Post # 16
Becoming an instant parent, aka step-parent, is really difficult, especially when you take on a new marriage and two kids. I’m not defending his behavior because I definitely think he needs to be more effective in voicing his frustrations but it sounds like he’s having a hard time adjusting to his new reality. I echo what others have said and marriage/family counseling is probably a great idea for you all right now.
Post # 17
anonymousgirl2008 : i don’t really think he does honestly. He thinks that because they have their father in their life still, that he’s just an adult that they need to respect. He has said before that he can’t give them rules or inplement discipline because he’s not their dad and he feels like that will hurt his progress when it comes to forming some type of bond with them. I’ve explained to him that we have to be a team and he says he’s never done this before so he doesn’t just know what and what not to do.
He actually has a good point and is on the right track. Most therapists agree that the step parent role isn’t the primary disciplinarian, especially if there’s two involved bio-parents. Now, if my step kid is doing someone out of line or in danger of course I step in– but there’s really no reason for me to dole out punishment and hard discipline. He needs you to really step in and do that, and that means YOU need to actually follow through with it, if it is something you’ve agreed to. He is there to support YOU and your parenting efforts, and if you’re not effectively parenting, then you may need some help from a family counselor… because that is an incredibly frustrating place to be as a step parent. I’m sure he does feel very out of control and overwhelmed. And I’m sure you and the kids do, too. It is hard on everyone to try and mold together your new life.
Post # 18
I am sorry but this is much bigger than how to move on after a big fight. An adult with OCD that needs to have everything his way will have a tremendously difficult time in a household with any child – neurotypical, “well-behaved” or otherwise.
I honestly don’t know how you will balance his OCD with both your children’s needs, but in particular your sons. Raising a child with autism requires flexibility, patience, and understanding (not to mention education on autism), and it sounds like your new husband has none of the above.
I am sorry to be blunt, but how did you think this was going to work out?
That being said, I highly recommend googling Diary of a Mom and checking out the resources on both her website and Facebook page. Maybe they can help.
Post # 19
zl27 : he has OCD, he does not expect the children to follow his rituals or take part in his behavior. Just because he has OCD that does not mean he cannot have children, become a step parent or get married. He goes to therapy twice a month and understands how to deal with it. That being said, he likes to have rules in place and wants them to be followed, which is the way he was raised. I think the main issue is that he does not have education in autism as you’ve said. We will have to look into classes or ways that he can learn about autism in children, and how to be a step parent in general. Thanks for your reply!
Post # 20
anonymousgirl2008 : I understand. I was taking this – “He has a way that he needs everything to be in his house” – to mean that he is inflexible on the rules, discipline methods, and behavior in the house. Not that he engaged them in his behavior.
And I did not mean to imply that someone with OCD could not be a parent, step, etc. But an insta-family without a lot of work and education in advance was a recipe for disaster.
Post # 21
100% agree on couples and/or family therapy.
It’s ok for him to be upset. But he needs to learn how to control his reaction. The two of you also need to learn how to repair the relationship after a bigger argument.
Post # 22
anonymousgirl2008 : so he skipped on your birthday dinner? Seriously, he sounds like a piece of work.
He knew what he signed up for he married you with 2 kids.
Post # 23
Mls1988 : lol my birthday was last week and he took me out, plus we celebrated again with my children. This was just to see my family and celebrate it again. That was a non issue.
Post # 24
I understand your defensiveness given that you’ve had to deal with so many people in your life trying to chime in and offer their opinions re parenting techniques. That must have been incredibly frustrating for you.
HOWEVER, you really need to separate your Darling Husband from those people, and allow your Darling Husband the space he needs to feel heard when it comes to his views on parenting. This means suppressing your ego in this area. This means validating his feelings and views on whatever situation he may be bringing up. This means NOT being defensive, and instead being empathetic and understanding. By marrying him, you made a commitment to hear him out and to raise these children as a TEAM. That means that YOU needs to make HIM feel safe coming to you and sharing his thoughts.
It all starts there. If he doesn’t feel safe coming to you, he will bottle things up inside and then “pop” when it becomes too much, like it did in this instance.
