Stepbomb: At this point, I can only assume that my stepdaughter values my opinion. Why else would she ask me about buying her first bra -- and not once, but two times?
The first time she came to me, I was admittedly very gun-shy about having the discussion. I was completely caught off guard. But more than that, I was worried about what would happen if her mom found out I'd even been asked about it. So I kept my answer short and simple. I suggested that she speak to her mom about it, and said that if her mom felt it was time for her to get a bra, it would be her mom who should take her on that special shopping trip.
I felt bad that I didn't give her much attention, as I know this subject is tremendously important and these are the types of conversations that are going to continually come up. And I know my stepdaughter trusts me. (We have a tight bond.) But I also respect the fact that I am not her mother and therefore must step aside in matters like this. Still, how do you explain that to a child who's looking up at you, clearly confused as to why you don't have anything to say about the subject?
The second time she brought it up was when she put on a T-shirt. She was sure that people could see that she needed a bra. And honestly, I agreed. But I didn't say that. I just told her that if it would make her feel more comfortable, she should put a tank top on underneath. And she did that. Then I asked her if she'd spoken to her mom. And she said yes, that her mom had told her that she should wait at least a year. I told her to reapproach her mother with her concerns, and then I spoke to my husband.
My husband and his daughter have a very good relationship, and she speaks openly and honestly to him about many things. But I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out why she came to me instead of him: We're both female; it was nothing more. So he followed up with her and told her that it's her body and if she feels she needs a bra, then she should have one. He suggested she talk to her mom again and said that if her mom was still against it, he would take her to buy one. And then she asked him if I would take her instead.
So my question is, what do you do when your stepdaughter wants to confide in you? When she's far too young to understand the dynamic between a stepmother and a mother? When she's just looking for guidance from people she loves and trusts? How do you handle it properly with the stepdaughter while still respecting her mother?