Step Mother nees a lot of good advice

dyans_worldJuly 10, 2006

I need some advice. Yes, let me say sorry this is long winded. I am a Mother and a Step mother, I have four children and my new husband has two. We have been married for a little over a year and have been together for over three years.

About a year and a half my husband's x-wife was put into rehab and his at the time 15 year old daughter had to come and live with us (she will be 17 in september. Her mother drank too much, was never home and sometimes didn't even have food in the house. His kids would call us asking for food, and my husband would go over there and the only thing in the house was some noodles. So we bought them food, mind you we were paying 1200 bucks a month in child support. Technically the child support should have only been about 750 per month. So here we are paying over a grand so their mother can get drunk and not spend it on the kids. So my husband filed for custody while she was in rehab the first of 3 times so far. We won and she now lives with us permanently.

I am not mentioning his son right now because he is 19 and choose not to live with us. Things were going fine, but I started realizing that my husband was over compensating for her, letting her do thing but then yelling at my kids for doing the same thing. Stupid stuff like eating cereal for dinner, she could but mine couldn't. Staying out past curfew but not getting grounded for it, but if my kids were late they didn't go out the next day. Another rule of our house was if you didn't go to school you didn't go outside that day. Hey too sick to go to school too sick to play with friends. But that wasn't the case with his daughter, she stayed home sick then he drover her to a party she was wanted to go too. I wasn't the only one noticing it. My children were getting fed up over it too. They were coming to me whining that he wasn't being fair. I talked to my husband about it, every time he wasn't being fair. Things are much fairer now, but not to his daughters advantage. My husband just started forcing her to live by the same rules and she doesn't like it at all.

Another problem is, she thinks I'm a "nosey snobby brain-washing b*t*h"! Nosey I will give her, I am that. I don't trust her, I know she is sneaky, even when I caught her climbing out her bedroom window after curfewI told her father what she did, and she got introuble but it was my fault she got yelled at. I am an adult; I work really hard and pay half the bills in that house. I make sure all the kids (including her) have what they need for school I even buy her things she wants that she really doesnt need. I make sure all the bills are paid and there is food on the table. So I believe that I have every right to know what is going on in my house!

Yes, I do read her web pages, and I don't see anything wrong with it, if you post on the internet and anybody can read it and after her brother got accused of hacking into some web server I want to know what they do ON line. I don't see why I can't I pay for the internet and I am the one the police will come after if they screw up. I don't search her room. Though when we were gutting our basement so we could turn it into 3 bedrooms I did find drugs while I was packing her things, but I'm supposed to trust her!

Ah the drama goes on, about 6 months ago; his sons (19) boyfriend (22) had no place to live because his mother tossed him out. So we offered him a place to live, granted it wasn't in the house but there was no room with 5 kids already living with us, so we opened up our camper and ran electricity to it. So his son and his sons buddy live for 6 months there, for 6 months they did nothing for us. they didn't mow grass or do any dishes or even offer to cook a meal, you would think they could have ran a vacuum or a broom over the floor, and yes we did mention it to them how they could help out more. But they did nothing they would sleep all day and party all night. My husband's son did work, but his buddy didn't, he didn't even look for work, we told them that the situation was temporary; we told them they had to get jobs and save for an apartment. So when the dead line was up we closed our camper and they had to leave. His son went back to his grand ma's house and his buddy moved in with a friend. They couldn't understand why we were asking them to leave. During those 6 months they brought more chaos to our lives than we needed. My husband and his son fought all the time, pretty much because his son was disrespectful and would tell his father to shut up on his own house. The two boys fought constantly, even to the point where a knife was tossed across my living room while there were little kids in the house. I didn't even want to go to work anymore, because I worried what was going on while I wasn't there. Then right before they left Ed accused the boys of steeling his garage remote. (I wasn't home; I was gone with my two boys at summer camp) See my husband locks his vehicle and sets the alarm every night, but in the morning his car was unlocked and the garage remote was missing. The neighbor saw our garage open around 2 am while he was outside smoking, but he didn't think anything of it at the time. So that's why they were accused of it. I just read today on his sons friends website that it was me who accused them of it. (Yes I am nosey; I already stated that is a big fault of mine!)

So here I am stuck between my kids whining about my husband unfair treatment, my husband complaining about all the kids and his kids thinking I am the worst person on earth. I don't know what to do. Part of me wants to run away, while the other part says to ignore them. I want to so tell them all off. I know I am the adult, I know I am supposed to be above petty feelings and juvenile behavior. I just wish if they were going to hate me then they would stop asking me to do stuff for them!

