Teen finds blended family a challenge



May 22, 2019 - 10:42 AM

Dear Carolyn: My ex-husband and I divorced when our daughter was 3. I went on to get remarried to a man who had two children from a previous marriage. We then had two kids of our own. My ex-husband is remarried but they don’t have any kids. Overall, we co-parent really well and we have equal time with our daughter.

I am happy with this arrangement, but it’s becoming more obvious my daughter is not. She is 13. Her step-siblings are 11 and 9 and her sisters are 3 and 6 months. Despite our best efforts to blend our families, for some reason she just does not click with the other kids. She isn’t mean to them and wouldn’t bully them or anything like that, but she doesn’t really interact with them much beyond family group stuff. When she is with my ex-husband, she is able to spend more time with friends because his house is closer to them and they have a far more flexible schedule. My ex is also able to buy her some very nice things.

Besides that, she just seems happier without a lot of people and the chaos in our house. On the weekends she is here, I often go looking for her and find her reading by herself in her room while her siblings all play elsewhere. She would never say this, but I think she just doesn’t like being at our house. I feel like she is visiting here and her “real life” is at my ex’s. I want her to be a part of things here, not a visitor. How can we blend our families more successfully? — Visited

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