Also, no matter how much you discuss something about the future, no matter how much you try to prepare yourself – the actual reality of a situation is often drastically different than what you thought you were preparing for. It sounds like that’s the case in this situation. While he mentally prepared himself for living with your chilren, there are probably real-life aspects that he hadn’t anticipated (such as your defensiveness whenever he tries to be heard) that are making things much harder on him than he expected.
I agree with PP who say that you would probably benefit from an autism-specific parenting class, and that the two of you could benefit from marriage counseling.
You two REALLY need to get on the same page regarding parenting, for the children’s sake if for nothing else. They need clear boundaries and guidelines, and they need them to be consistent across parents and over time.
Post # 25
We have a blended family. My husband came into our lives when my daughter from my first marriage was 4. Like many other PP I recommend counseling. It is important to get everyone on the same page regarding behavior and discipline because kids LOVE to play parents against eachother. Chances are both you and your husband will both learn some parenting skills and ways of effectively dealing with your children. In our case, our family therapist has been very good about calling out me and my husband at different times on how we have messed up and how we could do better.
Post # 26
Sorry but I’m not as optimistic about this as others seem to be. You married someone who maybe didn’t fully realize all that is involved in becoming a husband and step-parent, but his attitude and actions are extreme enough that your poor children are being treated/viewed as a regrettable intrusion into his home:
A sick child needing to come home from school is met with petulant this was supposed to be my free day all to myself rather than any concern for the child. When you and your kids return home he rushes to the basement to be away from you. ‘He has a way that he needs everything to be in his house’ – so people are supposed to follow what I’m imagining are unreasonable and difficult rules to live by (including for you, not just the kids) to take his OCD into consideration- yet he has no patience or understanding for a child’s special needs.
He’s said he feels like a prisoner in his own home. Frankly I’d give him back his home all to himself and move my kids somewhere they were allowed to fucking breathe and act like kids.
Post # 27
I think saying he feels like a prisoner in his own home is very telling and i’m not sure how to cure that.
Post # 28
duchessgummybunns : thank you! I really appreciate your input, and I know you’re right!!
Post # 29
Not everyone is cut out to be a parent, let alone a step. Your husband is one of them.
He also sounds more than a little narcissistic.
I agree with RobbieAndJuliahaha, I see nothing in the facts you’ve laid out that makes me optimistic that this marriage can work out.
The real concern here should be your children. They’re living with someone who doesn’t want them. They know. Damage is being done.
And let’s not overlook your husband’s modeling the adult tantrum. Some role model for your kids.
If you want a relationship with this guy—and it’s beyond me why you would, that’s your affair. Just keep him the hell away from your children.
Post # 30
I think unfortunately your husband was not prepared for the life he now has since you and your children have moved in with him. He doesn’t like their behaviour, doesn’t feel as though you’re disciplining them enough and he thinks he has no place to discipline them as he’s not their father, that combined with your son having autism and him having OCD is probably leaving him feeling completely powerless, stressed out and overwhelmed. It seems he’s raised the issue over your lack of discipline a few times and feels as though you get defensive, so nothing has changed and now for his own sanity he has started to pull away and want time on his own.
For this marriage to work I think you need to both come to an agreement over parenting styles, because yes he’s not their biological parent, but he does has a role in parenting them, as he’s their step-father and they live in his house. He definitely needs to be able to step in when they’re behaving badly, and they need to respect his authority as an adult and your partner. That’s not to say he takes on the father role, especially as their biological father is in the picture, but if they’re being overly loud while he’s sleeping, for example, or just being plain naughty, he should be able to step in and tell them off, and they should respect his right to do that.
At the same time you need to support him and if you do feel as though you’re not disciplining the kids enough and turning a blind eye to bad behaviour you need to work on this. I think counseling and some help on parenting children with autism would help you both so much.
I don’t agree with posters telling you to just leave him, just put yourself in his shoes, presumably he’s lived alone prior to this, now he suddenly has a partner and two kids living with him, one who has autism, he feels like he can’t discipline them and she’s not disciplining them enough and every time he tries to discuss this she gets defensive, on top of that he has OCD, he’s probably completely overwhelmed and doesn’t know what to do.