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How do I deal with bad parenting.

Posted by kaluna (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 26, 11 at 17:06

I was 44 and had never been married or a parent when I married a man with 2 daughters. Since he and their mother had been divorced over 10 years and she had long ago remarried, I didn't really experience too much resistence from the girls. However, because of the divorce my husband had over-indulged the girls, this is something he readily and openly admits. Now at 19 and 22 they are ill-mannered, disrespectful, lazy, inconsiderate and unappreciative. My husband has given them both cars and continues to pay for the insurance, registration and maintenance. He also provides them both with cell phones with unlimited everything.

When they come to visit it's usually with hands out and palms up. Our home has become a "quicky mart" where they take what they please without asking. Initially I politely asked them to please let me know when they were taking something, especially if it belonged specifically to me, they didn't. Then I told them to ask me if they needed something, they didn't. My second request only got me cussed out by the older girl. It's at the point where I sat them both down and told them that if they couldn't respect the rules my things then my things are completely off limits to them. Because of that request I was ignored whenever I spoke to them for the next 2 weeks.

Although they do not live with us their visit have come to cause me so much stress and anxiety that I just retreat to the bedroom. They refuse to eat anything unless their father cooks it and after an hour and half drive home he's rarely in the mood to cook so we go out to eat. When they are over they are constantly bickering and slamming doors and my husband just sits and says nothing.

When their father and I first started dating I thought "what pretty girls" they were very cute, now one has peacock blue hair and the other blond on the front of her head and brown in the back. Both have tattoes and are stretching their earlopes. They burp and say nothing, they pick their noses in a room full of people, they expect to be waited on by others and it's a battle to get them to clean up after themselves. I hate to admit it but I'm embarassed to be seen out with them.

I love my husband, but I fault him for their behavior, I don't like being around them because they are often rude and hostile. I was raised to respect my elder, say excuse me when I burped and offer to help clean up when in the home of others. I've tried to tell my husband that he's not teaching them to be responsible adults but he doesn't seem to care. They want for nothing and appreciate nothing.

All of this has finally start to come between my husband and I. I don't want to be around the girls and this hurts my husbands feelings. But on the same token I am hurt by their rudeness and their disrespecting me in my own home. My husband and told me that he knows they are spoiled rotten but he isn't going to change anything in the way he treats them and they aren't going to change because their is no call for it.

I'm not sure how to even end this...I see little hope and I feel completely defeated. Perhaps I just needed to vent in a forum where no one knows me.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

"I don't want to be around the girls and this hurts my husbands feelings."

Tough luck for him, he created these monsters now he has to deal with the consequences....you tried being nice, reasonable, etc....they threw it in your face.

Not sure how to handle it in the future, though....highly unlikely they will ever change, I guess you can either a) forbid them to come to your house, or b) if that's not an option, if you know they are coming, go somewhere for the day.

And tell your husband that anything they take needs to be replaced by HIM.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

Thanks mkroopy but I'm pretty sure that option (a) would end in divorce. I've already discussed (b) with the husband and although he seemed upset, he didn't disagree.

He offers to replace what they take, I wish I could make him understand that only worsens the problem because then they think, "well Dad will replace it so what's the problem?" There is no lesson learned when he does that, other than it's okay to continue to do it.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

Kaluna:

I am on your camp here, even I am the father w prior marriage children.

1. The discipline must come from your H. If they are in college and come home to take stuffs, I can understand it. but of they live on their own, then the issues is warrant the dad's talk. It is about RESPECT to the homeowners which you BOTH are. Your H must be the one who tell his children.
2. WHen you absolutely need to say something to them, clear it first with him. GEt him on the same page.
3. You should not tell your H how to raise his children. That is his prerogatives, not yours. But you need to have a discussion about things that really bother you (don't pick on small stuffs though). Set those boundaries and ask your H to help.
4. About YOur H's offer to replace what they take, you need to make sure that it is not about taking stuffs but all about respect to properties of others. They can take from their dad, but since you are married they will have to clear with you also. Just a formality to ask and to show respect.
5. Their bad manners are theirs to worry about. Just let them be. They really are not your children, you just happen to be the wife of their dad.
6. By the way, ask your H how he would feel if someone comes in and takes his stuffs. Would he be upset ? Of course, yes. So he needs to give you some respect as a wife and as a partner as well.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

I would stick to option B... even if DH sulks or gets upset. These are HIS kids, HE needs to deal with them. It's not his right to force it upon you, they are grown. You have tolerated more than anyone should have to and if he isn't going to stand up for his wife, he can visit his children alone.

