How do you 'unspoil' a child?

sierynFebruary 22, 2008

To recap; I'm a SM to SS7 and SS11, DH and I also have DSNB, DS1 and DS2 all five kids live with us full time. The problem that keeps coming up is he thinks I'm a lot more of a hard a** on the older boys and it keeps causing us to argue. I think I have a different set of expectations for them because they are older and their father spoils them silly. These boys only have 1 chore which is putting their clothes away after I fold them and put them on their bed. If I request anything else like turn off the tv before you go to sleep, bring your dishes to the kitchen when you're done with them etc.. I'm asking 'too much' and they pitch a fit. They'll complain that their brothers don't have to do this stuff, well they are still very little in my mind and don't have near the material items the older ones do. Mostly because I don't want them to grow up feeling entitled to everything, I still believe in earning rewards etc..and I worry when I see the older kids just 'expect' to get 300 dollar game systems for every birthday and go out to eat all the time and not have to do ANYTHING around the house etc..

Example of a situation: I put the babies to bed and sat down in the living room to watch a show I had recorded, SS11 comes in and opens the dvd player and puts a movie in. I ask him what he's doing and he says 'Dad said I could watch a movie' and I said well you are going to have to watch it in your room I'm already watching this. He says but I want to watch it on the big screen, I say I'm sorry not right now. So he throws it down and says just forget it then and stomps off. Now, this child has a 32 inch TV (along with everything else) in his bedroom, not exactly a small screen..I think this is a pretty good example of him behaving in an overly spoiled manner, his dad just shrugs it off. Or if I don't let him play video games ALL DAY LONG on the weekend he slams around the house and gets extremely mouthy. I just have no idea how to fix this, they appreciate nothing we get them and do not take care of their things (they have broken countless video game controllers etc) SS7 has lost TWO gameboy DS and he just gets new ones. DH will support me and get on them for their behavior and lecture responsibility but then when we are alone he will rag on me for it.

Anyway this turned into a long ramble; my original question is HOW do you unspoil a child?

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Your DH is doing these kids a huge disservice. Of course a 7 yo should have different chores than a 2 yo. And an 11 yo should have different (and more) chores than a 7 yo. You should have higher expectations of the older ones. Does your DH think the 11 yo shouldn't have to bring his plate to the kitchen until the newborn can? Ridiculous. Let me guess, a lot of the chores the kids don't do end up falling on you, not him? A 11 yo should clear his plate from the table and help load and unload the dishwasher. He should be making his own bed. Taking clothes folded on a bed and putting them in a dresser is not a "chore". They actually complain that turning off a TV is too much work. I'd yank that TV from the wall and it would sit in the garage for a week or so.

You can't do anything if you and DH aren't on the same page. IMO, it's as simple as that. The 11 yo's behavior shows he isn't just spoiled, he is self centered. You and DH have to come up with house rules and lists of chores for each child (from the 2 yo up, the 2 yo can put away his own toys after use with help, for example). And then you have to sit the kids down and explain the rules (DH should lead the conversation). And there have to be consequences to fit the "crime" so the speak. Failure to turn off the TV means no TV for X days. You can't leave the table unless you bring your plate with you. Failure to put away clothes means you have to help fold and put them away next time. Etc.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 7:00PM
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This might not help your situation, but this helped a bit for us and could spark an idea for someone...

My BF's son (age 8) would whine and complain whenever we told him to get off the computer because he'd been on it for a long time or we needed to use it. He'd say "But I'm booooooooooooored and there's nothing to dooooooooo" (which was a good point, he didn't have a lot to do) but then he'd act like a brat until BF let him back on it.
I finally had enough of that and one day when we were at the store I asked him "What would you like to do when you're not on the computer at Dad's place? Since you have very few toys there, I'll get you something today, but it has to be something that you DO, not that you just look at"
He chose a Tamagochi and it has been such a huge relief to us that he's not acting like a brat to get back on the computer anymore.

I know that didn't offer you advice there, but I hope it jogs someone's creativity for you!

PS - just to clarify, since I've been too busy for the forum lately, I love my BF's son to bits, and don't think he's a brat, I'm just saying that he knows how to act like one if he thinks it will get him his way.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 8:24PM
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I agree with Sue. You and your DH need to be on the same page.

Additionally, this isn't just spoiled. It is downright rude! SS 11 actually saw you watching tv and tried to change it? Imagine how he acts towards strangers!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2008 at 10:18PM
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How do you unspoil a child ?

Well you give him responsibilities.

You give him consequences for bad behaviour.

You give him "rewards" for good behaviour.

Have you seen that show "The supernanny" ? She gives good advice on how to deal with children such as yours. need to work as a team with your DH, so I would start talking to him. Together, come up with some rules of the house. Write them down, put them on the wall.

If you don't take control of these boys behaviour now, when they are teens, and more challenging, it will be very tough.

Remember, too, that the older boys will set the standard for the younger ones, so think about that.

