1. Pink-Angel-1992
    Offline

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    3

    12 year gap with a Step-mother

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Pink-Angel-1992, Mar 7, 2012.

    To start, this is nothing like Cinderella, Snow White etc with an evil step-mother - the step-mother is kind and caring! Just in case people wonder.

    One of the stories I'm currently planning (which I'm wanting to be a series), I'm planning to have a man who'll have a child; he's widowed and later will fall in love with another, 8 years younger than him. There's only 12 years between the child and her possible step-mother (don't know if I'm going to have the two marry, but I definatlly plan to have them date) - their connection and attration will have to do with the romance the two had in their past lives.

    My question is, how do you think the child would feel? The child will be about 6 years and at that age I don't think that the child would care too much, if at all, it's more when the child grows up. Should the couple be concerned about this? I'm wondering if the gap between the child and 'step-mother' maybe a little to small, so I'd really like some opinions on this!

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. CheddarCheese
    Offline

    CheddarCheese Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Messages:
    492
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Canada
    Well, that's a pretty hard question to answer, considering there aren't any six-year-olds on this forum. :p
    I'll throw in a little bit of my own thoughts, but don't take anything for granted; they're probably not accurate.

    To be honest, someone that young may not feel the range of emotions that someone like a teenager would feel. At six, they might understand that mom is gone, and dad keeps meeting up with this other lady, but beyond that, I'm not too sure.

    Once the step-mother is declared the child's "new mother" she might start complaining or objecting against this, but over time this should probably mend (especially if the step-mother is very kind). Of course, there could be extremes where the child might completely reject the step-mother. It really depends.

    Good luck!
     
  3. BFGuru
    Offline

    BFGuru Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2011
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    25
    Location:
    Somewhere in insomiaville
    My sister in law is only 13 years older than her oldest step daughter. 14 older than the younger one. It DID present issues (though they were older when they met). The girls would not listen to her. Refused to follow her rules while at their house. Constantly told her that she wasn't their mother. While she tried to affirm that she wasn't, and still cared for them, but that there were still rules while visiting their father. There were many tears on my sister in law's behalf. She truly cared for the girls and wanted a good relationship with them, but they felt it was betraying their mother (who was a drug addict and didn't care about them at the time). In the years since becoming adults, they have all grown together. Their own mother has cleaned up her act and come to grips with the fact that her ex has another spouse. The girls have learned to care for their step mom and they are now friends. They even ask her to help with the grandbabies when their own mother won't and my sister in law adores the babies. Actually, she spoils them as good as any grandmother should. :)

    This type of relationship can work. With a 6 year old, there will be concern. There may be many tears over the deceased mother and something for both child and woman to work through. There will always be rough teen years. I'm thinking of heart wrenching scenes like in "Stepmother" when Julia Robert's character and Susan Sarandon's character are talking (as Sarandon's character IS going to die). Sarandon looks at her and says "I'm not going to be there when she gets married. You are going to be with my daughter as she prepares to walk down the aisle" and Roberts looks at her and cries. "I am afraid that day all she will think is 'I want my mom'." These are the types of emotions you can work through as the six year old grows.
     
  4. Pink-Angel-1992
    Offline

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    3
    Definally is a hard one to answer; I've tried answering it myself, but I just couldn't think. I wouldn't have expected a 6 year old to anwser anyways :p. I thought that maybe someone that has a step-parent, knows some that does, or has wrote a story with a step-parent or something like that that could help.

    The idea is that the child never got the chance to know her mother, because her mother die when she was way, way to young (haven't decided on the exact age, but currently in my mind, she was murdered before the child was 1 at most). There's problems with the mother's parents, with them blaming the father. Anyways, at that age, with never having a mother in her memory, I think that she'd want to have one and be thrilled when her father started dating, because then she'd be like the other children.

    I don't know where exactly the whole thing will take me and how old the child will eventually get, but I'm thinking of this now for any complication that I may get when (or if) the child reaches the teen years, because then, I think, she may start to worry about how young her mother is and what her friend and classmates might think about it. It's too early to think about this, sure, but if I get there, I can't just decided that I'm going to make the age between them bigger. If it's like 3rd or something in the series and I've got the others published or something, then I just can't change things like that.

    Thank's for the comments so far. I'll have to have a good think about this, the facts surrounding it and the child's personality (because that will be a factor into the child's reaction I think) to figure out how the child would react and any concerns that the father would have dating another as well as about the age gaps.
     
