Author Topic: Step-parent boundaries  (Read 13884 times)

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Sophia

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #120 on: August 18, 2013, 04:18:02 PM »
Just some general advice.  You might consider a tactic effectively used on toddlers.  When she pushes and pushes, take away some goodie that they already have.  For example, whining about her kids not being invited to the wedding, you respond with, "We are sick and tired of you badgering us about your kids being at the wedding.  We have said No and we will continue to say No.  If you ask ONE more time, YOU will no longer be invited to the wedding.  If you get FFIL to ask HE will no longer be invited to the wedding." 
At that point, any outcome would be a happy one.  Either they leave you alone or don't come to the wedding.  Since you know that badgering is a tactic, you need to put in some consequences each and every time. 

citadelle

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #121 on: August 18, 2013, 06:45:56 PM »
I am a stepmom to two grown boys in their 30s. I was never a mother figure to them, as their father and I married when they were both in college.

I have always seen my role with them as a "good host & a good friend", to quote Dr. Joy Browne.

One of the boys has two sons, born after my husband and I were married. It has worked out beautifully that I am "nana" to the grandchildren, and their father's mother is grandma. One reason it works so nicely, is that my own daughters call their grandmothers nana. It has worked for us very well.

artk2002

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #122 on: August 18, 2013, 08:55:26 PM »
I have four step-granddaughters and have no problem being "Art." They've got a sufficiency of grandfathers and don't need another one; I'm more like an eccentric uncle. I came late into their parent's lives and I'm certainly not a "father" to them. Our relationship is as adults, which is just fine by me. Trying to force a more intimate relationship or even just the symbols of one, would just backfire on me.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Marbles

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #123 on: August 19, 2013, 04:58:36 AM »
My goodness, OP, if FSMIL and FFIL hadn't been married for 15 years, then I'd say she was my father's most recent exwife. (When I asked for the addresses of her siblings to invite them to my wedding, she sent me photocopied pages from their church directory with 35 families' names highlighted to tell us who we should invite... on our dime. Needless to say, that didn't happen. I did end up inviting her sisters, but she told me later that she told them not to come because of how poorly I treated her. ::) )

And on the other side of my family, we have a similar naming drama with my MIL and SMIL. FIL cheated on MIL before their divorce (but not with SMIL). MIL still hates his guts 40 years later and doesn't think too highly of SMIL either. My BIL had kids before we did, so he got to tread these waters first. (whew!)

FIL is just Grandpa. SMIL is Gran, which I've come to like because it leaves off the "ma" references to mothering. At the same time, SMIL makes a bigger effort to be part of my kids' lives than my MIL ever has, so I don't begrudge her the grandparental title that she has earned by being a loving enthusiastic part of their lives. MIL is Gigi, at her preference. It's short for Grandma G., which is FIL's family name. She told me that she picked it because Grandma G__ was his family's beloved matriarch and wouldn't it rankle for him to know that now MIL was Grandma G. This gave me a lot of pause, since I don't want my kids part of MIL's feud with FIL. My DH was happy to just have her be Grandma (my mother has passed on, so there's no reason to specify which Grandma), but ultimately I decided it wasn't an issue for me. MIL never voluntarily spends time with my kids, so she isn't going to be telling them her name needling ways.

If your FI ultimately does want FSMIL to be called something else, it is entirely possible for younger cousins and older cousins to call a relative different things. I called my grandfather "Grandpa"; 5 years later, my cousin called him "Boppy". There's no confusion between us. It's just how that worked out.

Lynn2000

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #124 on: August 19, 2013, 09:56:39 AM »
Dad's wife sounds like something else! :o OP, I can see why you and your fiance want to get a head start on figuring out how to deal with her in this issue.

I get the feeling that she really wants to be called "Grandma" (as the other grandchildren do) and she's going to push for that specifically. (Pushing it on a six-hour-old baby, for goodness sake!) So if you're determined to go another route, that's going to be hard.

What about taking a reverse approach? Now, this is not to put down anyone who thinks differently, this is just a spin that might help you guys deal with the situation. "Grandma" is kind of a generic term, right? So maybe Dad's wife could be "Grandma" if that's what she really wants. And maybe a special, personalized name could be found for Fiance's mom, and your mom. They could be the ones who are Cookie or G-ma (pronounced jee-ma) or Lala or something like that. Maybe something the child chose, or something special they chose, rather than the generic label that gets applied to anyone.

Then Dad's wife doesn't make trouble (on that score, anyway) because she's gotten what she wanted. But you guys secretly know that it doesn't mean anything--it was a concession that cost you nothing. Saves you years of correcting children and trying to counteract her "propaganda" and her complaining to people that you won't let her be called grandma. Because a title like that is really what the person makes of it, you know? If somehow she turns out to be an awesome grandmother figure to your kids, great, she's "Grandma," that's fine. If she's overbearing and condescending with your kids, during the few supervised times she gets to see them, they'll naturally distance themselves from her on their own, and it'll be like, "Oh, yeah, Grandma. Hey, when are we going to see Cookie next?"
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Geekychick1984

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #125 on: August 19, 2013, 12:09:38 PM »
Also, on the calling her grandma or a form of grandma - I guess I see it as similar to a step-parent.  Do you automatically have to call your step-parent mom or dad?  Why is it any different for step-grandparents? 

Eeep!

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #126 on: August 19, 2013, 12:57:37 PM »
I just thought I would add my experience with my kids and grandparent's names. :) My ODS started calling my dad Papa at a very young age.  We were planning on calling him Grandpa but the the Papa stuck. I sometimes call my dad Papa and I think that is partly where he got it from and partly because his older cousin calls his OTHER grandpa Papa.  However, what is funny is that rather than calling his other grandpa Papa - like his cousin did - he calls him Papapa.  Hee. Guess my son feels the need to be an individual. ;)
That same nephew calls his other grandpa (so my SIL's FIL)  [Name]Papa - something that he came up with when he was little. Super cute! In fact, everyone - including my boys - refer to him as [Name]Papa. :)

Interestingly, both Grandmas are just Grandma [First Name]. :)
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." - Dr. Seuss

bloo

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Re: Step-parent boundaries
« Reply #127 on: August 19, 2013, 01:45:13 PM »
My goodness, OP, if FSMIL and FFIL hadn't been married for 15 years, then I'd say she was my father's most recent exwife. (When I asked for the addresses of her siblings to invite them to my wedding, she sent me photocopied pages from their church directory with 35 families' names highlighted to tell us who we should invite... on our dime. Needless to say, that didn't happen. I did end up inviting her sisters, but she told me later that she told them not to come because of how poorly I treated her. ::) )

The bolded reminds me of the old joke.  ;D

If FSMIL starts annoying FFIL enough, the grandkids will only know her as 'Grandpa's most recent ex-wife'.

And Lynn2000 that is definitely some excellent food for thought!
« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 01:47:40 PM by bloo »