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

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Old 09-09-2005, 11:11 AM
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Dealing With Messy Step-children

Goodness , I dont know where to start. I got married in May and have two stepkids. They are 13 & 11. For the most part, they are very good kids. But they make such a mess! I say over & over to pick it up and I feel like i am literally going to go crazy. I guess the stuff they leave isnt too bad. But the other day it was 4 drinks on the coffee table and another in the kitchen. And it's left there when they go back to their Mom's. So I either have to pick it up myself or leave it for their Dad to do. Maybe I am just being too picky. I feel that after I tell them over & over, stuff needs to be cleaned up without me saying each and every time. Their Dad gets on them a little, but he so gentle & I say treats them like babies. I think they are immature for their age . Especially the 13 year old.
Their Dad doesn't want to get on them too much about it bacause 1) he doesn't want them to not want to come over 2) he doesn't want it to get to their Mom, to where she can limit their time with us.
I mean I tell them to clean up, then I have to go behind them like 5 year olds and tell them okay pick up this, pick up that, put this here, put that there. My husband is getting tired of me complaining, and he does get on them some, but I don't think he is being strict enough.
He fussed at them for something & stuff about listening to what I say -- but then turned right around & gave them each five dollars.
I have tried just leaving the mess, but it bothers me & I get so angry. Soon I am going to blow up at them because I am sooo fed up.
Any ideas??? I could go on & on about stuff. I feel like this could ruin our marriage. They leave candy wrappers in my car, Hi C drink straws harldy ever find themselves into the trash. Am I being irrational? Is this just kids or should I put a stop to it?
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Old 09-09-2005, 06:04 PM
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First off I must say, being a step parent is one hard job. I have a SD that would do the same thing. She would come over every weekend and turn the bedroom upside down. No matter what I said or done, me and my DD would end up cleaning the room up after she left on Sunday. All I ever got from her was, "I dont have to listen to you, your not my parent." Grrrrr. I really dont have any advice for you. Nothing I ever said got thru to SD or DH. She always got her way at my house. While my DD got stuck with cleaning up after her. It's a hard battle. Good luck.

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Old 09-10-2005, 03:43 PM
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I know you're going to hate this but, eventually they do grow up. Mine were 8 and 12 when I married their dad. You are right that if you let it this could cause trouble in your marriage. You don't want to win the battle but lose the war.

My step children lived with us so it was a daily thing with us and it never got better because dad is always going to side with the child. That is just something I had to learn and it would have been easier on me if I had learned it sooner. I 've got such a hard head sometimes. If you are dealing with visiting children, maybe you could convince dad to have a quick family pick up the house time each day with a family treat afterwards or a game or a movie.

I know it is hard but I also know that if you stick with it and if the kids see how good you are for their dad, they will in time come to appreciate you for the woman you are.
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Old 09-12-2005, 12:07 PM
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thank you for a response. My mother actaully made a comment to me, when she heard me asking my husband why he was still letting the kids stay up late after he had told them no.

She said, basically...why argue over something like that? he;s the one that has to deal with them in the morning when they are tired. ANd i guess , yeah, what does it hurt? But the point i was making, is he told him no ...and thats what they do, they ask till they get what they want. And it especially bothers me when it comes to buying stuff. and he gives in. And we really dont have the money. And i know they are kids & i probably sound selfish, but im not buying things i want. I mean i was used to buying myself stuff once in a while. I amy have had to wait till i had enuf money, but now it is a whole other story.
So i dont know
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Old 09-13-2005, 06:46 AM
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rules

The main thing is you need to have a heart to heart talk with hubby and you both need to get on the same page with "house rules". Rules should still be enforced even though they do not live there full time. My husband and I went through this as well with his (now 9 yr old) We married when he was 3 and he fought me from the beginning. Now that we have a daughter together he finally sees why the rules need to apply. Not fair for one to get away with murder and the one who lives there has rules.

In the beginning he would leave the son with me to go out with friends on his wekeends and then he would defy my rules and my husband would undermind me and tell him ok. Then finally I said you know what if you are not going to back me with rules then you need to stay home with him and not leave him with me. He then became his sole responsibility and now he understand. You HAVE to be on the same page. The SS was did not respect me as a parant authority so he didn't care. Things are different now.

