16 answers

Step-Daughter - Mother Issues

My Step-Daughter lives with us, after my husband went through a messy custody case around 3 years ago. We were married at the time as this was his second time to go back to court regarding custody. My Step-Daughters mother has major issues, and never puts her daughter first, she is one of those mothers that expect her daughter to be a part of her life, but she is not a part of her daughters life. Her mother has set visitaion, however does not have a DL and can not pick up my Step-Daughter. Her mother has also moved 2 hours away. Over the past year she saw her daughter 8 times for 2 hours each time. She calls once to twice a month. No set schedule or time. We are now getting to the point where my Step-Daughter will not pick up her phone call, and then her mother wants to find out how she is via text messages through me. My Step-Daughter has also asked for us not to share this information with her. My question is how much to we continue to push this relationship... Do we continue to make her talk to her mother? Do we continue to ask her mother why she is not calling often, or when she plans to come and see her next. My husband and I feel like we have another child we are making sure they are doing what they are susposed to. (My Step-Daugher is now 11)

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

So I have read all the comments, and I feel as a Mother, a daughter and then a Step-Mother I owe my Step-Daughter one more change to try and save this relationship. I dont want her growing up and regretting anything! I texted her mom, let her know this would be the last time I try and help out. Gave her ideas to make a day and a time to call her daughter and stick with it - dont wait 2 to 3 weeks then call and say your phone was not working. Ask questions about her daughters life when she talks to her - be interested in what she has to say. Tell her if you are coming to see her - come and see her dont call the day before saying you are sick. I told her it is up to her to find a way to rebuild the relationship and get her Daughters trust again.

On my Step-Daughters side, my husband and I sat with her told her to think about what relationship she wants from her mom. Does she want her to come and visit every 2 weeks, month, when, how often does she want to call. And let her mom know. We told her whatever relationship she wanted with her mom she just has to be honest and open about it with her. We asked he if she texted what she would want us to say, and she just said tell her I am good. So we will do that. We have suggest for her to talk with the school counselor, and if she likes that we will get other advice for her. She is very open with us, so we will will start from there.

Because of the text to her mom and the talk with my Step-Daughter she decided to pick up the phone today and talk to her. She did not want to tell he any of the things we had discussed, however he mom did say she would call her every Sunday, and my Step-Daughter said she will probably pick up, however my Step-Daughter did say she felt like her mom was not listening to what she had to say, she would start a new topic when my Step-Daughter was still talking. We will see how this goes, but as I said before, this will be my last effort, and I will let things play out from now on.

Featured Answers

I think it is reasonable to reply to her mom as to how she is. Don't share too much but answer her questions. I think you should have a scheduled time that mom can call and talk to her daughter...she should accept the call but can make it as short or as long as she likes.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

This might not be a popular answer, but I say let your SD set the tone. If she doesn't want to talk to her mother, she shouldn't have to. Obviously she feels her mother's lack of attention and caring. Just be supportive to your daughters needs and requests. If mother txts you pass it to your hubs to deal with she's his ex not yours.

4 moms found this helpful

Let me give you a real life testimony. My parents divorce when I was around two. In the divorce they had joint custody because my Dad knew that I needed to have my mother in my life eventhough they were both young (at the time my Mom was 19) soon after my Dad went back to court for full custody for a simular reason. My Dad allowed me to form my own opinion of my Mom growing up. Dont push the subject. Allow her to make her own decision about spending time with her Mom. She is fully aware of what is going on. Be honest to a point, age apropriate, when she asks why Mom will not spend time with her. The great thing about your senario is she has two caring people to lean on. Just be there for her. I will be rough but she know whats going on and she will apreciate you for being there. As for the text messages I would let her know that maybe she should give her daughter a call and ask how she is, if she doesnt answer, you cannot make her.

4 moms found this helpful

She is 11, she can see the lack of her mothers attention. I would respect her wishes, I would text the mother back and let her know she is ok, and maybe not interested in talking so she knows it is her daughters choise not yours as in not letting her talk to her. Good look, these are hard moments as I have been there......

