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Hi girls. I have lurked here for a couple of months, but never really got the nerve to post. I've even had posts typed out and ended up not posting them for one reason or another..... I think a lot of it has to do with feeling guilty about my feelings, but I just can't hold it in any longer.....
Here is a little background
I am Leslie (24), been with Jason (32) 1 year 8 months (married for 4 months), he has a son from previous relationship (7), and I have a daughter from previous relationship (2).
From the start my relationship with DH's son was a little strained. I really tried hard to make things as easy as possible. I tried to interact with him, let him know I wasn't stealing his dad, etc. DH has no legal arrangements with his ex, he gets him 2-3 x's a week depending on her plans (but that's another issue entirely).
After the first few months things really went downhill. To put it as nicely as possible DF's son is a whiney brat. He acts more like he's 3 than 7. He cries AT LEAST 2X's everytime he is with us. Which is 6 hours opf awake time on the weekday, and about 16 hours of awake time when we have him on the weekend.
His crying fits are for many different reasons. Here are some of them:
**My DD took a toy from him (we are working on sharing with her, but geez she's 2!!! She's not perfect)
**He doesn't like what I cook for dinner, and wants us to make him something seperate (aka Chicken and tater tots)
**He foesn't want to take a shower, or sometimes just not at the time he's told
**I tell him to pick up his room or something else he drug out and he won't... he then goes to his dad and tells him he's sick... at which time DH says ok, go lay down in your bed and rest then....
**He sometimes goes into all out fits when we take him back to his mom (his mom is NOT bad to him), he just doesn't "always" get his way there.
**DD is in a throwing stage, she'll throw a small toy and it hits him, and he gets overdramafied over it. I do discipline her for it, but he can stop crying after 2 seconds, then when his dad comes in starts the crying all over again....
**He cries if we tell him he can't go stay all night with DH's parents... sometimes DH gives in. My point is, you only have him 2x's a week and you're going to let him stay with g-parents. When DSS is asked why he wants to stay there instead of with us, he says "because grammy always takes me to wal-mart to get a toy).
I will admit I have fault in this too. I barely speak to DSS at this point. I feel like I have tried and tried and that it just needs to be accepted that we aren't going to be one big happy family. My barely interacting with him is the result of being disrespected time after time. I will ask him a question and he will flat out just look at me and not talk..... he also has been known to do this to other people outside of the home... I find him to be very unsocialized and disrespectful.
Major issue NOONE sees a problem with this..... Everyone babies him to the EXTREME... His mother does stick to her guns sometimes, but she has been known to baby him a lot as well... The only argument me and DH ever have is having to do with things relating to his ex and their son....
Now that we leave together it is an unavoidable thing. I feel he needs to follow rules and respect me in my house... DH disciplines my DD, and acts as if she's his own (her bio dad is in picture, but half heartedly)....I RARELY say anything to DSS as far as correcting him goes unless he is in danger or being downright mean to DD. Although it's only 2x's a week our house is turned upside down everytime he comes... I always end up in a terrible mood quickly upon his arrival because of his actions.
So, last night everything came to a head... me and DH aren't even on speaking terms. Here's what happened:
DSS was told to take a shower and he didn't want to. After a lot of whining he finally got in the shower. About 45 seconds later he is out, gets dressed and comes in the living room and sits on couch. I look over and his hair isn't wet. He went to basketball practice and got sweaty earlier in the day so he needed a proper shower. I said hey did you wash your hair. He says no, and I said ok, well you need to go get back in the shower, you got stinky and sweatyy earlier and you have school tomorrow. I kind of said it jokingly to avoid an isssue.... so he walks back to his room (where DH was) and I hear him crying and arguing.... DH is trying to reason with him, oh well please go wash your hair, you got sweaty and need too, blah blah blah..... I am furious! He's 7!! He is NOT the boss, and is no longer going to go against what I ask or tell him to do!
So I walk in and say "did I tell you to go wash your hair", he's sobbing and won't answer me. He demands that DH give him the tv remote (which he did) ........ by this point I am about to the boiling point, and I say "Well if you aren't going to wash your hair then you can go to bed with no tv on" and I take the remote from his hands......... DH says for me to leave that he would take care of it... so begrudgingly I go back to living room..... then they go back to MY bathroom (it has a tub). I say "what are you doing" and DH says well I am gonna put him in the bathtub so he can just lean his head under the faucet to wash his hair fast!!! You have got to be kidding me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's not an infant! You don't go wash his hair, and especially because he "told" you that otherwise he wouldn't wash his hair!!!
So while they are in the shower I go unhook the cable on his tv and take the remote...
When DH figures this out he gets irate! Demanding I tell him where the remote is! I don't do it, and still have the remote now.. I think he got the tv to work though.....