Toys get picked up or they get trashed. He knows any toys left out when he goes home gets trashed. He also had a bad habit of wasting sodas or drinks. He would open a capri sun or soda and take two sips then leave out to get trashed later. I hate wasting anything so this was a HUGE issue with me. Now if I find a soda or drink left out wasted the next weekend he comes he has to drink water or milk only (which I personally think should be the norm). It has worked. Also leaving remotes out for video game. If he doesn't pick them up when he is not playing the next weekend there is no gaming. DVD's not put away, no movies, etc.

You have to treat them just like you would children you would have everyday. They have to learn rules, respect, etc. Dr. Phil has a great chapter in his Family First book for step parents. Check it out at the library.
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Old 09-16-2005, 07:32 AM
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in response to tx chef fran...I totally agree with you. If toys get left out, throw them away, if they waste soda's or leave them out (all the time) then drink water. I agree with all that.
The problem is, my husband doesnt. he says they are kids, and not adults.
And get this.....he said he isnt going to run a Nazi camp.
THat was just absurd. i am not that bad.
But according to him, Until i have children that are my own & a part of me....Then basically i have no room to talk. (this came up when he was cleaning his 11 yr. old room , while she was outside playing!!!)
Now i have a nephew that lived with me since he was born (10 yrs.) and maybe once in a while i would help with his room...but not if it continued to get messy,
because then if i am going to clean it up, what resaon does he have to clean up.?
I will definately check out that book, thanks for the advice!
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Old 09-16-2005, 01:18 PM
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Just my input here, 10 years ago, I would have had a different opinion, but now Im 48, and also a gramma of 2 GD;s ages 6 & 8,which has nothing to do with what I was gonna say lol, except Ive matured alot in my thinking. Kids are kids,and yes they should pick up after themselves,but look around at the world today ,and some of the bigger problems families have. If your dh doesnt do anything, then (and I know this will be hard especially if you are like me and it sounds like youare as far as clutter) just let it go. You could always tell them if they want a drink it needs to be drunk in the kitchen and leave some paper cups out,that shouldnt be too hard on them,lol. You dont have to say it in a "wicked stepmom" way. Maybe includ them in something you are doing in the kitchen like making cookies or something. Look at it from your dh's point of view for awhile, and let him know you are trying, and maybe when you STOP picking up after them he will see for himself what a mess they make. Im also remarried now for 14 years, and I do have a step son who is now in his 20's but when he was younger and came here, I went thru a similar situation, and honestly it wasnt worth the effort, he evn came to live with us for 3 LONG months,lol, and thats when my dh saw for himself what he was like and HE took it in his hands and finally did something. Its easy for me to say now and I can appreciate what you are going thru, but really is it all that bad?? Its not like they are "real" bad kids or anything. Good luck in whatever you do.
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Old 09-16-2005, 01:27 PM
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First of all, bless you for being a step-mom - secondly, I am NOT a step mom, but my kids do have one and they do not like her at all, and it isn't anything to do with being "nagged" for picking up dirty cups, etc...all I can say for myself, having 3 kids, 20, 17 and 11, is that I "nag" and "nag" them to pick up around the house and SOMETIMES they get the message, but, and here, I hope you might understand this, THEY FEEL COMFORTABLE with you and leave their mess just as they would AT "HOME". I mean, would you like it if they were a silent bunch, doing the right thing and obeying their step-mom or would you prefer that they act like they probably do at home? IE MESSY!? I know my own kids love me and I must admit, it annoys me that they cannot even pick up a cup or a cereal bowl or their sweet wrappers or their crisp packets blah blah blah, you name it, it is deposited on the sofas, the carpet, the table anywhere but in the kitchen or the trash! If I leave explicit instructions to wash up their cups (ignored) or put them in the dishwasher (sometimes adhered to) I might get some reaction. Just let them be, do you have kids of your own? Believe me, they are not doing it to annoy you, they are just KIDS. You are doing well, don't give up, just love them. Difficult, I know, but one of the saddest things my youngest said to me was that he thought his step-mom didn't love him cos she didn't hug him hello or goodbye and never went to kiss him goodnight....(he's 11) These things mean more to a child than anything. I know; I was a step-child and I remember thinking my step-mom didn't love me cos she wouldn't kiss me goodnight once she had her own kids and I broke my heart over it.
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Old 09-16-2005, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txchef_fran
The main thing is you need to have a heart to heart talk with hubby and you both need to get on the same page with "house rules". Rules should still be enforced even though they do not live there full time. My husband and I went through this as well with his (now 9 yr old) We married when he was 3 and he fought me from the beginning. Now that we have a daughter together he finally sees why the rules need to apply. Not fair for one to get away with murder and the one who lives there has rules.

