May 27, 2009,
M.R. asks from Palm Coast, FL on May 26, 2009
Stepkids Coming for Summer 1St Time Meeting New Baby
Does anyone have similar situation and how did the step-kids react to the baby. I am concerned when they 1st found out I was pregnant they were upset. Now they are excited and happy to see the new baby, but how long will that last and will they get jealous, angry and lash out at me or the baby? I hope not but I am uneasy about there visit.
The girls are 13 and 10,one turning 11 while she is here. I am just wondering if anyone has had any experiences that they would like to share so I do not make the same mistakes. Thank you.
So What Happened?™
So, yesterday they left and there was finally silence. The girls are great on a one on one basis but they fight and hit each other all the time (at least 5x's a day there is an altercation. Its so exhausting, we talk to them about how you need to be more respectful of one another and that buys us maybe 1-2 hrs before they are back at it again. They love the baby and really, really enjoyed her and I was grateful for that. I feel so bad for there mom these girls need help if the younger one says something mean or does something innapropiate the older hits her. One morning the younger one woke up with a swollen bloody lip...I was in shock they were not this bad 6 mos ago and seem to be getting worse. They are so mean to each other they talk down to one another all the time,the older one calls her sis stupid,etc. The younger one retaliates with your lazy,fat etc. Neither one of them want to empathize with the other. The oldest needs to be more understanding and tolerant and we explain that to her and she says she wishes she was the youngest. The game plan now is we had them write letters to each other and explain how they are affecting one another and how they are going to change their behavior so they can have a good relationship. Me and their dad are going to do everything in our power to turn their relationship around I just hope they do the same at home.
V.W. answers from Jacksonville on May 27, 2009
I've not "been there", but I'd like to add my 2¢ worth, after reading some of the responses. Please don't assume that your husband's daughters will be ecstatic to "help with the baby". Not all girls are so inclined. Some are, true. But NOT every one. I certainly was not. Neither is my own daughter. And I would go so far as to say that if you push the issue, they will think you view them as babysitters, not as the daughters that your husband loves who are in their dad's house. If they show an interest in the baby, great! If they don't want to become instant babysitters or "helpers", let it go. In either case, let THEM set the pace.
Spend plenty of energy being enthused that they are there to spend time with their dad, and show an effort to provide fun activities for THEM - not focused around the baby. They will already be dealing with displacement issues (dad's remarriage and NOW a new baby, too), so show them how happy you are to have time to get to know them.
It might be a good idea to talk with your husband about a list of things that you can do while they are visiting: an afternoon at the beach/pool, taking in a matinee, taking them for a manicure or shopping, a trip to the bookstore to buy a book or two, a netflix schedule of movies to watch, etc. Then, when they arrive, post the list of "ideas" somewhere where they can see you have been planning how to enjoy the time with them... and ask them which things they are most interested in doing.. then try to squeeze their favorites in at some point during their stay. That way, items that are not in the budget are not on the list, but they will not feel awkward about requesting something fun to do. If necessary, have a trusted family member/friend babysit for the afternoon so you can take them to the beach or the movie. Don't let the baby become an excuse for not doing fun things with them. Maybe they even would enjoy camping out overnight in the backyard with Dad on the weekend. You could all enjoy s'mores, etc... but when the baby is "done" for the night, you can take him inside and put him/her to bed and carry the monitor outside while the rest of you stargaze and identify the constellations. That's great family bonding and dad/daughters bonding time. You could even ask for their input on meal planning.... Write out the general meal plans (steak, chicken, pasta, etc with a separate list of side items: cole slaw, salad, mac n cheese, green beans, broccoli, etc) and ask them to glance over it to see if there is anything truly objectionable (maybe one kid absolutely can't stand squash or gets stomach upset eating something prepared a certain way) or anything they like that is missing from the lists. That leaves it up to you to figure out meals, but lets them know you are interested in making their visit enjoyable.
And make a BIG deal out of the birthday girl.... let her pick the cake, or the restaurant for dinner, etc. If your husband didn't see the other daughter on her birthday, have a birthday cake for her on another day (her 13 1/2 birthday or something). Maybe even take the girls shopping (to let them pick out the other one a birthday gift).
Again, just my 2¢. The baby is YOUR biggest event in life thus far... am I right? But it's NOT theirs. Just put yourself in their shoes by imagining you're at a party/picnic, and you are stuck talking to the person who only is interested in a subject that you couldn't care less about. How tired of being around THAT person would you be?! Don't let yourself be that person to your husband's daughters.