The boys are not treating you with respect and neither is your DH. IMHO.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 12:29AM
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Impossible if your DH is unwilling to be on the same team!! In the end you're the one they will grow up to resent and disobey more for it. Sad isn't it!? You're the one trying to mold these children to grow up and be respectful responsible adualts and YOU'RE the one they grow up to hate. Your DH needs to shape up and see what he is doing is distructive to these children. Does he feel guilty for the situation his children are in not having the tradional nucular family and wants to allow them to do whatever to try and make up for it? Some parents have a hard time being a PARENT! They want to be their friend instead, thinking that it's better to be their buddy rather than that "horrible mean parent that makes do things like clean up after themselves". We all were kids at one time and remember thinking our parents were THE ABSOLUTE WORST people in the world. And why? Because they made be accountable for ourselves. And now here we are...We have become Our Parents!! God does have a sence of humor, doesn't he?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 2:22AM
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the first step is to not buy 32" TV for a young child. I am not a child but I do not have huge Tv in my bedroom. when children have a lot of material possessions that's when they grow up demanding more.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 10:17AM
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Well my 5 year old ss has more chores than your two sss's do! My 5 yr old vaccumed the family room today and wiped down the end tables, while my 9yr old wiped down all 3 of our bathrooms counters and toilets, and my 2 sd's swept and mopped the kitchen bathroom, and diningroom floors and brought all laundry to our laundry room. And my dh and I were able to do dishes and wipe down counters and the refridgerator and clean bathtubs and showers. Not a lot of fun, but we all do chores on the weekends to get the house cleaned. During the week they all have to keep their bedrooms clean, help clear/set the table, sometimes help make dinner, help do dishes, and straighten up the house as needed. These things are just expected in our house, we do not even give allowance.

It was funny because my skids went to stay with their bm's grandparents for a few weeks last summer so they could see their bm and their grandparents could not get over how helpful the kids were around the house :)

We never really had a problem getting them to do chores, we never really gave them an option. The only problem we ever really had was getting my skids out of the "buy me something" everytime we went to the store. Whenever their bm would see them and they would be in a store she would buy them candy or other cheap items and they would complain with me when I refused to do the same. After a bunch of times of telling them no, and a few lectures about what me and daddys money does pay for in their lives, they stopped!

I have to say we do spoil the kids at times though. For Christmas we got them a Wii to share and they each got a game for it. They did appreciate it though and thanked us continuously! And my dh and the boys wanted a PS3, so we traded in the 2 ps2's we had to go towards our ps3. But they really are good kids most of the time :) and I do not think we are ruining them because they don't just get get get all the time, they do a lot around the house to earn things.

I think there just needs to be a balance between everything. Thats good that your dh supports you in front of the kids, so they see a united front. But somehow you need to stress to him the importance of them being able to pitch in around the house.

A good friend of mine went on strike at home once. She stopped doing everything she did to make her family appreciate all she does do. Maybe you could go on strike so everyone could see how much falls on your shoulders and then get them to all pitch in!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 2:50PM
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I don't know how easy it would be to go on "strike" with a newborn but what I do is ...

When I have had it with being the "only one" who says anything to the kids about chores, picking up their stuff, putting stuff away, just I guess tired of being thought of as the "maid" ... I get "sick". You know the kind of sick where you just don't feel right, and staying in bed is the only thing that makes you feel any better.

Granted I haven't had to do this in a very long time I would say since last summer anyway... but on a select weekend I would just stay in bed get up to get stuff for myself but the rest of them were on their own. Make my own meals get my own drinks etc.

Like I said "striking" might not work with a newborn but you could try something like this. It made a bigger difference than going on strike... going on strike got hubby to do more. But making a chore chart got the kids to do more.

I made a chore chart of everthing I could think of put it on the fridge. When I completed a task I put my initials on it when they completed something they put theirs guess who had more :).... then I would reward myself for completed tasks. I had special desserts after dinner, I rented myself a movie, I got to watch what I wanted on tv that night. etc.

Soon they started pitching in and helping out to get some of the extras I was getting.

Include everything you do on the chart ....getting up on time, going to bed with out a fight, making breakfast, change diapers, put toys away, wipe counters, fixing the couch cushions, everything and anything.

Here is a link that might be useful: chore charts by age group

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 4:12PM
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You unspoil them by first tell your husband to step up to the plate and second keep standing your ground! And good for you to tell him to go watch his movie in his room. He has the option to do it but decided to ruin your time and uses his father as a reason. Yah right!
I have the same crap happening from time to time and i stand my ground and i dont have a tv anywhere else in the house. So i fight with my son as well!!! he wants movie and i'm watching my program. My son is 28 months old and i fight with him and show him to wait his turn. A 7 and 11 year old is no different. You keep standing your ground and tell your husband that if your SS get into fits than they should be punished. No one should behave like this and they should be held responsible for their actions.
Talk to your DH and tell him, the next time your SS act in a fit , you begin removing things out of their room until they learn respect in their skulls! My DH and I are the same for all the kids in our house. REspect is important , even among themselves. THis morning SD told her dad she wanted a scrambled egg..she didnt' ask, so i told her go make it yourself. I said' Hi name, well the kitchen is waiting for you. Your egg is ready to be made. ' Her response, whiney, but i want HIM to make Learn how to cook!
Plus an incident happened just before valentines day.. SD wanted weekends DH caught on quick. He said no, i dont switch weekends and i 've already made plans.
She even asked me today what we did on obviously her mom has spoken to her and of course something is bothering her. What it is...i will never find out.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 9:20AM
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Check out this website and book entitled 11 Easy Steps to Raise a Brat. He was created and the author gives advice on how to NOT create a bratty child.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2008 at 5:03PM
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Well yesterday I blew my top, SS7 left a glass in him room all night (he's not even supposed to have dishes in his room) and the cat knocked it to the floor, I went to wake him up in the morning and ended up pulling a 4 inch piece of broken glass out of my foot...