4 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't push it. I think it's admirable that you want her to have a relationship with her mom, but you can't be an enabler. In fact, I would say at this point it becomes almost inappropriate for you to manage the mom. (not that you are doing anything wrong..... just the mom is, by what you've said) but it puts the responsiblity on YOU instead of on the MOM where it should be.

So, here is my advice.

When the mom calls, the SD returns her phone call. Take the emotion out of it. when someone (anyone.... the neighbor, a friend, the dentist's office) calls the polite mannerly thing to do is return the call. Her mother is no different.

I think texting is a GREAT solution. But not you and the mom. your SD and her mom. My daughter "talks" to her dad WAY MORE now b'cause she has a phone (she is 10 and has had one since she was 8 to communicate with her dad, who lives out of state). You could get her a phone with text and then just tell her it's for texting her mom only (then see how she does). She can answer alot of "fine" to her moms questions if she doesn't want to give too much info.

Good Luck!

2 moms found this helpful

11 years old, has issues with mom. I would suggest that the kid at least set a time aside once a week to call her mom or at least try to and talk to her, I would explain to the step kid not to expect anything and that atleast she is keeping in touch because who knows where she will be 10 years from now. Seriously if something happens to that mom who is obviously not careful that child will have guilt for the rest of her life that she didnt try with her mom. Don't get yourself in the middle. This step kid will be come a teenager one day.

2 moms found this helpful

E.,

Get the court to set time and date when Mom is to speak with daughter. There is no need for Mom to be texting or call you. This should be through Dad or a third party mediator. You step-daughter most likely feels abandoned by her mother (this is very sad and hurtful to all concerned, but mostly to the child). Your role is to be wife to your husband and to be kind, supportive and stable to your step-daughter. If you love her, let her know (they know anyway), but also let her know that it is not your intention to TRY to take the place of her mother (even if you are a better role model...which it sounds as if you are.

The child's mother either has never learned to drive or for some reason lost her priveledges to to drive (I suspect the latter, but would not mind if I am wrong)....In any case, if she sincerely wishes to see her daughter and be a part of her life on a regular basis, it is her obligation to step up to the plate and given the history you describe, I would not make it easy for her. She needs to earn the right and show she intends to be a good and present mother.

If she doesn't better now then let the child continue to suffer.

It is so sad when adults make bad life decisions that affect innocent children.

Thank you for being a good role model for this child.....Blessings....

2 moms found this helpful

I would say don't push it. if it were to go back to court I believe in most states she is of an age that the judge would ask you SD opinion and see what she wants in regards to visitation.

2 moms found this helpful

I don't know what the law is in a situation like this, but as long as you are not actively DIS-couraging her, I would not push her, and I would follow her wishes in regards to giving her mother information. Her mother has to take responsibility for her actions. Ask your SD what she wants. If SD really understands the kind of person her bio-mom is and doesn't want to have much of a relationship with her, that's ok. She has YOU. If you can, have a good family therapist help her with dealing with this, because it is a very tough place to be - I've been there cause my bio-mother is a selfish twit. It's very hard to come to terms with, but having someone who is already there to take over that "bio" mother role will help a lot.

Biology does NOT make a parent - if the bio-mom isn't doing the hard work, she's just an egg donor.

2 moms found this helpful

My oldest two (13 & 12) are technically my step-children. Their biological mother has visitation every other weekend and two weeks during the summer. She hasn't seen the kids in 7 1/2 years. I used to do the same thing. I would relay her texts or emails (where she just asked me how they were doing and didn't ask to talk to them). I would try to encourage her to call more, or see them. I finally just quit. It was too much drama and I was tired of babysitting her while trying to raise my children.

The kids are happy and healthy and don't miss her. If they do have a question about her, hubby and we answer them the best we can. She's at the age where she can begin to decide who she wants in her life and who she doesn't. Sit her down and ask her if she wants you to tell her mom how she's doing when she texts. If she says yes, then tell her mother how she's going and nothing else. It's not your job to convince her to have a relationship with her daughter.

On the other hand if your step-daughter says she doesn't want her mother to know about her, then quit answering her texts. Trust me, they'll stop soon enough and you won't have to deal with her.