I'm just at my wits end!!! I am not going to yell and discipline DD all day for throwing fits and demanding things and then let him waltz in and do whatever the heck he wants.... DH says I can't choose when to be mommy.... DSS and I aren't around each other tons, I do try to make donversation sometimes but he doesn't typically respond. The whole time he is here he is literally laying on top of DH and they play together. There really isn't a lot of opportunity for big interaction between us. While I don't really discipline him, I am not going to let him do as he pleases. If everyone else wants to baby and coddle him they can, but he is not going to do as he pleases in my house, and especially not when DD gets yelled at for the same things....
I do feel guilty about this, I think people have unrealistic expectations about what a blended family is.... I feel like people think I should just take in my DSS and act as if he's my own. But the reality is, he's not mine. Things are a lot easier with DD because she was so little when DH came around. Getting a 7 year old brought into your life that already has tons of family that he is extremely attached to is a whole different ballgame.
I also feel bad for DH because I know he's torn. But he is only making things worse. Instead of correcting DSS he just lets everything go. And that infuriates me because he so readily disciplines DD......
and this is only 4 months into our marriage... I am still so mad, I know when DH gets home all Hell is going to break loose...
I'm sorry this is so long, I just really needed to vent! I understand if you couldn't make it through the whole thing.
__________________ <3 August 1st, 2013
<3 November 21st, 2013
<3 October, 19th 2014
I can totally get how instant family is tough. I went from 1 toddler to step mom of a teenager
That being said, everything you've written sounds like normal 7 year old behavior. My daughter is 6 1/2 & pretty much acts the same way at times. Just part of being a kid I guess.
I'd be careful about disciplining your DSS especially if you & your DH don't agree. You & your DH need to sit down & agree what the rules are for DSS and work to enforce them together.
That's where the biggest problem lies. He doesn't outright admit it, but there are no rules for DSS. But, of course when DD does something, even minor, she gets disciplined by "both" of us. Granted, she lives with us full time, but that doesn't excuse him from any discipline (I know that's not what you were saying). She gets put in time-out over her tantrums.... DH's arguement "She's 2 and he's 7".... My reply, yeah you are right, he's 7 so he KNOWS better.
__________________ <3 August 1st, 2013
<3 November 21st, 2013
<3 October, 19th 2014
I think if he can't agree with you on "household" rules, including how you discipline BOTH children equally, then he has no business disciplining your DD. If he wants to keep the family separate then he loses all rights to discipline the child that is not his, as he is removing your right to discipline. Chantelle usually suggests dis-engagement. If the family isn't run as one household, then separate your responsibilities. He is solely responsible for DSS and you are solely responsible for DD. Feeding, bathing, homework, discipline, etc is no longer your job when DSS is over. IMHO, I believe this technique is more for teaching the spouse a lesson then DSS. This should teach him that he can't ask you to parent and then take away your authority, especially in front of DSS. DSS has learned to manipulate the adults in his life. He is spoiled rotten. It sounds like you also have to get DH's parents in line with parenting rules as well. Parents also have to learn to not feel guilty for divorcing their child(ren)'s other parent. You can't go thru life feeling guilty and letting things go when you parent.
My adopted brother is 8 and my parents have some of the same problems as you do with the 7 yr old. They say, "fine.If you don't wanna shower, doesn't hurt me." He will learn to shower more regularly when his friends say he stinks. He needs to know that you aren't hurt by him not showering, he is. He won't be clean for school. IMHO, my 5 yr old DSD won't have cable in her room until she is a teenager. What does a child do to earn that privilege? She has a small TV in her room for when we have company and the kids want to watch a movie. My 5 yr old DSD has just lost her TV due to behaving like she is entitled to have everything and treating people (including my MIL), like they are her toys. I believe in age appropriate time out, where ur 2 yr old gets 2 minutes and the 7 yr old gets 7 minutes. I believe that if possessions are not treated with care, they are taken away. Yes, your DD is 2 and must learn rules and consequences, but DSS is 7 and should have already learned them and obey them. He is at the age of testing the boundaries. If DH isn't firm, then it ruins whatever progress he has made before. He might as well treat him like he is 2, since that is what his wishy-washy discipline has taught DSS.
In my household, DSD treats DH and I with respect. She knows the rules and follows them. She knows the consequences and doesn't object when they are applied. When she whines I say "whining gets you what?" and she says "NOTHING"...and the whining stops. DSD is manipulative and gets away with things at BM's house. We tell her how we have NONE of those problems because we don't tolerate the crying when she gets in trouble. DSD turns on the tears anytime she gets in trouble at BM's house because she knows mom will come running and coddle her. She doesn't cry at our house because she knows the rules and consequences for breaking them.
