Step parent issues please help

posted 9 months ago in Family
Post # 61
Member
2138 posts
Buzzing bee

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@Tatum:  Step parenting is definitely not for the faint of heart. I mean even reading these responses makes me double down on the fact that society has such a long way to come when it comes to understanding the role of a step parent and how difficult it is. Like you said– even admitting something as being annoyed by a child sends out the pearl clutchers.

I have 2 bio kids and trust me, I can go on and on and on all day about how hard being a mom is, how little time I get to myself, how my kids are driving me INSANE and I just need a goddamn BREAK– and no one, and I mean no one, bats an eye. We all rally around moms, because we believe that moms truly have their kids best interest at heart. They can annoy the shit out of us, but we’d die for them. No one has to explain, as a mom, that they love their kids unconditionally and wholeheartedly– it is widely accepted as fact and no one questions it.

If you’re a step-parent, you are always having to prove your love or your step kids best interest. Sometimes thats to society, or family or teachers or even your spouse. People will always question your intentions if you’re not 100% rainbows and sunshine, which isn’t realistic or sustainable. Even the best kids get annoying, even the most friendly co-parents can have their spats, it’s never going to be perfect.

 

Post # 62
Member
2138 posts
Buzzing bee

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@Stepmom77:  Ok, so take out Disney Dad and insert just— poor parent. It’s not a great swap. So he has full custody and still cannot establish rules, consistency or boundaries. Yikes– that is not good. I again suggest counseling.

Post # 63
Member
5694 posts
Bee Keeper

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@melearenee:  To the contrary I think her point of view is spot-on.  And I just want to add that if a stepchild misbehaves it doesnt have to be the natural parent who disciplines her. It can be the step parent as well, particularly if the parent is not around.  Both the stepparent and the parent are now a family unit, and in a family unit, the adults are in charge, not the children. Telling a stepparent that she cant correct misbehavior because the child isn’t hers biologically ensures that the marriage will not work.

OP, I hope you’ll consider counseling for you and your fiance and possibly some family therapy for the children too.

Post # 65
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2303 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

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@Stepmom77:  This is a dad who sees his 8 yr old much differently than my 13 yr old. Its not that he doesn’t discipline its that I feel he holds my son to a different standard. He can’t see it because he says his daughter is only 8.

 

Yikes. I mean, I can’t argue that a 13 year old should be held to a different standard than an 8 year old, but 8 is WELL over the age to be disciplined for rudeness. A three year old could be reprimanded for talking back. I am really glad you’re already planning for family counseling.

Post # 66
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2138 posts
Buzzing bee

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@Stepmom77:  Its not an all or nothing situation

Only you truly know what the situation is, and can decide if it is one you want to stay in. Of course he has good qualities and is a good partner in many ways, most people wouldn’t put up with a blended family unless there were some pretty compelling events surrounding it. Like I have said 3x now, that doesn’t mean it is a sustainable or ideal situation for you, and there’s room for improvement that therapy can help.  I’m not attacking you, or him or the life you’re trying to build. I am just telling you as someone who is on the other side of this– married and have been a step parent for years, your spidey senses are going off for a reason, better to address it NOW. You’re 4 months in to living together, better to get some outside help to see if this is a relationship you want to see through.

Post # 67
Member
6340 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2016

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@Stepmom77:  “Its not that he doesn’t discipline its that I feel he holds my son to a different standard. He can’t see it because he says his daughter is only 8. His kid talks back he doesn’t say anything….my kid talks back and holy shit its got to be addressed.  Thats where my frustration comes in. And to be honest at times it makes me feel resentful towards her. Which is not good.”

Okay I think we’re finally getting to more of the actual problem here. While I do agree that you cannot parent a 13 year old and 8 year old the same exact way, they still both need appropriate discipline. The fact that you’re getting resentful of his daughter is a big problem (which you seem to realize). It’s not her fault, it’s his. 

Post # 68
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7904 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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@Stepmom77:  Actually he’s the best dad i’ve ever met.

Nope. Not if he ignores his daughter lying and otherwise misbehaving. Full custody or not it sounds as if he’s more concerned with being her friend/being liked than being her parent and that’s a cop-out. His daughter needs a parent, not a buddy, and your son shouldn’t bear the brunt of any discipline he hands out. They both lose in this scenario. 