Please don't tell me how horrible I am! Or how it's all my own fault, I am only part of the problem because I'm nosey. I need real helpful advice before I do something stupid like drop to their level!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can relate to what you are going through. I am a SD to 4 kids, one living with us who is 17. My wife is the fulltime SM to 2 of my children 14 (girl) and 17 (boy). They came to live with us when my ex could no longer handle them.
All of the kids are in their teenage phase and yes sometimes, actually a lot of the time, it is very stressful. Matter of fact, I am making a new chore list right now. I think structure and accountabilty is critical for you and your husbands relationship. All of the kids need to be treated the same. All should have some level of responsibility and be held equally accoutable when those responsibilities are not met. You both need to present a united front and agree on the consequneces when the kids are not around. I think that your husband is trying to play the good guy at times becasue he feels guilty because his kids have gone through so much. Regardless of their past, he is doing them no favors by allowing them to be in control. You two are the parents and if they cannot help out and follow the rules, they need consequences. There have been times that our kids rooms have looked like a prison cell because they were so barren due to them having things removed for not following the rules or helping around the house. When they get older (16+) and are still living at home, they think they are above the rules and at some point, it is time for them to figure it out on their own. It is an uphill battle for sure but they do want boundaries. It shows them that they are loved and cared for. It seems as though your husband is coming around and supporting you in this and that is a good thing.
Being a step parent is by no means an easy job nad most of the time it is pretty thankless. You have to be an adult with a very strong backbone to survive. You also have to be able to let the small things roll off of your back so to speak.
Hang in there, and support your husband. Make sure he is praised when he supports you and he should do the same. Spend some alone time with each other to break the monotony of being a parent all of the time and take the time to be partners, friends, and lovers. That is critical for survival. If you don't, the stress will eat you alive.
We have become pretty "matter of fact" with the kids. They are asked to do something and if they don't they have some consequence. I used to carry guilt for "punishing" them but now I see it as holding them accountable and raising them to be mature responsible adults. It is alot less stressful this way and they know what to expect although they still try to test the limits.
I wish you the best of luck in this situation and will pray for you. Keep us posted on your progress and struggles. It will not happen overnight.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 5:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you argon. what do you do when you are tired of letting it roll off your back so to speak. I have a B*tch book. I used to write in it all the time about everything that bothered me. I somtimes look like a blooming fool because IM yelling and complaining to myself in the car as if I were yelling at them. Sometimes I think I am insane. I wonder why I got married. Why would I want more kids. To be very honest I liked it better when she didnt live with us. I think I would rather pay child support than deal with the bull that comes from her. I am not the villian, I havent brain washed my husband. My husband is and 18 year military disabled vet and he runs our house like he was still in the service. Just not when it comes to his daughter. She has been with her mother for the last few days and to tell you its been heaven. My children's father barely sees them, the kids have to beg for him to visit with them. my kids are from a divorced family. they have had it just as rough so I dont feel for her at all. My oldest son who is 15 will do anything for you, no mater what the chore is. my youngest is 8 and her only responsiblity is keeping her room clean and her stuff in there. the 13 year old spends most of her time grounded because of her mouth along with my 14 year old son because of his mouth. But his daughter tells him he is stupid and to shut up.. and nothing happens to her. I am just at the point where her perfect mom can buy her shoes and her perfect mom and put ring tones on her phone and her perfect mom can buy her cloths. And her perfect mom can get her a car, and her perfect mom and pay for it. Her perfect mom doesnt pay child support so she should be able to afford it. Yes, I do sound jealous. Jealous that someone so irresponsible can get so much admiration and love and the person actually taking care of them gets nothing. I think it will get better when she turns 18 and moves back in with her mother, then she can remember how it was before.

I know IM jealous and I feel bad about it. I think I need to just do somthing for me. I think im going back to school, I make good money now but I think I need a change and since home is changing so slowly I will change me instead.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2006 at 7:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oooooooh I think alot of us can relate to your situation. Your hubby should talk to a councellor or do you have a close girlfriend that sees the situation like you do? my girlfriend has chats with my hubby sometimes to just give him another woman's point of view on hubby argues that I am picking on his girls all the time but sometimes days later will say you are right...wish it came quicker than it does. Your hubby has guilt and that is why he is easy on his daughter and tries to make it better for her but in actuality he is creating a monster and you need to lovingly explain that. What I said to my hubby is that his children are kids now but our job as parents is to raise them into adults...if you adult child lied to the boss would he/she give them empathy or would there be a consequence..consequence of course...we should be no different. Does he want his child telling him off as an adult too...if a child swears at them they have already lost respect for the parent...and he needs to take charge to enforce the rules and earn the respect back...he may think he is doing her a favor but because of his laid back actions she lost respect and feels she runs the house..not good. This is an every day struggle and yes, I think it happens in homes that have not suffered from divorce..different parenting tactics. But it is important to be on the same page...this weekend we went to a family summer camp..the kids were told one treat per day at the concession..his 9 year old daughter had her one treat that I saw (later found out she asked for a second and hubby said ok)..then while visiting with parents I see her at the concession again and walking away hinding something so in the middle of the conversation I say to hubby, your daughter is hiding something...immediately he said no she is not and I said oh yes she he called her over (guarantee he wouldn't have if it was just him and I sitting at the table) and his daughter turned and put her hand behind her back..well all the mothers laughed at that and said mother's know! I then continued my conversation and let hubby deal wtih his daughter...later I asked how he handled the situation and he said he lectured her to not be sneaky but in the end told her to not eat the treat all at once!!!!!!!! I was livid! I said he should have taken the treat away and then told her she lost concession for the next day as well because she was already told ONE treat and now she was being sneaky...he snapped that he was giving her empathy instead...empathy? days later he said ok, maybe I should have handled it different...frustrating..but one day they will grow up...and MEN better clue in that girls manipulate...ALL GIRLS DO...women clue into don' hubby asked his 9 year old daughter (same one as above) to do a chore and she said she couldn't..was really sick and had a sore throat...hubby walked out of the house...I said to her that was too bad cause I was going to take her with me to get her hair cut but now I would cancel cause she was sick..immediately she said oh, I am ok to go and I said nope, you are sick..well she stomped out of the house to her dad who clueless to the game came in and asked why his daughter couldn't get her hair cut and what was the hairdresser tele no. he would rebook her an appt for another day. He snapped that she needed a hair cut and I snapped that i was aware of that but it would not be today and that he just got PLAYED again and he will not overstep what I had already said...he argued and argued and was angry with me..I was angry at them both...then later on the phone I explained the situation again and finally he GOT IT...he was played..and called to reprimand his daughter FINALLY! be persistent..and searching their internet sites is not a bad thing..concerned parents do that.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 12:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Welcome to the group that knows what you're talking about. (smile) I can envision the chaos that you are experiencing. Worrying about what is happening at home while you are away. Knowing that you can't trust the stepdaughter that is almost 17, thinking about the disappearance of the garage remote, teens talking disrespectful when you have been bending over backwards to provide and care for them.

