LDS Step/blended families?

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This topic contains 15 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Firespice 7 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #75493

    shannon_heslop

    Are there any other LDS step-parents or blended families out there? I’ve been married almost 10 years to a wonderful man with 3 awesome kids, but the ex has made it quite the wild ride. I’d love to compare notes or get ideas of how to handle things better in various situations. Experience is a great teacher and I’d love to avoid some of the errors of ignorance. I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned as well. It’s quite the refiner’s fire, but I knew I was marrying the right man after being single until I was 33. So many miracles!!!! And I have 4 more beautiful children. Life has changed drastically in the last 10 years!!! Mostly for the good. But it’s sure been hard too. And it’s not something you necessarily want to talk about with just anybody. It can be pretty negative sometimes and you don’t want people to think you are just a whiner. So it’s easier sometimes to just say everything is fine.

    #213266

    blossy

    Hi Shannon
    I was on my own with two very active boys until five months ago when my partner, who was my best friend for years, and I started dating. I know its frowned upon that we live under the same roof and that we aren’t married (its complicated) but I have had so many bonuses (or blessings if you wish to call them) since we started sharing our home.
    We were both inactive and have since gone back to church. Both of my boys were recently baptised and my oldest is now a deacon.
    My partner has stepped into the role of step-dad really well. He treats the boys as if they were his own children. (He has 4 of his own who don’t live with us). The boys are much better behaved and are growing in so many positive ways. I’ve been amazed with them both ~ it’s wonderful!! I think we’ve been lucky that the boys father hasn’t been about to discourage, bad mouth or influence us in anyway. However it is sad for the kids since they haven’t seen their father in over 5 years.
    We’re still learning a lot as we go, especially since we’re new to all this, but I see that as a good thing because we need to grow both spiritually and temporally.

    I would love to be able to share with someone who has been there and done that. Any tips for success would be welcomed.

    #213274

    shanaynay32

    I am 33 in a blended/extended family of four children. Ive been married three years and two of the children’s mom died. My oldest has a dad who is not a believer. We have our times believe me. Only thing is…….. I AM NOT mormon. I am a Jesus Freak, a believer of the Holy Bible and the Trinity. Do not let that seperate us, I can be of great support so long as we dont talk religion.:thumb:

    #214036

    caringmom

    i have a blended/extended family as well… we have had some really great time but the bad times have been really bad as well… i have two step kids who are 20 and 17…. the 17 year old has really given us a run for our money and still is…. he’s really in a bad way! but we have recently found out that one of the reasons for this is that his mother (ex-wife) has been severely bad mouthing my husband and i for years now… i did always suspect this was the case but could never prove it however, my 20 year old step daughter just recently came to us, along with some of her friends to tell us what REALLY has been going on in their mother’s home. i was shocked that their mother actually bad mouthed us to the children’s friends as well as the children… my step daughter’s close friends felt the need to support their friend as well as apologize to my husband and i for believing all the things the mother was saying…. since my stepson has been going down the wrong path, my stepdaughter and her friends have gained some wisdom about the mothers motives!!! it’s been a real struggle to the point that i thought our family was coming together, but now seems to ge falling apart… my stepson has recently re-emerged in our lives and my husband seems to have forgotten all the rules we decided we were going to instill when this happened…now i am the bad guy…. i am not willing to give up that easily though… only time will tell but i will continue to fight the evil ex-wife forces… good thing my husband and i don’t talk bad about her to the kids!!!!! it’s been a tough one!!!!