  5. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    I don't think little kids care as much as teens would about getting a new stepparent. A teen would probably be extremely jaded and resentful of having this new family member and authority figure shoved into their life without having any control over it -- especially if the stepparent is the type to just walk in and start acting like a parent.

    With a little kid, though, they'll just grow up pretty much remembering the SP as the real parent for their whole life. So I don't think a 6-year-old would be bothered by having a stepmom, especially if she is nice.

    However, a 6-year-old kid with a 12-year difference means that the stepmom is 18. Considering that people usually (hopefully) date for at least a few years before getting married, she'd have started dating the kid's dad as a teenager. Either that, or she's impulsive and jumps into marriage right off the bat. That's probably deliberate, but you haven't mentioned anything about that aspect, so I'm just throwing these points out there just in case. ;)
     
  6. VM80
    Offline

    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,211
    Likes Received:
    43
    Location:
    UK
    Some kids may be thrilled, but I think some six-year olds could also be quite jealous.

    If she doesn't remember her real mother, and is very close to her father, someone else coming into the equation could evoke some strong feelings. Perhaps moreso than as a teenager, when kids do more of their own thing anyway.

    It depends on the child's temperament, I suppose.
     
  7. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    okay, doing the math:

    father is 26
    stepmom is 18
    child is 6

    means the father married at only 19-20?
    became a dad at 20...
    became a widower/single dad at only 21!
    has been a single parent for 5 years...

    brings up some questions you need to answer in order to answer yours to us, about the age difference:

    does he marry the kid's babysitter?
    how long do they know each other before marrying?
    why does he marry her?
    does he just want a housekeeper and mother for the child?

    why would an 18 year old girl want to marry an older guy with a kid?
    did she have any boyfriends/lovers before they married?
    were they having an affair and if so, for how long, before they married?
    was she just looking for a way out of a bad home life?
    was marrying him just an alternative to having to go to college, or get a job?
    will she have any children of her own with him?
     
  8. Pink-Angel-1992
    Offline

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    3
    The relationship is just a subplot to the main story - it's going to be a fantasy story set upon a fictional planet.

    This couple had a past life centuries ago; it was in that time that they initially met and fell in love, yet their love was short lived as they soon died. Since then the two have been re-born; when arround each other they feel a strange connection, their love still there from their prior life. They meet again when she's about 12 and he's about 20, just before the child's born. With several others, they have an adventure and keep in contact after that, but it'll be after or durring their second adventure that they get together. It'd probably be when she's about 20 when they get married, not when she's 18 years old. The reason behind their marriage would simply be love and she's fond of children, so suddenly becoming a mother won't bother her.

    She's not a babysitter and he doesn't marry her because he wants a housekeep or a mother for the child - if that one was the case, he'd probaby be better of marrying someone his own age or even someone older, because they'd be more willing to help with his child than someone around 18 I think, but that does also go down to the qualities of a person.

    She lost her family at a young age and with all the problems that her kingdom has due to the King from another, she did struggle. She got a job as soon as she could, so that she wasn't to much trouble for the societies and churches that are trying to help her and other like her as well as the kingdom. She's always saw learning important and would make sure to study, though ditched school due to bullies and having other things to do. She wouldn't marry anyone she didn't love for whatever reason (she'd rather struggle) and she wouldn't be the lover/girlfriend of someone she didn't love (and who didn't love her).

    I've never thought about her having a boyfriend/lover - would that be important? I've brifely thought about the two having children, but never decided on anything, but it's likely that they'd have at least one.

    I seem to keep changing my mind on thing for this story, but at least I'm still in the planning stage and not in the middle of writing. Things I've told you could and probably will change, especially seeing as your questions mammamaia have got me thinking of other things I could do with the story (like the babysitter :D).
     
  9. UrbanBanshee
    Offline

    UrbanBanshee Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2012
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Seattle
    As someone who has a stepmom who has been mistaken for my older sister I don't have any problems with it. I was a teenager when my Dad remarried, and out of any possible issues that crop up when someone new becomes family age is not an issue. I don't know her exact age, but she 10 years younger then my Dad, and my Dad was in his early twenties when I was born.
     
  10. Pink-Angel-1992
    Offline

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks! That's helped!
     
  11. Ettina
    Offline

    Ettina Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    20
    Fantasy setting is probably something you should've mentioned straight off, because that suggests different culture and culture makes a huge difference to this situation.

