Post # 1
I know that most of you don’t have experience with this topic but I’m hoping for some advice anyway. I have a son and a daughter from my previous marriage, FI has 3 sons one of which has extreme behavior problems and he is currently at Boys Town. That’s 5 kids all together, ages 9 (daughter) we’ll call her A, 11 B, 12 C, 14 D (in boys town), and 18 E.
I was raised pretty strictly and raised my children the same way. FI was raised a lot less strictly and raised his boys the same way. Obviously this is where our issues are coming from. We have been living together for 2 years. I have full custody of my kids and my schedule with my ex is very structured. FI and his ex technically have joint custody although the B and E pretty much live with us full time and they never had a set schedule, it was “whatever works.”
I feel like FI needs to be more strict with his boys than he is but at the same time I feel like he’s harder on my son than he is on his own. We have talked about this before so he knows I feel this way but he doesn’t see that he’s doing it. For example, daughter and B and C boys outside playing. It’s time to come in so I yell for all of them by name that it’s time to come in. My kids come in fairly quickly but not his son. After a few minutes, I tell FI to tell B to come in. He does and B whines about having to come in so FI says “ok 2 more shots with the basketball then come in”. B proceeds to take more than 5 shots before FI finally gets him inside.
Here’s an example of how he’s harder on my son (C) than he is on B. These 2 boys share a room and they are obviously very different personalities. B keeps his side of the room cleaner than C does and C tends to dump his blankets on the floor when he gets up in the morning. We put the boys to bed at the same time and FI gets pissed when I pick C’s blankets off the floor and cover him up. He says I shouldn’t do those things for him. But it’s ok for B to be laying in bed and hand FI his glasses for FI to put them on his dresser, and to cover him up, and to plug his phone in etc.
I know these are minor things but they are causing a huge problem in our family. I think that all the kids should be held to the same standard, it shouldn’t be different between your kids and my kids because it’s going to affect the kids. In fact it already has because B knows that he can get away with things when his dad is home but not when I’m home. Also, I think it’s important to add that FI has longer, unpredictable hours at work, sometimes he’s home by 6:30 and other nights he’s lucky to be home by 9:00 so I’m the one with the kids after work trying to lay down the law.
I don’t know what to do I’m so frustrated by our situation. We don’t even have a wedding date set because we are waiting for Catholic annulments and I feel like we have failed before we have even began.
Post # 3
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
If you can’t agree on how to raise your kids together the relationship is unlikely to work in the long run. I would try to raise the idea of a set schedule for all of the kids and if your BF balks then it’s time for you to walk. My ex husband and I had different ideas about how to raise a child and we constantly clashed over how to raise his daughter (he was too indulgent and lacked clear expectations while I wanted a set schedule and expectations.) Worse, he would call me out in front her and undermine me when I told her “no” about something.
This is something that must be solved together as a couple because you’re doomed to fail if you try to do this on your own. Blended families are very difficult and can be impossible if both parents are not on the same page regarding rules, schedules, and discipline.
Post # 4
@Face: the first years in a blended family are really tough but if you guys stick together through all of it, you will know you are stronger and your life will be more rewarding.
My FI has two children from his previous marriage with shared custody, i don’t have any. I can’t even imagine the drama invloved if I had them too! So many opinions on everything in the house LOL
As for the annulment part. They can take up to 3 years. Why don’t you guys do what we are doing ? Why not get married by a revrend or minister in a non catholic way and once your annulments come through, then marry in a church on a 5 year anniversary ?
Post # 5
Coming from experience of blending two families, if you have already been living together for 2 years, you are way past time to come to some agreement on child rearing. It is confusing for the kids when you have different expectations and will cause trouble in the relationship between the two of you and between each parent and the other’s children.
I suggest the two of you sit down now and come to some agreement on even minor items like response times to calls for dinner. If you can’t come to agreement on your own, seek professional help. Your children deserve some unity between the two of you.
You can help by upping your expectations of your own kids. I don’t see that allowing your som to throw his blankets on the floor is “raising him pretty strictly” and obviously it is a sore point for your FI. Even though you feel that he is easier on his kids than yours, there will also be things that bug him.
They are all plenty old enough to make their beds when they get up in the morning. Straightening up a duvet is easier than making a bed with blankets.
I encourage you to deal with this issue as it is obviously bothering you.
Post # 6
Lulume: Tough doesn’t begin to describe it and I knew it would be tough. About the annulment, we were originally told it would take a year but now they are telling us a year and a half. We have already passed the year mark so I’m crossing my fingers we’ll hear something by November. If only FI hadn’t taken so long to write his narrative…
I know all about drama! Between the 5 kids, my ex who is an asshole, his ex who is a crazy bitch, his long work hours and our dog somedays I don’t know how I keep sane! LOL
Post # 7
julies1949: You are right. I’m not saying my kids are perfect because I know they aren’t and sometimes my son behaves so much like my ex that I pick my battles. My son is a slob and down right refuses to tie his shoes. I gave up on that battle long ago and when he complains his feet hurt I say he should learn to tie his shoes. At the same time, my son is a straight A student. I expect good grades out of my kids and that is a battle I will continue to fight. FI doesn’t enforce studying or reading and his boys’ grades relfect that. The 18 year old barely passed his classes his Junior year. The 14 year old is barely on a 4th grade level (granted he does have the behavior problems) and his 11 year old got mostly B’s and C’s.
Post # 8
@Face: no kidding! I know all about crazy ex’s! His ex is a piece of work too.
it will get easier with time. Just look far into future and where you see yourself and what is making you happy and it will be easier on you going through the hickups. You both however have to sit down and figure out how to work as a team.
Post # 9
- Wedding: October 2011 - Bed & Breakfast
Have you and your FI sat down to write “house rules” and develop a consequence scheme for violations? Setting forth “the rules” and “the consequences” as a unified front may help you two become a parenting team. When Mr. LK and I moved in together, we set up a family mission statement (cheesy, but effective) and house rules. Our rules focus on always being truthful with one another, treating each other with respect, assuring that chores are done before fun activities, always offering to help if you see someone working on something, etc. “The rules” apply to all of us, but were really designed to let Teen LK know what we expect of him. Farther down the line we needed to establish a consequence scheme for when teen LK didn’t abide by the house rules. So infraction 1 = loss of computer game privledges, infraction 2= loss of all computer privledges, etc.
As a side note, Mr. LK and I have committed to being a team. If Parent A is disciplining and Parent B does not agree, Parent B keeps his/her mouth shut. We NEVER disagree about rules and/or discipline in front of Teen LK. Ever. All parenting disagreements are discussed behind closed doors after the fact. We both agree that some boundaries will never be crossed during discipline (we’re anti-physical punishment) and we both agree that we will consult the other parent if our standard list of consequences just does not seem to fit the bill. Oh, and we also have our own parenting mission statement to use as our guiding principle in all decisions related to Teen LK. Sometimes referring back to that helps us see the forest through the trees. Basically, we talk a ton about parenting, make sure that our base is strong, and frequently check-in with each other to stay on the same page. Communication is key.