*hugs*

2 moms found this helpful

I have 14 year old son whose father has never been very involved with him. I spent years trying to faciilitate a relationship between the two of them until a very wise therapist told me to stop. I let both my Ex and my son know that I was not going to arrange "play date" with them anymore and that the burden of the relationship had to fall on the father. Yeah, so he dropped the ball. My son has really no interest anymore when father makes an attempt at contact - too many years of dissapointment and a maturity to realize that his father will just never be a Dad.

Your Step-daughter's reaction to her Mom's behavior is normal. You just need to make sure that you have open, honest communication with your step-daughter about how she feels and let her express those feelings - which it sounds like you are - Kudos to you!

I would say tho', go ahead and text the bio-mom back when she messages and asks how her daughter is doing. No matter how uninvolved she is she still is the girl's mother. You don't need to go into detail - just "Oh, Mary is doing great. She is such a joy." and leave it at that. Let your Stepdaughter know that you are going to do that but assure her that you are not going to text out the details of her life.

2 moms found this helpful

See how strongly your step daughter feels. Does she feel strongly enough to write a letter to the court and/or her mom? If your daughter is not totally set against it, 1 scheduled phone call per month seems reasonable (I'd try and get the mom to stick to some kind of pattern or schedule). In my experience visitation can be disruptive at times. My experience was as a case manager for children in foster care so most of the parents had substantial problems. It can be disruptive to have scheduled visits and the parent cancels or is a no show frequently. If you are seeing her getting upset, sad, angry, misbehaving, having trouble concentrating at school right before or after a visit (or cancelled viisit) make a note of it someplace. A notebook with observations on her behavior and dates will be helpful if your husband wants to go back to court to revisit this issue. If the situation isn't that serious can your husband or another family member try talking to her about how important it is to kids to be consistent with visits?

1 mom found this helpful

This is a tough situation but I feel like your first job is to support your step daughter in her decision. This is a situation that is not in your control and is really on her biological mother to nurish the relationship. I would get her in some therapy as soon as possible so that she can explore why it is that she is cutting her mother out of her life. Sounds to me like she is protecting herself from the disappointment that comes from a parent you can't count on.

1 mom found this helpful

You sound like an awesome step-mom, great job!!!! I would get her into counceling now. She needs to talk about her feelings, I am sure she has a lot of them and she will have a much healthier adulthood and healthier relationships later in life if she learns how to deal with these feelings and learns none of this is her fault and learns how to deal with the anger I am sure she has to have from the way her mother has always treated her. Lets face it, when there is problems later in life where does it stem from??? Our childhood!!!! I am also a step-mom and I know how hard this can be, I feel a huge responsibility to my step-daughters childhood, to make sure I can be a positive influence and to teach her to love and respect her mom always. I am sure your step daughter loves you even more for being so suportive and encouraging about her relationship with her mother. I wouldn't force her to talk to her Mom, there is years of hurt built up and she needs help with these feelings, more than you or her dad can do. Bless you and your family. I pray for the best for you all.

1 mom found this helpful

How sad for your SD! I hope she can talk about it. My children went thru something similar with their bio Dad, it's very hard on a child's self esteem, has she been to a counselor? this would be a good issue for her to talk to a therapist or counselor and get his or her advise.

1 mom found this helpful

I think it is reasonable to reply to her mom as to how she is. Don't share too much but answer her questions. I think you should have a scheduled time that mom can call and talk to her daughter...she should accept the call but can make it as short or as long as she likes.

1 mom found this helpful

Your poor step-daughter has probably had her feelings hurt more than enough times by her mom and is probably trying to avoid having that happen again. Not talking to mom keeps mom from making promises she won't keep and let's face it, if she hasn't talked to her for a long time, she has gotten over the hurt of mom not calling. Then, when she calls once, the old hurt returns because it will be a long time before she calls again. If I were you, I would not even mention the relationship and I would definitely not do anything to push it. I would definitely support your step daughter if SHE chooses to call mom and try to make an arrangement to see her, but I wouldn't suggest it or push it. When mom does hurt her feelings, all I would say is "I'm sorry that happened to you" but never say anything bad about her mom. If you have to say something, say something along the lines of your mom does the best she can and loves you the best way she knows how. At age 11, your step daughter has already come to some personal decisions and realizations about her mom; no need for anyone to say anything.

1 mom found this helpful

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.