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Old 10-13-2008, 06:31 PM   #1
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step parenting woes...

I am new to this site and am seeking some advice before I throw in the towel with my husband! Thank you in advance for any suggestions. This is my story... I met my husband 15 years ago, he has 2 kids from a previous relationship (never married). Because she was an unfit mother they came to a mutual agreement for the kids to live in another country and be raised by his parents. Since then we have had two boys and lived in the states. I only saw his kids on holidays or on occasion in the summers. For the most part we got along pretty well. Until now, last year his daughter came to live with us she is now 16 and I had a really REALLY hard time dealing with her presence. She went back to her country during the summer months but decided to return again to live with us, this time with her brother (age 15) as well. I am really having a hard time with this situation and have talked to my husband about just separating because I can not handle his kids. Although they do not back talk or anything they are passive aggressive towards me. For example when their father left on an out of town trip for about 5 days I was left in charge, but they still didn't listen to me when I asked them to tell me where they were going etc. I am to the point that I just want them both to go back. The girl is harder to get along with and is VERY lazy! She absolutely does nothing except wash her clothes, because I refuse to do them for her. They fight with my boys all the time. The boy breaks EVERYTHING and we are to the point of hiding things or not letting him use games, bikes etc because he is rough and breaks them. I hate being a step parent and am just thinking about leaving my husband. I have talked to him of course, but he seems to be in denial, he seems to just want everyone and everything to get along and be ok. I am so depressed and stressed out, I feel like these kids are just intruders and I miss my family of 4! I want that back. When I do talk to my husband, he just says "kids are forever, wives are not". How am I supposed to feel after this??? Truthfully I do not like his kids and I am here to ask for help as to what can I do differently to like them and learn to live with them. Most of the time I do not feel like family because we are always doing our own thing, although we have our boys, we are separated - meaning its him and his kids and me and my boys, even in our own home, he will be with his kids in the family room watching TV and I am in my room with my kids. I hope I said enough for some good advice. Thank you.

 
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Old 10-14-2008, 07:40 AM   #2
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Re: step parenting woes...

I know this is a difficult situation, however, when you married your husband you knew he had other children. His children misbehave or act "passive aggressive" because they know you resent them and don't want them there. His children are not responsible for their parentage anymore than your children are. If you leave your husband then you put your children in the same situation as his children, "fatherless" and from a broken home. Why are you separating yourself from them and going into another room with your boys instead of being in the same room with your husband and "his kids" and watching TV together? It seems to me that you're acting like a spoiled child and need to do some growing up. I know this sounds harsh but I think you need to look at it from another point of view. You wouldn't want your husband to forsake the children you have together for another woman, would you? Try including them and being more friendly and you might be surprised how much nicer they will be and how much happier your whole family will be. I wish you well.

 
Old 10-14-2008, 10:33 AM   #3
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Re: step parenting woes...

I understand your frustration, but your step children are teenagers which is hard to be even if you have a "normal" family. This must be hard for them. I know it sounds hard to do, but try to see this from their point of view. They don't have a mother who is involved in their lives and grew up without their parents. Try to have compassion. Try to make friends with them. Take the girl shopping or take both of them somewhere fun.
Picture your own boys in the situation of your step children.

 
Old 10-14-2008, 11:42 AM   #4
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Re: step parenting woes...

I am not a step parent but my husband is. I can tell you what your husband's point of view is and truthfully if my husband asked me to send my kids away, as it sounds you have asked of your husband, I would tell him where he could go and probably the fastest way to get there. I know the situation is hard but I tend to agree with rudiraven about you having to make the effort. No teenager I know (including my own) would ever try to be nice to or be anything but passive/aggressive towards anyone they thought didn't welcome them. You need to try to start off being friendly and including "his kids" in your family because whether you are related to them or not they are related to the rest of your "family of 4" yes even your boys. Just like in any marriage you share everything 50/50, those are not "your boys" or "his kids" they should all be called "our kids" by both of you.

You need to remember that if you leave your husband because of his kids and he remarries there is a good chance that the new "stepmom" will end up feeling just like you do about your sons and then your son's will end up without a father which i doubt is what you want.

I have very strong feelings about this because I have seen too many kids be hurt by the "his kids"/"my kids" thing and there is no reason for it.. You just need to quit being selfish and as on of the other posters said try to think about your kids being in the same situation that the other kids are in and understand why they want to be with their father now.

A very good way to break the ice with teens is taking them to a movie and then talking about it later. Or taking the girl shopping, don't know any girls that don't like shopping. I would say stick around until you can try to see if they are reacting to how you act to them or if they really don't want you around. Sounds like they ahve never had a mom and maybe, just maybe, they would really like one (and a grandmother is not always like a mother) and that is part of the reason they came to stay with you and your husband. I imagine they have seen how you treat your sons and maybe they want to be involved in that but you are excluding them and that could be hurtful to them and a big part of the reason they are acting the way they are towards you.

I hope I wasn't too harsh. I really feel for your situation and have a feeling that there is a lot that wasn't said. But please think about what I said before you decide anything.

 
Old 10-27-2008, 01:09 AM   #5
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Re: step parenting woes...

I did the step parent thing for a while (before the relationship broke down, but not by kids). It's hard, but you have to give an effort. Like other posters have said, you need to involve ALL the kids and interact as one great big family. With the little girl that I was a step-mom to, she had nothing but problems with her Mom. I never once saw those problems when she was with me. I got down and played with her, involved her in everything with the family, made all the kids share their toys etc. Granted, my step-daughter was 2 years old.

Here's another example. Granted I'm an adult with kids of my own, but I have a step-mother. She constantly refers to myself, my brother and my sisters as "his kids" and has put so many restrictions on ALL of us, that it has made our relationship with our father non-existent (my father is not a man of family values). The very first thing my step mother said to me when I went with my newborn daughter was "If that kid s**ts on the floor I'm going to rub YOUR nose in it." All of us kids resent our step mother to the point that amongst ourselves we constantly ridicule her behind her back (except for me, being the gutsy one). I haven't talked to my father in over 2 years now and I resent my step mother in every way imaginable.

I would suggest talking to the other two children, one on one, find out what their interests and hobbies are and getting to be friendly with them. From what you've said, it sounds like the other two children haven't been in your home for very long, so they could be trying to adjust to a new environment as well. If they have no or limited contact with their Mom, that could be affecting them as well. If they've switched schools, that could be bothering them because of leaving friends behind. If the children are being hostile and breaking things, there's something underlying it. Don't expect the kids to immediately open up to you, but be persistent in making even small talk with them.

Last edited by daughter issues; 10-27-2008 at 01:11 AM.

 
Old 10-29-2008, 05:21 AM   #6
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Re: step parenting woes...

I just want to offer you some empathy. Unless someone has been in your position with the passive-aggressive stuff and you and your kids in one room while he and his kids are in another, I don't think they can really relate.

It's all well and good to be intellectual about it and tell you to make friends and be the adult and ask you to consider that no parent could ever pick a new spouse over a child, but that's not your reality. In my own case, my step daughter would make sure to hug her dad with his back to me so that he wouldn't know that she was giving me the middle finger salute. And whenever she passed me, she would say "*****" under her breath.

My heart goes out to you.

 
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