Is your husband at home while you are gone? Does he take care of the homefront?

You mentioned the idea of taking a course in something? You know, that sort of thing takes up more time than you might think. You are already stretched a bit too far. Don't you think so? It might be a divergence you would enjoy while you were gone--but you just might add to your frustration too.

I think it's the parents that put themselves behind the eight ball--not the kids. Seeing to it that their kids have everything they need and plus some. TV's in their bedrooms, phones, etc. Sometimes I think parents just don't want to have anything to do with their kids--the way they provide them with the tools to stay away. Parents seem to be so afraid of their kids. That's just not the way it should be. Kids have to know that they are responsible for what happens to them. There are consequences for everything. Too many parents are shielding their kids from consequences.

My own mother was so preoccupied with wanting to be a good person, and having so much control over us kids, having a clean house, everything always done, great meals, the whole bit--that it was easy to drive her into depression. We didn't know what we were doing--we just knew that we could drive her to the edge--and sometimes she would weaken, and we would get to do what we wanted. We didn't cause our dad any grief, because he wasn't going to put up with our shenanagons. His no's were no's--games didn't work.

I don't know about you calling yourself 'nosey'. Maybe that bothers you. I guess you don't appreciate the kids referring to you that way. There is a difference between being interested in your kids and being nosey. I used to find things out because I was interested...when a kid knows that you are out to catch them at something--they will want to keep things from you. If they know that you are genuinly interested in them--often they'll tell you things. Mostly, people don't like to be judged, criticized, or condemned.

Cheer up; do something nice for yourself. Go do something you and your hubby enjoy. Stick with your husband--the two of you be a comfort to each other. Help each other be firm.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 1:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, everyone for the compassion and great ideas.

I do need to tell you, my husband is a good man, he cleans, he cooks, he is a decent father to my kids adding stability to their lives, yes he is strict and up until yesterday I really did think we were on the same page. I told him about what she wrote about me. I told him what his son buddy wrote about me. I told him that I was fed up of being treated like a no body, (no mother day wishes, not a thank you to be heard, fed up of hearing how wonderful her mother is too), I just would like a little appreciation and not when they want something.) So I told him that if his daughter wanted something he could do it for her, or her precious mother could. Basically he told me that if I acted like that our marriage wouldnt last. Well now I know where I stand, but he doesnÂt realize if things donÂt change our marriage isnÂt going to last either. I am a strong woman, I donÂt need to have a husband to feel complete, I like having a husband to share my time with but I will not die if there isnÂt a man in my life. The only down fall is my youngest daughter who is 8 loves him as her real daddy, because she doesnÂt really have one like the other children, (long miserable story) Anyway, so here I am, not wanting to do anything for his kids. I think maybe I am going about this the wrong way, Maybe I should do everything for his daughter (the son is too old and disrespectful to even try) EXCEPT her Chores!!! If I do something for my kids then I will do something for her. That way, when the blame game gets played out (and it will), it wont be my fault. I will just keep track of it privately. I donÂt spoil my kids, when they need shoes I buy them a pair and my kids only have 1 pair of gym shoes. When they need cloths then I get them. If they want something they work for it and earn the money from their grand mother doing yard work. On occasion I do get them stuff just cause but that isnÂt an everyday thing and they show genuine appreciations for it. I guess all I can hope for is that my children turn out to be self reliant upstanding people I can be proud of.


    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 10:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So you're husband is not prepared to talk to his daughter about her behavior? You've done a lot already for his family, why isn't he appreciating that? If you say you don't need a man in your life, get out of the marriage.

Don't put your children through this chaos. You and your kids needs harmony and while there's a war going on in your own home, that's not going to happen. Aren't you scared for your kids with knife flying around the living room?

Don't even bother with the 17 year old. My SD did the same thing to us, she even have a website that tells the whole world about how mean we are to her, (no computer/internet/going out with friends) how her mother is the best blah blah blah. I admit, I am strict, no nonsense kind of SM, when I first met my DH kids years ago, they did the "you're not our mom, don't tell us what to do", I told all of them this, you guys are living in my house, there's rules in my house, you don't like it? Airport is 20 minutes way!

I wish you the best.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 11:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Right now I am just angry and hurt. I need to get past this anger and this hurt. I need to decide exactly what is best for my family in the long run. I need to talk to the his daughter because he will do it all wrong, if he does it then he will just yell and scream and that will make it worse. I asked him not to say anything. I dont want more aggrivation then I already have.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 1:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So if your husband's kids show you some appreciation, you will stay with your husband? You know where you stand with your husband? You mean, that you were acting out like a child and your husband didn't give you the compassion you were looking for? Hmm. Ranting about someone's kids does not win us respect--it hurts--no matter what the kids have done. You are an adult and you are a wife. Your husband probably expects you to rise above the drama, but instead you are adding to the drama. If you are looking for appreciation--get a dog.

The reality is, the almost 17 year old daughter is damaged goods because of the adults in her life--probably. She needs to have a good example set for her. I hope none of the kids were around when you decided to let your husband have it. His daughter doesn't need to see one more person whacking at her dad. You acting out your feelings isn't the kind of example anyone in your home needs to see. That is called drama. Drama is very wearing on those who have to be around--certainly not how you want your children to deal with their feelings. You say you are a strong woman--easily controlled is not strong.

Your husband is on a disability--he probably needs you. You are a working mother and you need him too. Lashing out at your husband because he doesn't have kids that like you--and you feel that you would be better off without him--well, that's an option. Your problem isn't your eight year old any more today than it was when you first decided to be with this man.