My dad is 67 years old. My parents divorced 25+ years ago & he took my sister while I stayed with my mom. My sister is now 41 & he has not ever been able to establish solid boundaries with her. She ignored his "rules", she has taken his checkbook & written checks all over town, held keg parties (bought with said stolen checks), did drugs, had sex... etc. and that was when she was a teenager. As an adult, she has slowed down but old habits die hard. I was doing his books about ten years ago & found discrepancies in his checking account... she had borrowed money from him... say $100 and his register would say $100 but the canceled check had been changed to $400 by changing the 1 to a 4. I assume he didn't know but he may have because there were dozens of checks, but he did nothing that I could see to stop it. Around that time, she also went into his check book while he was out of town & wrote herself a check for $6000 which he found out about when he went to the bank upon his return. He would NEVER prosecute one of his kids & none of his other kids would ever dream of being so ballsy to steal from him... but she occasionally pays him back part or all of what she takes & he forgives her. He tells me he doesn't forget it & doesn't trust her but he is not willing to risk estrangement. So, I guess my point is that it is up to him to choose how to handle his relationship with his child. (another lesson I am learning with my own DH & his daughter) My relationship with my dad is different than hers. But, nobody... not a girlfriend, wife or anyone else should be forced to be treated in that way. If he had a wife or business partner at the time she did that, then it isn't just affecting HIM. And in your case, you live there & their visits & taking things DOES affect you. THAT IS THE PROBLEM. It's easy to say you will go somewhere else, but if they come into YOUR home while you are gone & take YOUR things... it's STILL affecting YOU.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

To Shakti2574,

1. The discipline must come from your H.
**That's what I have told him. I am not an authority figure to them.**
If they are in college and come home to take stuffs, I can understand it. but of they live on their own, then the issues is warrant the dad's talk. It is about RESPECT to the homeowners which you BOTH are. Your H must be the one who tell his children.
**They live with their Mom. When the older one had a job the Mom and SD let her know that she would have to start paying rent, she promptly quit.**
2. WHen you absolutely need to say something to them, clear it first with him. GEt him on the same page.
**I always talk to him about it first and he says he's on the same page but then he throws it in my face when then get mad about what I've told them.**
3. You should not tell your H how to raise his children.
**I don't because I know that it's useless. He hasn't ever listed to anyone and it won't be any different with me.**
That is his prerogatives, not yours. But you need to have a discussion about things that really bother you (don't pick on small stuffs though). Set those boundaries and ask your H to help.
4. About YOur H's offer to replace what they take, you need to make sure that it is not about taking stuffs but all about respect to properties of others. They can take from their dad, but since you are married they will have to clear with you also. Just a formality to ask and to show respect.
**That's what I have tried to tell him but he doesn't get it. They show little respect for either of their parents and I can't imagine that have any for me.**
5. Their bad manners are theirs to worry about. Just let them be. They really are not your children, you just happen to be the wife of their dad.
**You are right.**
6. By the way, ask your H how he would feel if someone comes in and takes his stuffs. Would he be upset ? Of course, yes. So he needs to give you some respect as a wife and as a partner as well.
**He is a wonderful loving, respectful husband and partner, except when it comes to his girls.**


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

What kind of things do they take?


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

@ Susanjn...towels, blankets, DVD's, CD's, books, clothes, my personal items (i.e., nail polish, hair products, personal hygiene items..not 1 or 2 but half the box.)

It's not so much what they take but the fact that they don't ask or let me know when they've taken something. And not all of these items are in plain sight so are also looking through my things to find them.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

I would be very angry about that, too.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

It does not matter if it were a stick of gum tucked in the night stand...stealing is still stealing. Stealing is exactly what these two are doing. Do they go into stores and help themselves? I'd hope not. Go into their friends house/apartments and help themselves? Of course not because their friends would simply kick the friendship to the curb.

The kids are doing this behavior not only because of their father, but their mother too. The parents here have failed these young adults. And they will not stay young for long. Another 10 yrs and if nothing changes these ladies will be in their 30s and still acting like entitled brats going on 13. You DH has said he sees no reason for them to change--"My husband told me that he knows they are spoiled rotten but he isn't going to change anything in the way he treats them and they aren't going to change because their is no call for it".--

While he may think it's 'ok' now, their young blah blah, he will certainly not think it is acceptable in 10, 15, 20 yrs. But nothing will have changed because their mother/father did not bother to do their parenting duties while there was still time to intervene.

Think about it. These two brats have it pretty good right now. They don't have to work, don't need to earn money and need for anything because they just steal from others. They get spending money, clothing money, cars, gas, make-up, money to 'enhance' their youthful whims (tats, hair, piercings)...there is no incentive here to be any different. Nothing that says they must behave any different, worry about continued education and productive futures. Who needs all that, they have Mom and Dad.

