Do men get left out?

myfampgJune 24, 2011

I have been reading off and on 'other' sites-- won't mention names they are mostly scary BMs are rotten, awful, scum suckers, well of course unless a BM is also an SM, she's fine and not jealous or a drama starter... I guess the second title takes away her capability of being a witch.

Anyway -- what I have seen ALOT of is just mom/smom stuff. Where are the men? Where are the dad's? Do men shy away from message boards or are they like my husband, a. In the floor playing with kids b. Working c. Playing on the computer which does not consist of message boards

When I see questions regarding either 'how to deal with BM' or 'how to deal with SM' I see answers that consist of, you, mom and dad *or* you, dad and his wife, need to sit down, the three of you and work it out. Or whatever the advice is. But.... What about the stepdad? Is it because stepdad's are not looking for drama? Are not as involved parents? Stepparents? Husbands? Why is it always a triangle instead of a square?

Why are both fronts not equally united *if possible*?

Any ideas??

My husband ALWAYS is ignored in court. Always is left out of counseling or mediation or hearings. I had to FINALLY speak up and say, I have a husband that is 100% supportive, involved, 100% financially providing for this situation and I would like HIM to be included in our meetings; not just me, ex and his wife. My husband also belongs here. He is no less a stepparent than stepmom... He actually has more invested in this child because he lives in the same home and they have built a strong relationship and her welfare is his concern as well. Now if it's just dad and I, then OK hubby can stay home but WHY does SM get a foot in the door and SF does not? It's not like she's been around THAT much longer than my husband has. He has spent more time with Dd but who's counting hours??

The judge and my lawyer both apologized and said because he was always so quiet and didn't get involved, stayed in the background as a support not as an equal in the spotlight, they just didn't think to include him. He had been so quiet and has never caused any issues. SM was sitting at the table with exDH in court and I was alone while my hubby sat in the very back row all these years and I finally just got tired of it... Ya know? Why is this between the 'three' of us and not the 'four' of us or hey... How about just the 'two' of us.... I've told DH from dayone, Dd is not your daughter, you cannot discipline her like you are her father, she will not call you daddy, this is between ex and I and I want you in my life but you have to understand, this is not your child. He has always respected the boundaries of his role. He has an amazing relationship with Dd. He doesn't have to discipline her. She respects him. She loves him. If SM backed off a little and tried not to be so controlling, I'm wondering how wonderful and amazing her relationship with Dd would be??.. Hmmm

So I'm wondering, where are the stepdad's?

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Sorry -- I forgot to add -- this really isn't meant towards SMs that are custodial or that provide 95% for their stepchildren OR women who may not have a husband to make the fourth corner of a square....
I fully understand that a custodial SM has way more invested in a child than probably a biomom would have because she is the full time caregiver and in that case, obviously I agree that an SM would need to be included not only as support for DH but as the mom in that house.

Want to make sure I don't offend.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:24AM
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In our case BM's live in b/f of 2 years is not active in SD's life AT ALL. Never watches the kids alone and never goes to any games, practices, or concerts. Never picks kids up or drops them off. 1 exception he did pick up my SD in the snow storm one day but he has a 4x4 lifted jeep.

In my friends cases the stepfather/step b/f's are not active either.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 7:35AM
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In CA, the court only wants to deal with mom & dad. When they had their trial, I was allowed to testify but BM wanted me kept out of the courtroom & the court had me sit outside for the entire trial, except when I testified & when the ruling was made. BM didn't have a BF at the time but since she's been with BF, he hasn't come to any hearings or been involved with anything... but I think it has more to do with her not wanting him to hear what is said. He stays home & gets "her" version, which is probably lies.

My DH came into my life when my kids were teens. He didn't really "parent" them but my daughter & he now have a good relationship & she calls him her dad. But, she also didn't grow up with her bio-dad in her life & she wanted that relationship. There is no drama for DH to get involved in with regard to my kids.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:33AM
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In our state step-parents are pretty much not allowed in any legal proceedings (definitely not mediation) unless they are called as witnesses. I can understand the point - that it's between the bio-parents and overly involved step-parents shouldn't interfere in what may have been a decent co-parenting relationship, but it frustrates me sometimes because DH tends to get so anxious that he stammers or goes completely off tangent and I think I could remain calmer. Oh well.

Honestly, I think it's stereotyping. When DH and I were first together I was always surprised at how often someone would ask me if SS was allowed to do something, or if he had any food allergies, things like that. I'm talking about people who knew that I was SM and DH had had primary custody long before he met me. Having seen how even a custodial bio-dad can be kind of shunted aside because all the sudden a woman came along, I'm not surprised that custodial step-dad is disregarded.

DH doesn't go on message boards like this for a couple of reasons. I came on because it was a huge adjustment from living alone to being wife, step-mom, dealing with useless BM, etc. DH had adjusted to that some time ago. Secondly DH feels better by taking his mind away from issues that we can't really do much about. I, on the other hand, feel much better knowing that every possibility has been investigated and considered, so I try to get as much advice and/or as many options as possible. (I worry too much about too many things.) And lastly I'm just better at research than DH is; so I distill advice/options and present the executive summary to him.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 8:49AM
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Stepdad here. Been on this board for a number of years and some may have seen my thread that I had started fairly recently, "Stepson Money Issues". I am a message-boarder in other areas and enjoy the community feel and find quite often that very good advice is given. Though it might be quite varied, it's good to hear a range of ideas and thoughts.