    #214115

    shannon_heslop

    Doesn’t that sound familiar. We’ve known all along the the “evil-ex” has been bad mouthing us. What a number that does on the kids!! It’s definitely hard for us, but I know it’s got to be harder and more confusing for them. My oldest step-daughter is 17 and just graduated. So we are still waiting for the day when they will begin to figure out what has been going on for the last 10 years. (There have been occasional comments and glimpses that let us know they aren’t totally blind all the time, even though it’s easier to be.) They are good kids, but we definitely have totally different ways of parenting from their Mom. It’s not so far off from where she started, but she’s chosen a very different lifestyle. So that’s been hard too. Pretty much anything goes there — no responsibility or accountability (that’s how she is about life in general), while things are structured here, but reasonable. And her problems are always someone elses fault (usually ours). So it’s no surprise when the kids follow suit. Sometimes, things are pretty good with them and then others, it’s absolutely awful. When the kids get out of control and she can’t handle them anymore or she’s not doing well, then they end up back with us. I sometimes wish they were just with us all the time, because I feel like every time they go back with her, we are doing damage control again. Teachers and councelors have agreed. I’ve finally just gotten to the point where I tell myself that I know we’ve done the best we can along the way and that someday, they will figure it out. Until then, we just choose our battles carefully and try to make sure they know we love them. Every now and then, it’s tough love, but…. it’s definitely hard.
    I think the thing I struggle with the most is the impact is has on our younger children. How do you explain to them that what their older brother and sisters are doing is not O.K. My 8 year old is starting to get to the point where he can see what’s going on more, but it’s still confusing for him. Sometimes he is just acting like they do — but it’s not O.K. And then the older ones will sometimes complain about how the younger ones act up, when it’s exactly the same kind of behavior, just at his age level.
    At the moment, I can’t complain too much. We’re in a quiet time right now and things are more peaceful. I’m grateful for that. I know there are other issues to deal with when the other birth parent isn’t around due to death or just plain neglect, but to me, it’s seems like it’s harder when the other parent is still in their lives, playing all these mind games and trying to undermine what you are trying to do to help them become contributing members of society. And even what you are trying to do with your own children in your own home.
    The thing I am most grateful for is, that even when things have been at their worst, my step-kids and my younger children really do love each other and enjoy each other. Their mother never seems to be able to destroy that (I know she’s tried). I’m glad they feel so connected. And for the most part they’ve treated me pretty well. My husband has taken the brunt of it and I just think he’s been amazing through it all. He’s not perfect, but he loves his kids and has proven time and time again that he’s willing to sacrifice a great deal for them and wants them to be happy. I think most Dads just give up after a while. I know there’s a stereotype about the dead-beat Dads and I know there are some out there. But there are plenty of dead-beat moms too — probably more and more these days. So it’s certainly not gender exclusive. Except Dad’s seem to get the bad rap more often and moms are often supported more often. I know there’s no justice through the courts. So you just do what you know is right and take the high road. No, it’s not going to help the kids to bad mouth their mom or make things harder for them.
    I’ve gone on long enough. It’s just a tough one and nobody wins in the end. I just hope the someday, they will see that we really weren’t so bad as their Mom wants them to believe and that we did help them and love them. Yes, I believe in miracles. I just don’t think it will be for a while, so I won’t hold my breath waiting for it.

    #214121

    babydawn

    So let me ask you this question all of you blended families. My father in law passed away 2 years ago. A year ago, my mother in law got remarried. She and her new husband have basically had the agreement that he was not going to get involved in raising her 15 (now 16) year old son. In some cases I think this is best because having someone trying to “replace” his father is only going to cause resentment, but then on the other hand, sometimes I wonder if that is the right route to go. She does her absolute best and her husband is a wonderful man. Her son is such a sweet kid with so much to offer, but is still very full of anger over the loss of his father and the somewhat quick remarriage of his mother. She asked me the other day if I thought her husband should get more involved, I just didn’t know the answer. I can see both sides.

    #214127

    shannon_heslop

    That’s a tough one, especially if the remarraige happened soon and with the age he is. I would say, don’t ever try to “replace” the birth parent — just start trying to build a relationship of trust with him. I think he has to be involved in raising him, but he doesn’t need to be the person to discipline. Just the one to support your mother-in-law. They should both discuss things together and be prayerful if they have a difference of opinion on how to handle something, but it should come through her. He can support her son in his activities and even makes some attempts to have some one-on-one time with him — doing something the son likes,. While he may not be receptive initially, her son will notice the effort and the interest. I can’t imagine the son not wanting the step-father to care about him. Have they seen a counselor at all? I know that can really help, especially with understanding where the boy might be coming from and how to handle it. Yea, there are definitely 2 sides to this, but the bottom line is everyone would like more people to love and appreciate them. I’ve always tried to make it clear to my step-kids that I’m just another person who loves them and cares what happens to them and wants to help them be happy in life. No, they don’t always believe me, but I still know it’s important to them. And overall, they seem to appreciate that I’m not trying to take their Mom’s place. And they do like to talk to me about things. Good luck. That’s my take on things, but tell her the best person to ask is the Lord — He know what will be the best course to take for all of them.