Is this really the future you husband wants for his daughters? Realistically I'm sure not...but now that he is surrounded by full grown brats that he has trained to be this way he does not have a clue as to what to do about it and fears anything he tries will push the brats away and they'll despise him.

Talk to your husband about counseling for himself. He must deal with his own issues of his past, his actions, and his future before he can begin to take a productive stand with his adult offspring. He needs to learn the way he is allowing his marriage and home to be affected by his actions/lack of actions is going to end up looking like those 10, 15, 20 yrs from now and whether or not this is the track he really wants to continue down and/or how to get off it and on to a different path... for himself, you, his daughters.

In the short timeframe, you could always go into one of those specialty shops and purchase a tee with a big arrow that reads 'their with him' and wear it when going out in public with these brats. LOL.

You can also not fret over having to go out to eat. Do you really want to cook for them? Don't want to go out, cook yourself a meal and let the other three (DH, daughters) fend for themselves. Get yourself a nice pair of fashion earplugs to block out the daughters little hissy fits. Set yourself up with a mini apartment in your home like 'Kalunas private den'...one with locks on it...and tuck yourself away in peace and quiet along with a hot bath and a good book for the evenings the brats intrude with their ill behavior. Better yet, join a female group of exercise, reading clubs, charity volunteers...whatever your interest is. Why sit home and be miserable along with your DH and his daughters? You're not just Mrs.______, you're a working woman with friends and interest of your own...don't forget to lock the door to your private den on your way out the door.

While you can't force your husband to change or to take a stand with the daughters, you can control how and when you deal with it. Time to liberate yourself from their drama


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

The reason I asked about what they took:
If it's a computer, your dh will feel the impact of replacement. But if it's a bottle of nail polish, he'll just laugh at you.

Or you could make a precise list of everything they take (brand, color, etc.) and ask him to go shopping. Maybe that would get his attention.

But your real question was about fixing lax parenting, not replacing product.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

You are not going to like my reply at all. If he doesn't make them respect you and your property, show him the door. Then he and you will find out just how much he loves you. Would you want to stay with him if he chose the girls over you which is what he is doing? It's the only way you will know for sure. In the mean time put a lock on your bedroom door, it is very easy to do.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

Boy, sometimes I feel we are raising an entire generation of kids that act this same way. In a sense, it's as if we're victims of our own affluence. We have the ability to keep our children quite comfortable, and I think that there are many, many parents who take this much further and for much longer than is healthy. We think we are doing such good things for our children, but when we coddle them we are actually doing them a huge disservice.

It might be that you don't fully get the push and pull of the situation without biological kids of your own - not to say in any way what your husband is doing is right. Yes, what he and his ex-wife are doing by hyper-supporting their daughters (likely driven to a higher level via guilt) is detrimental in every way, but you must tread lightly and may have to come to terms that you won't be able to "FIX" this situation.

I too am a step parent to a coddled child - now 21. I had started my own thread about him and some specifics on this site so I won't go into details, but I can say from my own experience that interference on just about any level brought out the claws in my wife and really put our relationship in jeopardy.

I guess you will have to decide how necessary the fixing of this situation must be.

Should you decide that you can't keep going on with these girls, it would mean a long, protracted series of confrontations that would undoubtedly put a strain on all of the relationships involved - including you and your husband's. Even so, after all of the angst and anger, what might be the percentage that you get this fixed and the girls come to your home and are changed people?

OK, so you decide that this aspect of your life is NOT fixable, so what now? Well, I think the advice given here is very workable. Get out of the house - remove yourself from the situation when you can to avoid the turmoil. Is it 'running away' from your problem? No, I think that in this case is it the more relationship-sensitive thing that might be done. Might you have some items taken? Well, it may sound silly, but if you know the things of yours they gravitate toward feel free to pack up or hide those you don't want swiped and let your husband know the things that need replacing afterward. Perhaps if you consider this the small cost of keeping peace and keeping some strain out of the marriage, then I guess that might not be such a bad trade off.

I agree that mom AND dad are both culpable here, so even if you were able to get dad into a new program it seems that mom might undermine things anyway...

No, I would go with option B and disengage yourself when the situation calls for it. I would then further hope that one or both has an awakening - rude or otherwise - and finds a better path. Hoping for that myself with my own stepson, but I think that the more we as a generation of parents spoil, coddle, and demand nothing of our children the more we will have to watch things get very, very bad before they might get better.

A bitter pill to be sure, but I hope for the best in your case.


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RE: How do I deal with bad parenting.

"My husband and told me that he knows they are spoiled rotten but he isn't going to change anything in the way he treats them and they aren't going to change because their is no call for it."

Well, give him an A for straightforwardness.

You aren't going to get anywhere no matter what you do.

I'd re-think the undesireability of divorce as opposed to the undesireability of living this way until I took my last breath.

I wish you the best.


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