I have to admit that my first posting here centered around the discipline aspects regarding my stepson. When my wife and I married my stepson was 9, and he only went to his father's every other weekend and some holidays. We never fussed if he wanted to go more - in fact we encouraged the two to visit and thought the father/son relationship was very important overall.

With that in place, it was not incumbent on me to be the "Dad" per se. He called me by my first name and we started off more like friend with the knowledge and undercurrent that I was the adult and needed to be minded when situations arose.

My first foray to these boards came years later when my stepson was hanging with some very 'iffy' friends and getting in trouble. My wife and I disagreed quite a bit and our parenting styles were quite different, but I thought it best that we present a united front and thus suggested that we negotiate together and come up with whatever we want to present to him and do it in tandem.

It was around this time I was basically told that I'm the stepfather and that this was her son and when it came to discipline or heavy parenting I was to kindly butt out.

Myfampg, you wrote in your original post regarding your daughter that you told your husband from day one that "Dd is not your daughter, you cannot discipline her like you are her father". Very similar to my own situation, and I can say from my side that it was very disheartening. Like I was good enough to be a buddy, a mentor, a financial backer, etc for my stepson, but when difficult times arose I was not even allowed to co-parent - not even allowed to be involved with the process. I tried to interject, and my wife's claws came out and some pretty nasty fights ensued.

I ended up backing off even though I really and truly felt that some of the things she was doing (and especially NOT doing) were detrimental. I still believe that our most current issues can easily link back to this time in his life.

I'm not saying I had all of the correct answers, but if you don't allow the man you married to be involved in ALL aspects of your child's life - at least to a point where you stand united on decisions - then I feel it creates a dynamic where the stepdad feels relegated to lesser duties - and believe me the child totally gets that too. Maybe your question to "where are the stepdads" might be "over on the sidelines on the bench waiting for coach to send him in"...

I do not mean to paint with a very broad brush here - there are so many factors including age of the child, involvement of the bio-dad, personalities, siblings, distance of parents, contentiousness of the bio-parents, etc. What I am trying to say in a more overarching sense is that my experience as a stepfather has been one where I've often felt hamstrung or even purposefully left out of things and I think that perhaps others are like me in that sense. I feel that I'm a good parent and have a lot to offer my stepson even if confined slightly and my wife would have final say - which is fine. Actually, I sometimes feel I have a BETTER perspective because I'm outside of the biological realm and don't have as many deep-seeded emotions playing a part.

Just my thoughts.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 9:48AM
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Thanks Kev! You sound like my dad... My stepdad... Who raised me. He can be extremely objective because although he loves us, he doesn't have that feel connected blood bond that puts on rose colored glasses everytime something happens.

I respect what you are saying and I probably should have explained better. We had a temporary restraining order, later turns in to an injunction that significant others or spouses could not discipline the child. Stepmom had handed down some pretty harsh punishment when my daughter was pretty young. Since it happened while BD was currently fighting me for custody we brought that to court. SM admitted yes that's how I discipline my own daughter and the judge almost threw her in jail. At the time I didn't have a boyfriend or husband. I was single, so the no discipling thing didn't effect me. When I was dating my now husband, I shared with him the stories and about the judge and all the orders. So when we decided to introduce him to Dd we had already discussed that he had to remain neutral because I could not risk losing my child by breaking the rules. Of course we were only dating but he had to understand the complications of my situation.
Now that we are married, have started our family, and things have calmed down tremendously, we are more relaxed in our home, if she needs to go clean her room or whatever, and I'm not around, he will say, hey go clean up your room real quick. It's hard to explain in writing but it's not like he is discipling her or spanking her, he is just guiding her to do something.
What I wrote might have come of crass because I just wrote it real quick. It's not like I pointed my finger in his face and yelled, this is MY daughter, you WILL NOT discipline MY daughter! Basically he knew the story and everything that was going on and I just explained what we had to do to satisfy the courts. I had to follow the order.
I think the reason (in my opinion) that stepdad's aren't more front and center is because they work, they come home, Mom does Mom things for her children. In the dad's home Dad works, dad comes home, SM does Mom things. So SM does ALL the heavy lifting and wants to be part of the decisions because it effects her since she does all of BDs parenting 'stuff'.
My husband doesn't do nearly as much for my Dd as her SM does. She picks her up every day that it's BDs day. He never picks up. He works. She is the one at home. I pick my Dd up every day. I do all the parenting 'stuff' so really SM and I are raising her together while the men are working or whatever. What annoys me AND I was backed up by the judge
Multiple times, I didn't choose to have a baby with Bd's wife. I had a baby with him. I don't want him. I don't care if I talk to him. But I don't know why I have to deal with SM. My Dh does not contact BD and discuss his parenting or his child support or the damn weather. And it's not his place to.