    #572730

    Firespice

    Hi – I married my wonderful husband almost 6 years ago. on that day I got an almost 4 year old SD. it started bad and has JUST GOTTEN WORSE!!! started bad = we had to go to the courts and order bio-mom to let my SD attend our wedding (the court order was vage at the time on when we could see her – so basically we did NOT get to see her) now SD is almost 10. SD was soo excited to get baptised from one weekend and the next weekend she says she doesnt know and hasnt changed that song since. and wont tell us what happend excpet that “mommie said Jesus doesnt want you to be baptised” mind you bio-mom does not practice any religion.

    recently bio-mom went to the courts and asked them to order US that we cant take SD to our church. (courts didnt touch that with a 10 foot pole, judge just skipped over that request and never went back.)

    And i wont even get into the morality issues wiht my SD (and bio-moms live in boyfriend)

    PLEASE support me somehow! I am soo stressed about this and NO ONE understands. Hubby is a good man, but everytime he makes more money they take more from us – the only one gettign raises is bio-mom and we have to go to the bishop for food some weeks!!!

    SOOO stressed … 8 more years left and we have our first on the way and we want to have more. also we live in So CA its sooo expensive and we cant seem to find a way to get out of the state for our family!!!! (if we did childsupport would kill us)

    Hugs
    suzie

    #577343

    shannon_heslop

    Suzie,
    Oh, do I ever understand!! I’m so sorry for what you are dealing with because it’s very stressful and hard to deal with and most people don’t have a clue of what you are going through and sometimes think you are exaggerating or over reacting.
    My husband and I have been married almost 10 years and my step kids are now almost 18, 16 and 14. It’s been a wild ride, in and out of courts, major financial difficulties, including church assistance because of child support, debts left from the ex and court costs.
    And the baptism story sounds oh, so familiar. The oldest one was just getting baptized right at the time we got married, so it wasn’t such an issue with her, but it was tough for the next one (ex has become super anti) and even harder for the youngest. That’s a real story! There are definitely limitations on what you can do. I know there have been times when their mom has been bad mouthing us so much that it doesn’t matter what we do, it’s perceived in a negative way.
    My only advise is to trust the Lord — take it to Him and He will help you through it all. Here’s an opportunity to really become more Christ-like, hard as it is. He understands all about being misunderstood, judged, having his good works perceived as bad, being under attack, not receiving justice in the courts and on and on. I think you get what I mean. Just take the high road, don’t go to court unless you feel like the Lord is telling you that is what you need to do. Don’t let the ex run your life and walk all over you — like don’t jump everytime she says jump. But don’t get into a battle over stuff. You just have to let a lot of stuff go. Counseling helped a lot or having someone to talk to. Journaling can help you sort through it and get it out and deal with it. There are definitely ups and downs but the bottom line is to show your step daughter a better way to live and make sure she knows she is loved. Example and love go a long way.
    We too have had the situation with the ex trying to get it so we can’t take the kids to church. That was an unbelievable one!! The catch is she put in the divorce decree that the kids were to be raised LDS. Of course, she claims now it was my husband. The judge upheld the agreement, but the mom has done all she can to counter anything we do with church. That’s been really hard for the kids — very confusing.
    I know I could go on and on, which is over kill, so I’d better give it rest. I’m in the Central Valley of CA — it’s very expensive here too. And we have 4 more together that we’ve added to the mix. I’m here if you ever want to talk. I just wish I would have had something like this several years ago — I think it really would have helped me through some tough times. The feeling like you are alone is really tough!! But the truth is, you really are NOT alone and He can help you through it. Hang in there!

