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

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Old 09-06-2002, 05:03 AM
SueAnn's Avatar
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I need HELP!

I have married to my ds for 7 years. He has 2 children from previous marriage. The problem is I am having a hard time with the children lately. They don't respect anyone if they don't get their way they threaten to cause fights all during their visits. They lie to their dd all time I have gotten to the point I don't tell because I don't want the fights. The fights are so bad things get broken the language is HORRIBLE. One fight this summer I was the F**** Fat B*****. When we decided to try and not give into them this year this is what happened. We have always helped out with school clothes. Usually buying most. Then Mom gives them away or sells them. So we decided this year because we are not court ordered and we buy and pay for every activity they are in we would not buy school clothes. Every day for a week we would get multiple phone calls a day obsentities shouted at us and during weekly visitation there would be fighting. Finally the oldest dd stated if you don't buy my clothes My mom will take you back to court. My DH is not the one who is the main bread winner in our house I am. After is paycheck he has $300 left for two weeks. I was off of work this summer because I had surgery and $$ was tight. I have a dd and we have ds together. No one buys their clothes but me. Because of the threat I said fine they would each get $100 a piece in an envelope and when the $$ was gone the school clothes were done.We did it that way but while we were shopping the sdd ask if my dd was getting a new backpack I told her no unless I saw one at a good price. She said she can use last years it is not in that bad of shape. I agreed and told her that the one I bought her last year was still good too and that she didn't need one she said one MY MOM IS GOING TO BUY ME ONE. I got PISSED. he I was buying them things when I was making my do with what they had or buying off the clearance rack and skid thought they should buy all clothes at the mall at BON TON KAUFFMANS. I started a sep. checking acct. soon after that and told myself my kids would never after to go like that again or go without because I didn't have $$.
Another example, SDD wanted to play soccer this year we said ok any extra activity would be good because she is hanging with the worng group. We spent about $100 betwenn equipment and sign up fees. She went to 1 practice and quit. I said never again would I pay for any activity. Her mom said she could quit.
Anyway here is the latest problem, As you can tell I have been reevaluating whether I want to be in this relationship anymore. last night I got home and asked dh how the evening went, I had class, he said SDD said she wanted to babysit her brother at moms house friday night(WE know from Previous experience that is a LIE) he told her NO!! she said you either let me do it or I will make this weekend a horrible weekend for everyone. I don't want to go home with my kids for a weekend like that. I don't want my kids around it either. But if I don't go home dh will say I am running away. I don't know how to handle them anymore.
Has any one else been in this situation before. PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU SUGGEST.

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Old 09-06-2002, 08:35 AM
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I am so sorry for what you're going through. Being in a blended family is one of the greatest challenges I've ever faced. And yet, it can also be one of the most rewarding. This is the number one suggestion I have: 2 books by Stormie Omartian - The Power of a Praying Wife and The Power of a Praying Parent. They have helped me so much. You and I have something in common. We also have "his, hers and ours" children. It's so hard to be "fair" as there are different needs based on the living situations.

I'm not sure what the laws are in your state. But you need to know what your rights are. Talk with an attorney or do research on the internet. I would think the amount of child support would be based on your dh's income, not yours. The kids appear to be trying to manipulate you with the threat of being taken back to court. DON'T let them do that. Once you know how things work (what is required of you by law) you won't have to be afraid. In other words, if you think the courts would force you to pay for/buy something, it might be in your best interest to go ahead and do it. Also, at least in my state, the amount of child support your dh is paying could actually be reduced if there is a change in the living situation, like the birth of another child to him. Just be aware so they can't use that on you.

Are you paying for things other than what was listed in the decree? My dh & I used to have alot of problems with his ex until everyone just started going by what was in the decree. If it's not in there, we don't do it, except for minor things, like trading weekends, etc. In fact, we'd rather be told by the court to do something. That way, neither party feels they are being taken advantage of. We do not pay for clothes, activities, etc. at their mom's house. We do have clothes for them at our house. They bring nothing over. You didn't mention the age of your kids. It sounds like they might be teenagers. I don't have any that age yet so maybe someone else can offer some suggestions.

The last thing I can say is please consider carefully ending the relationship because of problems with kids. I'm sure it must terrible and I can't even imagine what I would do if I were being treated like that. Have you talked with your dh? Is he aware of what they're saying/doing? You and your husband have to be totally open with one another. Is counselling an option? If not, try to find some books about step-parenting/blended families and read read read!! I'll end on this: get those books by Stormie Omartian. I could not make it without the power of prayer. Feel free to email me or send a private message if you ever need to.

I wish you the very best!
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Old 09-06-2002, 02:40 PM
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I'm so sorry you are going through it. I've been there, done that in terms of stepchildren problems. We too have yours, mine and ours. I am going to echo the previous poster when she told you to really think about ending the marriage. That is not the answer. I know, believe me, I know, how hard and stressful and depressing it is to live in the situation you are in now but divorce is hard on the children. They did not ask to be brought into families that were going to break up. My son is now almost 18 and just now is the anger towards his dad coming out and just now is his appreciation of what I did for him (lovingly and willingly) coming out. The children do end up seeing for themselves what the other parent is like--you do not need to tell them--they are very wise.

