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step parenting? (warning: very long winded vent)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I apologize ahead of time if I say anything that is offensive to anyone in this vent. I am going out of my mind and I don't know what to do.

My husband and I have been married for less than a year. He has two boys from a previous marriage that are 8 and 9. I am obviously UNFIT to be any sort of parent. They make me crazy to the point of wanting to walk out. I feel like an outcast in my own home. I feel like I have to hide in my room on weekends because I get so tired of watching cartoons and Nintendo and their running around and screaming and fighting. That is truly all they do. I know they are boys, but there is a limit to anyone's sanity when it comes to a loudly screeching 8 year old. If I say anything to them or their dad about it they go into another room to talk to him (do they honestly think I can't hear?) and lie to get out of trouble or get the other one out of trouble. And my husband KNOWS they are lying but doesn't know what to do about it.

If I want to spend time doing something I enjoy, I do it alone (and get guilt because I am not spending time with the family) or take the kids who pout and usually get hurt or cause such a ruckus we have to leave. Or get a babysitter and have the kids call their mom and rat us out. She will then call my husband and raise cain with him for not being with the kids.

What set me off tonight? THey ripped a quilt my grandmother made for me when I was a little girl. I know it is just a blanket, but they started doing the whole "he did it" "no he did it" "no, wait, we don't know what happened" "it was already like that" routine. Then their dad makes them apologize to which I get upset, because it seems pretty insincer when they have just spent the last 5 minutes telling 4 or 5 different stories about what happened.

I have BEGGED my husband to talk to them and try to find out what goes on with them. To watch them so I don't always feel like such a narc. His side: well after you tell me I realize you are right and think I should say something but I don't know what to say. I tell him he HAS to talk to them about things he doesn't want to talk about. He can't always be the "fun" parent. He won't ask the youngest about some abuse his ex claims to have happened even though our premarital couselor says the kid has to get help with it.

I am tired of being the bad guy. I bought the house so we could get married. I even stretched myself sowe could get a house with three bedrooms like they wanted so the kids would have their own rooms (they live in a 2 bedroom apt w/ their mom). I am tired of feeling like an unwanted guest in what is REALLY my house.
post #2 of 11
My heart goes out to you. You are right to feel this way. He cannot be the 'fun' parent - if he does not discipline them, then they will continue to behave this way and disrespect you. It is hardly fair of him to expect you to smile and bear it. You have the right to say what you want and how you feel about this.
Does your husband get upset if you tell the boys off?
Just tell your hubby what you have been feeling, wait til the kids are with their mother and just let it all out. Make him realise how you are feeling.

I really hope you can work it out. And that you dont lose your sanity.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
We have discussed it a million times. I don't tell the kids off because they are such tattle tales and I am afraid if I tick them off they will tell their mom I abuse them. She is completely instable and lies a lot -- she is diagnosed with Border Personality (sounds familiar, eh?)

I did and awful thing before I left tonight. I told him he could see them next weekend but they couldn't stay at our house. (He can always stay at his mom and dad's where he lived before we got married so it's not like he has no place to go.) I just didn't know what else to do.

Thanks for the hugs.
post #4 of 11
BPD? Oh boy, I know how that feels.

I dont think you are terrible. You do deserve to have peace and quiet. But you also need to protect yourself against possible problems with their mother - if you discipline them (tell them off), try doing so in front of your hubby, so that there is a witness to refute anything she says.

Please feel free to vent out here, I know I did.
post #5 of 11
First, I'll throw some hugs your way too! (((((((((Jan))))))))

Sorry to hear about the step parenting problems. But believe me, your not alone! In this generation, it seems everyone knows of a person in your shoes and I believe it has to be one of the hardest.

My sister was in your same shoes. She remarried a guy who had two sons from a previous marriage. The one thing I can share that totally worked from them is the fact that they set strict rules.

The boys would come over every other weekend and they were around the same age as your husband's kids. But my sister and her husband sat down and became 'a united' front when the boys came over. They had to respect the fact that they were welcome in this home, but they would have set chores, set rules etc. The boys knew that their father wasn't a 'push over' and tried to use the emotions guilt trip on him.

You know that this problem is not going away. It is a very serious issue because this will be a lifelong continual pressure if nothing is done about it now. Do you have any step parenting groups in your area? They could be a good resource in how to set up some rules and give you pointers and advice. Also, you mentioned about the kids staying over at your husbands parents house. Is this really an option since the same stress and problems will still be there the next time they come over. You have to focus on the problem at hand since the kids are not going away, and your life will not become easier by sending them away next time. At some point they will return to your household and you will back to square one.

You both have to be a partnership and be a strong front in the parenting role. It may be very hard, but putting down firm rules and your husband has to not feel guilty. He's showing his sons that the world is an organized place and everyone has a role to play in achieving it.
post #6 of 11
When I married Mike I also married an instant family. Five stepkids and at the time, 9 step-grandchildren. The problem came because I was so close to their age, my husband is 17 years older than me, that I did not know how to be a parent to them, and tried instead to be their friend (bad idea) His daughter who was 19 at the time, even stole my firebird one day to take her friends on a ride "because she was bored." My husband who did not want to step in and be the "heavy" never did much about it. That was a long time ago.