    #577774

    Firespice

    Shannon, Thanks!
    I think the only way we GOT this far is becase of HF. Hubby converted 1 year after we were married, and it has helped him SOOO much. It just feels like the systemis against us (dads) …. bio mom is terrable and the sad thing is we dont have to exagerate (i wish we were)

    Bio-mom has been nice to us 2 times in the last month …….. first time in years (sometimes she is nice just before hse does something terrable) so we are hopeful and yet wondering what is up her sleve. I PRAY she is starting to be nice. sigh

    Last year at this time …. get this ….. she hit my husband with her car, while SD was in the car, her car door open and she was unbuckled!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we spent $1000 + on doctor bills…. and went to court. knwo what the judge siad … judge ordered bio-mom to follow all traffic laws, and when the cops showed up they wanted to arrest hubby cause bio-mom said he was going to hit her (lier) OOOOOOOOOOOOOO such a mess.

    You know I could do on … but it to depressing.

    SD is VERY excited about this new baby and so far bio-mom has not tried anything to ruin it for her. (lets hope it stays that way) I jsut dont know where she gets the energy to play these games……. I sure have enough to do with my life I wouldnt have time to do what she does.

    What i hate the most is when it gets really bad and hubby is jsut deffeated. one time there was touching issues with the live in boyfriend and we called hte cops and did everything right, and no one did anything. jsut about everyone told us we were lires. the only ting that got us through that was prayer. so frustrating.

    Not to mention the money we lost on laywers ………. sigh ……………. but we had to try.

    Do you at least live close to bio-mom??? we have an hour drive one way … and we want to raise our kids out of state. better places then Los Angles……..

    Hugs
    suzie

    #578397

    shannon_heslop

    Hey Suzie,
    Yes, this sounds so familiar. I would have to agree that the system is against dads. It seems like even when you have proof of serious stuff, they overlook it and believe the mom, even if she is just flat out lying and has no proof. It is very frustrating. I know what you mean about it just being unbelievable — you wish you WERE making this stuff up. If I hadn’t lived it, I wouldn’t believe it either. I also understand what you mean about the “lull before the storm”.
    The one thing that has helped is not to expect justice — at least for a long time. The legal system doesn’t provide it at all, so if you don’t expect it, you are not disappointed. Leave justice in the hands of the Lord — whether it’s in this life or in the next one. There are definitely natural consequences of what she’s doing that will come back to her, even if it seems now like “where’s the consequences?” The kids start figuring things out little by little and you won’t have to help a bit. It’s definitely easier for them to be in denial about what their mom does most of the time, but they aren’t dumb and they aren’t blind. At some point, they get tired of it and call her on it. From the people I’ve talked to, it really starts to hit when they are older. I know my SD has been calling her mom on stuff lately — she even came to live with us for a while (again) because things got so bad. It’s not fair, I know, but you need to be the safe, stable place where your SD can come where it’s a refuge from the garbage she lives with the rest of the time. She needs to see a better way to live. That doesn’t mean she won’t strike out at you — in fact, she probably will, because it’s safer to do it there and she’ll get frustrated with the situation. It’s very confusing for the kids. They feel like they have no control of their lives. And sometimes, that’s how you feel too. That’s what Satan wants you to think –and while there may be things you don’t have control over, you can still be in control of how you let it affect you and your family.
    The bio mom lives about 30 minutes away from us. We lived in Utah for a while when we first got married. In a way, it was a lot easier because we didn’t have to deal with the bio mom as much. In fact, when things were really nasty here, my husband was ready to move away again just to limit the interaction some. But the kids need us close, even if they don’t always see that. It can be different for everyone. I have a friend with 2 stepkids and the bio mom moved out of state with them. They don’t see them much anymore. I think part of it was the defeated thing. They quit fighting for the kids. Unfortunately the kids don’t usually see it as fighting FOR them. Things are a lot more peaceful and that has worked out well for them. So it’s that trust the Lord thing. There are definitely a lot cheaper places to live than in California. And you do need to think about your children that are coming to your home. That has been tough for me — seeing the impact and influence on them. UGH! But only you and your husband will know what is right for your family. Thank heavens for the gospel! It helps you through!
    Foster the bond between your step-daughter and your baby. There is a lot you can do to help that. Our kids all adore each other, regardless of what the bio mom has tried to do, and believe me, she has tried! It was cute the other day: my 16 year old SS came up and helped carry our 3 year old daughter into her bed and was giving her kisses as he tucked her in. No one asked him to — he just wanted to. Those kind of moments help you get through the other stuff. When is your baby due?
    Hang in there!

