Frustrated Stepmom Asks If It's Okay To Ignore Stepkids Who Don't Want To Engage With Her

Nov 06, 2023 by apost team

Many stepfamilies have found a way to make their relationships work. The children get more siblings and parents, and they often have to start learning to bond and blend with their new family members. It gets better when both partners take the time to build a solid relationship with the other person's kids and genuine affection develops between all the parties involved. However, stepfamilies, also known as blended families, have their peculiar challenges like every other family.

As with every other instance where people have to relate with each other, there are challenges that such families may face. For one, the situation can be strange to the kids, who will perceive it as an upheaval from their usual way of life. Another challenge blended families may face occurs when one parent has difficulty adjusting to their partner's normal way of relating with their kids. Having unrealistic expectations of either the parents or the children can also threaten the peaceful coexistence of many blended families. 

Although this situation typically resolves over time once there is genuine affection between the parties involved, there are instances where the stepfamilies continue to have difficulty long after marriage, especially when the children perceive their parent's new partner — and sometimes their children too — as an interloper who is hindering their parents from getting back together. If this is not quickly managed, it can destabilize the family's unity. 

A Redditor with the username KaleidoscopeTime8596 was experiencing a similar situation and turned to the community for advice. The user, who shared her pains in 2021, asked if it was okay to ignore her stepkids, who were determined not to appreciate her efforts. Keep reading for the details.

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The original poster (OP) revealed that her husband had been divorced for four years before she met him, but her stepkids, teens aged 15 and 17, disliked her. 

"These kiddos dislike me because I'm with their dad and they feel he should either be with their mom or alone and unhappy," she disclosed

OP revealed that she tried to bond with the kids through outings and activities to no avail. She also shared examples to buttress her point. 

"They like scavenger hunts, husband invites them to come over for a scavenger hunt at the zoo and they are excited about it. He tells them I'm the one who planned it for them and suddenly they no longer have interest and scavenger hunts are boring and for losers," she revealed. 

The stepkids also threw aside the Pandora bracelets she made for them. In another instance, the 15-year-old was excited about the birthday party OP planned for and decorated along with the cake until she heard that OP was the mastermind. 

"After that she just wanted the party to end and complained how everything was awful and nothing was what she wanted," OP revealed. 

Her stepkids also told her without mincing words: "... the entire reason they hate me is because I'm with their dad and that's unforgivable to them." She continued, "That's just a few examples but I have so many others, and tbh it's hard to take." 

OP’s stepkids were rude and would refuse to talk to her. Whenever her husband spoke to them, they would "scream and cry they want to go home and they hate both of us," she added. The frustrated woman then asked if she would be in the wrong if she "disengaged" from them for her mental health.

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Redditors agreed that OP would not be the bad person even if she didn't put in so much effort again. 

"NTA Your step children aren't interested in having a relationship with you. You've tried, they're not receptive. Go about your business, be cordial but if they don't appreciate your efforts, there is no need to go all out. They live in a fantasy where they believe if it weren't for you, their parents would be together again," someone wrote

Another person commented: "I honestly think you are one of the best stepmothers I've ever seen on this sub. You've learned your stepchildren, you care about them, and you also hear their hurt and gracefully step back. If they don't see the gift they have in you, they're absolutely hopeless. And if your husband doesn't set them and his ex-wife straight, he's hopeless too."

A third Redditor assumed: "It really sounds as if their mom feeds this fantasy. My cousins and aunt were exactly the same and it created for a horrible relationship with their father and stepmom even though they got together years later too."

OP read the user's comment and confirmed that it was true. 

"NTA, you can only do so much and from someone who is in same boat, you are just dads wife. Go about your day when the kids are around. Let dad deal with them and you go have a girls day out with friends, or do things with your kids. I have decided to stop stepping up. It saves me from having anxiety attacks and grief in dealing with bs and jokes that are made at my expense. The grand kids believe my husband ex-wife who paints me as the other women. She was on her third marriage when I met my husband," another person shared. 

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What do you think of OP's dilemma? What would you do if you were in her shoes? Let us know — and pass this on to friends and family for their recommendations.

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