Correct me if I am wrong.......

elemental_803November 1, 2009

I have been married to my DH for almost 7yrs. I have 2 SS, ages 10 and 12, and one BS with my DH, age 6. To make it short, my SS's went 3 yrs manipulating all of us, DH's ex and their SF included, to get exactly what they wanted. They get everything they want at their mom's house, whether they deserve it because of their behavior or not. My DH and I are not financially well off, and we have spent the last 2 yrs putting out a lot of money every month to pick them up 4 hours away once a month when DH ex moved out of state. They have now moved back. We have them every other week. They have no sense of responsibility at all. They will not pick up their clothes, put up their dishes, turn in their homework, etc. They have thrown away dishes not paying attention, broken things, and the list goes on. I know at their ages, a little laziness is normal, but they do absolutely nothing. Each boy has ONE chore that is their responsibility, and the only one that does it is the 6 yr old. Do not get me wrong, my son is no angel, and I fully recognize this.

In the past, whenever we got something for our 6 yr old, we would get for all three, whether they were here or not. If the 6 yr old got something when they were not here and we did not get for them, they would have say that was not fair, they did not get one. Therefore, if we could not afford for all three, we simply did not get it. I am not doing this any more. If they are here, they will get just the same as the 6 yr old, but I will not put my son aside anymore in an effort to be fair to 2 boys who are not here right now, and probably already have whatever I am buying at their mom's anyway. My son has gone without his whole life because of my SS's, either because we could not afford for all three, or because of the money we were putting out on them on trips or court. I mean, picture telling a 6 yr old, no we can't because we don't have the money to take everyone, even though they are not here. And they come back talking about all the awesome things they did at their Mom's. From now on, if they are not here, I will buy my son whatever I want to.

So, tell me, have i wised up? Or am I just so tired of the manipulation that I am being unfair?

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"In the past, whenever we got something for our 6 yr old, we would get for all three, whether they were here or not. If the 6 yr old got something when they were not here and we did not get for them, they would have say that was not fair, they did not get one. Therefore, if we could not afford for all three, we simply did not get it."

I have a SS7 who is with us 50% of the time. My DD is also 7 but she lives with DH and I full-time.

We used to be more like what you're saying and it just got to be too ridiculous.

LIFE isn't fair and it is silly to manufacture this false sense of "everything is always equal" for the kids---because that is not reality. People are different---we all have different needs/wants and those change all the time, anyway.

When SS is at his mom's, DH and I might take DD to the bookstore and let her get a new book. We might go out to breakfast. We might take her to the park and let her ride her bike. We might to a movie.

When SS is with us, we do all these things, too, but we don't stop doing them when he is with his mom.

When he's with his mom, SHE takes him to do fun things, SHE takes him to breakfast, or takes him to a tumbling place or bounce house. SHE might take him to rent a movie or an Xbox game.

It all balances out IMO. And YES, he still gets grumpy at times when he comes back to our home and sees that DD got a new book, or hears that she had a friend spend the night...but we just point out to him that these are all things HE also gets, some of the time with us and some of the time with his mom.

I went to Target this morning and got SS two new pairs of fleece jammies---because he doesn't have many for this coming winter season. DD complained about it when I got home but I pointed out to her she has several new pairs that my mom bought her!

I think it is silly and unrealistic to try to make EVERYTHING fair and equal.

That said, we do try to keep big things for when SS is with us and our whole family can enjoy together. For example, we would not plan our once-a-year day trip to Six Flags on a weekend when SS is with his BM. We would schedule that for when he's with us. And I wouldn't make a big purchase for DD if I knew it was something SS would be super upset by---ie, they both got Nintendo DSs for Christmas last year, and they covet new games. I would not buy one for her and not for him. If anything, I might buy one for them to share.

But little things---like books, small treats/toys, or fun outings---those all even out over time IMO.

As far as the chores go, I don't know, but I have heard many people on here talk about how boys that age are just messy in general. I would try some kind of chore chart/reward system. Ten days of completeing their chores without being asked, and maybe they could earn a trip to the movies or a sleepover with a friend, etc.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 3:14PM
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In the sense that you've stopped buying stuff for kids that aren't there -- then yes, you've wised up.

But I also hear a lot of resentment in your post which, if it's only temporary venting, is OK; but you sure don't want to live there!

You say you have them every other week. Is that 7 days on, 7 off? Or just weekends? Because from a chores point of view, that's significant. If it's truly 50/50, then the child clearly lives there and should have chores. If it's every other weekend or two-three days at a stretch, then it's more like the child is visiting, and in this case, chores are more iffy.