Anyway- that is why he doesn't 'discipline' my daughter but we agree on what I should do. We discuss it. He is still new to parenting (we have a 3 yr old). And girls are SO new to him because he is the only child and has NO girl cousins or anything. I don't think he is very objective! Lol!! All she has to do is stick out her bottom lip and he is hooked. We do talk to her together, we are very much a united front with her but he is not the one to tell her 'you are grounded'. He sits with me and I explain the punishment and he supports me and sometimes he will add an explanation if she isn't understanding.

The courts here do allow stepparents in the court/hearing/mediation. In fact the order for mediation and family therapy said 'all 4 adults'
And the reason it became where SM was so involved in court is that when she assaulted me, the protective order became a part of the modification case and therefore she was now linked to our case. She still had injunctions against her that she consistently breaks.
I am just of the very strong opinion that the bioparents need to work together and parent. I don't know why I feel this way but I have heard this over and over and over from therapists, the judge, my lawyer, more therapists that bioparents have to be the ones upfront, not the stepparents. AND I don't know how to explain that it works but I had a very involved stepdad yet left the dirty stuff up to mom and dad and well... Stepdad walked me down the aisle.
I have a husband who leaves the dirty stuff up to me and he is there for her, she respects him, they are very close. I think the problem for you Kevin is your wife protects her son from you. Not saying that in a bad way. You are not a united front. Your wife gave your son money behind your back and lied. I would NEVER do that. I would never expect my husband to support my child financially without contributing a well and expecting her biodad to do it first. My husband really handles a lot of the discipline and rearing of our son. We treat the kids the same. It's just that you wouldn't see him doing all the day to day for my Dd or discipline. We don't make a big deal about it either. Since we talk to her together, I don't think she realizes he 'isn't discipling'she just sees as My mom is the one who grounded me and my stepdad supports her and won't let me out of it while she is gone. Does that make sense??

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:02AM
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I think men in general are not big on message boards especially not this type.

I agree with mattie that there is some stereotyping too. Like men are expected to be minimally involved. Throughout all the years of being a single parent and last 5 years knowing SO I answered million very dumb strange questions in regards to my ex's and SO's parenting. They are both involved fathers who make an effort yet people constantly are surprised with it.

"your DD is on vacation with her dad??? just two of them? wow how is he managing with a little girl?" Huh... wait a minute...hhmm let's see ..."he is managing because he is her father???"

But even in intact families, my brother does everything with his kids yet people would ask SIL about their schooling or activities. Even though it is no secret that my brother knows more about that. I think our society stuck with stereotypical image of helpless men needing women to manage their lives.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 12:34PM
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Divorced guy here...50% custody of my two kids (13/10) for the last 5 years. I can tell you firsthand that gender role stereotypes are still very prevalent even in these 'modern' times. I have (due to our working hours) gotten the kids off to school pretty much 95% of the mornings over the last 5-6 years....and have almost always felt 'shunned' by the mom's AND teachers in terms of chatting about kid stuff when dropping kids off at preschool, getting invited to chaperone on field trips, help out occasionally, etc. I can't tell you how many times we'd get notes home from the school, saying stuff like "ok moms...don't forget to pack a bag lunch tomorrow because of the field trip...", stuff like that. Not a huge deal, but it does sort of tick me off.

I think part of it is how so many moms (probably the stay at home ones I would think) assume so much of their identity from motherhood. I've been bouncing around some of these boards for years...and I noticed right away how many posters had "mom" in their username somehow...when I cant really recall seeing any "dad" usernames. I know motherhood is really cool and wonderful and you all deserve a lot of credit for jobs you do, but except for the breastfeeding thing, many of us dads are capable of doing everything you do, and actually have walked the walk too. And I love being a dad...but I don't let it define me like I think it does for some mothers.

As far as the step parent thing goes...I heard many years ago on a radio psych show (Joy Browne) that step parents roles were to be friends, companions, etc....but NOT fill-in parents. I am in a 3+ year relationship with a woman with an 11 yr old son. I know my boundries with him....she knows hers with my works pretty well. But I do think it is a little harder for her not to act like a parent to my kids, than it is for me to not act like a parent to her son....that might be a "mom" thing I suppose, because it's real easy for me...I look at it as one less stressful thing I have to get involved

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:00PM
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I've been reading all of these comments about how "step-parents are not supposed to discipline the kids" and how step-parents are supposed to be buddies, friends, mentors, financial providers, whatever, but never, ever disciplinarians - and something struck me. When I was a kid, pretty much any adult could be and was a "disciplinarian". Parents, step-parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, friends' parents, teachers, principals - if an adult told you to do something, you did it. That was the rule, with few exceptions allowed by parents (like the wacky neighborhood cat lady, and not always even her.) If boys were caught throwing rocks at something, they were going to get swatted behinds from the first adult male who found them, if kids made a mess in a playmates' house they were all going to clean it up, and a contested toy or one that was being mishandled was confiscated by whomever happened to be there, until such time as that adult saw fit to return it. We just hoped that their chosen measures would satisfy them enough that they did not go to our parents; woe would befall the child whose parents were visited by another adult with tales of misbehavior. I cannot imagine what the consequences would have been to deliberately defying an adult and my parents finding out; I cannot recall that ever happening, and the results would have been dire.