Like I said, cheer up and do something with your husband that you both enjoy. Try to be a comfort to each other during these trying times.

Just so you know, no one thinks what's happening is easy to handle. About doing things for the girl--and keeping track of what you do for her--that's just looking for reasons to justify your feelings toward her. I don't know that you are the one to instruct her--not with your feelings toward her. She already knows that she can't depend on you--you will just come across as a phony.

Sorry, I'm not real nice. If you have been reading the posts in this forum for very long--you know there are so many step parents that just didn't know that they couldn't handle what would be in store for them. It's not just the adults that are sorry cases.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well said Brass Tacks - you're right, it may not be nice but it is the facts.
As a step child and now a step dad of 4 and a biologicalfather of 4 (2 teens who live with us), it is not an easy job by any means. Yes, I have been divorced but I'll be damned of I do it again. Too many people leave too easily and run into the same problems again. I made this commitment and will stick to it. Giving yourself other options is only asking for problems unless there is a danger to your children. It's alot easier to give up and not work through the problems. Of course it takes two and a lot of open honest communication.
If your husband is not treating all the kids equally, it is time to have a talk - Lovingly that is, not out of frustration and hatred. That does not show love and respect and will not get you the desired results only keep breeding more furstration on both of your parts.
My teenage daughter is a manipulator for sure and I'll be the first to admit that I did not always see it without some coaxing from my new wife. I do now see it and matter of factly give her consequences whenever she does not do what is asked of her. Same with her son and mine (both 17).
As far as the "score card" on your SD - it will only create frustration for you and your husband and he will feel like you are throwing things in his face if you ever bring it up. If you do things for her, do it becasue you are genuinely trying to build a realtionship with her and expect nothing back. at least at first. She will come around in her time and you have to be patient.
Sometimes it is hard to see that it is better to be firm with them becuase we might have guilt from what they have gone through. Bottom line is that our first responsibility towards our kids is being a parent and second is being a friend.
Don't give up on your family. Be patient...Pray...alot...Show compassion and love in the face of adversity.
One of my favorite sayings is -
"If you don't control your attitude, it will control you"
You are in charge of your attitude and you must remember that every morning when you wake up and reaffirm it several times a day. Carry a card with that saying, or wear a rubber band on your wrist - Someting to helpo keep things in perspective.
Best of luck to you!!!! Keep us posted on your progress.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

brass_tacks said:"So if your husband's kids show you some appreciation, you will stay with your husband?"

I have no intention of leaving my husband because his daughter would rather I was gone!!!!

brass_tacks Said: "Ranting about someone's kids does not win us respect--it hurts--no matter what the kids have done."

As far as I am concerned I should have earned it by now! I keep our house clean, I have done her laundry, I have put food on the table, I made arrangements for the kids to have cell phones, I brought internet in the house so she could go on line, I have taken her shoping when she needed somthing, I have made her soup in bed and bought her medicine when she was sick. I have thought of her when I was out shopping for myself because I needed cloths. I have done without so the kids could have things they needed. I have never given her reason to not respect me

Brass_tacks said: "You are an adult and you are a wife."

yep, thats right, thats why the house is clean, the bills are paid, the kids have food to eat, cloths on their back and a lot of extra special things they dont really need! I also listen when they want to talk. I have never not been there when the needed somthing, if it was good, i congratulated them on it. when It wasnt good i consoled them.

Please dont forget, I am human, I have feelings and I am just as important as the kids. Being a parent doesnt mean we are people without feelings, or that we should not think of ourselves from time to time. The children have everything they need and some of what they want!!!

Brass_tacks said: "The reality is, the almost 17 year old daughter is damaged goods because of the adults in her life--probably."

My children come from a broken home, an abusive father that beat me up, and father they have to beg to come visit them but they dont write slanderous things on the internet about my husband when he yells and grounds them. I dont yell at her, I have tried to make our home a family but now im tired of holding it in and letting things roll off my back!

brass_tacks said: "I hope none of the kids were around when you decided to let your husband have it. His daughter doesn't need to see one more person whacking at her dad."

For your information, it was at 10 pm the kids that were home were in bed! and she wasnt home. I didnt let my husband have it. I explained to him my feelings in a normal sensible way. I dont scream and yell unless someone is screaming and yelling at me. I was more depressed and felt like crying than I was angry. No body likes being treated badly when you have tried your best to make things better.

Brass_tacks said:"Your husband is on a disability--he probably needs you. You are a working mother and you need him too. Lashing out at your husband because he doesn't have kids that like you--"

My husband makes just as much money as I do. we both work 40 hours a week. We both share in all expenses equally and the same goes for the house, with the exception of he mows the lawn and I do the laundry (somedays I wish I could trade) My husband and I only fight over kids, other than that we are very compatable. WE never fight over money, we never fight of who spends what, we never fight, unless its a kid thing

I dont need his daughter to like me. What I want is her to be consitant. If she is going to hate me then hate me and dont talk to me, but dont slander me one day, then the next act like sugar and spice because she wants ring tones added to her cell phone, or wants me to buy her somthing.

As for my kids, I have never sugar coated them, the youngest (8)acts like a big baby, the 13 year old girl is mean and always defiant (she spends lots of time in her room) the 14 year old boy has a behavioural disorder and the 15 year old boy acts like a we are an embarassment. My kids like my husband and have told me so the baby calls him daddy and is always hugging on him. And anytime the 13 year old girl gets pissy about my husband disciplining her I back him up, I expect the same in return.

BRASS_TACKS SAID "Just so you know, no one thinks what's happening is easy to handle. About doing things for the girl--and keeping track of what you do for her--that's just looking for reasons to justify your feelings toward her. I don't know that you are the one to instruct her--not with your feelings toward her. She already knows that she can't depend on you--you will just come across as a phony."

