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Step-Parenting Ask other step-parents your questions about being a step mom.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 09-16-2005, 02:15 PM
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Read it everyday....

Charles Sykes is the author of DUMBING DOWN OUR KIDS.
He volunteered for high school and college graduates a
list of eleven things they did not learn in school. In his book, he
talks about how the feel good, politically-correct teachings created a
generation of kids with no concept of reality, and set them up for
failure in the real world. You may want to share this list with them.

Rule 1.
Life is not fair; get used to it.

Rule 2.
The world won't care about your self-esteem.
The world will expect you to accomplish something
BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3.
You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school.
You won't be a vice president with a car phone, until you earn both.

Rule 4.
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
He doesn't have tenure.

Rule 5.
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity.
Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping;
they called it opportunity.

Rule 6.
If you mess up, it's not your parents fault,
so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7.
Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are
now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes,
and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So, before you save
the rain forest from the parasites of your parents generation, try
delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8.
Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life
has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades;
they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer.
This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real
life.

Rule 9.
Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off,
and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself.
Do that on your own time.

Rule 10.
Television is NOT real life.
In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11.
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
The answer to the eternal question "Is it better to be a jock or a nerd?":
Michael Jordan makes over $300,000 a game. That equals $10,000 a
minute, at an average of 30 minutes per game.
With $40 million in endorsements, he made $178,100 a day, working
or not. If he sleeps 7 hours a night, he makes $52,000 every night
while visions of sugarplums dance in his head. If he goes to see a movie,
it'll cost him $7.00, but he'll make $18,550 while he's there. If
he decides to have a 5 minute egg, he'll make $618 while boiling it.
He makes $7,415/hr more than minimum wage. He'll make $3,710 while
watching each episode of Friends. If he wanted to save up for a new
Acura NSX ($90,000)it would take him a whole 12 hours. If someone
were to hand him his salary and endorsement money, they would have
to do it at the rate of $2.00 every second. He'll probably pay
around $200 for a nice round of golf, but will be reimbursed
$33,390 for that round. Assuming he puts the federal maximum of 15%
of his income into a tax deferred account (401k), he will hit the federal
cap of $9500 at 8:30 a.m. on January 1st. If you were given a penny
for every 10 dollars he made, you 'd be living comfortably at $65,000 a
year.
He'll make about $19.60 while watching the 100 meter dash in the
Olympics. He'll make about $15,600 during the Boston Marathon. While
the common person is spending about $20 for a meal in his trendy
Chicago restaurant, he'll pull in about $5600. In his last year,
he made more than twice as much as all U.S. past presidents
for all of their terms combined.

Amazing isn't it? Keep reading!!!!


However, if Jordan saves 100% of his income for the next 250 years,
he'll still have less than Bill Gates has today
Game over. Nerd wins.
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"A hundred years from now, it will not matter the sort of house I lived in, what my bank account was, or the car I drove....but the world may be different because I was important in the life of the animals and the creatures on this earth."
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Old 09-17-2005, 03:47 AM
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I don't have any stepkids but I'll tell you what works with my own. Clean up their messes but put everything on their beds. If it's cups, empty them and put them on their beds. If it's toys, put them on their beds. If they want to go to bed, they have to clean up their stuff. And, you don't have to look at the mess. Just close the door to their rooms. JMO!
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Old 09-17-2005, 07:43 AM
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Wow, what a difficult situation. I'm not a step mom and I didn't get one until my late 20s. But I know what you mean about your husband. We have two little ones, a 4 year old boy and 2 year old girl. And my hubby tends to be not very strict with them. It got a bit out of hand whenever he would tell me, "it's ok, let them do blah, blah, blah." But it was worse when he would say that in front of the kids. You know what that does? That tells the kids that "daddy doesn't respect mom, why should we?" That's right. So, I did have a heart-to-heart talk to him. I grew up in a strict household and I'm glad I did because now as a grown up, I have been faced with difficulties but because of my parents, I was able to get through them. Anyway, now he understands and he helps me discipline and guide the kids.

The point is that you and your hubby do need to be on the same page. He is not doing the kids justice by letting them get away with everything. Kids are kids, BUT regardless they need our guidance to help them get a good foundation now so it will help them later when they are out in the real world. Picking up a little trash here and there may not be a big deal, but it is. It's a start to self-disciplining and most importantly a start for them to understand to respect others. I'm sure the stepkids are going through a major difficult time with adjusting to a stepmom. So I think it is important that you show them your love, but they also need to learn to respect you, even if they don't like you now. And your hubby needs to be involved. When he tells you all this stuff and lets the kids do whatever they want, he's sending the message to them that you are not worthy of respect.

Another thing to point out is look at today's youth. So many of them get what they want and I have to say that today's youth is a much, much more selfish generation than what I grew up with.