So what happened? How did childrens' psyches suddenly become so delicate and fragile that even a loving step-parent is no longer "allowed" to put them into a timeout?

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 1:54PM
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My fiance's daughter's mother is always stating crap with us and trying everything she can to cause problems and make us unhappy. My fiance has yet to stick up for me or stand up to her because he feels it will make things worse. He says she wants to get a reaction out of us and we should ignore her and not give her any attention. I told him he should be on my side because I am the one he supposedly wants to spend his life with, and he says "there are no sides." He just doesn't want to get involved because he wants everything to run smoothly but the truth is that's just not the way it is because he has a child with a psychotic %$#^&!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:07PM
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Oh Mattie, thank you. Thank you thank you thank you.

I still discipline/reprimand other people's kids. I do it most often in the grocery store "you'd better listen to your mother little girl". Just yesterday we were at the park and a little girl was playing with my DD. Then she was standing by her mom, and mom was holding little brother in her arms. She was reprimanding little girl for her behavior with my DD (of which I was doing with DD as well) and the little girl reached up and PINCHED her little brother.

I told little girl that I saw that, and that it is completely unacceptable for her to hurt her brother. It just came out. "You may NOT pinch your brother".

I agree, other people may not hit my kid, but they for sure can put her in the corner, etc. And I tell my DD that. so-n-so is in charge... you listen to them or they may discipline you. There is no excuse for bad behavior.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:21PM
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"So what happened? How did childrens' psyches suddenly become so delicate and fragile that even a loving step-parent is no longer "allowed" to put them into a timeout?"

I don't think anything changed. I am in mid 40s yet no one but my parents disciplined me.

"If boys were caught throwing rocks at something, they were going to get swatted behinds from the first adult male who found them" This was absolutely not the case in my experience, kids would be brought up to the parents or parents would be told what happened. No one swatted anyone's behinds, especially not strangers. I didn't really get in troubles but my brother sure did.

I really don't see much change in how kids are brought up. I was brought up the same way my mom and dad were and same as their parents, and I brought DD up same way I was brought up. I don't see much difference at all.

I can't comment on if stepparents' roles change, there is a possibility that changed. That's I don't know much about. The only stepfamily story we have is that my grandmother had a stepdad since she was 13 and she never particularly accepted him. Later her stepdad was killed in the Holocaust with the rest of the family and my survivor-grandmother always felt guilty that she wasn't particularly loving towards him for no particular reason. She later found out from another survivor that till the end her stepdad was always asking about my grandma hoping she is OK. Don't know why I remember that story all of a sudden.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 2:38PM
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Well, everyone has different experiences of course, but my experience was similar to Mattie's. Teachers, other parents, etc... all had free reign on the kids.

You'd hope the teacher would take care of it and your parents wouldn't be told. Because boy, if your parents found out....

And my parents didn't even hit me. But the punishment was twice as bad if someone else felt it was necessary to punish me first.

I'm surprised you can't see much difference, but I suspect that may be cultural. Your parents were immigrants, were they not? Neighborhoods where I grew up, the kids ran all around and parents disciplined whichever kids happened to be on their property.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Of course everything what people do is cultural. But that has nothing to do with geographical location. We could all live in the same state and have completely different life styles, not even close. I drive an hour to work and am exposed to entirely different culture than what I see on my street. And we could live all over the world yet belong to the same culture. No, parenting that I observe did not change from generation to generation. And I lived in many different places. No, nothing changed. Of course unacceptable behavior is addressed but no, neither parents nor strangers swatting children on the butt. But we've been through the same conversation before.

I and SO grew up in very different parts of the world yet have similar parenting styles and similar growing up experiences, more similar than someone who maybe lives 30-minute drive from me. Culture is a complicated matter, it is more complex than many assume, there is no homogeneous American, African, Asian etc culture. Also there are different socio-economic levels that come into play etc

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 4:06PM
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So only poor ignorant people swat their children ... upper class educated people do not?

I think the difference is divorced people today are afraid to punish their children.... afraid to be judged by the other parent, afraid they will lose their children to the other parent because they now have "ammo", My hubby has never had to discipline my kids because I did it ... I used to discipline his but I was the only one ... their parents never did so why be the bad girl and try to fix their behavior not my kid not my problem.

Myfam... I would have loved to be involved in court stuff to set 'her' straight but I left it alone .... it was on hubby to fight for his rights and his children if he chose not to fight I dealt with the aftermath.

Even yesterday I was leaving for work said honey how high are they going to pile the dishes before someone does them.... instead of telling one or all of his 3 children who are quite capable of putting plates in a dishwasher ... he got up to do it. He chose to do them instead of fighting them ....

I think for the most part men have outlets work, friends, yardwork, anything to get out of the house ... and we let them go and deal with the aftermath. We let them off the hook he works too much etc.

My SKs behave one way for their parents and another way for me, even BM's BF is treated like cr@p and he & BM allow it.

SD is not very nice to me ... but hahaha she is even worse to her mom and her BF ... with daddy & GM she pretends to be the victim.

