Belfast Telegraph

Being stepmum is more difficult than I imagined

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

I knew it was going to be hard being a stepmum but I don’t think I appreciated just how tough it was going to be.

My husband’s two teenage children come to visit us every weekend and, despite us going to huge lengths to try to entertain them with cinema trips, meals out etc, all they want to do is slouch in front of the television or play computer games.

Most of the time they are so grumpy it’s impossible to talk to them and my husband and I are permanently exhausted.

He has a round trip of 110 miles every weekend to collect and return them to their mother and is desperate for them to see this as their second home.

I know something has to change but I can’t see what or how. AN

FIONA SAYS: FIND SOME MIDDLE GROUND BY TALKING

The current arrangements aren't suiting you or your husband —more importantly, perhaps, they are clearly not suiting the children.

I suspect your husband is trying desperately to make things right for them, but has he sat down with them to find out what they really want?

Every weekend with their dad means every weekend away from their friends. Most teenagers do spend time watching television and playing computer games, but they tend to do it with their own friends, not the older generation.

If you were able to have a chat with them and find out what they want I'm sure you could find some middle ground.

It might mean not seeing them every weekend but, instead, seeing them less frequently for longer or even, perhaps, taking them out for a meal mid-week.

It might also mean they bring friends to stay with you. If your house is to be treated as their second home, then they should also be encouraged to take on their fair share of domestic chores.

The Relate Guide To Step-Families: Living Successfully With Other People's Children by Suzie Hayman offers lots of advice and support.

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