Sure, they should always put their own dirty dishes into the dishwasher, and pick up their junk from around the house. And it's not out of line to ask them to take out the trash, rake leaves or set the table. But to clean up 7 days of mess for 4 people when you're only one person whose been there 2 days -- Well, that can seem unfair.

I'd suggest you talk to Dad. Tell his that when the boys do this or don't do that that you begin to feel resentful, and that you don't want to feel that way and are sure he doesn't want you to feel that way towards his sons. So if he can get them to follow just a few core rules, that everyone will be happier.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 3:38PM
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We get the boys 7 days on, 7 days off. I also do their chore when they are not here, that way they don't come back to a big mess that they had nothing to do with.

I do have a lot of resentment toward the kids, mostly from the pain they have put my husband, and by remote, my son through with all of the lies (i.e., my mom slapped me in the face), but I am also aware that I have resentment issues and am trying very hard to work through it.

My issue isn't just that they don't clean up, it's the attitude that they shouldn't have to. And when I say something about the broken stuff, I get a shrug and OK. I don't want to keep harping on them, but it really can get wearing. We have never had the "Not my kid thing", it was always assumed that when I married my husband, the kids became my responsibility as much as they were his. I simply did not know enough then to see that I was being prepped to TAKE the responsibility for the kids. I work days, my husband works evenings, and doesn't get home until after all of the kids are in bed. I do the homework, do bathtime, dinner, and bedtime. I am sure that this is also where a lot of my resentment comes from, in the fact that he gets to do exactly what he wants to do all day, and I come home from work to take care of all 3 of his kids. As you can see, some of my resentment is for my husband, and I do not take that out on the boys.

Talking to my husband about them not cleaning up, well, that wouldn't work, in the fact that he doesn't clean up after himself, which is it's own issue, altogether.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 6:46PM
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Elemental, say it ain't so! You are the one handling the custody vists every other week. BM isn't spending any more time than you.

It's your home, your rules. Simple as that although not easy. Get out your whip. If they can't comply, help, whatever, then they need to stay with Mama a little while longer. Ignore the eyerolling, all that counts is that they do their fair share and if they are there 1/2 the time, their share is a lot.

Things will never be equal among these kids, life isn't fair/equal for anyone. Is BM buying stuff for your DD7 when the skids are with her? IF she is, then yes, you should only buy for three. If she's not, then it seems to me that every other week, DD should get what you choose to give her on her own. BM makes her kids feel special, you should do the same.

Good luck, and pratice with that whip. Dishes cost money, dock their allowances, that will stop the waste.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:15PM
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"If they can't comply, help, whatever, then they need to stay with Mama a little while longer"

These are dads kids too. I dont think sending them back to Moms is the answer. And just to clarify, I assume by your rules, you meant OP and her DH.

A lot of anger here.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:24PM
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they live with dads, even if half time. what do you mean stay at moms longer? do you kick your own children out of the house when they don't do chores, ridiculous. plenty of biochildren don't do chores on time, where do they suppose to go?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:31PM
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I totally agree with the fact that as long as I am the one taking care of them, they will do as I say. I sometimes dread when they are coming over, but I can still laugh and joke with them, and even enjoy them alot. The boys were 2 and 4 when I met their father, they don't even remember a time when I was not around, so I luckily don't get the whole "you're not my mom thing." Also, the BM has absolutely no problem with me taking charge of the boys when my Dh is at work, or at any other time, lol.

I do make them stop whatever they are doing, and fix whatever may be wrong, but its like its not sinking in. It really seems like as soon as you say something, it is gone from their heads.

In brief explanation, for three years they did the whole, my mom and stepdad abuse me, and if you call, it will get worse. the BM was told that we were completely irresponsible, that my DS6 gets everything, they get nothing, blah, blah, blah. These kids seriously managed through manipulation of my DH and their BM to design their own life. Now I find out that her DH and I were BOTH saying this is a bunch of BS, but neither of them would listen. This is the pain that I refer to my DH going through.


"plenty of biochildren don't do chores on time, where do they suppose to go?"

I think lamom was saying that since I was having a hard time, and my DH is not here when they are, perhaps it would be better for them to spend more time with their BM than here with out their father. Which, don't get me wrong, I understand why you would say that. The only problem I would have with that is the fact that SS10 already has MAJOR jealousy over DS6, and I am afraid that sending him home cuz DH is gone would only make that worse. I do love the boys, just right now, I am having a bit of a resentment issue. Thats why I was asking for opinions. I really don't want them to see it.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:57PM
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Of course OP is angry she is "stuck" with his kids while he works they listen just as well as her hubby does...