Men get left out ... because we let them.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 4:28PM
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PO1 -- I think I am agreeing with you on the cultural thing and maybe that is why SM and I are at such odds on parenting. That is why I prefer to parent with the man I made the child with instead of someone he met years later that in my opinion would never even be a friend to me if I met her anywhere else. We just differ so much. I don't physically punish my children. But she uses physical exhaustion to punish hers. And when mine is there, that is the form of punishment that is handed down.

Mattie- made me realize I'm using the wrong termonology to get my point across. The term used in court is discipline but what the problem is is the punishment, not the discipline. I am all for someone correcting my child if I am not around. I really don't like anyone to step in when I'm handling my child, but if someone on the street or say at the park were to step in and correct Dd for something maybe I didn't see or if I was overwhelmed holding a baby, dealing with an unruly child, etc it would not upset me. I don't like my DH to come up behind me while I am discussing a situation and say 'YA and this and this'. If I've already started, don't interrupt me and my child. I'm handling it. My mom does this ALOT or my parents are notorious for undermining me by telling me, oh she was just playing or oh she didn't mean it that way... That ticks me off.
I also don't want anyone handing down physical punishment to my kids. That's off limits and I will not back down from it.

This wasn't about stepmom vs. BM either. And that is exactly what it was turned in to. Lol which is really the problem with the situation to begin with. It's a constant triangle.

Thank you gentlemen/dad's for your input. I think I got my answer to my question from you. A lot of 'men' or 'dad's' or 'stepdad's' are either not given enough credit to do the job, or they know their boundaries and they don't overstep them.

I find nothing wrong with correcting your stepchildren while in your home. I correct nieces, nephews, friends kids when I am in charge but when their parent is in the room, I respect their parents ability to parent/correct/discipline/punish. That's their job not mine. However with that said, I respect those boundaries of the other parent but I am ok when someone helps or supports me, like saying 'don't pinch your brother, that is not nice' or be kind to your momma she loves you. But for someone to override completely like the parent isn't standing there... I don't know...

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Pseudo -/ absolutely perfect. The answer I was looking for!!

I think my comments were misconstrued as the evil bi!ch wife that doesn't want her husband's help. Lol I hated! How my husband was left at the sidelines in court. I finally just started dragging him along and then finally I said, I need and want my husband to be with me. If this is not between ex and I, then we all need to be together. This feels like SM/BD bs trailer trash, good for nothing, doesn't have the 'united front' that we have MOM.
Once my husband started being involved and present, some of the nasty crap stopped Happening. Like I stopped being the vulnerable one on the other side. I had a partner. I had back up. I had someone in my life that thinks I am worth it!

I am really going to chew on what you men have said. I'm going to ask my DH how I have made him feel regarding punishment of my Dd.
Honestly I kind of know how this is going to go. 'why would I need to punish her, she doesn't really do anything to get into trouble'. ??

I don't really see threads about awful stepdad's. Yes there is the BMs boyfriend is this or that but a boyfriend... Really is that a stepparent? Im not talking about boyfriends. I'm talking about stepdad's whether married or significantly committed.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 4:49PM
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"I don't really see threads about awful stepdad's" I am sure if you look hard enough you'll find them!

I think the conflict is mom's are mom's doens't matter... step,the gf, the lady down the street... "some" have instincts to do what is right and want to play nightengale to everthing its a control issue ... if we can't control our homes what's left?

Dad's, SD's, men in general... just want peace and ease ... no conflict ... work all the time because its easier than being home and dealing with reality, fiddle around the yard they don't have to deal with the kids or the wife,

With hubby he knows how bad his DD is ... but deep down he knows nothing will fix her ... she has to want to change and he doesn't see that happening so why bother. His sons are basically good kids they rants are every kids rants nothing abnormal about them they are teenagers! ... SD is 12 I can't imagine how much worse it will get ...

Sadly I have to remind people she is 12 ... because her behavior is just so _________ unbelievable for 12.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 5:29PM
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Pseudo you are right. Almost every man in my life from great grandpa's all the way to friends hubbies, mine, ex, dad, SF, they are all cool, laid back, no drama, just wanna do what their doing.
I yern to have the temperament of my husband. He is so relaxed and it takes a LOT to make him mad.... And he isn't territorial, jealous, materialistically competitive, you name it! I know a lot of men like this. It doesn't mean they don't care it just means they are cool headed or calm in nature or just flat out don't want drama.

Oh and pseudo I googled stepfather/dad... Not a good idea. The most disgusting posts, articles, videos, pictures. I did not click, I did not pass go. It was basically the most popular sites are NOT family oriented....

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 6:40PM
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Interesting thread.

I think the distinction between punishment and discipline is good. Discipline is guiding, teaching and based in love. Punishment has such a negative connotation. I don't even really care to use that word in our home. We say consequence or loss of privilege.

Anyway, my DH would not be caught dead on a forum. LOL.

I don't necessarily *discipline* SS but I will occasionally send him to his room or whatever. I leave the *bigger* things up to DH---things like when SS is grounded from his Wii or what not.

But I'm responsible for SS when he's with us, which is a significant amount of time. And because DD is here and the same age, I parent them in the same manner.

I don't know. It's never been an issue for us. I just take care of SS when he's here the same way I care for my own child. I don't spank and didn't in the past, so that was never an issue.