I had a long talk with DH. He has issues saying 'no' to his kids because he grew up very very poor and hates to see them 'want' for anything. I think he's starting to understand the implications of that though...This morning I posted chore lists and improved rules on the fridge. Dh has promised to 'bring the rain' so to speak if they buck it, we'll see...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 9:52AM
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I may be alone in this, but I see the bright side about your talk with DH...
In my experience, people can't change a behavior until they know why they are doing it. If DH is able to identify that he is spoiling his kids because he grew up very poor, he's probably going to be able to change that pattern. If he was sitting there saying "Durrr, I'm not spoiling my kids. What are you talking about?" you'd be fighting a losing battle by trying to get him to change his behaviors.
It might still be a long road that he needs a lot of help and support for, but at least you know where the road is!

So I say "Yippee!!"

    Bookmark   February 25, 2008 at 10:05AM
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Personally, I think they should have mandatory parenting classes during pregnancy. (I'd be all for requiring a license to be a parent, after all, you can't drive a car without taking a test). I had your DH's attitude of wanting my kids to have more than I did and overcompensated for them being in a single parent household. Fortunately, I took many courses when they were young on child development and psychology that helped a lot. Even then, it was difficult to change from how I was raised and balance things. It's a lot of work and I applaud that your DH is at least open to hearing you, instead of denying the problem. It's a great start.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:36AM
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The trouble with parenting classes is that a lot of the people who teach them think that they know the ONE TRUE WAY to parent. Like teaching, although there are some very intelligent and independent thinking psychologists, sociologists, and child development specialists, on average, these careers don't attract the cream of the crop, and many of those in these careers are conformists.

Even among famous "experts" there is a huge divergence in opinions on child raising - from Ferber's let them cry until they nearly puke philosophy to Sears' attachment parenting.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 7:48AM
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And parenting classes affiliated with a religious organization are fine if you're religious, and if you are, that's what you'll seek out anyway. But if you're not religious, you might be advised in a certain direction only to figure out later that it was not the best route for your particular situation.

Maybe the most useful parenting classes would deal mostly with the basics of early childhood, i.e. toilet training, helping you teach your kid to walk/ride a bike properly, which tasks are relevant to which ages, simple Pavlovian reward-punishment strategies such as chore charts & "time-out"; and other practical skills and information. Sounds no-brainer, but every time I go to the local "discount retail outlet" there's at least 5 parents there who could benefit from such a class!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:07AM
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btw, did not mean to imply anything about these stores or those who shop there (I do b/c I'm penny-pinching and my paycheck barely covers expenses), or anything connecting financial situation with parenting ability. Just that this happens to be where I encounter the most parents & young children!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:24AM
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theotherside, I'm just guessing that you've never taken a parenting class. I've taken a few. They are not as narrow minded or 'one way' thinking as you put it. In fact, our last class talked about many different tools that could be used. It was funny because, just like I've heard on this forum, the person giving the class said many times throughout, 'take from this what works for you'. I've heard you talk about 'attachment' parenting many time on several threads like it's the only way, which in my opinion, is your 'one true way'. and on what do you base your opinion "Like teaching, although there are some very intelligent and independent thinking psychologists, sociologists, and child development specialists, on average, these careers don't attract the cream of the crop, and many of those in these careers are conformists."?

and Serenity, a good parenting class offers all the basics and you are lucky that all you see is five parents that could use such a class when you go shopping, I see much more than that. I have a habit of listening without looking because it's interesting when you hear the words being used, the intonation in their voice and those things are sometimes more telling than what you might 'see'. The other day though, I couldn't help but notice a ragged girl (about four) with her mom (early 20's) and they were browsing the Valentines Clearance table. She was asking mommy to buy her stuff. The mom was annoyed (complaining that Valentines Day is a stupid holiday) and I didn't see it, but the little girl yells 'ow, you pulled my hair' so I turned and the mom was walking away, clearly annoyed and the little girl was running to catch up to her, crying. It just infuriates me when a parent takes out their stress or frustration on a child and those are the ones that need to have a license to have children.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:32AM
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"He has issues saying 'no' to his kids because he grew up very very poor and hates to see them 'want' for anything."

This is understandable and even admirable, but what he might be missing (or knows intellectually but doesn't "believe" in his gut) is that providing children with their every whim might not be the best way to make sure they aren't wanting. I mean, your SS has a 32-inch tv in his room but is still "wanting" so much to watch the "big" tv you're watching that he can't enjoy the one he has.

Last week one of my friends forwarded me one of those ever-present emails... if you were a girl in the 70s you remember these things... one of the "remembers" was "you had rubber boots for rainy days and moon boots for snowy days"... I had to laugh at this, I had neither. Rain boots, snow boots were both, um, plastic bread sacks (you know, the plastic bag your loaf of wonder bread comes in) worn over top of our regular shoes, secured with rubber bands. I didn't even think there was anything weird about this at the time. Now I have a pair of Gortex-lined hiking boots, I bought for $100 7 or 8 years ago, nothing tremendously extravagent in the overall scheme of things, and I LOVE these boots. Rain, snow, don't even have to walk around puddles, can splash right through (ok, sometimes I think I'm still a kid) my feet stay warm and dry. These are awesome boots. (and yes i think they're awesome boots even when i'm not using them to make a point)

