Step Children

Updated on October 22, 2006
E.S. asks from Green Bay, WI
6 answers

I am a 25 year old mother of 3. 1 is mine, one is my husbands and we have one together.... I am adjusting to step parenting but it's not easy when I was a single mother of 1 for almost 5 years.... I am not sure how to handle my step daughter due to the fact that her real mother was neglectful emotionally and mentally making this child seem as if she is only 5 years old when she is really 8. My daughter is almost 7 and is better at most things than her 1 year older step sister... any ideas on how I can help with making her feel better about herself and to help her in school to get more out of her public education?? Please help... I love all of my children and want nothing but the best for all three of them!

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So What Happened?

I continue to try very hard to make her feel like one of the family and she is slowly satrting to feel better about herslelf! Thanks to all that helped... and for those that could have and didn't maybe you should be on here if you aren't going to help ppl that really need it!

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answers from Madison on

One source of great info on parenting that I have found is: Sign up for their free e-newsletter as it always presents a helpful perspective on parenting issues.

While this organization typically focuses on much more severe emotional and behavioral problems than you're describing, I think parents of every kind of kid can benefit from their philosophy. This is especially true if some of a kid's issues come from a lack of secure attachment to a primary care giver.

You sound like a very loving and concerned mom. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Your step daughter is still young and I am sure she can get up to speed quickly with your love and support. What specifically is she slower in?

As far as helping her feel better about herself, always praise her. When she does something wrong, tell her you still love her, you just don't like what she did. Sit down every night with her to help her with homework. Give her extra homework in the form of games. For example, my daughter brings home a spelling sheet every week. When my daughter and I are working on her spelling words, I take index cards and write one letter per card for each word. I give her the letters of all the words and then ask her to spell out the word on the table out of the letters she has. Or use Scabble pieces. UNO is another great game or even black jack (it makes kids count).

When you read to her, before you open the book, ask her questions about the book if it's new. Ask things like what do you think the story will be about, what time of year is it on the cover, etc. Ask questions during the book, what should he/she do, what do you think will happen, what would you do, etc. Ask after the book what was your favorite part & why, did you liek the book/not like it & why, what would you have done different, what could have been done different & then what would have happened, etc. It makes them comprehend more and pay more attention after the first time. Ask her to draw a picture from a scene in the book. This will also help for when they have book reports later on.

Good luck! If you need anything, please let me know.



answers from Green Bay on

Wow! Kudos to you for being the mom this little darling needs! It sounds like you are really trying hard to make your step-daughter feel welcomed and loved. Growing up with my mother and step-father my mother band the "step" prefex and we used pet names insted, i always fealt very special, and my friends from blended families would comment on how "cool" it was that we had no steps in our family. Other than that give yourself, and her time, with the love and support your new family has for eachother her mothers negative influence will gradually be less effective.
best of luck to you and your new family!



answers from Minneapolis on

Hi E.,

You are in a very similar situation as I am. I would like to talk to you more one on one and share with each other things that are happening. I too am married have one child of my own my husband has one of his own and we have one together. My son and his son are 3 years apart and we have both full time. I will fill you in more when I talk to you. Let me know if you want to talk more.




answers from Janesville-Beloit on

Boy, does this sound familiar! I came into my daughter's life when she was 8 yrs old. We also do not use the "step" as it is a 4-letter word. My daughter's mother has Paranoid Schitzophania (sorry for any spelling errors) and so things were not great when she was small. Actually, my daughter did not have most of the skills necessary for her age because so many people felt sorry for her and did everything for her. There were times when my son, who is 7 yrs younger than her, would help/teach my daughter how to do some things.

I happen to have a long family history of "borrowed" children and parents. My daughter and I make it 5 generations actually. All of us are 1st daughter to our fathers. So I knew what I was getting myself into in the 1st place. These families are not rare anymore but they can still be difficult, for all members!

Take some time where both you and your husband can sit down together with the 2 oldest children (I am thinking the youngest is still too young to be included yet) and then with each of them individually. The four of you should discuss what it is you all expect from each other and be blatantly honest. Warn your husband ahead of time cuz most men need a heads up otherwise they get upset when you are that honest in front of children in general. LOL!

Then give your new or "borrowed" daughter time 1st and say to all that it is in order of age at this meeting but next family meeting it would be reverse then keep to it. Tell her that NO truth is a bad truth. Make sure she understands that even if you don't like what she has to say, you still want to hear it. This sets up a nice line of communication so that when you have to say something to her she doesn't like to hear, she knows you are not "picking" on her cause she didn't come from your belly like the other 2.

Just don't make an additional issue with your birth daughter by not giving her equal time and attention in all things. Ask boths girls evenly for things to do and help you. Maybe giving them a chore a few times a week that they can do together but not by themselves will help with their bond.

Also have "Momma and me" time alone with each child. Your husband will also need his "Daddy and me" time with the children. Friday nights I spent with my son and Sautrday mornings I spent with my daughter while still leaving Sunday mornings for just plain ole "ME" time (I didn't have an issue with getting up super early before the others stirred out of bed). My husband would then have the opposite times but no official "ME" time cuz he worked outside the home and could take his after work with his friends/co-workers. It never mattered what we did during these times, we even sometimes just watched the same t.v. show while sharing a soda and popcorn on the couch together.

My daughter has called me "Mom" since she was 11 yrs old. But have always made sure she never said it in front of her mother. She called me Aunt D then. I could never inflict pain on another mother like that even tho there were many problems between them (even after she got help). Always insist, as best as you can while still making sure she is safe, that your daughter spend time/talk on the phone with her mother every week. This will tell your daughter in actions that she still has her mother but now she has an additional one that will help her along the way. Course, I am still the 1st phone call when my daughter needs advise/help at her grand ole age of 22. LOL!

I hope I haven't confused you with my phrasing of how we, in our family, refer to each other. Gosh this is hard to write - much easier to say in person. LOL!

Please feel free to send me a private message on this group if you have any questions. Since I have dealt with and have come out the other side of what you are dealing with now.



answers from Sheboygan on

i would maybe get her in some sort of therpy. it might help her to talk to someone besides you and your husband.. give her lots of postive feed.. have her help around the house.. maybe have your daughter help your step daughter.. not as to shove in her face she can do it better but as a teacher. some kids learn better from other kids.. good luck keep your head up high..

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