This one I have to give me, yep that would be petty of me. But I was so angry and hurt. She doenst know I feel this way, I have never been mean to her ever. I dont even discipline her, thats her fathers job! He likes to control things the only time I step in is when he punishes mine for somthing but then lets his daughter get away with it. THAT is what we fight about most of the time. FAIRNESS

"She already knows that she can't depend on you-"
THIS STATEMENT IS BULL, I have always been there for her when ever she needed me, or asked me to be. I have never refused her! EVEN when her MOM wouldnt do somthing for her and she was down I did it!. I have helped with homework I have got her the supplies and even researched her work when she would hit a wall or got stumped.

Yes, you are mean, but you made a few good points but the points i dont agree with I have commented on.

FYI, we only have 6 kids, 4 are mine 2 are his

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 2:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you argon

I dont intend on leaving my husband. I will survive the next 10 years till the last child is 18. I have tried being nice, I have tried dicussing my feelings calmly and expressing my desire for fairness over and over while we laid quietly in bed but it always leaded to the blame game fight. So I tried keeping it to my self. That doesnt work, that just made me more mad and miserable. Somedays while driving home, I would look like a blooming fool yelling at my stearing wheel so when i got home I didnt snap on my family. I think all kids step and bio should come with a book, or an on off switch so when we as parents need a break or time to sort out a situation.

I totally agree with being firm. check our our home before she moved it.

all the kids were in the house by 8:30, by 9:30, they were all in bed sleeping, everynight we had dinner at 6 and all kids were required to be there for the meal even if they didnt like what we were eating that was dinner. Cerial was for breakfast, and lunch snacks were only for lunches, Children didnt drink pop, that was reserved for adults only. children drank juice, milk, cool aid. Kids didnt have cell phones, kids didnt go on line.

How thing are now after she has lived there a year. Granted kids are older now but

curfews are now 10 pm and 11 pm weekends. kids are in rooms by 10 most of the time but tv's are always on. curfew are broken more often then kept. Kids barely show up for dinner and if they do and dont like the food they dont eat it they make somthing else. 3 of the kids have cell phones costing us and extra 160 bucks a month. in exchange they wash dishes (we own a dish washer)and take out the trash twice a week each oh thats the equivilant of about 1 and a half hours of work a week and they get a cell phone. we now have broadband internet with 4 wireless connecting, I need it for work, they just wanted it. everyone has attitudes, Including me, everyone has the poor poor me symdrom.

After writing that, I realize that everything thats happening in our house is because of my husband and I its our faults. My husband and I need to sit down and discuss what kind of structure we are going to have in the house and we need to write it down. we need to compromise on the rules we need to come up with punishments for breaking the rules, all the teens can be treated equal, but the 8 year olds should be modifed because of her age, but not made exempt, all the kids should have some kind of responsibilities to our home above what they do to get their cell phones.

I like structure, things in their place and a place for everything, NO im not a neat bug, but I like structure! and I want the structure we lost back.


forget I was a big over sensitive baby and forget that my husband is a guilt ridden blind man (so to speak)

I need some good advice how we can bring structure and harmany back into our home, the kids wont like it, but they need it to grow up and be loving organized respectful people.

If everyone knows what to expect, and what will happen when they step out of line. Maybe my husband can get back to being a loving family all the time, not just when they aren't around

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 3:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Argon is very insightful.

Even though you are certainly worthy of recognition and appreciation, that is not something that the young are very good at communicating (or feeling). Recognition and appreciation come with years and experience. Anyone who has done something in particular can appreciate what goes into that something--understand? My own mother never did appreciate the frustration my dad felt when he cut the grass and had to stoop to mow under all the trees mom loved. Do you think she would let him prune? No. If she had ever cut the grass she would have been able to appreciate what he went through for years. Same with driving through traffic coming home from work. Etc. Etc.

If you happen to think that people will like you or love you for being a perfect person--you are wrong. Would you like to argue about that?

Cheer up and do something with your husband that you both enjoy. Be a comfort to each other in these trying times.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 3:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I can argue about everything, Im very good at that.
I told you, she doenst have to love me or appreciate me, I just want her to be consistant. I come from a blended family, with fatherly abandomment to go with it. but I never put my step father to this kind of hell. Yes, I do think that some kids appreciate and recognize when you do things for them. Only selfish, self obsorbed, people dont recognize niceness when its givin. And I have never had anyone tell me they hated me because I was nice. and I never said I was perfect Thats not the advice I asked for in my last post anyway.

as for doing something with my husband, WE CANT, I paid the bills like a normal responsible adult! Theres no money left to do anything not even enough to see a movie together.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 5:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dyans world,
Yes, structure and consequences, that's what you and your husband need to construct and enforce. I went through the same stepmother-as-target treatment for years. My husband and I would be divorced if my SD hadn't gone away to school. By the time he finally started exerting his authority with her, she was so far gone she'd stand nose to nose with him, yelling in his face or following him around for hours, arguing and screaming obscenities at both of us.

I also find it quite remarkable how many people expect step-parents to have ultra-superhuman reserves of compassion and patience, particularly when they're being abused by SKs in ways that often far exceed the abuse biological children mete out. Somehow, these expectations are justified by he fact that we should have "known what we were getting into." Uh-uh. No one knows until they're in it. I'm convinced that the only reason biological parents are able to endure this kind of abuse, and still love their children, is precisely because of the biological connection. I'm convinced that the specific physical/chemical bond means everything, otherwise, metaphorically speaking, more parents would be tossing kids onto the freeway at 70 miles an hour.

