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Step parenting issues

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Old 03-26-2009, 08:53 AM   #1
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Step parenting issues

Hello, I'm sorry this post will be so long, it's been going on for a long time and I am about at the end of my rope; would just like to see if someone can relate or advise. My husband & I have been married 5 years, I came into this relationship with 3 children and previous marriages-my husband on the other hand had never been married or had any children. We were in our mid thirties when we got married. The first year he was wonderful with my children, which was a priority for me and I expressed that to him. The second year was still good but everyone was getting settled and felt more comfortable so of course the kids would test him and he admittingly didn't know how to react to them-I need to throw in here he is an alcoholic. To the point he would drink a case or more of beer a day. Things became really bad with his alcoholism going on our second year and although he drank all the time and our relationship was suffering-he was still good to my kids. Once the alcoholism sat in to the point he ended in the hospital and I made him move out, he quit drinking for 2 1/2 years; to try to make the long story shorter-about the time he quit drinking I got pregnant and we had a beautiful daughter. Then we began to have issues with his mother (too long of a story) and he began drinking again. About 2-3 months ago, I had my fill again with his excessive drinking and told him no more, I was done-so he quit drinking again. During this on & off again period of drinking, his attitude toward me and my children has continuously gone downhill. He does nothing but complain & nag about what the kids do/don't do; he is sarcastic 100% of the time, and constantly negative. There is absolutely nothing posative that comes out of his mouth-except towards our daughter. He is wonderful with her, but only her. My other children are 12,13,& 21. He nitpics them constantly, to the point that no one can stand to be in the same room with him. Right now he's on my 21yr old's case, who recently has been layed off from his job-which was extremely heavy manual labor, and moved back in with us. Yesterday, my husband and I had a huge blow up over my son "not contributing to the household" "needs to get a place of his own" and does nothing around the house. My son has had a very, very rough life in the short period of time he's been on this earth; his father had nothing to do with him, my ex husband (his stepdad) treated him horribly which is what led to our divorce, he was in a terrible car accident when he was nine with his grandmother who was killed in the accident (he watched her die), and he has been diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome. My son had a period where he was mixed up with drugs, but beaten and left for dead due to drugs (was in a trauma unit & had to have surgery) , and got a DUI. He is trying to get his life together and on track, got himself a great job-when he's working-but hasn't been there long enough to get unemployment yet, although will soon. Aside from my son's issues; I have been terminated from my job within the last month, and have been going through a world and one different tests for medical issues (dx'd with sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, raynaud's syndrome, and possible mini strokes); I know we are ALL under a lot of stress, but I would think at this point and time my husband would TRY to be somewhat understanding and realize that I am my son's mother, I will not turn my back on him when he needs me. I do feel guilt for not protecting him better against his stepdad's abuse, and I am just glad that he is here and alive. I just don't know what to do....I tried to get my husband to go to counseling, he won't do it-he went to our pastor one time and then said he felt we could work through our issues on our own. I expressed to him that I will not put up with anyone treating my children badly, but he states he doesn't and I am just too enabling & don't discipline them (which comes from his mother's mouth), which I do discipline them but I don't demean them, smart off to them, or make them feel like they are incompetent. I do need to make it known that it's been proven that his mother is a narcissist, everything is her way or no way-and my husband was raised with her alone when at the age of 15 HE caught his father cheating on her so he blames his dad (because his mother does) for his alcoholism. She has and does attempt to control every aspect of his life, and she doesn't like me being in the picture. She even told him she would like for him to divorce me. With the way things are going with his negativity and lack of respect, sarcasm, etc.-it seems things are heading that way. His mother told him and told me in the past that I don't treat him right because I will not let him discipline my kids and I fault him for everything he does, that I don't let him me an authorative figure in the home. To a point she is right, I won't let him because he doesn't treat them right-yelling at them, putting them down, smarting off to them and calling them names is not discipline in my book. But I've been told by him AND his mother that it's my fault that the kids don't do around the house what they should (chores) because I let them get by with it, and I "love them too much"-what is that? How can you love your children too much? The thing is, my children DO their chores when I ask them to; but they put it off when my husband gets on their case about it. Plus, if my husband had it his way, that's ALL they would do 24/7. When they do their chores, it's never good enough for him-ever. He always has to find something else to complain about. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

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Old 03-26-2009, 09:42 AM   #2
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Re: Step parenting issues

And I'm asking you: does your husband do his chores? And does he do them well? He must set an example to your kids. If he doesn't do anything, how can he demand the others to do?

And what about his drinking? Did he really quit it? Or is he just off it for a time? It may be necessary for him to receive treatment for his addiction. I hope he can at least agree with this, if he refuses counselling.

As for his mother... well, hard as it may seem to you, I think you should try and approach this woman in a friendly way, trying to disarm her, if you see what I mean. Don't put all the blame on her for your husband's poor behaviour, because he is an adult now and he will do what he chooses to do, not what other people tell him to do. When is her birthday? Try to be consistent and perseverant in your getting closer to her. Her first reaction could be a rejection of you, but if you keep trying in a gentle way, she might finally give in. Your kids could also try to reach her, why not? The thing is: don't exclude her from your life. If you do, no wonder your husband will feel angry and resentful.

Your 21-year-old badly needs a "father". He needs another man to look up to. It'd be great if your husband were willing to take this role. Both of them would profit a lot from each other. Maybe your son should take the initiative. He could offer to do something especially for your husband. Anything. He must break the ice. He has been severely hurt in the past, I know, but he must not take the position of the victim for ever more. Talk to him and find ways of putting these two men together, even if it is for a hobby.

As you see, there are many fronts you have to work upon. It isn't an easy task, but it's probably better for you to face this than ending your third relationship.

Now breathe deeply, put your sorrow on the backburner, and start and move on with the negotiations.

Old 03-26-2009, 09:25 PM   #3
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Re: Step parenting issues

I think that you need to rethink your marriage. Is your husband a man that you want to spend the rest of his life with? He is an alcoholic and he blames his father for it? I think it is time for him to take responsibility for his alcoholism. You need to protect your children from your husband and from his mother. Your children should be more important than this man who happens to be your husband. I have children and if a man ever tried to abuse them in any shape or form, he wouldn't get away with it. I would show him where the door is. You have to stand up for your children in a very firm way, otherwise they will resent you one day. You already have a history of a husband abusing your son. You don't want your son and other children abused by you current husband, do you? If it was me, I would sit down with the man ands give him an ultimatum. He needs to leave your kids alone or you are going to divorce him. I would understand if he tried to discipline them in a nice way, but he sounds downright mean. Your kids should be your first priority, do not let an alcoholic push them around. You write that you have a child with your husband, so I understand that it isn't that easy to divorce him. Nevertheless, you need to protect your other 3 children. Your mother in law sounds like a mean old woman.

Old 03-27-2009, 06:01 PM   #4
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Re: Step parenting issues

When I was 12 and my brother was 13, my mom married an alcoholic --who quit drinking but was then a "dry drunk" ornery and not nice to my bro and I. It was the worst thing that happened to our lives and I resented my mother greatly for it--and he was not even as mean as you are saying your husband is. You said he started drinking again--I'd say he needs to stop AND go to meetings if he wants to stay. Please don't do this to your kids. There's still time for you to save your younger kids from the damage he is doing to them. I know it's tough with the baby girl. You need to get full custody if you split, and do stuff maybe together with him sometimes so he can see her. That's better than her being raised by an alcoholic dad--which will just make her likely to marry an alcoholic man and repeat the pattern. no fun.

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