Your DH sounds like a great guy, myfampg!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 9:01PM
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I think dads just don't want to talk about it like moms do. Women as a gender talk more. Emoting is part of our processing. Men are by nature decision makers. Of course, there are women and men who don't talk or talk more but you know what I'm saying. My DH talks to me, but he rarely talks to other people about his issues, let alone getting advice from strangers. He does love for me to read to him from this site occasionally.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 9:19PM
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Silver what posts do you share with him ... just curious ... so many times I want hubby to read but don't dare this is my "safe" place!!!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 9:28PM
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It depends. I shared the PB post with quite a few friends recently. Just snippets. I don't give my screen name or anything... but then, I'm not hiding anything either.

And DH doesn't care enough to snoop, I don't think ;) He's mostly amazed that this is something I enjoy. Seems pointless to him.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:22PM
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Yes myfampg that was my point, culture explains a lot. Your DD's SM sounds so atrocious, goodness, can't stand this woman.

Myfampg where are you getting all these laid back not competitive men hahaha I have met very very few in my life.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 12:01AM
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I guess from my family 'men'. Lol I don't know. I remember one day my Dh (we were dating) and another guy at work said something about me in an inappropriate, not in front of my man, I don't care how hot I look kind of way... And Dh laughed a little. So I asked later, were you jealous? He said nah I don't get jealous over stuff like that, I know who you are with. I went back to my girlfriend at work and said 'he's not jealous!?' what??? How do I keep him happy if he isn't going to get jealous of a little attention on his territory and she said, her husband was the same way and that he takes things like that as a compliment. Lol it took me a while to get it.

I have not told anyone that I post here lol oh what shame!!

Love your on my page-- I absolutely respect that SM and DH need the rights to 'guide' Dd when they are in each home. We are all the parents. It's the punishment. We don't spank-- I am not starting a spank thread - we do not use physical punishment. We too use consequences. Privelage or losing fun things. I actually have started using the 'go do a chore' consequence when dd is whining. Get out of my hair with your whining because arguing back with a whiner is impossible. Or even trying to reason with one.

I think I might have said this already but I'll say it again -- I feel like I had a child with SM with as much as she contacts me and as little as BD contacts me. I would rather not be contacted at all but ? Apparently can't stop her from hitting send.

I guess that answers my curiosity on that. I'm still liking the answer
*because we leave them out*
I'll have to remember that from now on. If I want Dh to lead I should let him.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 1:10AM
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oh I see, I am glad your DH is this way. My SO was cheated on on several occasions and then she left for someone else after 27 years of marriage, so he has issues with trust. Not like he thinks I would cheat but he is not laid back about the issue. He makes jokes out of it but I know there is more to it, he always notices who looks at me and how. He jokes but I know it is his defense mechanism. I personally am happy men still look at me LOL

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 9:35AM
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I know PO1!
That's too bad about your SO. So cruel and then we as the people that were cheated on suffer years from their decision to cheat on us. I am the same way as your SO. I hate it. It gets better with every year.

My DH had a horrible experience with a lady about 16 years ago. He stayed single for 10 years. I guess because he gave himself time to heal he doesnt suffer from it. Everyone said they thought he would be single forever from it.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 12:07PM
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wow, it was smart of DH to stay single for while.

My SO did not wait enough at all, but yes it does get better with time. Although he is scared for life of marrying I guess. He has no guts to leave when things are bad, things were very bad, but he wouldn't leave. That's what I noticed in my experiences with men, when things are bad women leave but men often don't. They just stick around. Like you said avoiding drama, it is easier to stay in bad relationship than make a move. I also think men generally have hard time being alone.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 12:20PM
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" I actually have started using the 'go do a chore' consequence when dd is whining. "

I do that, too. Especially if DD is complaining that she's bored. I'll be like, "Here, go sweep" and hand her the broom. Teehee.

It does get easier in so many ways as they get older, doesn't it? You can really reason with them and they understand cause/effect so much more. I think 9-10 is a fab age! (But I've said that about every age. I have always thought at each age the kids are at, "Wow, it can't get more fun than this" but then it always does.)

I feel for you in the feeling like you had a child with SM, too. UGH. I 100% agree that communication should be between YOU and BD. That's it. (within reason, you kwim.)

I have the same feeling but from the opposite perspective...still, I think YOUR SM and MY BM are quite similar. I choose to not communicate at all with BM because, just as YOU said, I didn't have a kid with her! DH did. So he can deal with it all.

in the past, BM has tried to be my "friend" (HA) and I tried for a long time, as well, to keep things smooth and I would communicate with her. She preferred it because often info. she relayed to DH was getting relayed to ME anyway. And it made more sense, in theory, for her to communicate with me firsthand.

Until it didn't.

If you're dealing with a psycho, as you well know, logic and reason just cannot apply.

I feel for you. :( This woman really needs to respect your boundaries!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 12:30PM
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Love - yes I agree! I say that every year too. It just gets better but I always say 'this is my favorite age' but then the following year I say the same thing lol
I just posted on my other thread about Dd being 'bored' yet when I give options she doesn't like them. She loves to clean windows though so that keeps her busy and she loves the swiffer mop thing so I send her off to do that lol
At the moment she is screaming at her brother, fighting so she most not be bored anymore. Aw the fantasy of them being loving after a long week apart is definitly gone!