Are you sure you don't have my DSS? The only difference is that we have DSS living with us. I am the primary caregiver so discipline is mainly up to me unless DH is home and sometimes, depending on the issue, he steps in. I believe that for the most part your DSS is acting like a normal child his age...both my DSS and DS act this way (they are both 9). The whining hasn't stopped either and they both whine when our 2 year old does anything to them. "Sam is throwing toys" "Sam took my car" etc, etc.
I will have to agree with the other 2 ladies. 1) you and your DH NEED to be on the same page and 2) if that doesn't work then the dis-engagement should be done.
Welcome Leslie! I am Chantelle, one of the co-hosts here on Blended Families. I have step-son from my DH's previous marriage who I rarely see. I have a son from a previous relationship who lives w/ me, and together, DH & I have 2 lovely babies (also boys). Together, 4 boys later, 11, 8, 2 & 1, I am severely outnumbered & very blended! I have it on all ends. I am a bio & step mother. I have a bio-mom whom I don't often talk too & is difficult to get along w/ & has made my DH's life difficult. I have a DSS who has no relationship w/ my kids (his brothers) & wants nothing to do w/ them either. I have an ex whom I'd like to think I get along w/, for the sake of our son. He's about to have twins any day now (boy & girl), my DS is about to be part of a very messed up Brady Bunch. I am also a bio-mom who has to deal w/ some occasional drama in my own situation w/ my own kids & sometimes have to split up time w/ my DS & my ex, which makes it difficult as well.
I think I can say that on pretty much every level I've BTDT, but I won't hog up your post. I want to touch more on what you wrote but I have to run for my kids. I'll write more later but I wanted to welcome you to Blended Families. I am glad you joined us. Everyone here has BTDT, or IS going through something of that similar nature. Everyone is pretty nice & positive. We all are helpful & caring, but most of all, we tell it like it is. We don't sugar coat things, we truly tell people what to do to help them, not to tell them things just to make them feel better. We usually want to help so that you can avoid the same drama that we had to endure or perhaps you can share your experiences & help us too. Every situation is different, no two are the same.
Boy I could have written your post. I am Christy. I have a dss who is 5 and he lives with us part time. I have 3 children. Samantha (4) who is from my previous marriage, Lilly (1) and Isaiah (2 months) who are with dh. My dh coddles my dss. It is very frustrating. I have had him tell me to stay out of it too. My dss can be rude to me as well. For example the other day I dropped him off at school and I said bye to him and he just walked off. His teacher was like "Elijah Christy said bye". My dh has a much better relationship with my daughter because she lives with us full time. I feel kind of out of place when it comes to Eli. We have been together for 2 1/2 years and it is still happening. I am sorry you are going through this. I would sit down with dh and come up with very clear rules you expect the kids to live by and then let him deal with dss. If you have an issue with something he has done let him know in private later. Welcome to the board and good luck!
Alright Leslie...now that I had a while to read & really get down & write back... here I go.
WOW & WOW...you & I have the same DSS, really we do! My DSS cries about everything, he is 11 & acts like a 2 year old. He is babied and everyone jumps when he says jump. My DH pretty much does the same thing. When my DSS is over, my DH acts like a completely different person, he is nice, helps out, makes meals, doesn't work as much, and lets h is DS get away w/ EVERYTHING...meanwhile...once DSS goes back home, DH gets back & acts normal. My kids (our kids) don't get treated like it's Disney Land anymore. They get the REAL Dad. It makes me furious.
Over the years... DSS has pushed me so far off that I no longer want to talk to him either. I have also disengaged myself w/ him. I will go into my bedroom, watch TV, read, whatever. I wont even eat w/ them. I can't stand it. The child cries about the food, acts like a brat, starts crying about what he has to eat, it's just something I cannot tolerate. My 1 year old doesn't cry this much. My babies sleep through the night, this child, when he USED to sleep over, would cry & come into our bedroom & wake us up crying & acting like a baby at least 5-8 x's a night.
Finally...one night, DSS had his new cell phone. He sneaked it & called his grandparents. Long story short, we caught him & I took DSS aside, told him EXACTLY how I felt about him. How I thought he was a manipulative little brat. A few other colorful words. I told him that he treated his father horribly. That he was making our house a mess. That every time he came over our house was in chaos, the kids would be on eggshells.
This is where I get a better outcome than you. DSS no longer sleep's over. He lives w/ his BM over an hour away. My DH picks up his son on Mondays & Tuesdays after school, & takes him to my MIL's house for dinner & then drops him off at his mother's house & that's it. DH no longer sees his son daily (as he used too) or every other weekend (as he is suppose too). I finally told DH "I can't do this anymore... we are unhappy, the kids are unhappy, he comes over & cries all day long, he keeps us up all night long, he makes us fight & then by the time he leaves on Sunday, we're at each others throats!".