I'm not suggesting that you send your kids out to play in the snow with bread sacks on their feet to teach them appreciation for a good set of waterproof boots, (they might think you've lost your mind), just pointing out that having and enjoying aren't the same, and a little bit of deprivation can go a long way toward appreciating what you do have. There's a huge middle area between growing up very very poor and having your parents give you everything you want, and as long as the kids are secure in the knowledge that there is food on the table and a roof over their heads, having a bit less (or at least working more to get what they have) might lead to their enjoying more. Does your husband want them to have more stuff or to have more enjoyment (happiness, contentment, whatever)?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:09AM
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After reading over your post a few times, the kids are aware that your DH isn't really on the same team as you. Dad may say one thing, but they know he doesn't really mean it. My SD has done the 'my dad said I could' routine with me. That whole scenario over the TV was not about watching a movie or TV. If they just wanted to watch a movie, they'd have been okay doing so in their room. The problem as I see it, lies in your husband's behavior. Not just that he isn't on the same page as you, but he is teaching them how to behave. He buys them a new toy when they are irresponsible with the first one. That teaches them that they don't have to take care of anything. My exBF & I used to do that with the kids. They'd leave their bikes out and they were stolen. He'd go get them new ones the next week so they'd have a bike. After two or three bikes each (we had four boys between the two of us), he wanted to replace them again and I finally told him (yes, I know a little late) that they are just going to get stolen again because the kids don't care, they know they'll get a new one. He was also replacing gameboy's and they didn't respect anything. They'd leave it laying around and didn't care about it.

Your step kids are still young enough to make changes, but the 11 year old may rebel a little. They like things the way they are and it's a lot harder to make changes, the older they are. When I left my BF, my older son was 12 and my younger son was 9, almost 10. I tried to make changes and of course, as a single parent, I couldn't afford to replace the things they lost, broke or didn't take care of. So, they did without. My son's are 18 & 21 now and the older one still has little respect for his personal property. I'm still dealing with the effects of the mistakes we made when they were young. My younger son does care more and takes care of his things better. Both of them are expected to pay for their own things now, but after I left my exBF, if they didn't take care of something and wanted it replaced, the rule was that they had to pay at least half. It didn't work as well as I think it should have because they used birthday money and I think if they had to 'work' to get the money to pay for their part, they might have thought of it differently. My older son is now beginning to grasp that concept since he really wants a car. I co-signed a car for him last year and it was hit in a parking lot a couple of months later. The insurance company considered it totaled (so they didn't fix it) and paid the value of the car (& took it), which was less than he owed. My son decided that since he couldn't drive it & the insurance company took it, he wasn't paying for a car he wasn't driving or had. I got stuck paying for the balance on a car I never even rode in. Now, he's griping that he has no car & has to ask for rides to work. I refuse to help him with another car. So, when he gets another car, he'd better appreciate it and take care of it because I've told him several times, I'm done helping him replace things he doesn't take care of. (and sure, I blame myself for 'teaching' him that he doesn't have to be responsible when he was a small boy)

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:38AM
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My SD was 5(almost 6) the first time I took her to the market ... I actually took all 3 I thought I can do this how hard can it be to take 3 children to the market (hahaha what a fool I am) .... Afterall I worked at a daycare center for 7+ years really how hard can it be. I always took both my kids had a couple problems but nothing I couldn't handle. Well we walked in the door they acted like they had never been in public before ....running around, screaming, twirling, knocking stuff off the shelves, etc. I couldn't understand it baffled me after the umpteenth time of me having to say please do not run away from me, stay by the cart, stop touching that, No you can't have that, etc. etc. SD ran away from me in the market again (wanted a "free" cookie from the bakery dept)... I stopped in my tracks waited and waited for her to come back to me the boys were aggrevated I was aggrevated... sick of listening to my own voice. She finally came back to us ... I took her by the hand and walked out of the store left a cart full of groceries came home dropped her off with her dad and said you will never come to the market with me if you do not learn to listen to me when we are out in public... she cried screamed flipped out etc... the boys and I got back in the car went back to the market finished our shopping.

Then a month later we all went to the market. I read them the riot act before we even get out of the car. We will leave immediately if there are any problems understand all 3 yes. They all behaved no one took off, they stayed with me the whole way, I rewarded their behavior praised them the whole way through the market. I read them the "riot act" for about a year. Now I don't even have to bother they know how to behave out and about atleast with me.

Last summer the kids went to stay with mom for a week ... hubby told her we will provide groceries for the week I called mom to ask if she wanted to come with me to the market with the kids so she could get what she wanted to cook/make for meals. Mom's response "I'm not ready to go in public with them yet!!!!!" I said you're kidding right? no she says they don't know how to behave at a store they always take off on me and give me a hard time.

Another time with SS7, I came over with my son, future hubby said we are all going out to dinner ... SS7 wanted his friend to come with us ... at the time we only had my 5 passenger car(hubby's car was in the shop) ... It was me, future hubby, my son 13, and his 3(6,7,&9)... 6 people we were going to crammed in one car SS7 wanted his friend to go so thats 7... for the next 30-45 minutes he flipped out about his friend coming called his mother to tell his mother how mean me and daddy were for not letting his friend go she had the nerve to ask why couldn't the friend go. After she said that, I got out of the car came in the house with my son starting making dinner for the two of us. Told hubby if you want to go out to dinner with him and take the friend go right ahead but I will not ...not after all that... dealing with that made me physically ill I remember I spent most of the night vomiting ... (should have run then!!!).... *the friend stayed right beside the car the whole time this was going on waiting for hubby to say yes I guess no clue... when I got out of the car I told the friend to go home I didn't think we were going anywhere for dinner that night.

