. They both have mothers who raised them and these children didn't need another mother. I choose to be an advocate to them and they are my family. I want them to respect me like they would respect any other adult. I choose to let my husband discipline his children because I don't believe that would benefit my relationship with them. That's when you hear "Your not my parent" I support my husband and do what i can with out making the children uncomfortable nor myself. I also heard that the parent of the child should be the one to be the bad guy from Dr. Phil. Do what ever you have to do to keep yourself mentally healthy and don't lose yourself in this process.. I would also suggest counseling for the family, especially for the child. As difficult as it is for us to adjust it's worse on the child. Do only what you know you can do nothing more. Support your husband because he may not have been prepared for the sudden change. You can get caught up in the tail spin and never find your way out. Stay true to your feelings during the process and express them to your husband in a way that he can understand how you feel. He may not like everything you have to say but some things must be said in order to keep your marriage strong. <br />
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From someone in the same situation

I am currently in a similar situation. I married knowing my husband had children and so did I. His children lived with there mothers for the majority of the time. One even visited only in the summer. That soon changed from visiting to permanently living with us. I found my self very stressed out and still am,but I remember what it was like to have a step parent. I gave my stepmother hell foe awhile because I felt like she was taking the place of my mom. It's funny because my mother was neglectful to me but i still didn't want her replaced by anyone else. I also did not like to see my father with another women. So after taking all of these memories in to consideration, I made my own decision on what part I was going to play in each of their lives. I don,t like the word step mom or step dad it just sounds so negative to me. They both have mothers who raised them and these children didn't need another mother. I choose to be an advocate to them and they are my family. I want them to respect me like they would respect any other adult. I choose to let my husband discipline his children because I don't believe that would benefit my relationship with them. That's when you hear "Your not my parent" I support my husband and do what i can with out making the children uncomfortable nor myself. I also heard that the parent of the child should be the one to be the bad guy from Dr. Phil. Do what ever you have to do to keep yourself mentally healthy and don't lose yourself in this process.. I would also suggest counseling for the family, especially for the child. As difficult as it is for us to adjust it's worse on the child. Do only what you know you can do nothing more. Support your husband because he may not have been prepared for the sudden change. You can get caught up in the tail spin and never find your way out. Stay true to your feelings during the process and express them to your husband in a way that he can understand how you feel. He may not like everything you have to say but some things must be said in order to keep your marriage strong. <br />
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From someone in the same situation

I am a mother period. I have known and baby sat for a woman who was a step mother and she was horrible, she was jealous of the relationship this poor little girl had with her father the womans husband. I could easly see what the problem was but it was not my business to but in,. When I was asked I would give my feelings and suggestions and say so but beyone that now.<br />
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The girls had a mother that abandoned her and left her with the father then took off never seeing or talking to the girl again. So it was so easy to see the girl suffered from abandoment problems and just needed a woman she could trust an be close to. but her daddy was the only one willing to step up and it made the woman furious.<br />
Just keep in mind that there will be times when she will want to just be close to her daddy just let her be, she will come around she is not trying to come inbetween you two she is just a child and needs love so if you give her that she wil in time come around.

Just remember you are not the biological parent in the situation, all you are there is for to love, support, encourage. Most of the negative stories come from step parents who try to discipline children who are not their own. Think of it as, you get to play the "good cop". Wish you the best of luck.

Just remember that children, no matter who they belong to, are whole and complete; perfect. I am a biological mama of a dear little six-year-old boy. All he wants is my love and attention. So, I freely give it to him. <br />
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You as this sweet, little girl's stepmother have a chance to get to know this child unlike any one else. Take advantage of that. Make a difference in her life by empowering her to be herself, in other words; perfect. Consistently rejoice in her ability to be a perfect human being.<br />
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So far, my son has shown up to everyone else as a wise and kind-hearted boy. You have the opportunity to raise this child as an integral being. Please, do so...ferrin

i'm not a stepmom, but i am a mom, & i did have a stepfather. just a few thoughts - like most everyone has already said, give her lots of love. don't push too hard to get close to her, but don't give up if it doesn't happen right away. it may take her a little time to learn to trust you. never give up. my stepfather didn't try very hard to get to know me, i was 6 when they got married, now i'm 30, & i don't even speak to him. just be patient, always make time for her, & NEVER give up. the fact that you're looking for help means that you're on your way to being a great 'step'- mom.

