being step mum

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    Hello Everyone

    I need some advice. I am newly married however have been with my partner for four years. He has a five year old daughter who lives two weeks with us and two weeks with her mum. This is a relatively new arrangement, only the past year. I have a good relationship with the little girl, she is most of the time very affectionate and loving with me.

    My partner and his ex have nearly no communication. She refuses to meet with him or us together. She refuses to co parent in any form. And most interactions with her end in an angry way. The little girl is starting to be affected by this as noticed by her school, us and her Auntie. However her mum says shes happy with her and the problem is only with us..when she goes to her mums she won’t talk to us and we fear the mother is saying things to the little girl about us. In fact I know this because the child has told me and her father some things that they are saying. The mother says that child doesn’t love us and doesn’t want to be with us.

    To be honest the first few days the child is with us she is difficult. Then she completely changes and is genuinely happy and even doesn’t want to leave.. The child is very confused and is suffering and I feel at a totally lose at what to do. She has asked if she can call me mum but to keep it a secret cause her mum gets angry when she talks about me..Her father and i have set some boundaries for ourselves. For example we talk about her mum often and in a positive way. We allow the child to express herself for example when she is angry, however we try to maintain some boundaries about behaviour and well basically be parents.

    Unfortunately her mother is saying things to her and manipulating the child, I believe she wants the child to reject us and live with her full time.

    WE just want whats best the child. If she would truly be happier living with the mum, if that’s what she wants then we will accept that. However we don’t want the kid to be manipulated out of our lives. The mother has always used the child against the father as a way of controlling things. we have offered to pay for the three of them to visit a family therapist but she has refused.

    i feel so helpless and I am pregnant too so am really worried about how this will affect things.

    Any advice from any parents, step parents would be greatly appreciated. It’s all very upsetting.


    Dear Laia,

    Step-parenting is hard and you have my hugs. I was in a step-mom situation ~20 years ago. And it was hard. I was so young and it was a big job. I now have 2 kids of my own, 5 & 10, that I am co-parenting with their dad. And I can share with you that kids are smart. Yes, they are affected by the grownups, but they have their own intuition too. They know who loves them. Sometimes, there’s not too much we can do, but to give love, to show love. As you said, she became genuinely happy after a few days being at your house. Love always wins, I think. She even wants to call you mom. That is so so sweet. The kid knows. Give love and have faith that things will get better. She might be affected by negativity 50% of time. But the opposite is true. She can receive positive influence from you both the other 50% of the time. She’s confused now because she is still so young. But she will get it, and soon she will be able to see things for what they really are. My love and hugs to you. Please take care of your bump too. You sound like a beautiful soul, so I know things will be great.
    “If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t, you will see obstacles.” ~ Wayne Dyer

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 4 months ago by tinybuddha.

    Dear Laia,
    My baby sister (strictly speaking only half sister) went through a similar situation when her parents divorced when she was five years old. It’s understandable that your step-daughter is difficult during the first hours of your contact. She is confused and probably doesn’t want to lose either of her parents. She may be afraid that by loving you and your partner, she may lose her mother. That’s why I think you’re doing exactly the right thing. You talk about her mother, not in a negative but in a positive way. You let her express her feelings. Give her the feeling that she is loved unconditionally. Give her the feeling that she doesn’t have to decide.

    I don’t know if there is any possibility to ask the mother for a diplomatic and peaceful conversation on how to co-parent, communicating to her that you don’t intend any harm. Maybe even with the possibility of a mediator? But probably you’ve tried that already?
    You cannot control the mother’s behaviour. You can only do your part, but you can’t change how other people behave. And it’s sad because you can see how much pain it’s causing, but you can only control your own behaviour. And by giving your step-daughter a place of love and positive communication around all parents, you are making a huge difference.

    My sister is now a teenager and though she’s struggling in some aspects, she has become a very confident, strong and resilient girl, despite all the negativity she experienced. And I’m very certain that that’s because there were people in her life who gave her unconditional love and understanding.

    Stay strong and positive and trust that you’re doing the best you can in your situation.

    Much love


    Thank you both for your kind words. I´m sitting here crying reading them. love to you both. xxx


    I’m very happy that my reply means so much to you. I feel touched by your response, thanks for your love. All the best to you x

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