Hubby finally (after almost an hour) got out of the car came in made him PB&J sandwich and sent him to bed. He ordered delivery for himself and the other 2. My son and I went home. I remember saying you have way more patience than I do I wouldn't have lasted 10 minutes in the car with him flipping out like that he would have been out of the car and in bed after 15 minutes... but if thats how you want to raise your children to walk all over you then who am I to say anything. You're not doing him or them any favors by catering to them like that ... what was so hard for him to understand that the child could not fit in the car there was no way for 4 children to sit in the back seat nevermind 5.

Hubby has replaced 2 xbox systems, 2 game cubes, countless controllers, dvd players, remotes, tvs, you name less than 3 years. All have been broken or lost for atleast 6 months except the TVs.... less fighting these days.... I bought a portable DVD player for the car and it came with a game controller. They can only use them in the living room... SS10 gave me grief over not being able to play it in his room ... I reminded him how many things they have broken and if and when they learn to take care of their things, they can play with my things in their room.

Hubby never said he wasn't buying/replacing any of the things anymore just hasn't bothered. It is more peaceful with out the systems no fighting over whose turn it is etc.

My DD22 kept getting speeding tickets and other tickets. I had a friend who could take care of them one phone call and all set.... so she would just get a ticket and call me and it would be taken care of.

I am at work she calls me tells me she got into an accident with the car she is ok but she got a ticket. Ok this is not happening I am tired of having to make this call I tell her I will get back to her I make the call ... an hour later my friend calls me back tells me ... your daughter didn't get a ticket in the accident her BF was driving the car he got the ticket what do you want me to do? I said if its his its his problem.... called my daughter told her I don't like being lied to and your BF is on his own for the ticket and I will not make the call again. So any more tickets you get you are on your own. She got so many in RI she can't even drive in that state for 10 years. She has only had one speeding ticket in two years. Seems she became a better driver when she learned I wouldn't take care of them anymore.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:28PM
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i don't get it how do you take care of a ticket? do you mean you pay for it, but then why to call a friend? does your friend have a connection to a police and ticket gets erased? isn't it dishonest and illegal? or i misunderstand you?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 12:52PM
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"You're not doing him or them any favors by catering to them like that ... "

Cawfe, no offense, but I found the above comment about how your future DH was dealing with his kids a little ironic after continuing on to read about your habit of making your DDs tickets "go away". I am sure you didn't really mean to teach your DD bad driving habits and more than that, that Mom would bail her out when she had legal trouble!? Looks like she finally learned her lesson. I don't mean to be judgmental, I just think that you weren't doing her any favors. Kind of reminds me of how my own stepmother looked at me sideways for breathing wrong while she bragged about her own kids getting away with murder (so to speak).

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:45PM
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No I learned I wasn't doing her any favors either.... didn't say I was perfect ... all I was doing was teaching her no respect for the law and no matter what mommy will bail you out. When I stopped catering to her she stopped needing to be catered to.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 1:53PM
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Its ok I was not offended...I did learn from my mistakes :).

My daughter as far as I know doesn't get tickets anymore.

My SS doesn't flip out if his friend can't come along.

I am not embarressed to take my SC out in public.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 2:07PM
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I don't think I have ever replaced anything my kids lost, except for mittens. I didn't realize that it was common for parents to replace stuff that was lost or stolen, unless it was something critical like glasses. It would never occur to me to spend my money to replace stuff or fix a car that had been in an accident or pay for a ticket (as far as I know, my kids have never gotten a ticket, but if they did I can't imagine them asking me to pay for it). I would definitely loan them money for textbooks, or buy them food, if they ran out of money.


You are kidding, right? One of my majors was psychology, and I have been to more parenting classes (AKA La Leche League conferences) than I can remember, not to mention having raised twice as many kids as you have. Of course I think attachment parenting is the only way to go. The point is that I don't go out and teach parenting classes.

And as to the cream of the crop comment - as an undergraduate I took a class with a lot of graduate psychology students, at a very good college - and these students were almost uniformly really bad at analysis - they even had trouble coping with concepts like standard deviation. If you look at the schools that the teachers in public school systems graduated from, you don't see Harvard and Yale and Princeton and MIT, or even much in the way of University of Statename - you see mostly Podunk State. I know there are some excellent teachers out there, and probably some excellent psychologists and child development specialists, but on the whole, the cream of the crop tends to gravitate toward more lucrative careers.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 2:53PM
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Cawfe, I am glad you say you have grown, because while you were enabling your DD, you were endangering the rest of the driving population.

What I see here is SMs seem to have one set of standards for thier bioligical children, one for the steps. Not only would I not fix a stream of tickets, but I think co-signing for a car is dangerous. Unless you put in the bank the amount of the loan, and are prepared to give it up, I think it might be a mistake. Too many women dont focus on their own retirement needs.

It seems to me that many SMs here have said, stepchildren have to buy their own cars, pay for their own college etc.

I think it is only natural to care for your own bioligical children more. I think when a SM admits that, and deals with it, everyone is better off.

