The other day I was listening to a conversation between two women. One was complaining about how difficult it is to like her stepchildren. Since my oldest, the Tween, is from my first marriage and my ex and I are both remarried, my ears perked up. As I listened, I realized with much aggravation that she was bitching about two small kids. The more she whined about how insensitive they were, how they didn't listen to her, what a pain in the ass the mother was and the ungrateful brats she was raising, the more my ears burned and I struggled to keep my opinions to myself. After all, I didn't really know either of these women.
My breaking point was when the self-involved twat waffle said she couldn't believe how little support her husband gave her, and expected her to keep making an effort to develop a relationship with two kids that obviously didn't like her. Are you fucking kidding me?! My head spun around like Linda Blair from The Exorcist, and I butted into the conversation. "I've been sitting here listening to the diarrhea flowing from your mouth for the last half hour. I'm disgusted at what I've heard. You're talking about two kids! You are the adult. You have the power over how you act and react to the kids. You have the opportunity to develop a bond to strengthen your family. And you have the power to influence what those kids think about you. Do something about the situation instead of acting like a fucking victim."
Nothing raises my fur more than hearing someone bitch and moan about their terrible stepchildren. When you marry a person who has kids from a previous relationship, you're getting a package deal. It's not like you didn't know that! The kids are never, I repeat NEVER, going away. And the younger the child, the more your attitude will shape and influence how you're perceived. So what if the ex-wife/husband is a complete asshole and you think they're turning their kid(s) against you? Pull the stick out of your ass! We're talking about children. You're the adult so act like one. Don't take your anger out on the kid. The child doesn't deserve your contempt. And the kid definitely doesn't deserve you making your spouse choose between you. If your spouse is any kind of person at all, the kid will win.
I was once really good friends with this funny, smart-ass woman we nicknamed "Red" for her short temper. While I was going through my divorce, Red was marrying a man with a 4 year old daughter. Red tolerated the little girl, who was with them about 50% of the time, but trash talked the kid even when she was in another room of the house. Since I had a small child who would one day have stepparents, Red's attitude really began to get on my nerves. She talked about her stepdaughter like she was an evil entity, like she consciously chose to piss Red off. When Red and her husband had their own daughter together, she began excluding the first daughter from everything including family pictures. She made her husband take pictures with his oldest child alone. How fucking insecure and jealous are you to treat a kid like that? What kind of monster destroys a child's developing self-esteem by treating her like she's nobody? Red and I came to words over it. I'd lost all respect for her at this point and I didn't want anything to do with her anymore. Our friendship was over. And only a few years passed before I heard from mutual friends that Red and her husband were divorcing. I can't say I was surprised.
I've been very fortunate that my own daughter didn't have to live through hell with an insecure adult who couldn't stand her. My ex-husband remarried before I did, and his wife is great. She loves the Tween and has always treated her like her own. When they had their own kids, nothing changed with how she acted toward my daughter. My ex-husband and I are divorced for a reason, but we share a beautiful girl who deserves the best of either of us and who deserves the best of what our partners have to offer. As far as we're concerned my husband and the Tween's step-mom are just as important in her life as we are. Even when we don't agree on something, we put our differences aside and present a united front to the Tween. People usually remark on how refreshing it is to see all of us sit together and talk at the Tween's sporting events and how we all four show up for parent-teacher conferences.
I realize not every situation will be as amicable as what I have with my ex. But as I said to the twat waffle earlier, be the adult! Don't be an asshole. Put your feelings aside and do what's best for the kids.