What's worst is that when DSS goes home to his BM, he tells her LIES about us, me & my BIO-SON (his step-brother) then we get the NASTY call(s) & that's just the beginning.
I hear ya. I hear how this is troubling. You are SOOOOO NOT ALONE in this. This child has been babied & you are seeing it for what it is. Your DH is feeling guilt & that card is being played constantly from his son, hence why it's continuing. And why not have it continue? It's working for the child, right? People only do things b/c it works for them. Meanwhile, you are miserable. You are ready to say "see-ya!"... you love your DH, but the situation w/ his son, is not changing. I've been w/ my DH for a long time. Honestly, it's never changed, and I don't forsee it ever changing. As I had said, the only good part for me is that I don't see him anymore. That's sad b/c I WISH I had a better exchange w/ his son. The problem is that his mother (BM) will not allow a good foundation w/ her son & our family. She's nuts to put it lightly. Something isn't fully functioning up in her brain. And my DH puts up w/ it b/c he thinks that if he puts his foot down, she will tell the child horrible things about him & his son wont want to be in his life anymore & blah, blah, blah....
I wish I had better advice. I really do. If I had a fix, I would have fixed my own situation. My only fix for me is that I don't see him anymore. And when I do, it's short, NOT sweet, he's rude & he reminds me of why I don't see him that much. The last time he saw me he said (and this was XMas Eve)... "I'm never getting married b/c all women are ______" and then he said "once a month women are _______ because of their periods!" yeah....in front of me at the Cheesecake Factory, nice. REALLY NICE EH? So please, I understand. My DH said to his son "that's inappropriate, apologize"... WHAT?@?@?@? I would have been saying a lot more than that to my kid if he had just said something to that magnitude, AND... I would have called the other parent to discuss this MOUTH on the child. NOPE, not my DH... not for this kid.
Hello there. I am Becca I am the other co-host here. I have 3 children and a DH.
I wanted to welcome you. I really have no other advice than what everyone else said. I think that you and your DH need to sit down and discuss the "house rules". Make rules that you want followed at your house and those apply to EVERY CHILD that comes into your home. I have them. There are certain things that my friends let their kids do that they will not do over here. I have a friend that lets her 10 year old DD watch CSI and SVU but that is not going to happen here even if her mother is here. She knows it and so do the kids. I came up with the house rules so that everyone knows how you are to behave in my house. If you can not follow the rules there will be consequences that might result in you not being welcome to come back.
That would be the first thing that I would try. If that doesn't work then I would suggest dis-engaging from the entire situation.
I hope that helps and please stick around.
Thank you ~* Helen *~ for the best all about me siggie! You are absolutely fabulous!
I can tell you I'm in a SIMILAR boat. I have twin DSD's who are just about 6 years old... their Mom sometimes gives into them (she's said it herself) but I do understand how hard it must be to be a single parent. I feel the same way you do at times when my DSD's are at our house. They act like a baby and get mad when my DD (only 10 months old) cries or whatever and we have to explain she's a BABY and doesn't know better but THEY DO! They are about to be 6 years old and they know the rules!
I hope that things get better for you. I really do suggest that you and DH sit down and discuss the HOUSE rules for everyone AND the consequences for NOT following them - we had to do that several times AND then we sat down as a family and discussed the rules AND the consequences.... that way we're all MOSTLY on the same page!~
Thanks for all the advice and support ladies. I am so glad to know that I am not alone..... I really have beat myself up over this feeling guilty. I think it is the result of people having unrealistic expectations on blended families.... Like everyone should just merge like the Brady Bunch and live happily ever after.... I will work on all the things you ladies suggested. Thanks again!
__________________ <3 August 1st, 2013
<3 November 21st, 2013
<3 October, 19th 2014
The Brady Bunch... if life could be so easy, eh? Hang in there. You're doing a good job & you're trying your best. That's a good thing. Many people would be just big babies & throw their hands up & say "I'm done"... which, some people do. But, we love our husbands, no marriage is the way it was year's ago. It's the norm for people to have step-children, second marriages & all sorts of mixes. Sometimes I think to myself "what on earth am I trying to fight here?" because I feel like that's what I am doing, fighting a battle...that I'll never win, but I am not trying to win, I am just trying to find a common ground, keep the peace. It's hard though, some people, just don't want to have peace, they love drama, they love the whole up in your face stuff & that's the difficult part of it. You can't control others, but you can control yourself, just be the best darn person & role model you can be, no one can take that away. Right? Lead by example. You're headed in the right direction.