I actually would not mind communicating with Sm if she would sign HER name and not BDs name. Just be honest. Say who it is. Don't hide behind his name and put words in front of his name to make him look like all of a sudden he grew some and actually has a thought of his own.

I was at the store tonight and had a thought. Is it possible that the competition between two mom's is so fierce that they have each feel the need to prove who is better at being mom? Not ALL mom's. Just some cases. When I read posts I tend to feel like I am the only Bm complaining because most everyone has a BM they are complaining about. Is it because women who are not fighting or who are not at odds over the blended family and the man that links them together is out living life and doesn't need to 'vent' what miseries they dealt with today?
I think stepmom's have in recent years started standing up to the sterotypical, fairy tale version of the evil stepmom. Therefore we see more websites for stepparents run by stepmom's. Because if they didn't who would be standing up for the right of a 'normal, caring, loving' woman who happens to be wife number two against the generalization that all cinderella's are living a life of hell with the wicked stepmom and the ugly stepsisters.
Stepmom's needed a voice. They need a voice. Because until I found the internet and some stepfamily forum, I had never known a 'nice' stepmom. Granted I live in an area where the courts are still very much old school, country and the good ole boys where father's work, mother's dont and divorced mom's have custody. A county over it's father's rights. If you are a father you absolutely want to live there where legal representation is free or low cost just for being a man. Statistically more men have custody. They offer free parenting classes to men so they can be good fathers. I never in my life until finding the OAG website had ever heard of father's rights or had ever seen so much anti mom, pro paternity.
I'm all for it. I wish it was in place 15 years ago when my brother needed it. He might be a father today to his first born if these things were available. But then I sometimes feel offended because I dont deserve to be excluded from the same free legal help plans classes just because I am a mom or a woman. It would be so nice to have the same equal opportunity to fight for my rights and those of my child's.

But anyway - that was all just thoughts.
I asked my Dh last night how it made him feel when I told him he could not discipline Dd because of a standing injunction. He said it didn't bother him because it wasn't me saying he couldn't it was us following a court order. So I changed it. How would you have felt if I said that with NO standing injunction. He said I don't know. I don't think it would have bothered me. Maybe once we were married I would need to know what j could do but I don't know how I would feel if you just flat out said you just sit there and dont say anything. He said 'I think I Would have to tell you that I can't be alone with a child that I can't discipline because then she would never learn to respect me'. He has a point. If you have to be walked all over by a child that isn't yours while you are the caretaker that child will learn that you are just a child too and you can't do anything to them. I'd like to think that I am raising both of my children to respect all adults and to do what she is told regardless of who it is. Teacher, babysitter, grandparents, stepparents, aunts, uncles, police, etc. I hope anyway. I have not seen any reason to believe otherwise .. Yet.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 12:12AM
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"If boys were caught throwing rocks at something, they were going to get swatted behinds from the first adult male who found them"

I'm in my not sure if i qualify under the "back in my time..." statement, but I can tell you this, while I agree things have changed...I was NEVER hit as a child, my parents used other methods, and I am thankful for that and am doing the same with my kids. BUT....I know this, my dad was a big man...6' 2", 230 pounds...and while he was a gentle giant to me, if some other adult decided to hit me for throwing rocks or something, he would not have been so gentle. I can't imagine what I would do if I found out some neighbor hit my 10 yr old son because he did something.

As for not disciplining my GF's kids and her taking the same approach to mine...I think some people here are taking a black and white approach to it. It by no way means I let any and all behavior go without any actions...if he makes a mess and starts to walk away, I'll remind him that he should clean it up....stuff like that. It's if he blatantly refuses, then in my opinion, it is my duty to let his mother know what took place, and let her decide what to do about it. In that case, it is not up to me decide the punishment, or even if there is to be one.

As close as my GF and I are, we still have slightly different views on parenting...and I do not want her putting her views upon my kids, nor should I be putting my ways upon her son.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 11:57AM
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agree 100% with the post

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 12:07PM
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I don't think anyone is advocating strangers slapping kids around. What I understood the sentiment to mean is that kids were held more accountable for their actions by strangers/neighbors/acquaintances than they are today. I never got hit by anyone but my mom or dad, and I can count on one hand how many times that happened. (I think only twice, and I deserved it both times).

I think if you trust someone enough to marry them, combine finances, have them drive your kids around in the car, have them sleep in the same house at night with your kids, have them dispense medicine and go to doctor visits, etc. etc. etc. that they should be able to put the kid in time out, take away privileges, etc. That's what I mean by discipline.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 12:33PM
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Wow, this thread has taken off. Just a few days and I'm about 30 posts behind.

As mkroopy observed, it's difficult to take this as a 'black-and-white' issue simply because there are so many variables to be considered. Roles within the blended family unit can change dramatically depending on the amount of time the child is in your home, the involvement of the other bio-parent, the amicability or animosity the bio-parents feel toward one-another, the age and personality of the kids involved, and the makeup in general of the stepparent in question to name only a few.