It is *okay* for you to have your feelings of frustration and resentment, you'd be inhuman if you didn't. And I understand how your pain, without an outlet, can turn into a depression. It's also ok to say to yourself and others, you've reached your limit. Older teenage SKs are now entering the age in which the love they receive from others is no longer unconditional, the kid of love that smaller children deserve. They're stepping into the world of adult love, which is the result of their actions.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm trying to say something...sorry I didn't use the right words. I didn't mean to imply that you think you are perfect. Not at all. I sincerely think that you are worthy of much recognition and appreciation. But part of your hurt feelings is that you have done so much for this girl, and yet she wrote things about you that hurt you (that you weren't suppose to know about--remember?), and while she can be ok with you when she wants something, she can also be very hurtful toward you. So while you can agree that you 'deserve' appreciation, a thank you, or whatever, instead you receive zero. I'm trying to make the point that even though you deserve appreciation, etc., that is not where the child is at. It's like asking a child to be something she is not. You probably read allot about family counseling. It is not a bad idea.

In answer to your last post: You tell this family of yours that because you and your husband and they need to improve and nobody is doing it on their own, or even with reminders, that all spending will stop for goodies, wants and needs, and the money will instead go toward paying for family counseling. I wouldn't be making a threat; I would be serious. But you have to be committed enough to follow through for what could be a long time. Guess what!! I'll guaranty you that when your family realizes what this will mean to THEM, you watch and see how fast they learn to improve what they can improve.

That means no birthday gift, no Xmas gift, nothing for chores, all inclusive is what I mean. The moratorium on spending would include all spending except that you and your husband will go out once a week without the kids to do something you both enjoy.

If you are as fed up as you say you are, then you have to be realistic and know that you alone cannot make this family over. You can only do your part. Everyone else can do only their part. Family counseling is the best answer. You have many hurts in your past; it will do you so much good!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2006 at 6:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You mentioned more than once that you wish the older daughter that has you so unhappy, would be consistent toward you.

If she were consistent with you, you would be better able to cope with her. You would have a better idea about what to think of her and how to respond, etc. Is this a good summation?

This girl's behavier could be simply normal. Please don't attack me--let me explain why I think that. (I don't like the word normal--when referring to people--but I don't know a better word without going into some long monologue.) One day a kid will enjoy silly games, and the next day sees silly games as babyish. One day a girl will want a cell phone and the next day rant for a popsicle. I've noticed this kind of thing with girls much more than with boys. Maybe you have some very good examples. Maybe this girl has passed this stage.

You described a girl that knows how to be sweet to you when you are doing something that she likes, but will show serious disrespect at other times.

The bad part, on your part, is that you are responding with feelings that show you take her behavier personal. I can hear you saying, 'of course!'. I don't want to say that you are not partly responsible for the way the girl thinks of you and it would be accurate to take some behaviers personal, but I'll bet there is much more to her behavier than what you are responsible for.

If you want to respond better, then you need to understand her better and how the two of you are relating to each other (counseling).

Just because you go out to work and provide for the family, shop, do laundry, etc., etc., etc., children do not think of you as you think of yourself. You have to get this. Same with you and your husband. Just because you think you are good at communicating (or whatever) doesn't mean that is what he thinks of you. Your identity seems to be wrapped up in how people treat you. When that goes on, then you end up feeling like a yo-yo. You feel good if people treat you good and feel lousy if people don't respond to you the way you think they should.

The person that needs to be consistent is you. Please understand that you control your behavier and what you think.

Let me explain a little more. Here is a common story. A guy worked very hard at keeping his property well taken care of, his home was always kept repaired, he did a great many chores around the home--probably outworked every guy on the street. He was gone for 10/12 hours a day with his job, took care of the cooking a couple times a week, spent time studying the markets and invested his money wisely, took care of the budget, went to kid's football gamesto watch his kids in the marching band, payed for his kids to have music lessons for years and years, and all that you might think his family would appreciate, and hardly ever did anything that was relaxing--except have a few beers once in a while. His family liked him, or at least he thought they did, and everyone seemed to like their life. All seemed fine. One day this hard working, great guy gets an envelope delivered to him--one Saturday. Beautiful day! Guess what he was being served--yup! His sweet wife that he had been pampering and running his butt off for since day one was having him served with papers. Why? She didn't get enough attention and she found the kind she wanted some place else. Something called mental cruelty. No joke--he didn't think that his life being screwed with was anything he ever deserved. He didn't know that he didn't know his wife; he didn't know that he didn't know his kids. He didn't know that he was just making himself happy. Whatever. He didn't know he was self-absorbed. He just thought that he was doing all the things a good husband, provider, and father should do. So while he felt pretty good about himself--his family were strangers to him. Should you feel sorry for this guy or for his family?

I'm only trying to make the point that the way you see yourself may not be the way you are perceived by another person. Maybe everyone else treats you ok, but this one person does not--and the rejection or whatever you want to call it, is causing you too much pain.

I strongly advise you to get counseling. You may be headed for some depression or some other kind of stress that will end up taking a toll on your health, your life, your job or something. If you can't get your family into counseling--then go just by yourself. You need the kind of relief that does not come by a good nite sleep, or a vacation, or by reading a good book on what goes on in the mind, etc. The kind of help you need will take time. No doubt in my mind that you will enjoy your experience and become a much happier, better person.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 8:40AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I am glad that you have had a chance to put things into perspective for now. Your plan seems like a winner and well thought out. I can relate so much to you becasue right now, my wife is stressed to the max dealing with teenagers (hers and mine) as well. They can be so selfish at those ages...I try to pick my battles so that their morale is not totally crushed and there is some incentive to improve but some days it is really hard. I am sure that they feel that I have my foot on their necks most of the time.
This is a great place to vent and hopefully get advice. I think you have accomplished both.
Knowing that you are committed to your marriage is a breath of fresh air for me. The most frustrating part of this board is reading the posts where the advice is given to just give up and move on. The children need to see that you love their father and another divorce will only hamper their own relationships down the road.
Parenting is tough, step-parenting is tougher. Loving the children and caring for them is a consious choice not based on their reactions to you. I know that is a hard pill to swallow for some, but it is the Christian way to handle things. Be firm, but with love. They will come around in their time. They don't understand what you are going through and you the same with them. Fortunately, you are an adult and deal with your feelings in an adult manner. They have to learn and depend on you and their father for that example on how to handle those feelings.
Keep us posted. I will keep your family in my prayers.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 10:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dont worry Argon, the only way divorce will happen is over two things. One, if he ever hits me, im out the door, did that once, never again, and Two, if he ever cheats on me, then he is out the door. Two things I cant and wont ever live with again.

