I’m always gushing about how much I love the Blended and Black Facebook Support Group. Today a concerned Stepmom posted a question and a gentleman, Ron Blake (who is a Stepson and now a Stepdad), was able to give her and many other women some priceless advice. -Naja Hall, Founder
STEPMOM: Why is it SO hard for some blended families to be normal? My stepson is 13 and he lives with his father and I. He visits his mother on weekends. The issue is he will not ask me for anything. He will either text his father or wait for him to come home. He refuses to eat in the kitchen with me and he only engages with me when he wants something. I’d like to know why he refuses to let me in.
STEPSON: Simple answer: Because blended isn’t normal, but that’s ok. I was this kid with my stepmom, don’t stop trying. It’s an uncomfortable situation for him trust me, but always let him know you’re there for him. Eventually, he’ll mature and appreciate you. He probably already does but doesn’t know how to show it. I’m thirty now and my stepmom is literally my best friend. But I guarantee she felt this same way when I was a young teenager. Keep your head up and don’t get too down about it. Try talking with him and Dad about your feelings. Express to him that you are there for him whenever he is ready. Beyond that, don’t be pushy. These matters are very delicate.
STEPMOM: I know most teens are in their own world but how long should I expect it to be this way?
STEPSON: I guess there’s really no timetable on when he’ll come around because everyone is different. Just remain consistent. My bonus daughter was short with me at first and I kept at it, and she’s crazy about me now. Didn’t take her long, but I told her from the beginning I would never give up on her because I was in her shoes before. So she better get used to me talking to her even if she doesn’t respond lol
STEPMOM: Does he feel a level of guilt for his desire to love you along with his inherent “need” for a more meaningful connection with his biological mother?
STEPSON: l’ll give you my example growing up. Living with my mom till I was 12, I was impoverished, (lights cut off consistently, not a lot of food most times, and my mom was gone a lot leaving just my brothers and I). My dad finally removed me, and he and my stepmom had a real House, cars, everything, I never had to want with them… But it didn’t make me happy, I used to cry because I felt I abandoned my brothers and my mom and couldn’t appreciate where I was. I envied my stepbrothers because they didn’t know the struggle and seemed to have a silver spoon in their mouths. I wouldn’t want to go out with my dad’s family, because I didn’t feel comfortable, nor did I feel like I fit in. It wasn’t my stepmoms fault, nor my dad’s… It was all in my head. I made myself feel guilty, my mom didn’t even have anything to do with my thoughts. That could be the case, you just never know, no one tried to talk to me about it as a teen, so I just dealt with those feelings internally. But in the process, I know I may have hurt my stepmom feelings a few times. It’s an adjustment and it took me into my twenties to get where I am now. But I’m just thankful my stepmom didn’t just push me away or throw her hands up.
STEPSON: I did find out later in life from my older brother my mom has a gambling problem too
STEPMOM: Is there something that your father, mother or stepmother could have done to help you sort out your feelings?
STEPSON: Techniques that would’ve worked for me would’ve been to just talk to me. My stepmom kinda let it be known that my dad was hers and I just had to fall in line. And she withdrew just as I did. So instead of talking to her or my dad (that was hers), I’d vent to my friends and family. That helped but it didn’t fix the relationship I wanted with my stepmom. Communication is big. That’s why I encourage you to keep talking to him, keep trying and don’t pull back. When I felt her pullback as a kid, I felt she didn’t care if I was there or not as long as she had my dad. And that’s what we don’t want our bonus children thinking, they aren’t wanted
STEPMOM: What do I do in the meantime?
STEPSON: All you can do it continue to be a pleasant person in your stepson’s life. Always show him love because he will be looking for you to do the opposite and he will use that as an excuse to remain distant. Even if he never comes around, don’t give him the chance to say, “Well she didn’t care about me either”. He should get older and say, well she’s always been there for me. And I’ve been a jerk… It’ll click. You may never see the end result, but trust me, life happens and he will be able to refer back to the grace you showed him despite his actions.