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Smart Stepfamilies

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MH, from Virginia (submitted Nov '09)


Name: MH

Home: VA

I have been a step mom to two adult children for 2 1/2 difficult years. Prior to that, I was a happy single mom for 10 years! I spent those years of singleness bringing up my children and finding Jesus. I became very active in my church and my children's lives who are growing up to be college graduates and lovers of Jesus.

When I felt I had room in my life for a man, I started praying for one. It took two years for God to bring me my husband, whom I actually met when I was 39 at a Divorce Recovery seminar. (Strictly forbidden and against the rules of the seminar, but you can't stand in the way of God!) He is a wonderful, loving, caring, generous and kind hearted man. I knew God loved me when he brought this man into my life. I have never seen him really lose his temper and my children adore him. He has two children himself and neither lived with him.

Sounds pretty wonderful so far, right? It is definitely a marriage made in heaven. I thought having adult step children would be a snap! But I found out quickly how much drama a 20-something girl can actually bring. She lives with her mom and they both drink heavily and are in huge financial debt. We have social web site pages but can't put many pictures of our step-daughter on them because in every picture she is holding an alcoholic beverage or standing in a bar, and some of our friends are our 13 year old Sunday School children.

She has made it clear she never wanted her dad to remarry. She has made it clear that we post many pictures of MY children on our social web sites, but none of her. She constantly places terrible guilt trips on my husband for moving 50 miles away and not financially supporting her anymore. Her mother speaks badly about me and my husband and poisons her daughter toward us. (Our step-daughter tells us some of what is being said.) The list of what we have had to deal with from this one daughter goes on and is lengthy. I have prayed that God changes my heart. I have prayed for her mother. And when I feel like my heart is changing for her, she says something or does something to throw me back to square one.

She is now in serious credit card debt and is reaching out to my husband. This puts a wedge between us because I know he wants to help her financially (this is his baby girl, after all), but I believe bailing her out will only hurt her and make things worse.

I ordered the books The Smart Stepmom and The Smart Step-Family and can't wait to read them. I just feel like I keep getting knocked down and it's getting harder to get back up. I have said some harsh words about her to my husband and I know that just hurts him. My faith and trust is being shaken.

Are there good, solid solutions to the problems this girl constantly drops in our laps?

MH-- I'll be honest: there are good, solid coping strategies to the problems she adds to your life, but there are no solutions. You will find a great deal of comfort in The Smart Stepmom book, perspective on what you can change and what you can't, and practical strategies that can sometimes lead to a good deal of change in your circumstances. But nothing can change your stepdaughter or her mother. Only they can do that. Keep praying for that very thing. In the mean time, be the person God has called you to be. RLD



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