And I agree TOS, when you mention to high school students going off to selective colleges, you dont find many looking to be teachers.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 7:18PM
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IT IS ONLY NATURAL TO CARE FOR YOUR OWN BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN MORE!!! There, I admit it. But who is saying the SK's have to buy their own anything, don't they have biological parents? The sooner you realize that it's not the SM's responsibility to do for the SK's the same, the better off everyone here will be. However, many of us SM's DO more for our SK's than some of their own biological parents. I know that I buy my SD's clothes and right now, I'm planning her birthday party (and paying for ALL of it). My DH would be okay with taking her out to dinner or chuck e cheese. She wants a princess party and fortunately, I can afford it and wanted to do something fun for her this year, since last year her mom caused such a scene. Her mom hasn't offered a dime nor any help in planning, yet she's already said she's going to be there with her BF, his kids and her BF's parents.(DH and her agreed to do separate parties after her last one, but like always, she invited herself through her DD and I'm not about to ruin her birthday like her mom did last year)

Are you just looking for an opening to criticize that SM's have different standards for their own kids than SK's? Well, duh!!! Do you think if you got married to someone that has kids, that you would feel exactly the same for his kids than your own? I know you wouldn't. That doesn't mean that you would be mean or unfair to them... or would you? My SD is 8. I can't say for at least another 8-10 years if I would help her get her first car. and how do you know I didn't have two or three times the amount of the car loan in the bank? You don't know my financial situation or my plans for retirement, do you?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:02PM
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Ima, if you and DH pool funds, I dont think it is that easy to say who is paying for what. But my DDs grandmothers spend money on her, and that doesnt make them her mom either. My point is -- you're not the mom.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:06PM
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we don't 'pool' funds. We have a joint account that we both put bill payment money into. I have my own personal & business accounts. He has his own personal account too.

and you are right, I'M NOT THE MOM. I'm a step mom that does more than the mom... and trust me when I say that my life would be much simpler if her mom would grow up and act like a mom to her. I do it because I love my husband and I care for and feel sorry for my SD (& the situation she is in) and I care about children in general. I guess I wouldn't have as much of a problem with her mom being so irresponsible if I had known when I got involved that she was capable of hurting her daughter this way, at least then I could have made a choice to get involved or walk away. It was dumped in my lap after she portrayed herself to be something she isn't. When are you going to admit that not all mom's are good to their children and that there are step mom's that take on the responsibility and do everything they can to make the situation better for the children?

I can admit that there are some bad step mom's out there. and there are some very good mom's out there too. Being a step mom or a bio mom doesn't automatically determine what kind of person you are. My SD's mom is a BM to SD and if she marries her BF, she'll be SM to his kids. She's not a good BM or SM. She's not a very nice person and is very selfish. She will be one of those selfish SM's that you dislike so much. She's already told the mother of her BF's kids that 'it's none of her F-ing business' what they do when they are with their dad, and she's only been his GF for five months. I can guarantee that you won't ever see her on this forum.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:54PM
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I never thought that X had to pay for our child's party if I am hosting it. If I host something, I pay. If i cannot afford to pay, I do not host. So if SM would decide that she wants to host DD's fancy birthday party, i would be expected to contribute? Why? And if you are married, why do you say you pay when it is probably both of you? Everyone finds different things important. i don't find hosting birthday parties important. If anyone else wanted to host DD's parties, they were welcome to do so. One time my parents hosted DD's party. So what?

I have to agree that no amount of money makes somebody a mom. Same here...Both sets of DD's grandparents are very involved grandparents, but it does not make them mom or dad. And I have never heard of ex-mom or ex-dad, but DD has one exSM (nice woman, DD keeps in touch and had dinner with her last week while visiting dad but stiil she is X SM even if she probably contributed to CS or maybe even college fund or maybe even hosted a party for DD lol).

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 9:55PM
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fine, I'm paying for the party out of my personal account which is separate from DH. BM was not invited, she invited herself (and her BF, his kids and BF's parents). She wasn't invited because last year, she pitched a fit and went into DH's work the morning of SD's birthday and went on a rant in front of everybody he works with over the cost of the party she planned. She hosted a bowling party and he had already agreed to pay half of a set amount, but she decided to add more without telling him and then went in there to demand he pay more than half because she was tight on money. She also demanded he buy other things besides the party and he told her he couldn't talk, he was working and she threatened to stop his time with his daughter. Then at the party, we ended up paying the majority of it, even after she had an attitude the entire time. SD was upset by her mom's attitude. After the court ruling in August, BM asked about SD's birthday parties and DH told her they would never do a joint party again. We planned her party on the day after her birthday because BM gets to have her half the day on her birthday. Instead, she calls SD and asks her about her party and invites herself. She puts DH in the position to say 'no your mom can't come' which we all know would upset her again this year and we don't want her birthday ruined again, so we will take the high road and let her come if she wants. We are now walking on eggshells hoping she doesn't cause a scene. DH wanted to call her and tell her not to come. I told him to let it go. We were actually going to invite BM's BF's ex wife because she will have her kids that day and SD wants them to be there.

My point isn't that paying for the party makes me a better mom than her, the fact that she would ruin her daughter's birthday last year and manipulate the situation to invite herself this year instead of planning her own time with SD makes her a mom that is selfish and not thinking of her daughter first. I'm sure her daughter has thought about the scene she made last year and will be nervous that her mom will do it again this year. She knows how much her mom hates me and I don't see how SD is going to feel comfortable about this at all. So, yeah it pisses me off.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 10:19PM
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Can't say that I blame you a bit Ima, I'd be seriously pissed off too. All BM is doing is manipulating SD into thinking that she cares when in all actuality, she'd plan something in her half day if she did rather than manipulating her way into coming to a party that you planned and causing more havoc. And then you're paying for the party? Oh even better for BM, she'll get to screw that up too and make SD feel like everything you do for her gets screwed up somehow and makes SD angry with you.