Please tell me, are these rules too much to ask?

1 keep your rooms clean.
2 dont leave your cloths all over the laundry room
(or the hall way in the basement, it makes me mad to see garbage tossed on the floor in the hall because they didnt want it in their room anymore)
3 keep your stuff in your room.
(All kids have their own room)
4 obey the curfew
5 dont swear
6 come home for dinner at 6 pm
7 do your chores
8 clean up after yourself
(alice doesnt live here)
9 do your laundry on your laundry day
(7 people in the house everyone has an assinged day)
10 no fighting
11 no friends in the house when we are not home
12 no sneaking out!
13 be respectful
14 no smoking, drink, drugs, or gangs.

im sure I can come up with more.. but these seem fair dont you think?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 7:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hmm? Shoot Fire!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 5:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

is it at all possible that you sometimes take the resentment for your husband not following up on things out on his daughter? I know I am guilty of this and that is why I ask. I find that if he and I are on the same page I am not so sensitive to his daughter's wrong doings but it is added to if we are on the outs...councelling for the two of you is what I would focus on..she gets away with things only because she is ALLOWED at teens think only of themselves so of course she is going to be nice when she wants something...all kids own and my sd's..they will not pay attention to all the things you do for them either because they are self absorbed...I saw the things my mom did as a stay at home mom, I didn't feel sorry for her..I saw it as HER JOB..plain and simple..when they become a parent they will look at this picture much differently..but now, they won't..look back to when you were a teen...everything was about you and about your friends...that therefore should be where the consequences go...if they abuse something they lose cell phone priveledges, or telephone time, or internet and so know what is important to HER...use your adult knowledge to YOUR advantage..I know as a teen I always wondered how my parents were always ahead of the friends when you babysit I was told..and my parents always found out when I mom even checked the mileage on my car so she knew I didn't go where I was suppose to be...and I was stumped like wow you are smart...use your adult knowledge to your benefit..they are were once too.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 9:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

oh God, i've been reading alot of post on teenage SK. My two haven't hit their teenage years. My SD is turning 11 and so soon it will begin. So far, the kids have behaved. Like i stated in previous posts. My husband has his claws in them when they come.
Those rules are fair and there is no reason why they shouldn't follow them. But i can see rebellion happening cause they are teens. I rebelled quite a bit when i was 14. But you know. I never treated my stepmom with any disrespect. I liked her. She was tough but fair. and she gave me respect. She didn't love me and i didn't ask or want that. Just her understanding and her acceptance. Which i do give both my SK when they come. And i do spend alot of time with them when they ask me to help them with homework.
I just hope it doesn't turn into a war zone like ive been reading. I've spoken with my husband about this site. And he likes the fact that i'm on it to see other perspectives and what not. And it helps me vent as well.
We've spoken about the futur discipline about his kids when they enter teenage years cause i do have my worries. I did tell him i will not tolerate BS from is kids or ours. And if his kids act up, they are out. I can see he felt bad about it but at the same time understanding. His ex wants the kids to stay with her until 18. Thats because of the cash she gets. My SD wants to move in earlier than that. Which i dont mind. She gives me respect. She appreciates what i do for her. I get mother day cards etc..etc.. Thank you for being the best stepmom etc... I'm lucky so far. So far...we will see in a few years. BUT my SS...i foresee problems like what you are having with your SD. He appreciates nothing! he doesn't clean up his mess...leaves plates lying around. even when you tell him he doesn't always pick up. It came to the point where the house was disgusting after they would leave that weekend. Sooo..i finally told him , anything you do not pick up (ie his toys, cars etc..) and put in your room will be thrown out. since you dont pick it up, i guess you dont value it, and its garbage. Well...he is starting . But i can see him turning around and ot listen to me at all. Last week he said "no" to me. And i was asking and being kind. His father told him off. He apologized to me. But that means nothing unless you mean it. My hubby thinks when he gets into his teens that he wont be coming around. I really dont mind if he doesn't come. He's been sour for the past month since his father disciplines him.
I dont get involved in that. Its none of my business.
Dyan, You've broken your back for this girl. Step back. Stop doing things for her. U will feel less used. If she doesn't appreciate it and show disrespect for you on her website. Dont do anything anymore. Dont get into confrontation with her. Say nothing. The rules are fair that you listed.
She will be 17. Does she have a job??? Have you discussed with your husband when she turns 18 for her to get her own place.?????
I dont like the fact your husband turned around and told you if you act like that our marriage is in jeapordy. That attitude doesn't fly with me.
You SD is sh***ing on you and he is saying nothing about her behaviour? You say he is a very good husband. I'll agree. Guys washign and cleaning and cooking its great! But that comment. Sorry, the bioparents are responsible for doing things for their children. Not you. And you do have the right to be respected. You cannot replace their mom and yet you've been placed in this position and from the sounds of your husband , he expects you to be the mom. just doesn't fly with me.
What do you think will happen when she does turn 18 and she acts up and your husband does nothing? Would you throw her out? Will your husband agree to that or would he be pist off at you?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 2:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

HI everyone,

I dont know what the future holds for me. So for now, I am taking life one day at a time. One moment by one moment. I turn 40 next week and well I dont want to spend it brooding over whether the kids are happy. I want to spending being happy myself.