It is a time of trial and error, and you will find that there are more errors than not. You will be blamed for it all because of the kids inner conflict with their divorced parents and you will get the brunt of that anger.

Honestly? The kids sound like they need a counselor for guidance through this, and you sound like you need a vacation without them! Good luck!
post #7 of 11
Definitely, some counseling is in order. I went through this 20 years ago, with a boyfriend. THAT'S when I decided to never again get involved with anyone, with small children. I refuse to deal with kids that I can't discipline.

My mom made it clear, from the start, that my stepfather's word was as good as hers. Its been 33 years and, as far as I'm concerned, HE'S my dad. There was no divisiveness - they stuck together on everything.

Kids have to have boundaries and consistency. Sometimes, somebody has to be the "bad guy".

Good luck and remember - its YOUR home.
post #8 of 11
Jan, my heart goes out to you. I have been in your shoes, and it was no picnic. When my husband I got married, his son had just turned 4 and his daughter was 9. I nearly pulled my hair out those first few years! I loved his children very much but they were over every single weekend and I flet like I had no time to myself or with my husband at all on weekends. The kids fought, chased each other through the house, ate all the treats I had bought for myself (I finally started hiding things) and all we ever watched on TV was cartoons, ALL weekend. I wanted to kill the "Rugrats" (The TV show Rugrats, not hubbies kids!! ) And all I ever heard was "Mom does it this way, that's not how mom does it, we used to have more fun before you were here, dad let us jump on the furniture, etc etc" and it wore me down and hurt my feelings over and over. I got no help from him, because as you stated he wanted to be the "fun" parent. He would not dicipline them at all. It was very frustrating...but the good thing is...I got through it, and now I have two wonderful step-children ages 12 and 17 who love me very much, and I love them very much they are as good as gold, and I look forward to them coming on the weekends now. It just takes time and lots of patience. But you DO need some time on the weekends in your own house without the kids. I would suggest asking him to take the kids to his moms for awhile on the weekends or to a movie etc, even for a few hours so that you have some time to yourself. If you need to talk about this just PM me. I won't be online a whole lot this week, but will try to check in once in awhile. My thoughts are with you!!! I know how you feel! You aren't being mean, either. You are being human!! When you aren't used to dealing with children, and then you have to share your home with someone else's children and feel like you have no say in what they do, it is hard!!! But in the end, it is worth it! I am sure you will be very close to those boys someday, and it will get easier the older they get! hang in there!!
post #9 of 11

Being that I have no kids it's real easy for me to give advice, but here's my 2 cents anyway. (I was trained as a teacher, so I have some training in children's psychology.)

Kids will be kids, and kids will push to find their limits. If there are no limits set or enforced they will be terrors. They know the game, and they know that they can get you and hubby in "trouble" by ratting on you to Mom. They know that the threat of that is enough that neither of you will punish them, and they know that if they play the "he did it" "no, he did it" game that both will get away with it.

You and hubby need to present a united front, and you need to come up with ground rules for your home. It doesn't matter if that's what mom does, this is your house and they must live by your rules when in your house. Period. Dad has to be willing to enforce the rules, too, or it won't work. Sit down with hubby and decide what the rules are, and next time the boys come over explain those rules to them. Also explain to them that the "he did it, no he did it" thing will result in both of them being punished. You need to decide what the punishment is, time out or whatever, and enforce it stringently. To protect yourself from mom, be together for the first few weeks so there is always a witness to whatever punishment must be doled out. Keep a journal of the actions of the kids and the punishment given. If you are absolutely strict with the new (or old) rules set down, it won't take long before the kids know that they can't get away with murder just because they are at dad's house, and life will be much better for everyone.
post #10 of 11
but, I do have 6 kids of my own. Please take a parenting class with your hubby. He isn't doing them a favor by letting then run wild. I have a tool that works wonders for me, and all you need is a timer. After you have explained the rules, tell them that if rules are broken you will count ONE and hold up a finger (no not THAT finger lol) give them 5 seconds to stop. If they continue "That's TWO" again give 5 seconds for them to get under control, if you reach THREE they have to spend one minute per year of their age in their room. No TV, phone, or friends. Don't wait until they drive you crazy, or have begged the daylights out of you. When the timer sounds they are allowed out. If there is yelling and screaming while in the room start the timer after they get quiet. Do not place them into a room together! They will test this ALOT when you first start. But, it will work. Just make sure to pretend nothing happened after the timer goes off. (You don't have to count if they hit, or call you names, "that's three, time out") Limit TV time and then go outside with them and play ball or frisbee or tag or whatever. I hope this helps...
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
My decision about them not coming over is a bit extreme, I admit, but I am going to hold to it this time because I am tired of lessening punishments out of guilt or hubby's desire not to hurt their feelings or his ex over-ruling out punishment.

Thanks for all the advice. We will talk about it and decide how to enforce the rules we have in place and how to refine them so they are best for everyone.

I know it will get better. Otherwise you will see me wandering around the boards babbling incoherently to myself about the hottentotts invading!!!
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