In the beginning he would leave the son with me to go out with friends on his wekeends and then he would defy my rules and my husband would undermind me and tell him ok. Then finally I said you know what if you are not going to back me with rules then you need to stay home with him and not leave him with me. He then became his sole responsibility and now he understand. You HAVE to be on the same page. The SS was did not respect me as a parant authority so he didn't care. Things are different now.

Toys get picked up or they get trashed. He knows any toys left out when he goes home gets trashed. He also had a bad habit of wasting sodas or drinks. He would open a capri sun or soda and take two sips then leave out to get trashed later. I hate wasting anything so this was a HUGE issue with me. Now if I find a soda or drink left out wasted the next weekend he comes he has to drink water or milk only (which I personally think should be the norm). It has worked. Also leaving remotes out for video game. If he doesn't pick them up when he is not playing the next weekend there is no gaming. DVD's not put away, no movies, etc.

You have to treat them just like you would children you would have everyday. They have to learn rules, respect, etc. Dr. Phil has a great chapter in his Family First book for step parents. Check it out at the library.
I think you are being a little hard - kids have to adjust to step-parents and the rule that if toys get left out they are trashed would mean that my kids have no toys ( and I am not a step-mom)! Drinks left un-drunk is another thing - my 11 year old has a real problem drinking stuff - he is not out to waste sodas or juice he would do the same with a glass of water - do not be so harsh! PLEASE, love and try to undertand your step kids - my children have a step-mom and she is really hard on them - I am talking MEAN and I do understand what it must be like for her but she is just a mean type of person anyway (believe me, it is a long story). Try not to take it so personally, my 3 kids have been brought up to respect their mom and dad and (now) step-mom but they are kids and they can, eventually VOTE WITH THEIR FEET! Remember that and nurture them. It is painful to be a step-kid, I KNOW I was one, and my step-mom and my dad are now estranged from me...very sad.
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Old 09-16-2005, 02:08 PM
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Where does it say because you are a step child, that you get to ignore house rules, leave a mess and do as you please and that there are no consequences?

First let me address the step parent... YOU picked HIM and his kids when you married him. These are issues that should have been settled before you got married. Since you didn't do that, now is the time to have a heart to heart with your husband. If he refuses to set rules, make it clear, that any mess, toys etc that are not put in their place, will be swooped into a trash bag and put out with the rest of the garbage. Perhaps it would be good to go out when they are there.... shopping, visit a friend, go to dinner and a movie with your kids, etc. once in a while. There is nothing like the non custodial parent spending a good long time with THEIR kids for them to see just what they are all about. And, in all truth, they are supposed to be spending time with them, not palm them off on you. You can also say, if they aren't going to clean up after themselves, well then he can do it....

There's another alternative, that you all sit down and go over the rules, and both express, especially parent, that these rules must be followed. If they are followed, then there is more time to do fun things. You, as the step parent do not have to participate in EVERYTHING the parent does with their children. If you stay strong, but take a bit of a back step, the children won't feel everything is ruled by you. Fairness is the operative word. Put yourself in the kids' place.

Children learn very early on how to play adults against each other. Both you and your partner must be adults, set down rules and see that they are followed. That is the best way to show kids you love them and prepare them for a world that doesn't think that they are owed anything just because they are your kids. What you teach them, how you teach them to adjust to the little adversities in life now, will prepare them for adulthood.

I'm going to post again with a very interesting observation.

Children, whether natural or add ons, all need to learn that life isn't a fairytale. That consequences follow misbehavior, that rewards are given for good behavior and that we love them and we are teaching them to deal with the real world.
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