Kids are typically miserable, even if they have everything. So its time to make me happy!

All I can do is be the best parent I know how to be and be proud of myself and love myself for being me!

hugs to all

    Bookmark   July 21, 2006 at 11:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My name is Stacie, I'm with the Dr. Keith Ablow Show, a new daytime television show debuting in September. Dr. Ablow is a renowned psychiatrist who's goal is to advise, educate and inform, not to judge or sensationalize. The opposite of Dr.Phil's approach in every way. He's younger, approachable and genuinely interested in helping people strategize and take away tools for a healthier life. You may have seen Dr. Ablow on TV, he's a frequent guest on Oprah, Good Morning America, CNN, etc. as an expert. He was also a
practicing psychiatrist in Boston. To find out more about Dr. Keith please
I am looking to speak with stepmoms and stepdads about what their lives are like. Blending families can be difficult and in doing my research, I've come across many different issues. I was hoping that you would be willing to share your personal stories with me. You are, of course, under no obligation to come to our show. My toll free number is 1-888-372-2569 ext 4347 or email me at
I'm hoping to hear from you soon.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just read all the posts regarding how hard it is to be a stepparent. I have 3 boys and my husband has 3 girls. No Brady Bunch.We have been married for 2 years and things just seem to be getting worse. I try to talk with my husband about how I am feeling and he just thinks I am crazy or I just dont like his girls. I try to set down ground rules and he will not support them. If the girls are upset with him then he will cave. He has said terrible things about me to them when he has been mad at me. ( They are 19, 16, and 12) It has made it hard to parent them because they see him disrespecting me by talking about me to them or disagreeing with me in front of them. I used to make dental appointments, vision and physicals for them. I take mine so I just would take them too but it goes unappreciated by my husband or his ex. I make appointments and they wont make sure the kids are here on their appointment day so I stopped. I am not sure what my role is any more. I wanted to just be a good mom to the girls. I know I dont completely understand them, me having boys and all but I initially found it to be fulfilling. I dont any more and I feel bad about it. I want to have a family that is there for each other and helps out around the house. The girls are not made to do anything unless I ask them too and then its the eye rolling and such. I think we should all pitch in and when I say things to m y husband he usually has no input but if things are not going good then I am the bad guy and I am the one that comes up with all the rules he says. I ask for input but he doesnt give it most of the time. I tald him today that we ( him and I) need to be on the same page. And that I feel we havent been for some time now. He said he is so sick of this s#%t. He doesnt see that I am sooo unhappy in how this family has evolved. His 16 year old step daughter lived with us for a little over a year and that is when he would tell her things that made him mad about me. I couldnt understand why I was having such a problem with parenting her but when I found out, I understood and we alomst got divorced over it. She moved back to her moms and we have been able to work things out. He says he has not done that since then but I think he has. My younger step daughter has been showing signs that she may have heard him rant about me. They pull away for no reason and get more defiant. I stay consistent with my approach with them so they know I am who I say I am but it gets hard and I start to get sad because I know that it is my husband who is causing this. He says he loves me and wants things to work out but he gets mad at me whn I try to talk to him about how I feel. I want us to be on the same page but he says thats me wanting "my" way but thats not true. I want him to communicate with me what he is willing to do and I can do the same but that never happens. Its always my kids and his kids. I am the same with mine and his but he is not. He says it is hard for him when he only has them on the week ends but he will let them get away with stuff that is wrong. Like his 16 year old staying over her GM's with her boyfriend. I told him how upset I was that his mother would allow such a thing and he assured me it would not happen. But it did and he just tells me that I am making too much of it and that he did try to tell his mom that he didnt "like "it. It was wrong and the message he sent to his daughter was terrible but I am the bad guy cuz I want to look out for hi daughter. He hears that I dont think he is a good dad. Or that I a superior mother. I am not saying any of those things. I just giving input and showing that i care. I dont think I will make it and I feel terrible because my youngest is ten and I dont want to put him through more termoil. But is it worse to stay or to go??? I dont know how to communicate my needs or feelings any better than I have and it gets me know where. What should I do?? I am tired of being the bad guy because my values and parenting are different from my husbands or at least they are when his girls get mad at him.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2009 at 3:38PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
will the real mom please stand up!
I'm all confused. My kids bio-mom abandoned us with...
husband has new found 21 year old daughter
I am having a lot of trouble coping. Please dont beat...
Mellow with time
After 16 years, the strong emotions have subsided. His...
If I could tell mothers of adult stepchildren anything, Part 2
It seems my five-year-old topic has reached its limit...
Step Son Help
Hi, Im Rowdy and have been married for 11 years now....
Sponsored Products
Darth Vader and Family Notecard Set
$9.99 | zulily
CSL Lighting | LED SS3000 Step Light
$200.00 | YLighting
Lithonia Lighting Ceiling Mounted Lighting Riser 2-Light Black Bronze Ceiling
$54.67 | Home Depot
DreamLine Mirage 44-48 x 72 Frameless Sliding Shower Door
Hinkley Rectangular Bronze Outdoor LED Step Light
Lamps Plus
Miele RX1 Scout Robot Vacuum
$899.00 | FRONTGATE
Linen Fiber Ball Modern Style Random Light Pendant
Malibu Path & Landscape Lights Low Voltage Half Brick Deck Light 8301-2402-01
$17.97 | Home Depot
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™