Letters4

Questions, pleas for advice and letters from CyberParent surfers.

Our readers ask questions about being a stepparent.Letters from CyberParent readers.

StepParents’ Letters

Step Parenting

I just found your website tonight and have enjoyed reading it. I am writingto request information or organizations with information on stepparent rights.I married my husband last summer and gained a 5 year old daughter and almost 4year old son who are wonderful and have a great relationship with me. Really!My problem is that their mother who has already been remarried and divorced inless than a year is interfering tremendously with our relationship. She doesnot allow me to call her home to speak with the children (she has physicalcustody), told my stepdaughter’s school that I cannot be involved in theteacher conferences with my husband, says I cannot make doctor, dentist, andhair appointments for my stepkids, etc, doesnt let me hug them or tell thembye after visitation, she just takes them and runs to the car like she’s goingfor a touchdown with 2 footballs in her hand. She has been a neglectfulparent to the children both physically, emotionally, financially, socially,morally, etc. We have gone to court 6 times to enforce court orders regardingour visitation and rights already granted to us by the court. We lost ourcustody hearing. So we are not interested right now in using lawyers or courtsystems to enforce our rights. I just want to know if there are any writtenlaws or written limitations on my involvement with my husbands kids. I cantbelieve that I am not allowed to call and set up an annual doctor checkup forthe kids. (Their mother does not take them to a doctor, dentist, or even gettheir haircut). I think the big problem is that she feels neglectful when wetake the responsibility to care for the children regularly, and we think sheis. I just dont want to do anything officially wrong. Can you help me?

Greetings,My husband has two children from his first marriage, a daughter, age15 and a son, age 11. He and his ex-wife have been divorced forabout six years. She has remarried also. The children live withher and have a typical visitation schedule with us – every otherweek-end and splitting holidays and the summer. We live about 50miles apart. The relationship between my husband and his ex-wifemwhile not always so rosy, is now fairly pleasant.My husband is a great father and, until recently, has had a goodrelationship with his kids. I too have had a good relationship withthem. We used to talk on the phone at least once a week, usuallymore often. Our week-ends were not Disneyland, but doing thingstogether and just hanging out.In the space of 6 months, it feels as if we are strangers with thekids. The kids no longer call us, unless they want something (liketo cancel week-end plans with us). They seem to be interested onlyin their friends and their lives at home (with their mother). Weseem to be out of sight, out of mind.We are intelligent, rational people. At their ages, we would hopethat they would want to spend time with their friends and have busy,fun lives. We are happy to hear about the fun things they aredoing.We are in a tough spot. If we call less often or cancel manyweek-ends, we go a long time without speaking to or seeing them. Onthe other hand, they seem to be not very interested in spending anytime with us.This past week-end was a three day week-end and we went to themountains. After being gone for two days, the 11 year old asked tocall his mother "just to say hi." We said of course, but had towonder (silently) how it is he can go two weeks without speaking tohis dad and not two days without speaking to his mom.Of course, my husband is very hurt by this and then I feel angrybecause I see this and the kids don’t seem to or just don’t care.Anyone else have this sort of situation?K

Answer

I think we have been in the same situation. My husband’s daughter startedthis at age 13. Later the other daughter started it, too. She was only 12 at the time shestarted dragging her heels about leaving home. At first we were both hurt. But I talked toa friend of mine who is a school counselor and she suggested that it was probably thatteen-age-peer thing. The way she explained it, most children reach an age where nothing ismore important than their peers–seeing them, talking to them, etc. She suggested we justkeep in touch as usual, or do more of it through writing, etc. and wait it out. I can’tsay it doesn’t hurt anymore but at least now we understand it is not really a personalagenda, just part of growing up.I did puzzle over the fact that the 11 year old wanted to call home. He may have wanted tosee if Mom said who called or came by looking for him.Hope this helps. Children can hurt you so much.

YK

CyberParent Recommended Reading for More Information: Introducing the StepParents’ Web StepParent Web Directory Q & A Series Blended Family Blended or Blender? New Stepparent: Now What? Stepkin: An Evolution What Is a Single Stepparent? Building Kinship Short and Long-Term Visitation Second Marriages with Children Both Are Non-Custody Parents Six Common Stepfamily Conflicts Thanks, Mike! Doggy-Blue

One Non-Custody Parent/Spouse Has Visitation Rights

Stepparents Seek Advice from Other Stepparents.

Stepfathers: A fact of life in America today.

Time-out: An Effective Discipline for Stepfamilies.

Multiple page series of letters about stepparenting from CyberParent surfers.

Genetic Engineering: What Is It and How Can It Affect My Family? Book Review: The Blended Family Sourcebook Book Review: Blending Families Book Review: The Courage to Be a Stepmom Book Review: Divorce and New Beginnings Book Review: Stepcoupling Book Review: Step Wars Book Review: Step Wise Book Review: Surviving Your Adolescents. Book Review: 1-2-3 Magic Book Review: The Combined Family Book Review: Living in a StepFamily

Note: The opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the position of CyberParent. They are not intended to take the place of advice of a health professional whose advice you might need to seek.

You might also like More from author