As I mentioned in my post WELL above now, my own personal saga involves a situation where my stepson has been physically in our home about 95% of the time, and since high school probably closer to 98%-99%. We also have two younger children of our own, and I feel that all parties consider us to be a full-on family unit. Certainly things would be totally different if my stepson were with us less than half of the time or only on certain holidays, so my comments only apply to my own current makeup.

With that in mind, I really like silversword's comment above:

""I think if you trust someone enough to marry them, combine finances, have them drive your kids around in the car, have them sleep in the same house at night with your kids, have them dispense medicine and go to doctor visits, etc. etc. etc. that they should be able to put the kid in time out, take away privileges, etc. That's what I mean by discipline.""

That's what I'm talking about. If you marry someone who you feel is a good person, then why would you not allow that person to make calls on basic discipline/privilege revocation? Especially if you have children with that person and thereby consider him in a good enough light to be a father to these other children of yours.

Moms and dads have had different opinions on child rearing from time immemorial, but I think that's a good thing. I would submit that the fusion of stereotypical mom nurturing and stereotypical dad toughening is a great mixture that should be applied liberally to any growing child.

I speak from my own experience when I say that the effects of neglecting one side can be long-lasting.

My stepson, while in high school and beyond, got into some pretty major problems: arrested for drinking underage, for causing mischief with a knife the night before Halloween, and even later being caught with pot in his car. Right from the start I wanted to be able to step in - WITH my wife - and try to correct his course. I spoke with him quite frankly about these issues, and even suggested that his mother and I would have to discuss sanctions.

Problem was, he totally knew the situation. For years I was not allowed to take a full role in the parenting and he basically blew me off. Knowing he only had his mom to contend with, he'd make a full-court press to her and get what he wanted.

I recall one situation where he was caught at 15 with booze and arrested. I went and got him from the police station that night and told him that I'd be speaking with his mom and was sure there would be sanctions. He actually laughed. The NEXT night, his mother allowed him to go out to a party, and the kid basically sneered at me. When I asked my wife about it, she just said that he was being so annoying about going out that she just couldn't hear it anymore and let him go. When I expressed to her my feelings about my lack of authority and my stepson's reaction she again stated the mantra:

"I am his mother, you are the stepfather, and so you are not allowed to discipline".

Look, mine is an extreme case, I know. And hopefully my stepson is more of the exception and not the rule in the way he has acted. But if your spouse is going to be a step to your child and if they are going to be in the home together a good majority of the time, I feel it must be incumbent on both adults to share the authoritative role. Yes, the step should be allowed to give the timeouts, impose extra chores, remove a privilege when the kids are younger. When older, they should then be part of the team that works with the child/young adult if more intense situations arise as well as positive aspects like choosing a school, relationships, etc.

My experience tells me that without the parenting involvement at the beginning, the latter involvement is all but impossible.

Sadly, I feel it has affected my and my stepson's relationship in other areas as well. I'm less inclined to seek him out to go play golf or to a movie or something like that because I feel disrespected many times by him - and have been outright disrespected at others.

Again, just a case-in-point and probably a more extreme one at that, but hopefully some food for thought.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 10:55AM
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With the exception of the few men that post here, my opinion (and experience) is that the men, whether they be fathers or stepfhathers, don't want find out that they are doing anything wrong. Therefore, they would never post on message boards or forums asking for help.

They believe they are doing the *right* thing, even if the results are less than desireable, and don't feel the need for advice on how to make them better parents/steparents.

In general, men are less introspective than women.

It's kind of like DH said about going to the doctor for physicals. He doesn't want to go because they are just going to *find* something wrong. If he doesn't go to the doctor, then he never knows what is wrong wirth him and goes on living his blissful life in ignorance.

Makes no sense, I know, but that's what he says. And I know that lots and lots of men feel the same way.

If they post on a message board or forum, they run the risk of being told they are doing something wrong, therefore, they go on living their life in blissful ignorance.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:23PM
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That's true, ashley. I think even if men admit and understand they are wrong, they don't want OTHERS to tell them. My SO is pretty good in sharing what he does wrong and what he did wrong in his parenting, yet G_d forbid someone else tells him that. LOL I think that's why many men would rather not going to therapy especially not relationship counseling because they don't want to find out. It is like asking for directions.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 1:09PM
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I guess I'm different then...when my marriage started falling apart, I tried like heck to get my ex to go to couples therapy...she maybe went 2 or 3 times, and it was like pulling teeth.

But ask for directions? Nope, guilty as charged....I'll figure it out by looking at the sun, stars, geographical landmarks, driving in circles for a while....anything. Besides, no one in gas stations speaks English anymore anyway.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 2:23PM
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haha Many people do not know where everything is in their own area even i9f they speak English. I don't know how some people function.

I once went to AAA to get few maps and customer rep said he lived for many years in the area that I was asking for a map. I dared to ask if the airport is South form the downtown or North? And poor guy had no clue what I am talking about, he said it is half an hour away, yeah but which way? "Oh I am bad with locations like this" (mind you he works for AAA and lived there for 10 years). He looked on the map and said he can't find it, then he looked at wrong airport. I asked to see the map, found it and showed him that it is 20 miles south form the downtown. "Oh" he said. He lived there and i have never been there at all!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:18PM
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