My stepchildren (boys who lived with us so I never got a break) are now friendly to me. The 17 year old actually comes to me now when he is not feeling well or has a problem. All is not rosy by any stretch but after 8 years I can say I did live through it and I still love my husband.

I had to really step back and let go of things in regards to his boys for the longest time because it was causing me too much anxiety, my son too much anxiety and the marriage too much stress. It was very, very hard. I prayed alot, journaled alot, thought alot and tried to remember why I married him. Please remember that he is their parent, he loves them, he loves you, he feels very inadequate being a visiting father, he feels as out of control as you do and that he needs a supporting wife. Pray, pray, pray.

One thing that I found as I backed out of the situation is that once they saw I wasn't going to get riled up, they left me alone--in terms of doing things to be intentionally annoying, etc. Once I back away, my husband was able to see for himself (without my nagging) what was going on and soon, some of the things that I had thought of to deal with the kids became things that he decided (in his own time) to utilize. Eventually, he came to the point where he would actually come to me and ask for help or ideas about a situation. I also made it a point to let the boys know that their father was in charge, not I, so that any decisions that were made were his, not mine. Took their right to get angry away from me because after awhile it became obvious that that was useless.

Finally, it is very important that his children get some regular one on one time with just him. He is their family, not you and yours,although we'd all like to think that that isn't the case when you get right down to it--it is. I always encouraged them to do things together alone. I did it in front of everyone so that they would know that I was valuing their relationship and father and child.

I hope this helps. I have really been through it so I don't want you to read this and think "oh her steps and his ex aren't anything like mine". Oh yes they are just different bad. Our one son is on medication for some mental issues, we've had police calls, the ex would schedule visits that the children and we would depend on and they just wouldn't show or would show up four hours late (talk about devasted kids). An on and on. One of the things we did with her is what the gal ahead of me said also--stick to the decree exactly. When we did that and the ex figured out we were going to do that, she all the sudden became much more dependable. (We would go so far as leave the house with the kids if she was 15 minutes late). Yes it was disruptive to us but it was for the kids benefit. The stress level went down so much when they realized that mom was going to be there when she said or dad would take care of them. They won either way.

Best of luck to you. You will be added to my pray list.
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Old 09-07-2002, 08:27 PM
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I agree with some of what the other 2 ladies said but here is one thing I disagree with---I do not think you should stay in that relationship if you are being treated like that. Verbal abuse is verbal abuse no matter who it is from. I don't know if you have talked to your dh about it but if you have and he just expects you to deal with it I think that says a lot about the way he values you and your relationship. They are his family but you and your mutual children are also his family. He needs to make sure everyone in your household is treated with respect. If you were the ones talking to your stepkids like that most people would find it appalling and expect your dh to make it stop. He should extend you the same courtesy. Not only is this hard on you, it is also very damaging to ALL of your children. The stepkids need to learn that the world does not come to a halt because they make a threat. They will eventually get a smack in the face (figuratively) on this one whether you do it or a future partner, employer, teacher, whatever. Also, your children are learning that you can be manipulated by disrespect and threats. They may be headed for the same awful behavior. They are also learning the way they will allow themselves to be treated as adults. Unfortunately, it must be your husband who lays down the law on this one. If you try it with your stepkids you will just be the evil B****. Talk to your husband about this and let him know that he will stop this abuse or you will have to take further action for yourself and your children.
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Old 09-08-2002, 04:52 AM
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Dad better step in

I think you need to have a long talk with daddy when the kids arn't around. Tell him what is going on (especially the lies) and have him tell the kids that you are his SO and that is final. The old addage 'If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all' certanly applys here. He must tell them that although he loves them very much, he also loves you and that they don't have to like you, but they DO have to respect you, especially in your own home. If they can not behave themselves, then more extream measures must be taken.

Praying for you.

