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

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Old 09-16-2003, 02:32 AM
roisindubh's Avatar
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Whose rules?

What do you do when the ex's rules at home are not ones you want your stepkids to follow at your house? That's kind of a simplification.... My husband and I don't like much of what goes on at his ex's, but we only "get" the girls 2 weekends a month and are afraid we don't have much influence on what they do. For instance, my 15-year-old daughter told us this weekend that her mom told her that, if she wanted to try alcohol, she'd let her drink 'til she got drunk, to see what it's like. "It's okay as long as I'm at home," sd told us. Her mom lets her drive. At first, it was moving the car from one parking place to another at their apartment complex. It's graduated to helping her mom drive on a long summer road-trip. The child doesn't even have a learner's permit, no less a license! The most popular refrain at our place on "girl weekends" is "But Mom let's me...."
The girls don't do well in school, partly because they miss so many days. They stay up 'til all hours, usually at some friend of their mom's place that she's visiting, then oversleep in the morning. Rather than take them to school late (until last month she hadn't worked outside the home, so she was available for driving them to school,) she called them in sick. The middle girl almost failed last year because of excessive absences.
They don't want to do their homework when we pick them up from school on "our" Fridays, because they're used to doing it on Sunday night. Well, we don't take them home until 7 pm on Sundays, and that's 'way too late to be starting homework. That's "if" we take them home. Most of the time we return them to someone else's house. Their mom just started working this summer, selling a product at fairs. She is away from home for 3 days to more than a week at a time now. Even when she wasn't working, we often picked them up or dropped them off at one of her relative's or friend's house because she was out-of-town doing whatever. In the 3 years I've been in this situation, we have probably picked up the girls from or delivered them to their own house less than a third of the time.
The girls do all the housework at home. The 15-year-old has practically raised her younger sisters since the divorce. When she is with us, her Dad tells her, "Little Mama, I'm the parent here. You just be a kid, okay?" She bosses her sisters around because that's the role she has had to assume at home, but it causes conflicts here.
I've strayed from my question. Sorry! It's just so frustrating! We want them to have a life: sleep in their own beds at night, do chores but not tend to a whole house, do well in school (their study habits are nonexistant!) and be kids.
I hear the 15-year-old talk to her Mom on the phone, and I have to remind myself she's not talking to another high-schooler. It's all giggles and "girlfriend!" and "home girl!" I think Mom wants her to grow up fast so she can have another friend to drive-like-heck and get drunk with. She doesn't want a daughter; she wants a drinking buddy.
The girls and I get along fine. I love them, and it's quite clear they return the favor! My husband often says he thinks they get along better with me than with him. But I want to be their parent, not their buddy. But that's what they think a Mom should be, just one of the girls. As long as the house is semi-clean (how clean can a 15-year-old, a 12-year-old, and a 7-year-old keep a house?) they can pretty much do as they please at home. Who's there to stop them?
Then they come here, and we have -- gasp! -- RULES! We treat them like -- horrors! -- CHILDREN. Not housekeepers or gal-pals, but like our kids.
I'm so new to this stuff! Any ideas/suggestions?
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Old 03-13-2004, 08:10 PM
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Rules??What Rules

I am new to this too, but I know exactly what you are talking about.
I don't know if you have kids of your own, but throw that into the mix and it is even worse. Try having rules for the kids that usually live with none and then try to explain to your kids that live with rules all the time, why their step sisters don't have to follow the same rules.
I am not sure what to do either, I just know that it is very frustrating. Is it enough to give them rules while they are at your place (for such a short period of time?) I try to keep out of the problems they have with their mother, or like in your case their buddy, but it is hard for me just to let all of the lack of parenting go.
The education end of it is so bad, no care about grades, or school.
Do you and your husband agree on all the rules in your house? If you do, do the rules apply or are they just "rules" that never get up held?
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Old 02-15-2008, 05:37 AM
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I know these are old post but I am a step mom of a 12 yr old. I also have a 15 yr and 5 yr old girl and a 21 month old boy of my own. my oldest is not my husbands daughter. For us to have things work in my home was that they all had the same rules. I did not let anyone be treated any differnt then the other. Hubby was always afriad to have his daughter follow the rules and never discipline her when doing anything wrong.

Now I had to talk to him alot and make him realize that the 15 yr old can see that he was letting his daughter get away with anything and I told him to make it stop.

Now everyone gets along great I sppend some alone time with my step daughter and he spends time with my old one.

We are still working on how many lates and absents she has for school. When report cards come out I normaly don't get to see it but I do ask how many lates and haow many absents and she has to tell me the truth because dad does read it before he brings her to our house.


For a long time his daughter resented me alot and would not listen to a word I would say but we have just found out recently that it was her mother that was making it hard for us. Now i have a step daughter that can't get enough of us and wants me around and be there for her.

I understand where you are coming from because my step daughter was being her friend rather a mother and that bugged me but nothing I nor hubby could do. I just had to be patient and then she would see that she needs to be a mom not her friend and that is what happend.
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:09 AM
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We had almost the same problem when my Step children were younger, but we started keeping records and then we went back into court and we wern given total cousty, I realy dont know what to tell you but it has to be between your DH and you. also the school can give reports to the courts.
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Old 02-15-2008, 07:22 AM
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he has to want to take it further. I can only express my concern and how that it should not be like that. He asked his daughter why she was late that much and only a few was a good reason for dentist appoints for her braces but the others are for she slept in. I told him he needs to tell her mom to start getting her up sooner. I have told my step daughter that I was not happy with that and that if she kept it up that I would let mimi know and she doesn't want that to happen. Since her last report card she has gotten alittle better but to try harder. Her mom lets her stay up and watch late shows that are for adults. When she is here she has our rules not her moms and she is ok with it now.
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Old 02-15-2008, 10:11 AM
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That mosy make it hard when one parent lets the kid stay up late and then you have a normal bedtime for her when she is there.Stick to your guns she might change her mind and start going to bed earlier when she is with mom.I am also montering what my teenager watchs as there is alot of junk on tv.

Mish
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Old 02-22-2008, 11:26 AM
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We have our rules and she has her rules. No houses have the same rules and the same goes for split marriage houses, but the children can learn that just because it is done one way at mom's doesn't mean that it is done that way at Dad's
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Old 07-18-2008, 12:13 AM
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Some of you gave great advice.
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