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What's the real problem here?

Posted by perdue2 (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 19, 09 at 23:13

As I read through many of the posts lately, I have found myself wondering something. There seems to be a common thread with many of the issues/problems that people have been asking advice about. Many of the step-parents and parents alike are having difficulties with teenage children. Being a BM of a teen (DD is 13), and a SM to a 13 years old SD and a 14 year old SS who all live with us full-time, I can certainly relate to many of the issues that have been brought up. However, I'm beginning to think that these problems are due more to these children being typical teens more than the fact that they have SP's. Not to say that things don't get exastrabated by the fact that they are not in a traditional family setting. There are times with my own SC, that I am not sure how much is due to the stepfamily situation and how much is due to teenage angst. I think many are too quick to blame it on the steps when it's really just the age that is to blame.

Am I totally off the mark here? I know I am going to get more books on how to handle teens, instead of how to handle stepfamilies!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What's the real problem here?

Yeah, I agree. A lot of the stuff that is complained about seems pretty typical for teens.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

You know I have to disagree that its all so typical for teens. My nephew who lived with my parents never gave them an ounce of trouble. He did good in school, played in a band, was involved in many things, graduated HS the top of his class, went from graduation straight to a high paying job and saving his money to go on to college. He never back talked my parents or his parents when he was around them. He was always nice to the rest of the kids.
My niece who is 15 who has been bounced back and forth between her mom to her dad to my parents house and she doesn't act anything like what my SD does.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

I know some of the things teens do is just that. They do silly things and drive us all crazy. I have 2 teen sons who are by DH SS. One is 17 and the other is 13. Very ruff ages. I will not say they do not act out at times, but they do not do to my DH the things my SD's have done to me as teens and now as Adults. My kids need to have respect for my husband as well as their fathers wife. Their father owes me over 15,000 in child support and his wife will not work. They have no kids (He cant have anymore thank goodness). I still try to make sure I watch what I say around my kids. I do not want them in the middle of my issues with me and the ex. I think that is why alot of these teens act out toward the SP, because we the BP dont always try to keep the kids out of it. The teens are going through enough being teens they don't need all this other stuff too.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

I absolutelly agree perdue, those are usally normal children's or teenagers' problems that have nothing to do with stepfamily. I think the reason that these problems seem to be more exagerrated and more out of control it is much more difficult when it is not your own child. People here complain about stuff that I wouldn't even worry about in my own child. yet it must be annoying in someone else's children.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

"I think the reason that these problems seem to be more exagerrated and more out of control it is much more difficult when it is not your own child. People here complain about stuff that I wouldn't even worry about in my own child. yet it must be annoying in someone else's children"

I think this is so true.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

akhill, I have three grown kids that were each very different. My daughter, if compared to my sons, is an angel. Of course, it's unfair to compare any kids, bio or step. Some teens do not do all the 'typical' things we see complained about but the behavior that is being complained about IS typical and NOT because they are in a stepfamily.

There may be a higher incidence of rebellious behavior or problems with kids that are from divorced parents or in step families, but I believe that some of those problems may be caused by the way the parents interact with each other and the kids. I don't think it is simply BECAUSE the parents are divorced, but probably because there is ongoing conflict, using kids as pawns, neglecting kids because they are over consumed with their own problems, or they just have poor parenting skills or lack of understanding of what the kids NEED. But, some of that can exist in intact families too so it's really NOT a stepfamily issue.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

"I believe that some of those problems may be caused by the way the parents interact with each other and the kids. I don't think it is simply BECAUSE the parents are divorced, but probably because there is ongoing conflict, using kids as pawns, neglecting kids because they are over consumed with their own problems, or they just have poor parenting skills or lack of understanding of what the kids NEED."

EXACTLY. The divorce itself can be a problem, but IMO the way the parents handle the divorce is what creates a bigger issue. You can't screw with a child's head for years and expect them to be "typical." Every child is different and every child will react to a situation a different way. My two sons, both with the same parents living in the same house and the same lives, react differently to situations. To compare them is as ignorant as it is cruel, and to expect one to react like the other because it's easier for me to deal with is just as ignorant. The solution to the problem isn't condemning them for not measuring up to my judgment of the 'right' way, it's striving to understand the child's 'deficits' and working with them, and within them.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

I agree with some of the statements here.
Yes, some issues are just regular run of the mill teen issues. Other are not.
The trick is figuring out the difference.
For that you have to figure out what is the behavior and why is it happening.
Next is communicating with other parents of teens or even reading up on it, and seeing what is normal teen angst. Does it fit in with that.
These days, what some call normal is hair raising in my opinion. I am still old school, all this technology today is making our kids stupid, and it is no excuse for any kind of poor behavior IMO.
But I also believe that every child should be respectful, have morals and values that need to be followed on a day to day basis, with your occasional slip up of course. Anything less is just giving them permission to misbehave with an excuse.
Do you tolerate it?
Do you give consequences?
That is hard to do with someone else kids. You kind of are in a position where you have to put up with it. Where you wouldn't if it were your own.


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RE: What's the real problem here?

To answer some of your questions wildthing:

I certainly do not put up with what I consider direspectful behavior from my own child, regardless of the cause (typical teen or step issues). Disrespect is not acceptable under any circumstances. Sometimes dealing with disrespectful teens is not always cut and dried either. But there are always consequences that come with continued misbehavior. I think at this age, they are simply trying to push the envelope just to see how much they can get away with. Until they learn just what their limits are, they will keep pushing it. We set the boundries within reasonable limits and stand by them.

With that said, I will also tell you that I do not put up with it from my SC either, regardless if they are "someone else's kids". That "someone else" is my husband, who explained to his children, the same as I did with mine, that he and I are the mom and dad figures in the home even if one of us is not their natural parent. Regardless of my position as a SM, I don't feel that I should, nor do I, put up with it. If I wouldn't put up with something from my own child, I'm not going to put up with it from my SC who live with me full-time.

As far as my SC's BM goes, she lives 1000 miles away, is inconsistent in her contact with her children, does not participate at all in any of the daily care or support of the children (including not ever paying a dime of CS), and the kids have spent a total of 4 weeks total with her in the past 8 years of their lives. Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, she has no say in how we choose to raise them or how we handle things in our home. Not that she has not tried to "throw her BM rights around", but she was told by both of us that she could not control what we do in our home. They are living under our roof and are therefore expected to adhere to the same rules as the next child.

When we blended as a family, we sat down and made up the rules for the house. Everyone had their say and ideas, and all imput was considered. In the end, it had to be something that everyone agreed to, we even signed "contracts" so it was understood that all were in agreement. They all know what is expected of them and what the consequences will be for non-compliance. Do they still break the rules? Sure they do. And in that respect, they are typical teens. They are not all the same, and each one has their own strengths and weaknesses, and they each get punishments for different things; but they all get punished when they push the limits of what is acceptable.

My children's counselor keeps telling me that alot of what we are dealing with is typical of many teens their age. Some of it is exagerrated by the situations regarding moms, dads and SP's, but most is experienced by teen who come from traditional family units as well. Guess that is what prompted me to post this!


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