Anyway, I'm not in a place to tell you what you should do as a stepmom since I don't have that experience, but I do know that you and hubby need to talk. It's for the benefit of the kids, not you or him. I think about that with my kids, if I don't teach and guide them now, what happens when I'm not around??

And if hubby refuses to help you out with setting some rules (doesn't have to be strict but goodness at least pick up after yourselves!), then maybe you oughta have a room designated only for the kids to do whatever they like and then when roaches come around, they'll clean up. LOL. Just a thought....

Good luck. I really feel for you and I'm sure part of it is a resentment of the kids that their parents aren't together and they are at that teen age time, but they are taking advantage of dad too because they know they can get whatever they want. In that point, they aren't respecting dad either....
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Old 09-18-2005, 03:57 PM
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First, welcome to FC, What2do!

I've taken quite a bit of child development classes. On top of that, I've raised 2 children and I have 2 grandchildren. At one time, I owned and opperated a day care center. There are a few things that I learned:

Do not pick up after them. It really doesn't matter whether they are children or adults unless they are too young to make messes and pick them up. I understand what TXChef_Fran is saying though and I agree in part. You don't have to throw valuable items in the trash. Just get a box or a trash bag and put things that aren't put away in it and have them "earn" them back. First and foremost, have a family meeting and discuss how unfair it is for you to do all the cleaning up after everyone. Spell out that it is disrespectful to you for your DH and the children to trash up your home and not pick up after themselves. As far as candy wrappers or drink containers--these items are luxury items. Let them know that if you have to pick up drink and snack trash, then there will not be any purchasing of further such items. Tell them that it is their choice whether or not they want to continue playing with toys and eating and drinking luxuries. Tell them that you will assume that they do not want any more play things if they leave them out and that their "toybox" or whereever they keep their things is not your plave to put things--so if they do not pick up their things, it will go into your "earn back" box or bag. Tell them ahead of time what the penalties are and how they can earn things back--if they do want them back at all. If it is trash that you are picking up, then you can tell them that if you do the cleaning for them by picking up wrappers and the like, then they can earn the right for their wrappers to be thrown away by helping you do your cleaning. Give them a list of cleaning projects that will allow them to get the privilege to get the luxury foods again.

You really need to talk to DH alone as well. Let him know that the relationship with the mother of these children did not work out, and that in order for this relationship to work out, you need to come to an agreement as to how to handle this situation. Let him know how you feel about the children using you as their maid and that by him not acting on it or supporting you, he is not respecting you,

Also, I do not know if you can still get it, but there is an EXCELLANT book called, "Raising Self Reliant Children in a Self Indulgent World." If you can find a library that has it, it is well worth the time to read it.

Good luck and best wishes.
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  #15 (permalink)  
Old 09-18-2005, 04:58 PM
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Wonderful points, DeBora18! The "earn back their items" does work. I use that with my kids. My son loves cars but he would leave them all around and it was not fun stepping on them! So, whenever he leaves them around or misbehaves, I would take a few of his favorite cars away if I have to tell him to pick up too many times or whatnot. Then if he does something good, he earns his cars back. Now, he doesn't leave his cars around too much. If I have to ask him to pick them up, usually he'll do it after I ask him one time.

Now, this method doesn't always work for my dd. She's 2 1/2 and has attitude! Her favorite sidekick is this little teddy bear named Wubby. And when I tell her I'm going to take away Wubby when she misbehaves, a lot of times she'll stop and she'll behave. The other times, she'll hand it to me. LOL. What can I say???
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:28 AM
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These minor problems were and are not really happening because they are your step-kids and you are their stepmother. It is how they were taught and disciplined. I do not have a step-child, but I do have children whose behaviors are like your step-kids, sometimes. I used time out , giving points, taking toys away, no television, no video game, grounded to their room, and whatever I could think. I can assure you, all this idea works.

Does any of the above really work? That depends on my consistency. Why am not consistent? This is because I do not want to be a bad mommy. Is this helping? Not really. Maybe you should ask your hubby if he really plans to pick after his children’s belongings until they are grown up or old enough. If he has no plans of picking up after their stuff until they become teenagers, then he needs to start teaching his children to pick their own things. Then again, how old does a child need to be to be able to throw away its own candy wrapper to the trash or put toys back from where they took it. Disciplining a child takes time, patience, and for both parents to be united when facing the situation. Sometimes parents neglect to discipline their children, and this is simply because they do not want to be that bad person.

My children have a habit of leaving soda cups, crumbs, or wrappers in my car. When I know that they have food with, I just tell them that they are not allowed to eat anything in my car, and if they do it anyway, they know they will be staying in the time out room. Or, for some reason after I picked them up at the daycare and they start taking their shoes and socks off and left it in my car and run into the house, I have no problem calling them back into the car and have their things pick up. Or, I could also remind them before they get out of my car. I would tell them, “Take all you things out of my car, and I don’t care if it’s not yours”. Over time they get tired of me telling them the same thing over and over, and they would tell that they already know.


