Disengaging advice needed – stepkids plus mutual kids

Omamma had this to say about this morning’s Disengaging post:

Wondering who has a yours, mine, and ours blend and how disengagement worked for that situation…

I am facing the beginning of disengagement and have two biokids, one with DH. How do I strike a balance that is right for everyone?

As a stepmum without my own kids, I’m not exactly the oracle here.

Does anyone have advice or personal accounts to offer Omamma, and anyone else who might be wondering about disengaging in a stepfamily that includes mutual kids and/or your own kids from a previous partnership? (Often called a “complex” stepfamily.)

Did you try disengaging in your complex stepfamily? How did it go?



Filed under Stepfamily Life

6 responses to “Disengaging advice needed – stepkids plus mutual kids

  1. Wow – I didn’t realize there was an actual term for what I was doing.

    I have a lovely relationship with my SS. He is the oldest (14) and often sticks up for me when my SD (12) says she hates me.

    He backs me 100% and often times refers to me as his parent. Where my SD is completely opposite and probably resents my daughter (7) and the relationship I have with her.

    I have disengaged with my relationship with her. I refuse to change my parenting style because she can not conform.

    • omamma

      what is your time split with BM? I have my sks almost 50/50, but it has often been more like 90/10 with us being the primary. DH works 6 days per week, which leaves me with mostly sweet, and definitely loving of me SD (11), and unloving, acting out against me and his sb(7) and hs(2), (both my bio kids) SS(8). I am at my wit’s end with this boy and DH says that disengaging is “illogical” because I have to take care of SS while DH works…..What to do????

      • Hmmm. What is you husband’s sense of how HE can handle it?

        And, for that matter, how would he have organised care for your difficult stepson if he hadn’t gotten together with you?

        All very well for it to be illogical, but usually husbands don’t initially support disengaging because they have to pick up their slack once more. Much easier for it to be “your” problem.

        Is there something his Dad can do with his privileges? Could you withdraw your supervising duties and insist he go to a relative or after school care between school and his Dad getting home?

        He sounds like an angry boy. Does he need counselling?

        We (Lovely Man, Boys and me) went to see a stepfamily counsellor and she was really good. But counsellors have to be “step” focused, or at least understand step dynamics, or they may just not get it.

        Mine’s a stepmother herself, which makes all the difference.

        I don’t have any answers for you. I wish I did. But someone will, or you’ll find them yourself, I hope.

        Hang in there.

      • As it stands right now, my stepkids don’t see their Mom very often. She lives 8 hours away from us. We are still fighting for custody of them and work with the Children’s Division in their old state to work out visitation. Currently, we do not allow them to visit their BM in her home – she has a history of abuse, her current boyfriend and the father of her new baby is on probation for assualt and she is a registered sex offender. Although – the sex crime she pled guilty to was not one that would have her visits with her kids taken away. So when scheduling the visits, we often “demand” they be supervised (ie: spring break they will be seeing their Mom but at their Grandma’s house.)

        My stepkids have a lot of issues to work through as far as what their Mom did and because our lives are so drastically different, I think that helps AND hinders us. They know they are safe and cared for with us, but blame us for living better than their Mom chooses to, SD especially.

        My daughter is 7 and my SD is 12 so I’ve just made a conscience effort to apply all my extra energy to my daughter and when SD decides she wants to be a part of it, she’ll begin to behave with a little maturity and thoughtfullness.

        Sorry for my longwinded answer! :)

        Good luck to you!

  2. Oh, hey – I didn’t realise that your last comment was to Futureblackmail/Lindy. She’s great – go visit her blog and you could probably continue the conversation there. She probably hasn’t subscribed to the follow up comments to see your question.

  3. Disengaging is very tough if your hubby is not supportive. I had to do everything for stepson and if I did not do it, nobody would and then I would feel really guilty. I couldn’t go around not feeding him or clothing him…

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