Been there, done that! Doing that actually! BM pays no child support, plans no birthdays, buys no clothes, pays no medical bills or dental (SD wears braces and has scoliosis and severe acne on her face and body), and thinks that taking her for taco bell, letting her boyfriend come over for sex (SD is 13), or letting her have her (BM's) cell phone for the weekend because it has text is being a mother. Wow. If it were that easy and cheap there would be no such thing as a struggling single parent (been there and done that too!)!

Girl, you have balls of solid steel. Keep your chin up. Ignore anything BM says. Seriously. Smile and act stupid and find something else to do when she tries to start sh!t. I'd even tell DH to do the same. I truly feel sorry for your SD and I am d@mned glad she's got someone like you in her life who actually cares.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:49PM
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Even if some of us don't understand what you mean about your SD's mom, remember that some of us do understand!

My opinion (if it matters) is that you're doing great!
It seems to me that you're doing all that you can do to make the situation with her mom and dad easier on your SD, while still making sure that SD doesn't feel like you're trying to outshine her mom. This is a fine line to walk (my situation is nowhere near as bad as yours, but even it's a fine line) and I respect what you do for SD and see why you're so frustrated with her mom.

Keep on keeping on!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:51PM
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I'm not the only one - Hecalls is behind you too!

    Bookmark   February 26, 2008 at 11:53PM
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Damn skippy!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 12:03AM
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(smiling) Inviting the bf's ex .... haahaha to be a fly on the wall ... hope she shows up.... good for you!!!

Its "your" party invite who ever maybe even the SD's sister and her dad and his family plus of course the grandma, maybe grandma could tell him how his daughter lives with her and she should be getting the $1200 a month .... big ole' "family" reunion!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:34AM
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Cawfe - now that's a party I want to be a fly on the wall at!!
Although I doubt it would be much fun for SD's birthday, maybe Ima could get rich by selling the party videotape to some sort of talk show! Maybe Dr Phil would like to use BM as one of his projects where people are living their lives all wrong and he tries to smarten them up?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 9:41AM
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this party does sound like a source of resentment and anger for SM, show off for BM, probably torture for everyone else and poor SD is in a middle. DH's ExGF's BF's exwife? Kidding, right? Sounds like Jerry Springer more than Dr.Phill. I would just put that money aside and save for SD's education. Every year's party from hell would probably add up to two semester of college tuition. Nobody remembers birthday parties anyways, although I wouldn't forget this kind of party....

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:12AM
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Well fine, it COULD be a source of resentment and anger (and to show off) IF I HAD INVITED BM and done so for those reasons. I didn't. I want SD to have a nice party with lots of friends from school. She had to change schools when her mom left and because of her behavior problems adjusting, she's had a harder time making new friends. It would be devastating for her to be embarrassed by her mom in front of her new friends. I was going to invite her BF's ex wife only because SD said she wanted her mom's BF's kids there and she'll have them that weekend. I wasn't doing that to annoy or torture anyone. I didn't expect BM to be there so didn't see that it would be a problem. and I was going to invite her sister but wasn't sure how to do that without inviting BM (I wouldn't mind BM's mom bringing her, since she seems nice). and I wanted to give SD a party she'll remember forever, but not for the wrong reasons. She will have a wonderful time, even if I have to chew my own tongue off or leave early.

I don't know why she'd want to be there, except to prove she has the right because 'she's the mom'. Everyone in my family and DH's family will be there (even a couple of DH's friends from work that witnessed the big scene) and all are a little upset over everything that has happened over the last year (court battle, her leaving her kids for the BF, threats & accusations of abuse). I don't think anyone will start anything with her because they aren't that immature, they all remember last year too and I don't think anyone would want to spoil SD's day. However, I can't control what BM will do and I can't control my mom, I know she has a tendency to glare at people she doesn't like. Heck, I can't control anyone else but I hope everyone behaves. My family and DH's will be asked to. My husband thinks I should still invite the BF's ex wife. I am not going to unless SD really wants her kids to come. I am not going to 'use' her to make BM angry. and ceph, I don't think even Dr. Phil could help her. He says you can't change what you don't acknowledge and she really believes she's done NOTHING wrong, everyone does her wrong.

and fine, don't you think with all the money BM is saving by not paying for her daughter's birthdays, school clothes, field trips, extra curricular activities, medical/dental/therapy, feeding her, and everything else it costs to raise a child, she should start a college fund. Don't ya think? I'm SM, you think I should put the money aside for her college?