3 moms found this helpful
T.M. answers from Orlando on May 27, 2009
Whatever else you do to distract and entertain, please keep the lines of communication open so the girls can talk about their feelings. Feelings of jealously and hurt are normal and appropriate...afterall, this new little baby gets to live full time with their daddy, while they only get to visit him. How fair is that?
My husband and I have a toddler. We were married ten years before having him because we wanted my husband's son to grow up first, so he wouldn't have to see his dad get to raise another child on his weekend visits. (My stepson is now 18 and my son is 21 months) I know not everyone has the luxury to wait like that...but please give these girls a chance to talk about their frustrations so they can bond with the new baby without that baggage.
Also, make sure they get to do special things with their dad without you and the new baby. Forming a family bond is very important, but equally important is making sure they know their bond with the dad is unique and special.
Best of luck. One of the best pieces of advice ever given to me when I became a stepmom (and at first glance it almost seemed offensive at the time) was that my primary job was "just" to be a good hostess. These kids already have a mom and a dad. Your primary job is to make them feel welcome in their father's home and to be a good hostess. Yes, obviously as a stepmother there is more to it...but if you focus on making them feel welcome the rest will happen naturally. It's when you force the situation that things become uncomfortable and stressful.
Relax and God bless. Enjoy your little one. :)
*Edited to add*
I know everyone here has encouraged you to get the girls to help with the new baby. I caution you to let them lead on that issue. While the new baby is the center of your world right now...it's not the center of theirs, they are coming to see their dad. The new baby is just icing on the cake...but may not be what they are really focused on. Don't take it personally. It won't mean they don't like or love their sibling...it just means that they need their father and get limited time that makes it difficult to share initially. Don't push.
2 moms found this helpful
L.H. answers from Miami on May 26, 2009
not sure how old the step-kids are, but I would make a fuss about THEM- not spoiling them per se, but truly putting thought into what THEY would like to do on their visit, making sure to include lots of time with their DAD...they are older and your baby is 'only' 4 months...
so I would try to make their visit about THEM...
next: one piece of advice I got that has been SO helpful, even now with my kids being 6 & 3...
do NOT EVER 'blame' the baby...
sounds silly, but....
say "my HANDS are busy- I'll be right there!"
rather than: "I'm changing the baby, I'll be right there!"
blame other THINGS but not the baby...
2 moms found this helpful
H.P. answers from Orlando on May 27, 2009
I am a stepchild...well now an adult stepchild who went through what your stepkids are about to go through. Here is my take on it.
My sister & I were 13 & 9 when our 1/2 sister was born. BTW, we are SUPER close to my Dad & Stepmom's kids & dont consider them 1/2 siblings. We call them our sisters & brother. Anyway, I dont remember how I felt when I found out they were pregnant. But I do know that once we saw Rachael, we were sooooo excited!!! Then came the 2nd & then the 3rd. There have been times where I felt like her kids came first. And as a Mom now, I realize that it was probably pretty hard for my stepmom to make things equal. Try & remember their feelings too. They are going to want to help with the baby, let them. Of course, watch them b/c they are so young. Gosh, writing this brings back a flood of memories. Even to this day, my sister & I are NOT treated equal compared to what the younger ones get. Sometimes it's really hard, even though I am a an adult. For example, they all got brand new cars when they turned 16, we got nothing from my Dad. He paid for their college tuitions, & paid for nothing for us. But I have to put my adult hat back on & let it go. So for their sake, b/c they are innocent kids whose parents are divorced, please try to treat them fairly. And since it is one of the kids b-days while they are in town, make it special. Right now you get into Disney for free. You have to sign up online first, but maybe do something special for that child.
Sorry for writing a novel, obviously you asked a sensitive question for me.
1 mom found this helpful
C.W. answers from Miami on May 27, 2009
they will probably be very excited about the baby and want to help out. last year my then 5 year old (step)son was with us over the summer, the day after my daughter was born. it was a little hard at times, mostly for me literally being the new mom, but he was good with the baby. i wouldn't expect the anger or lashing out. but teh jealousy is normal. when i am jealous, i look at what i have that is good, and point out the same for my son. i tell him that he can walk, run and play with us, and the baby can't because she is little. sometimes it works, but eventually the idea will take hold, to be thankful for what you have.
S.J. answers from Miami on May 27, 2009
My daughter is 2 and my step daughter is 11. We always got along fine, but she was apprehensive at first at the notion of a new baby especially as she was the "only child" on both sides and she lives far away. She then grew very excited about the idea while I was still pregnant and loves her baby sister today.
