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Bra Talk: When a Stepdaughter Confides in a Stepmom ....

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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?

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57 comments so far | Post a comment now
Huh September 19, 2010, 6:22 PM

I thought she chose Stepbomb because she was thinking herself as “da bomb.” The cool stepmom who is fun and awesome.

Anonymous September 20, 2010, 7:14 AM

man, i am SO glad i don’t have these issues with my husbands ex wife. i think your husbands ex wife is just a pain in the @$$, or are all step-mom/mom relationships like this?? people need to grow up!

Anonymous September 21, 2010, 8:00 AM

Once again StepBomb takes it upon herself to over step boundaries. She has no problem emailing and calling the mother to start trouble, so why didn’t she call the mother to say “Hey, your daughter is asking about bras” or tell the father? NOPE - she wants to be the “cool friend”. Stop the act, you’re so clearly not little miss innocent.

Annie September 21, 2010, 8:12 AM

Jennifer is CLEARLY a mistress turned second wife who over steps boundaries!!

As a 6th/7th grade teacher, I can assure you, the majority of 11 or 12 year olds DO NOT need a bra. StepBomb is rushing these girls to grow up so she can have some cool new BFFs to further torment the mother.

momof2girls September 21, 2010, 10:48 AM

I am a mom, an ex-wife and a teacher, and to those of you who are SURE that a pre-teen doesn’t need a bra, I say you are wrong!!! I work in an Elementary school and believe me, there are many girls here who are wearing bra, and quite a few who obviously should be!! It has NOTHING to do with age and everything to do with development. I have two daughters and my oldest was solidly filling a bra by the 7th grade. She’s tall, blonde, skinny and busty!! I guarantee people (especially pre-teen boys) would notice if she didn’t have a bra on, no matter how big of shirt I bought her! That’s a ridiculous idea.

If the step-mom isn’t comfortable buying the bra, then maybe buy her a couple of the tanks with the built in “bra” just to help with the comfort level of the girl, and not cause a huge problem with mom.

Mom, it’s not a life altering event - go buy her a bra!! She probably has friends wearing them etc.. who cares? If she really doesn’t “need” one, then she may well quit wearing it once she discovers that they’re not all they’re cracked up to be. Or buy her the cotton “sports” bras - might be a good first step.

And Dad..step up to the plate and be a parent!! If you have a girl, it’s time to not be embarrassed about bras, tampons, etc… grow up!

Motherof4StepMomof2 September 21, 2010, 10:57 AM

Are you guys kidding me? Why do the comments always seem to take on such a childish tone? She is asking a simple question. ‘What do I do?’ And so many of you have the nerve to tell her she’s not the parent. I think she knows this! That isn’t the question. I’m a mother and a step mother and guess what bio mom (all of you), step mom IS a huge HUGE part of your child’s life. She will undoubtedly be there helping raise your child. GOOD! That this little girl could go to her and ask her for a bra since bio mom doesn’t see how the child feels about this. So what if bio mom gets mad if dad and stepmom go get the girl a bra, she was asked first and did nothing, if the child needs a bra, then by all means go get her one. What do you do StepBomb? Exactly as you are. I do not see you as trying to be the mother, I see you as someone who is trying to help another child as would a teacher or a daycare provider or a friend of mine. Parents, MOTHERS, need to grow up and stop acting like step moms are trying to take our children (I say our bc I too have a ‘step’ co parent that at first I despised) away from us, they are our children and they always will be but we couldn’t tolerate their other parent anymore so we split up and now we have other people in our childrens lives that we have to deal with. Deal with it. As long as the parents are happy, the children will be also. Get along with each other, why bicker and fight? This only makes things hard on the children. Honestly StepBomb, I think you are doing a great job! Keep up the good work.

Leah September 21, 2010, 11:44 AM

LOTS of naive moms/step moms on here. This kid is so obviously playing all the adults to get exactly what she wants. And StepBomb so wants to take-over and be “cool” she’ll do whatever this kid asks.

Let me assure you, as an elementary/junior high teacher the majority of girls are NOT developed enough at 11 or 12 to need any type of bra. The ones who want ones just want to act more grown up - that’s it, period. If the MOTHER of the child feels it’s time to get a bra, then it is. Perhaps stepbomb could stop being so entirely selfish and actually tell the FATHER of the child to communicate with the mom to see where she stands on this.