If he’s regularly disciplining your child for things he allows his child to get away with you are heading for some major issues and resentment. While there should be some difference in expectations for an eight year-old vs a fifteen year-old truthfulness shouldn’t be one of them. Put wedding planning on hold until you can work through all of this. 

Post # 69
Member
1574 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: City, State

Bee, I’m concerned about how your posts have evolved.  Is your thinking changing throughout this thread, or have you always known what the “real” problem is? 

The reason I ask is that your later posts seem to describe a real inequality in the way your partner treats the children, and an inability to discipline his daughter.  That’s worthy of conversation.   

However, your first post was about wanting to change the daddy-daughter camping trips which is a total red herring for your actual problem.   

Which way have you been discussing this with your partner?  Do you regularly get so fed up with a sitation that you focus on the straw that’s breaking the camel’s back?  I may be way off-base, but I know I used to do that.  It makes it really hard to solve the underlying issue when you start off with something that isn’t actually the main problem.

Post # 70
Member
7904 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

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@Stepmom77:  Just looping back to add–I hope all of the responses here have helped you realize the person you should be angry with and/or resent is your Fi, and not his daughter. He is fostering/supporting/encouraging her behavior. He’s the parent, he’s the adult, she is an eight year-old and she is not responsible for setting the rules.

Post # 71
Member
1918 posts
Buzzing bee

Am I the only person who is a little confused that this thread has gone from complaining about an 8 year old wanting some daddy-daughter time each week (which really should not be a problem) to complaining that an 8 year old is allowed to get away with lying & backchat when her older step-brother is disciplined for the same things (which really is a problem)?

OP, I suggest individual, couple and family counselling needed asap.  You’re dealing with your own emotions over parental loss/poor step parenting, your fiance’s unwillingness to treat both children equally fairly and a very confused 8 year old (and since it’s pretty unusual in this country at least for one parent to have sole custody, I’m guessing there are parenting issues with the mother that are probably going to add to the mess this child is dealing with?)  Time to stop asking internet strangers for advice and go get some professional help.

Post # 72
Member
9 posts
Newbee

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@melearenee:  How so? Please explain. I also grew up as a step child in both my father and morher’s home. My step mother loved and embraced us, but we knew our place as children. We were part of a family. And my father and SM made sure everyones needs were met without putting anyone on the sidelines. I have very fond memories in that home. On the other hand, my step father had a daughter that was always the center of attention, set the tone for the home, etc.  Much like the OP’s situation.  That meant me and my bio sibling always got the shaft. Talk about red-headed step child syndrome. Imagine how OP’s 13 yo son feels when the 8 yo shows up. How is that okay? 

Post # 73
Member
1813 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2020

Your FH has serious issues with his parenting, but gets defensive when confronted. He holds your child and his child to a crazy double standard. You’re misdirecting your resentment at an 8 year old. The dynamic is setting up your 13 year old to hate his soon to be stepfa, if he doesn’t already. He may also start resenting you.

An 8 year old should be corrected when talking back. That’s 3rd grade. That’s old enough to get suspended, sent to detention, get punished in all the standard ways at school.

OP, I am sorry, but as an outsider, your son is the one who will suffer most. He’s being treated as the red headed stepchild. The 8 year old is getting spoiled. You’re not the best at identifying the true problem. You’re easily distracted by red herrings such as the sleepovers. Your concerns about the disparate treatment of your son popped up in an update, as if an afterthought after prompting. Your FH isn’t open to your opinions. You’re torn between defending him as a great dad and admitting he has issues to work on. You get upset at the 8 year old. 

There is a lot to be done here, but you can’t control the actions or attitude of your FH. While you go to counseling to figure this all out, your poor son still has to deal with all this. 

Post # 75
Member
7 posts
Newbee

I don’t think it’s a problem for a weekly campout – she probably has some anxiety about her dad getting remarried and wants to feel she will still have her alone time with him.  I would try to be empathetic and understanding about the situation and realize this won’t be a forever thing. Kids go through phases where they are more attached to one parent than the other or going through a time in their life where they need more reassurance. I would respect it, be supportive and not be pushy but offer to join in, maybe even just for the first hour (maybe all have a pretend ‘campfire’ dinner together and then let them do their own thing).  I would use that time for yourself – do something you enjoy, spend time with one of your girlfriends or just having “me” time. It’s very important to remember she will always be his daughter and come first in his life.  I have a soon-to-be stepson and I have two daughters of my own – both my fiancee and I realize we need our one on one time with our kids.

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