    If it's one of those fantasy medieval settings, no one would bat an eye at the age difference between father & stepmom - in fact, I believe guy in his late twenties marrying girl in her teens was normal back then. The odder thing is that he's already got a child, but it's not impossible, just a bit unusual. And remarrying would be strongly encouraged, especially since the gender roles would've made it hard for a single father to 'mother' a child. He wouldn't have the skills, for one, and most people would assume it's just plain impossible. Likely before he remarried some female relative or servant would've acted as a surrogate mother to the child.

    Of course, you don't have to copy medieval culture - you can make the culture pretty much anything you want. As long as you keep it consistent, no one will be concerned. And don't be afraid of Values Dissonance.
     
  12. Pink-Angel-1992
    Offline

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    3
    Sorry, I probaby should have mentiond more about the story and its genre. Some ideas have changed since prir postsn and some I can decided what to do -I'm worried about writing a child in a story, as I don't know how (not surrounded by little children and I haven't read books with little kids... or many, but either way, I can't recall!). I want to read some books with children characters a main part of the plot, which will hopefully help me (would anyone be able to recommend a good book with children characters... that isn't a child's story!... won't be to bother what genre).

    Anyways, my fantasy world won't be a medieval setting; I want it to be more modern with magic mixed in and there will also be different cultures. I've decided that both man and woman will be from the same kingdom (as before they weren't), but from different regions of that kingdom and have different culture - there not of the same race either; he's half human, half werewolf (are they fantasy creatures or just supernatural? Don't really know and I'm sticking with it anyways) and she's a full blooded elf.

    I probaby should have also mentioned that he's part of mercenary team and a member of a mercenary guild. Since becoming a father he hasn't taken jobs that took him away from his child or at least not for more then 3/4 days at the most. Also, he knew nothing of being a father and doesn't appear to be the type that would have a child, but his team and the guild help him out with looking after his child!

    Your right, Ettina, that cultures (and eras) will greatly affect the views of this. Thanks for the comment!
     
  13. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    I don't think the ages are that unusual. I dated men in their 20s when I was 18/19. My Dad had two children by the time he was 21 etc.

    All it would take would be something like pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, cancer or an accident. In modern society your figures add up. Or there was a story about a single dad in a YA book when I was a teen who went to court to get his son and the mother was never in the picture.

    The emotions have been pretty well covered, and I think as much as anything it depends on the personality of the little girl, is she looking for a mother, how close she is to her father etc The personality of the step-mum character. Put them together and see how they interact in your plot.
     
  14. Kestrel
    Offline

    Kestrel Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    21
    Likes Received:
    0
    In my experience, 6 is young enough to be accepting of a step-parent, especially if the birth parent is no longer alive, in which case the child may find it difficult to figure out where their loyalties should lie. At that age, they are young enough to accept an explanation and get on with their lives, without hormones and adolescent pouting making things difficult. That is my experience, at least.
     
  15. Pink-Angel-1992
    Offline

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks for the comments! I feel much more confidant about the ages I've set for these characters!
     
  16. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    I think they're good questions, but there are possible good answers. My son became a father at 18 (the mother was 16 -- legal in the UK), they had their second child when he was 19 and split up immediately afterwards. Then when he was 21 the mother was arrested for "severe neglect" of the children and they were placed with him. He could easily have been in a new relationship by then, and I could easily imagine a girl agreeing to stick with him through that. So yes, the questioner does need to work those things out, but they are credible.
     
  17. funkybassmannick
    Offline

    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    Messages:
    836
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Here is what psychological theories of child development would say about a child who is 6 years old:

    Six year olds tend to be curious and inquisitive, and are preoccupied with the notion of what it means to be a "good" child. They gain a better sense of cause and effect. Often girls of this age will become overly possessive of the father, which will continue until she can identify with the mother figure. (In your case, according to this, your character might initially feel animosity toward the new mother, but if she bonds with her and identifies with her, she will be okay)

    These are trends, which means they often occur, but they do not ALWAYS occur. Use them if they fit your characters and your story.
     
  18. Pink-Angel-1992
    Offline

    Pink-Angel-1992 Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    3
    The child will get to know the woman well before her father even starts dating the woman (at least that is the current idea),so I don't feel that the child would have hatred towards her, though maybe a bit of betray if she see the woman has her friend. My idea changes regularly, partly because I can't make my mind up most the time.

    I never though about psychological theories on this, but that's a great help, thank!
     

Share This Page