FowlerMiranda September 22, 2010, 2:54 PM

I had a desire to make my own commerce, however I did not have enough of cash to do that. Thank heaven my fellow suggested to use the business loans. So I took the secured loan and made real my dream.

Jennifer September 23, 2010, 10:42 AM

Annie- not quite. Been happily married for a long time. See what happens when you ASSume?

Just because I didn’t join the warpath to beat stepmom down doesn’t mean I’m in her shoes, it’s simply a matter of being mature enough to have some perspective. Try and get some for yourself, it’s quite enlightening.

Bio mom feels daughter is mature enough to have her own ipad and email, soooo how is the bra going to make her grow up so quickly? I’d think I’d let her have the bra and be more concerned with internet activities, but there I go being logical again.

Anonymous September 23, 2010, 10:54 AM

My five-year-old has an iPad, with the blessing of her father and I, who both work in technology. She may want a bra, too, but that doesn’t mean she NEEDS one or that I’d give my blessing for her to have one.

So that reasoning is seriously flawed.

Michelle September 23, 2010, 12:15 PM

Amen anonymous. I pretty sure Jennifer’s comments are stepbomb herself since she couldn’t possibly, truly, logically, sanely, mean what she posts…

Ms.Lariss September 23, 2010, 12:29 PM

@stepbomb-I’ve read through each and every one of your blogs a completely neutral party. The good thing is that I didn’t have any preconceived notions about you. The no so good thing is that you’ve painted a pretty bad impression of yourself to me and to many of your readers. Do you hear or rather SEE what the majority of people are saying? You are way over stepping your boundaries with LOTS of things that you do. If we combine your entire postings; many will see the common denominator & source of many of the issues is YOU playing ‘cool mom’. And where the heck IS dad in all of this? working? Golfing? Watching the game? You insist he is a great father and actively plays a role in his girls lives, but your post always happen to leave much of that to our imaginations. Is he REALLY the great, involved and helpful dad you portray him to be or do you just love him to much to think otherwise? And why is it that EVERYTHING mom does is wrong? Can this woman catch a break?? Everything you do is perfect and right and everything she does is wrong, stupid, insecure and jealous. Honestly…I think you have some major growing up to do. The mom KNOWS her place and its with her girls because yes she IS the mom. you as a step parent don’t have any control over any guild lines she sets for her girls. How about respecting and enforcing how she wishes her girls to be reared. or simply have your own children and raise them as you see fit.

Mary Green September 26, 2010, 5:37 PM

I had 2 jobs and bought my own clothes, as a teenager. No debate needed. NOT a big deal. NOT worthy of power play between adults. Geez. Be happy she wants a bra.


Anonymous September 26, 2010, 10:55 PM

This is a child the stepmother is talking about, not a teenager able to work on her own or drive a car. So the previous post doesn’t make sense.

diane October 22, 2010, 3:25 PM

playing you?! get what she wants?!

she asked for a bra, not a pony! Your stepdaughter knew she needed a bra and knew she could come to you for support (no pun intended). I think it’s wonderful that you wish to respect the mother’s right to parent, but the reality is this child lives in a blended family. She’s doing what I did in that situation - I recognized the strengths of my all of my parental figures and I targeted my needs/requests to the right person. My stepmother was wonderful with ‘life advice’ while my mom has fantastic style. Neither resented the role each played in my life.
By giving your stepdaughter confidence that she can rely on you, you’re helping her develop into the woman SHE wants to be. Imagine the alternative - what will happen when the conversations are about sex, drugs, emotional problems and she feels her mother doesn’t understand her and her stepmother won’t help her.
If you just make sure not to push the mother out intentionally, everyone will understand you’re putting the needs of the child first.

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burlingtonstep April 17, 2011, 6:17 PM

The responses that I am seeing her are insane. Assuming that the father and mother have joint custody he has just as much of a right to decide that his daughter is ready for a bra and to ensure that she gets one in a way that is comfortable for her. That’s his job as a parent to his daughter.

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