and I didn't intend to hijack this thread with talk of a birthday party, I was disputing kkny's point about SM's vs. BM's (and pointing out that not all BM's are good, not all SM's are bad) I think it's people that are good or bad, not because of the title they have, but who they are as a person.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 10:59AM
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it is so funny reading about the birthday drama... since we just went through it ourselves. Short version: Bm called to say Dh needed to pitch in half for birthday at adventure landing (not cheap and we almost always ended up paying for most of it in the past) DH told bm several months ago couldnt afford that any more they would have to think of something else. BM caught attitude if you dont pitch in you cant come. Well, low and behold weekend she wanted to plan party is our weekend and our year to have him on bday. So, we try to talk to BM again suggesting park and other options.. BM never responds at all. So, we start to plan a bday party. BM calls a few days before party to say she will be picking him up saturday afternoon for bday.. DH says umm I dont know about that... BM says what you arent going to come to his party...Dh What party what are your plans... you said I wasnt invited... BM Oh I dont know we might go to chuckie cheese or whatever I can swing... DH says well no we have a bday party planned. Next day bm drops kids off and says to bad it is my year to have kids... Dh says no its not arguement pursues.. We double check papers and yep its our year... DH leaves message with BM it is our year we will be having the party you will not be picking him up on satureday.. if you want you can pick him up sunday afternoon (since he was having a sleepover) and you are more than welcome to come to the party. No response from BM. ((Obviously she knew what the papers said and was what.. hoping DH would back down and just say okay.. which granted he might have done if I wasnt there saying no read the papers that is not what it says don't let her push you around.)) Party day comes.. big success lot's of fun ... thankfully bm didnt show. Next day after all of that BM picks up kids and they ... go to dinner for his birthday. So, ridiculous. So much turmoil for nothing. And, on a side note... apparently in her poed state of mind... She took the kids to get their haircut (at walmart of all places) and cut sd hair short...something both dh and bm agreed not to do since dh really does not like short hair on his daughter and dh respected bm's no on the earring for the oldest son. And, since it was cut at looks like crap so does the boys haircut... it is all chopped up and now we are going to have to go and get new haircuts to fix the damage and a few weeks. I dont understand any of this nonesense sometimes

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:24AM
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Birthday party money = College tuition?? I don't think any child should be denied a birthday party on that premise. Not only that I don't think parents should be required to pay for their children's college education (from my experience you appreciate it more and put the effort in if you foot the bill yourself...but thats a different topic)

On that side note on birthday party fun - when we had SS11's bday party last weekend, BM decided she would like to keep the boys the night before (no biggie, she's doing visitation at least) and she was to bring them to his birthday party. Well we get a call at like 6 am the day of the party from SS7 "BM says you need to go get me new shoes for today because she doesn't like the ones I have and you need to bring them over here" Keep in mind this is a little boys bday, running around sports etc... I told him "Your tennis shoes are acceptable for your bothers birthday party I will see you this afternoon" so then SS11 calls right back "Mom says you need to get K__ shoes for today because he should wear dress shoes to my party" I had him put his Mom on the phone (I hate it when BM makes the kids messengers) and told her if she didn't like what he was wearing she can go to the store and purchase a pair of shoes for him but I am not driving across town and purchasing a pair of shoes for him when what he is wearing is perfectly acceptable to us. She had the gall to be angry with me... I don't get it. She doesn't pay child support, doesn't get ANYTHING for the kids and isn't even helping to pay for this party..yet I'm at fault for not complying with this request??? /sigh I suppose there are BM's here who would say I am at fault but I wouldn't even make that kind of anyone for my 3DS. I don't see how someone can think 'oh I think MY son needs X...YOU go get it'

Oh fine - on the 32 inch tv, half of the reason they have the stuff they do is because when we got married we had duplicates so rather than throw it out..DH put it in SS's room.

Quirk - I really think he just wants them to be 'happy' but I don't want him to teach them that you need 'things' to be happy. I also think another part of it is he feels bad for their mother being a wacko so he tries to overcompensate anyway he can. We're going to keep working at it..the chore lists are helping and I've instituted a universal 'I am not your maid' policy (lol). I've noticed that if I refuse to do it, and tell DH 'you want it that way YOU go do it' then all of a sudden well...they ARE old enough to bring their dishes to the kitchen, and the ARE old enough to feed the dog etc..

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:41AM
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Hey Mom_of_4 at least she got them haircuts...BM just decides to randomly shave their heads, which makes them REAL happy... -.-;;;;

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:46AM
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mom_of_4, Are you sure we aren't talking about the same woman? In the past three years, BM has 'chopped' SD's hair three times, coincidentally after they (BM & DH) have an argument over something. At the time, they were doing one week on/one week off and she couldn't wait to show him, so she'd send him a picture text of it. Since he brought it up in court last year, she hasn't done it again. How terrible when they do that to their own kids. Don't they realize that when the kids grow up, they will remember it and resent them for doing that to them? It's pitiful. (my ex actually shaved my son's head several times too. I think he did it just to piss me off but I have found that if you say nothing, it takes the wind out of their sail. When SD came with her hair chopped off, I would tell her how pretty she looks so she can't go back and tell her mom anyone was mad. If you don't play the game, it's not fun for them anymore)

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:46AM
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birthday parties should not be denied, but if birthday parties is such a source of drama and conflict due to a rocky relationship between adults that i would rather do something meaningful for a child instead of watching her frustrated.
sieryn it is not about requirement, but DD did well in school and 2-year community college isn't an option but she would never be able to pay herself for a good college.she didn't have fancy birthday parties with drama, but her education is paid.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:48AM
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yes, well the last time was shaved heads but that was due to the fact that they had lice for I don't know like six months ongoing.. and SD was complaining about her head itching last weekend... so she probably has it yet again. That has been a regular source of me being highly poed over and over again.. when I have to strip everything in my house and buy all the expensive treatments and sprays to make sure me my dd and dh dont get it too... luckily we havent yet got it. Last time DH called her to ask why this problem isnt taken care of yet she had the gaul to complain that we weren't "dirtying up" sd hair so that is why she got it again. I am sorry but the solution is not putting gunk in sd's hair on a regular but getting rid of the lice...

DH wants so badly to take his son out and get his ear pierced now... if BM can't be on the same page as him why should he be on the same page as her... but I have so far talked him out of doing that.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 11:57AM
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