    #579972

    Firespice

    Shannon

    Well we know what was up her sleve……. She picked up SD last Sunday, my birthday, and said (she never says ANYTHING to us unless she is yelling at us) that she “moved today” and woudl call and give us the new address and phone number tomarrow.

    1st … i think she did that on my birthday on purpose to try and ruin it – she didnt ruin it BTW.
    2nd … why one earth she made my SD lie and not tell us about her moving 1 mile away I do not know.
    3rd … why didnt she just have it written down and hand us a piece of paper with the info on it???

    I think that was somethign stupid for her to be such a big deal, but i guess it was in her eyes. (she broke the court order too .. she is supposed to give us 30 days notice before moveing and 72 hours notice on phone number changes…. sad that we have had such a problem with that it went into the court order)

    I am due in Feb. very excited. I want to live in Northern Utah or N colorado. we love mountians and tress, and smaller comunities then here. (we live in Los Angles county … i can see the LA Harbor off my front pourch) so its not the best place to live let along raising kids. I told hubby we will move before the kids start Kindergarten. then SD will be 15 or 16 ….

    Its not jsut kids that dont see you are fighting FOR them. we get all sorts of people telling us to back off the bio-mom. even had a cop tellus that once. ( and i quote “let YO babies mama be”) SIGH.

    We have sort of given up for now. lets jsut say we are letting her do what she wants and we know that JC will have a chat with her some day. we still have fight in us for big things…. but hope we can keep that all at bay for hte next 18 years.

    we are considering going back to court to update the court order …. it has a few visitation mistackes …. those need to be corrected. bio-mom abuses them all. but we have been saying that for a year – so we shall see what hubby does.

    Thanks SOOO much for listening. I hope you are closer to finnishing this journey then I am. How old is youngest step child?

    suzie

    #580606

    shannon_heslop

    Suzie,
    Sorry to hear about your latest run in, especially on your birthday. Sounds familiar again. Things are more settled now, but in the first 5-6 years, she was moving a lot, never with notice, sometimes we didn’t get an address or phone number for weeks. Of course it was violating court order, but we just expect that anymore. We found out later at one point she and the kids were living in their car. She thinks court orders apply to us, not her. She was always threatening to take us to court… for nothing. She could be feeling more threatened too, with you being pregnant. I know it doesn’t make sense, really, but every time I was pregnant, things got harder. And it wasn’t just hormones. We’d either end up with one or all of the kids again (usually not under the most favorable circumstances) or we’d be dealing with some hairy court thing. My husband missed the birth of our 2nd one because he was in court. He brought home 3 very angry kids and picked me up at the hospital on the way home. That was such a nightmare. Just don’t expect that she’s going to be reasonable or follow the court order. Most things aren’t worth fighting for. Peace is worth a lot. But there are a few things worth standing up for. Bio-mom always involved the kids in court stuff, never telling the truth, of course, but slanting it against us. It’s not worth it. Just try to think of how confusing this is for your SD. My youngest SD is 14. And actually, things are really good right now. We had a hairy situation with my last pregnancy and to make a long story short, ended up not having the kids come for about 5 months. If it was our weekend, we would just call and invite them to do something with us, to stay connected. Total attitude change and it’s continued to soften. It really diffused wild ideas the bio-mom had been feeding them for a while. She still pulls stuff now and then, but it doesn’t seem to impact the kids so much – they just blow it off. They are very positive when they are here. My oldest step-daughter told my boys the other day if they have anything special with school or scouts, etc, to call her so she can come. She wouldn’t have done that 18 mos. ago. She talked then like she never wanted to see us again. It’s a whole new world now. There is definitely a light at the end of our tunnel. I think we’ve learned how to handle it better. My DH used to talk about going back to court over some things but we learned not to expect any justice there and that it negatively impacted the kids, so it wasn’t worth it.
    Congrats on your baby — do you know what you are having? How is your pregnancy going? Do you have any family around? I had a February baby — he was due in March, but all my kids have come early. Significantly! I’m so glad to be done with pregnancy because I had so many problems. I was on bedrest with my last one. Babies are great. I just wish I was one of those women who feels great when they are pregnant and has a cute little belly. Mine was huge! I didn’t gain much weight, but I was all tummy. Like people always thought I was going to have twins. I get twice as much amniotice fluid as is normal, so my babies have plenty of room for water aerobics. It felt like it too. Take care. There really are people out there who have experienced what you are going through and who understand. And the Lord will help you if you’ll trust Him!