I think the key is trying to maintain the same relationship and activities that you enjoyed before, so that they do not feel displaced. I assure my older daughter of how much I love her and call her "my first girl".
Trust me you will make mistakes and you can't avoid all of them. But you obviously care very much about them and that will shine through.
Rest assured all siblings have issues step or not, and they will too. But like every other parent its just about being aware and addressing the problems as they arise.
J.M. answers from Pensacola on May 27, 2009
One thing I know for sure is that girls love babies. Let them do anything they want to help with the baby. The more you let them help with, the more they will love and accept the baby.
S.W. answers from Miami on May 27, 2009
So, are they staying they entire summer? There are activities at the local library and community center. These are free.
Make a plan: have the girls make out a list of favorite foods and then go food shopping, also introducing YOUR favorites. Have a day when you cook a meal that can be stretched throughout the week:
a meatloaf that turns into sandwiches for a picnic - even if it's on the living room floor...while watching a movie.
Allow them to assist you with baby tending...and slowly allow them to have some responsibility, perhaps they can play with the baby while you take a shower (you will need it); but not right away.
As soon as they arrive, welcome them with open arms and heart, let them know that you love them and are happy that they are in your home. Don't impose chores; but announce them as your responsibility and what can you help me with? You know? Make it a fun thing that they feel they are a part of. Do they know how to load a dishwasher, take out garbage, do laundry, and of course, baby duties...Don't forget that they want to be around like-kind, so library and community center is great recreation for them, also neighborhood kids to play with.
If they are slothful (lazy) then god bless you even more. Make your own list of what you want to achieve this summer. Show this to your husband. Let him in on the plan; and get his cooperation!!!
C.L. answers from Jacksonville on May 27, 2009
I'm not in a similar situation, but after seeing the ages of the stepkids, I would say those are the perfect ages to get them involved in caring for the new baby. You can teach them how to feed, rock, change, etc. They will feel better by being involved (and feel needed) and you will get a little help during their visit!
F.R. answers from Pensacola on May 27, 2009
I have a blended family, so I can understand where you're coming from. A stepmom is a different role from mom. You can be friends, you can be welcoming, but you cannot be disciplinarian. It's a strange line to walk. Definitely keep in mind that their main reason for the visit is to spend time with their dad. If dad is able, he should schedule a couple of activities with just him and the girls. There will be lots of family time as well.
The only issue mine had when they were around the baby was trying to remember that babies need naps, etc. They were not used to having to be quiet during the day. And there were times where our family outings had to be cut short to get the baby back home for one reason or another.
I don't believe there will be any jealousy or anger issues. The girls are old enough to not need the constant attention of a younger child and old enough think of babies as cute and fun rather than annoying.
It's going to be fun for all of you. Enjoy it!
S.M. answers from Miami on May 27, 2009
Hi, M.. Well, all of the above will probably happen in some order for one or more of the stepkids. You're going to encounter a situation that will be completely unpredictable, but one thing can help ease whatever transition everyone has to make: if the adults are calm, pleasant, happy, and loving toward everyone, then the kids at least have a chance to pick up on those cues and learn to act appropriately. If you are uneasy and scared of their reactions, they will know it, and it will be like sharks smelling blood in the water. Don't let it show, and try to get rid of your anxieties before they get there.
It's probably harder on you because you are a first-time mom, already nervous about being a first-time mom, and now you have inherited a couple of older kids whom you have not raised and don't have much experience with. This is not a criticism, but it sounds like this is part of your anxiety.
Try to keep the kids engaged and active, and they will not have as much time to worry about their new step-sibling. Try to give them the normal sorts of activities they would have whenever they visit. That way, they can know for sure that they have not been replaced by the new baby. Their dad has to be involved, too, to reassure them that he loves them as much as ever, and this baby cannot change that. It should not all be on your shoulders. If you're in doubt about the baby's safety with them, do not leave the baby alone with them at any time. Neither child is old enough to babysit, anyway, as far as I'm concerned, and they shouldn't be unsupervised even under the safest circumstance.
I hope everything works out just fine, and all the sibs have a chance to be a family.
A.G. answers from Mayaguez on May 27, 2009
I hope there'll be cake and ice cream for the birthday girl. Planning something for them will make them feel welcome. Rest assured the girls will be excited once they see the baby and will want to help you with simple tasks. Just don't overdo it. Good luck and have fun.