Sorry I know the economy sucks ...but he needs to find a first shift job so he can parent his children.

My SC have chores and they are biggies each has to to he dishes on their designated night plus other stuff.... if they don't hubby has to do it ... he won't do their chores he makes sure they do theirs.

KKNY and FD neither of you have an issue with dad working in stead of being home with his precious children in their formative years?????

this will sound harsh but tell hubby either he backs up when it comes to the older boys or they can stay with mom or a babysitter while he works..... he has to set the example for the older ones .....

Do not replace broken "stuff".... do not feel guilty about buying "stuff" for your son.... unless their mom is buying for your boy they will always have more .... he is younger and needs to catch up to the stuff they have ....

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 8:59PM
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I think before anyone critizes dad for not being there, we need to understand the entire dynmics. Telling someone to change jobs may not work.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:24PM
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My DH works second shift as a waiter at Pizza Hut. He was originally hired to train up quick to assistant manager, but that was almost 2 yrs ago, and they keep coming up with excuses why they have not promoted him. I agree that it is time for him to get a "big boy job", though I also understand that he is doing what he feels is best for the family. Yes, I am the main bread-winner for the family, and have been for the last 2.5 years. This, whether I want it to or not, kind of adds insult to injury. I would never belittle his efforts to take care of his family, but I need more help, in parenting and emotionally, too! He suffers from occasional depression, so I really have to watch how I say things to him. And before anyone says anything, I made my bed, I sleep in it. I love my family, but boy do I need help from some more experienced steps out there ! :)

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 9:49PM
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read a few posts you'll see who is who....

a variety of folks here:
sm and bm's
adult sc
adult sc/sm's
adult sc/bms
adult sc/bm/sm
many many many custodial sm's
some with no contact
some with little contact
some with control issues

you are not wrong just overwhelmed!!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 10:13PM
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Well, I have spent pretty much all day reading posts, and I figure if I can get good advice, it would probably be here. Well, here and from my Mom, of course! :)

I just don't want to

A) Make my son feel like he never mattered when his brothers were not here. He already makes comments to this nature, like we can't do such and such cuz bubbies aren't here. And, maybe unrelated, he refuses to eat the last of anything in the house. If there is one left, he picks a different snack.


B) Alienate my step-sons, so that they never love me like I want them to. I want them to grow up and be able to say that they always knew that I love them.

But, I refuse to sacrifice my son in this effort.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 10:48PM
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Sometimes it's necessary to acknowledge children's feelings and acquiesce, but sometimes it's necessary to make them see that what they think or feel is unreasonable if not nonsensical. You know they have a mother (and stepfather) who does things with and for her children and not for your son. Why didn't you explain that to them before? Yes, it sounds to me like you have wised up. I understand your concern but everyone has to conform to the "stepfamily" situation and that includes the things they don't like as well as all the ones they do like. The stepkids have had the exceedingly much better advantage, especially with having such a thoughtful and caring stepmom.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 11:05PM
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I don't feel very caring or thoughtful when I want to take all of their dirty socks that seem to be strung across my living room floor and stuff them in their ears, lol.

I have just started in the last six months or so telling them that they have two families, and DS6 only has one. You should have heard the fight that I had with SS10 about why he could not stay the night with MY disabled mother who was only in town for the weekend. The worst part about it, was that this had been explained to him before. He was actually trying to guilt my mother into it.

I have just started realizing, amazing as it sounds, that I have the right to pamper my own son. Also, that I have the right to make my SS's follow my rules in my house. It is very nice to not hand over my house every time my SS's come over. I have actually, a couple of times, overruled my DH when it came to my SS's, which felt weird at first. But he needs to understand that I live here, too.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2009 at 11:46PM
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Dad might be encouraged to do some chores around the house during the day when SM is working and kids are at school. Yet he does not even cleanup after himself.

Why are you carrying the whole household load? And you work all day, ease your load up a bit and get the breaking kiddies some styro toss away plates for their evening meal. Get a list of chores down , who does what and/or rotate (make a schedule) and stick to it. Socks on the living floor? No TV, games, whatever til they disappear by someone's hand other than yours.

DH and kids don't seem to realize the difference between DW/SM and a maid.

Have you ever suggested to DH that there might be help in dealing with his bouts of depression?

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 8:28AM
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"Talking to my husband about them not cleaning up, well, that wouldn't work, in the fact that he doesn't clean up after himself, which is it's own issue, altogether."

If your husband doesn't participate in household work, how do you expect to get the kids to help out? They are only smaller versions of their father.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2009 at 10:17AM
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