I can just tell you, as a child of divorce that deals with a stepmother, don't try to take charge. Remember that her room is her room, only her father is to go in there without knocking. Also try to remember that you are not a mother. If the child is 6 years old, she may like you or dislike you from the start. You never know with children. I am 14 and this divorce took place when I was 12. We left an abusive situation with my father. there were times when we had to scrape together change to come up with dinner money, so divorce is not easy on anyone. Don't talk to the child about her mother unless she starts the conversation. My stepmother tried to be a mother and spent her time telling me what color and style MY room could be, painting over the color me and my father had put there when she first moved in, giving me no say in anything, and trying to be a mother. Eventually, the child will warm up to you and you can take a slight parental role, but don't force yourself on her by all means. Try to be a friend at first, all commands must come from the child's real father, and she may still love her mother and feel devoted to her, so don't trash on the other parent. At least not in front of her, but children hear EVERYTHING, and I mean everything. I am still a child in some ways, and we pick up everything going on around us. Leave any talk about her mother for when she is out of the house. Maybe give her some household chores to make her feel like she belongs. Or, get her a pet (something as simple as a goldfish would suffice) so that you are telling her that this is her house too. Children always love that kind of inconspicious stuff. Don't try to hug her upon arrival, she may not feel comfortable. Don't tell her that you love her until you are sure that she loves you back, or let her say it first. Eventually, she will make the first few moves and you can assume an almost parental role, remember that you will never be a full parent, even if you feel like one. When her mother gets out of jail (or even while she is in it) she may want to go visit her. Have your husband accompany you on these visits. And maybe when it is just the two of you (your stepdaughter and you) inside the house, and she is watching T.V. and you are reading or something like that, ask if she would like t ogo out for icecream. If she says yes, then you are a friend and can start talking to her more and possibly hugging her, if she says no, you are moving to fast and may want to back off. Make the child feel like it is her house too, as much as it is yours. That is about it for now. If you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to message me. I knopw my advice sounds harsh, but my situation was very much like this little girl's and my stepmother screwed it up big time and now I won't forgive her. I actually hate her now. So, not that you can screw up as bad as she did (by calling me her daughter when she was PUNISHING me!) but try to take it easy on "mothering" stuff. And everything will turn out great.

HI, I became a step DAD to an eight year old. I married her widdowed mom. It was a challenge. I wanted to give her everything, but couldnt (financially). We did ok though.Her mom and I Loved on her as much as possible. She grew up to be a super mom herself.She calls me daddy to this day and her kids know me as grandpa. The younger you start a relationship with a child the better. You'll do fine.Just be her friend, LISTEN. Be like a mom, Watch. Have fun like a kid.

I adopted my wife's daughter at age 3 (she's 15 now), and my wife and I have an 8-year-old son together, so I've seen both the biological and adoptive sides of this puzzle.<br />
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I won't lie -- the connection with a bio child is stronger, in a way you can't really appreciate until you have one. That being said, children are treasures, and giving your heart, effort and, most of all, consistency to a child is one of the most soul-satisfying things you can do. It won't always be pretty and will often feel thankless, but you and she will be better people for your efforts.<br />
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My specific advice, if you intend to make a lifetime commitment to this girl (and she deserves nothing less):<br />
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1) As you see from other posts, much of the challenge arises from still having the other parent in the picture. For everyone's sake, if this situation is truly neglectful and the baby-mommy is behind bars, please see a family law attorney and do whatever it takes to terminate her rights and then adopt the child. Thereafter, terminate all contact with the bio mother. This will set the stage for a home defined by you and your husband, and give consistency and comfort to the child. Seriously, do what it takes to make this happen -- do away with all the 'step' nonsense and take her as YOUR child.<br />
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2) Enroll your husband in these steps. He probably bears some guilt regarding the child's situation, and may overcompensate by indulging the child in ways that will eventually hurt her and you. You must decide the kind of home you want, establish a plan for achieving it, and then act TOGETHER in all things. It's of critical importance that the child see a unified front between dad and you, the new mom.<br />
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3) Take your husband's last name, if you haven't already, or change his name to yours, or come up with one together. Then adopt the child and give her this last name also. It sounds small, but kids benefit tremendously by feeling they're part of the clan, and a common name is one of the deepest ways to bond.<br />
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4) Imagine the tone of the home you'd like to have -- gentle, respectful, polite. Model these behaviors for her, between you and her, and between you and your husband. Children need to have a certain amount of leeway to experiment, but when a rule of common civility is violated, STOP what you're doing and address it -- if the child fails to say 'thank you' or 'please', don't continue whatever you're focused on -- STOP and correct it gently but firmly RIGHT THEN. A little extra investment on your part in a baseline of being polite and gentle to one another will yield great dividends in the peace and sanctity of your home later on, especially with a child who surely bears baggage from a neglectful mother.<br />
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5) Most important: Love is what you DO, not what you FEEL. You will have days where you don't FEEL loving toward her -- perform loving ACTIONS for her anyway. Make her lunch, read her stories, play with her, take her places. Do so kindly and gently (you can fake this when you don't FEEL loving -- pack her lunch gently, even if you feel like hurling the stuff into the lunchbox). Act loving, and the feelings will come in time -- I promise.<br />
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Best of luck to you ...

Don't try to be a mother, or excercize disciplinary attitudes that are a mother's prerogative. You are basically a good friend who can offer advise and be a good listening post. Your role will be fulfilled without becoming an adversary as a caring friend. It is not your responsibility to do the child rearing.