    #582422

    Firespice

    Shannon!!!! Baby water arobics!!! LOL I know what you mean! heehee this little one is quite active. We had an US and the tech didnt want to call it. she said she thinks its agirl but we need another US next month to tell for sure. Hubby says… its a girl for sure.

    SD seamed pleased that it might be a girl. she has a half brother at bio-moms … so its nice to be different (although we wold love a little boy too!) i am not feeling great many days. I had terrable Morning sicknes (all day sickness) and barely got out of bed for the first 3 months. I am over the morning sickness, but have TERRABLE food aversions, smells mostly. Fried foods make me instantly sick – even driving past a fast food place makes me quezzy. and my neighbors (we live in an apartment) fry almost every meal. ICKY. Blah!

    I cant wiat for cold weather and I can close the windows (this is S Cal …. no airconditioning) oooo i love winter. I am sooo excited.

    I am soo sick of court. I never want to go again. hubby keeps saying we will go back – but he hates it even more then i do so we dont push it. bio-mom is just screwing up all on her own,and someday SD will see.

    SD had somethign wrong with ehr this weekend. jsut major misbehaving. but she is past the age I can trick her into telling us what is worng. So i just pray she will work it out.

    She turns 10 this year …. 8 more years to go! on the plus side…. when our child is ready to be basptised … SD will be 18 and may just choose to be baptised with little sis (bro). that would be VERY nice, if she doesnt chose to do it sooner.

    Good luck to you and its terrable about being in court while you are giving birth….. you would think the courts just MIGHT be understanding about THAT! sigh (i knwo they arent)

    Hugs to you!
    suzie

    #583168

    shannon_heslop

    The fried foods did it to me too. I didn’t have too much problem with morning sickness, but I had enough other stuff to make up for it. Mostly I just got queasy, but I had horrible, horrible heartburn. That definitely limited what I ate. My MIL is a gourmet cook and LOVES to cook with oil and butter. LOADS of it. During my 2nd pregnancy, we lived in their basement apartment but shared the kitchen. That was hard for me. And she was (and still is) oblivious to the fat. One time, she was cooking aebleskivers (sp?), which are Danish, kind of like donuts. Major fat. I told my husband I just couldn’t stomach it and he actual told her that (turkey!). When she asked why, he answered about the fat; her reply was “they don’t have much fat in them!” When he calculated the fat, it was like 75%! She’s just in denial. Funny now. And actually, they really are pretty good. Just not something you want to have often.
    Hope you can find out for sure what your baby is! I always liked knowing, but my husband always wanted a surprise. I told him when he started having the babies, he could do whatever he wanted to. My daughter was a little shy about revealing herself but because we had several ultrasounds to monitor other things, we did find out. Girls are fun. But boys are great too. I’ve got 3 boys and 1 girl in addition to our stepkids.
    It’s finally cooling off here and I’m loving it. It’s still gets pretty warm in the afternoons. No AC would be hard!!
    Sorry to hear about your SD misbehaving — sometimes that just happens and you don’t know why. I know it seems like when that happens, it’s usually because stuff is going on at bio moms house. It’s safer to act up in the more stable home. We don’t always find out what’s going on, but often enough to link it together. It’s hard, but don’t take it personally. A counselor told me something that really helped me a lot: if someone is striking out at you, it’s really not about you at all, but about them and what they are dealing with at the moment. When I thought about that and related it to myself, I realized it was very true. Something that wouldn’t really upset me normally, might really bother me another time because of other things that were going on, or how I was doing physically, etc. Knowing that helped me so many times when it seemed like bio mom or step kid problems arose. And don’t feel like you have to fix things for them. You can’t. Just do your best. That was one of my problems for a while. I wanted to try to make it better for the kids.
    Take care!! Have a great day!
    Shannon

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