Jesus loves you weather you like it or not.
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Old 09-08-2002, 09:13 AM
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I am so sorry that you are dealing with what most step-parents deal with. I would make it perfectly clear to your husband, as others have said, that you will no longer tolerate the verbal abuse or the breaking of things in your house. I have made it perfectly clear that this is my house and I have certain rules. My husband's brother and his wife have smoked in my house, even though I have asked them not to. I've finally said, they cannot sleep here as they smoke after I go to sleep, have smoked in my bathroom making it necessary for me to take down all curtains, shower curtain and rewash including the towels in the big closet. They no longer come to my house.
With my step-daughter, she would cause fights like your children. I finally sent her to an orphanage, christian, where they tried to straighten her out. For 2 years, she improved her grades, from an F to an A, became outstanding athlete for the state in independent schools, was a model child. Then, she got drunk, they took away her college scholarships, and she married a redneck when she got out of school. All I can say is that I did my best.
The people that said you should talk to your husband alone are right. You need to have a united front. Surely, he hears the children being disrespectful. He would not put up with it from another adult and should not put up with it from his children. His silence is approval to them. Although they say "ignore the behavior and it will go away" that is not always true. If I ignored the behavior of my step-daughter all the time, I would have been in a psychiatric hospital. Children need direction and the parents are the ones to give it. No matter what they have at home with their Mother, when they are in your house, they have to obey your rules. Breaking things in the house is one form of violence, to intimidate you, and is part of the progression of violent behavior. If they are allowed to do it in your house, they will do it in public and may end up in jail. You might remind your husband of that.
When I was a young widow, I dated a man who let his children watch violent and nude movies. Sure enough, when the boy was 17, he was taken up for criminal domestic violence against his Mother with whom he lived. Children do imitate what they see. I knew if I married this man, his children would not behave that way in MY house, and would not watch the violent movies their Daddy rented for them because they were "too young to rent them themselves", they were 6 and 9. I tried to tell him, he was a highly paid engineer, that there was a good reason for that law, that since they were too young to rent the movies, they should not be watching them either.! I stopped the relationship and he later married and divorced again!
Good luck and please let us know what works.
May the Angels Watch Over You
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Old 09-08-2002, 03:21 PM
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I'm so sorry to hear about what is going on.
The first thing is to realize that you really have no control over them. Any court will tell you, it's the father's duty, and you are to stay out of it. I know, been there, done that and easier said than done. However, it seems that family counseling is in order.....May I suggest you get in touch with a family counselor, for you and your husband and honestly discuss the situation.

It's unfortunate that this is happening, and I have always said, when you marry someone with children, you are in the crosshairs.

Your husband is the one that MUST take a stand and lay down the laws of the household, and that includes respecting you.
You neglected to give the children's ages. It also sounds as if mommy dearest is fueling the situation. Vulgar language will not be tolerated. The next time they call and start cursing, say this, ....If you continue to speak in that tone and cursing, I will hang up until you can control yourself. --and if they continue, then hang up!....and stick to it! Consistency is the key for all behavioral problems. And the children also need counseling, desperately! They are angry at their father for leaving them.They are angry about a lot of things that need to be professionally addressed.

There is a lot of work ahead, so please seek a family counselor for you and your husband, and then the counselor will point you in the right direction. You really have no choice but to do so.
Fees can be paid on a sliding scale, that is, what you can afford.
You can go through county services. Also, if this continues and it is found that the mother is fueling this, she can be brought to court. Just keep that in mind. There are solutions. You just have to start in the right place.
Good luck to you.

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Old 09-08-2002, 05:47 PM
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I do want to clarify one thing. While I suggested earlier to consider it carefully before ending the relationship, I in NO WAY meant that you should stay in an abusive situation. I'm sorry if it came across that way.

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Old 09-08-2002, 06:22 PM
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Just a few comments. I have a step father. Although he never tired to take my real Dad's place once in a while I did feel threatened by his part in my Moms life. She always made sure she had one on one time with me... just the two of us. We did family type things together and then they had their time for themselves. First, I would say to examine your relationship with DH. Is this what you want? Is it worth fighting for or saving?
If this is then you and he need to have a serious non threatening talk and work out an agreeable approach. No one in a relationship should ever feel threatened by the spouse or by children... period.
I'd say off hand his kids are abusing and manipulating the situation. Some of this may be their age and some of it I'm sure is their Mom.
And finally I'll share with you what my Mother shared with me. Although I'm sure it was hard for her to say becasue I know she loved me this is what she said. She told me that she loved me very much and that she had always provided for me, it may not have been steak every night and it may not have been designer clothes but I never went hungry or naked. She said one day I would be grown enough to leave and probably marry. She said that she did not intend on being lonely for the rest of her life after I left to live my life just becasue I couldn't share in her happiness in the present. I was not a terrible teen and really didn't give my Mom a hard time but I did push my luck a few times
trying to get a better jockeying position.
Be reasonable but set rules and limits and know the laws in your state. Be well prepared and then if push comes to shove you will have the advantage. Good Luck! Robin in NC
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Old 09-08-2002, 08:24 PM
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Thank you Robin for sharing your personal experience with us. No expert can give advice if they haven't been in the situation. Dr. Spock, the child rearing expert never had children! I took psychology in college and now listen to people who think they are experts and do everything wrong. I do believe those of us with the same experiences can help one another. The rules in each state are different and we need to know our rights.
I have no contact with the step-child who gave me so many problems growing up. She lives about 10 miles away and I hear about her through my sister who after many years of trying to help her told her that she caused her own problems, that the "world did not do this to her" as she claimed! My sister told her that her problems were from "bad choices". I stopped the relationshiip after my lst husband (her father) passed away and her husband threatened to harm me. I said I didn't chose that life to life, she did and I didn't have to any longer be a part of it. Her Daddy was gone and she was an adult. It was 15 years before I ever saw her again. My sister brough her to my home when her 1/2 sister got married and she acted like a perfect lady, shocking me and my new husband as I'd told him what a redneck she was. Of course, he has recently heard about her problems again from my sister and believes the stories I've told him over the years.
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