Be consistent and follow through.
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Last edited by lrivetz; 09-19-2005 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 09-19-2005, 09:45 AM
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i reallt appreciate everyone ideas & thoughts. I try not to be mean, i just get aggraveted. I mean the 13 year old is constantly peeing on the toilet seat. my husband says, tell him to clean it up. well , i do. but those times i find it when he isnt there, or dont have time to get him...I have to do it. So what is there to do now about it??
I am good with the kids too. I throw football with the 13 yr old, which i doubt his own mom does. and spend other time playing games with them. But i have gotten to the point now, i dont want ot be around them.
And maybe i do take it persoanlly, like they are doing it on purpose, But maybe it is them just being kids.
Someone brought up a good point. about the stepmom never hugging or kissing them goodnight. I dont do that, & its not that i dont care for them. But i do not feel comfortable doing so. and i can see one of the kids saying something in conversation to their momthat i hugged them , and then she would probably try to make it a criminal case. Just b/c she like to cause trouble.
And these kids are not horrible kids, they are good kids. But i dont want to be a maid service, and their dad doesnt mind.
Another issue i have is that I dont think they do this stuff at their moms. But then they do with us. My husband even said his ex said he lets them get away with murder. Which is exagerrating b/c they arent that bad.
I do think he treats them like little kids. They are 13 & 11, and he lays their clothes out for them for school everynight.
Maybe i just need a chill pill/????!!!!!
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Old 09-19-2005, 04:52 PM
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You don't need a chill pill. You are within your rights. These are not toddlers that pee on the seat.

There absolutely needs to be a family meeting, first with your husband, and then with the children. Y'all need to put up a united front.

When I was in your situation, I made it clear, What you do when you are with your mother is not my concern. Our concern is what you do when you are here... and here there are rules to follow...IF you don't follow the rules, then there are consequences.. Make sure you follow through on the consequences. Your husband has to stop being the 'good guy' and start being the good parent. He can not be pals with them...he is the example by which they see how an adult acts. Let him also be responsible.

Then enumerate the rules. Post them in the bathroom as well... so he can see it when he pees. In fact, I'd put a sign with his name on it right at eye level over the toilet bowl..... Sonny Boy, please aim in the bowl and if you can't sit down! Clean up your own mess!...

Stop treating them like babies, because they are not babies. The sooner they learn responsibility the better. You can't let this pass. It will only get worse...perhaps some family counseling is in order before it all blows up beyond repair.
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:06 AM
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i try telling my husband they arent babies, and he says, "well they arent adults either" He takes such a nonchalant approach about everything when it comes to them. He tells me to offer ideas of how to solve problems. Well, i thought making him clean the toilet would help, he has gotten a little better. But if it were my kid, i would be more strict about it. Not really sure how else to handle the toilet seat though.
See, my husband says he isnt going to run a nazi camp. And he is so scared that if the kids go back to their mom about this stuff (which they have), she will keep them away from us, so he cant see them as much.
I will just have to watch my tone with them, but my husband just doesnt see that it will get worse. They know how to work him, and he fails to see it.
I did think about the note on the tiolet, but i bet my husband wont go for that.
I was thinking of putting notes on cereal boxes b/c they havent been closing them all the way. But he would probably get mad at that to.
and say ever so sweetly to the kids, please close the cereal box so it wont go stale.
i cant get it in his head that if he is more stern with them , they might not have to be told 5,000 times! My solution would to be to make them eat the stale cereal, but he probably wouldnt.
Do i have to put my name on stuff, so i can make sure i eat fresh cereal. At this point, i think i am going to have to suck it up, and just avoid these situations. I guess by buying cereal they dont like forme!
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Old 09-21-2005, 03:17 PM
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Your husband is a wimp. He's afraid of his kids and he's afraid of his EX...he's not afraid of you nor does he care about your feelings.
Let me tell you something that was told to me by a Judge in family court.
He said, Jeannie, these are NOT your kids, they are NOT your responsibility.
You have NO rights as a step parent. The parent is to discipline etc.

Now knowing this, and since your husband refuses to see reason, and that he has rights as to visitation and legal recourse if he is denied visitation, I suggest that you wash your hands of it all for a while.... Leave the messes.. tell him, darlin' these are YOUR kids, you look after them and YOU pick up after them and YOU clean after them.

The major reason for broken second marriages are guess what?... I'll give you 3 guesses. YOU have to show some backbone IF you want to be respected.
So start with hubby.. Tell him... this is your home as well, and YOU WILL get the respect due you from him and them. Be strong. It's hard not to clean up after them... but tell him until he comes to a solution that is reasonable.. he's the clean up guy and the everything guy.. he cleans the rooms, the bathroom, the food messes... YOU ARE NOT THEIR MAID!... make that perfectly clear. ......I suggest family counseling again. He needs to hear it from a professional. He has no idea how much harm he's causing....
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