Over the years, many parents in blended families have come to me about stepchild disrespect. In some cases, their stepkids didn’t respect them, and in others, their biological child didn’t respect their new spouse.
Often, the kids were rude or obnoxious, saying things like, “You’re not my father; I don’t have to listen to you!”
Naturally, stepparents become very upset when their stepchildren are disrespectful to them. The truth is, a child may never respect their stepparent, but they have to know they can’t get away with being rude or obnoxious. Therefore, you and your spouse need to be united in demanding that your kids treat both of you respectfully.
And let me be clear about disrespect. Parents have to be careful because it’s difficult to stop this behavior once it gets entrenched. By being rude, kids train adults what not to ask them and what not to expect of them. And households don’t function well where the kids teach the adults how to behave rather than the other way around.
If you haven’t done so already, sit down with the kids in your blended family and explain the ground rules. Start by saying:
“In our family now, both of us are the parents.”
And then say:
“And these are the expectations on every child.”
I also recommend that parents tell their stepkids from the beginning:
“You don’t have to call me Mom, but you must be respectful and follow my directions.”
Have this meeting together with your partner and all the children. And set the expectation that you both will enforce the rules the same.
The consequences for defiance should be clear and consistently enforced. For example, the kids in the family should know that if they disrespect their stepmother or stepfather, they will lose their electronics privileges for the rest of the night.
In other words, there should be no tolerance for defiance and disrespect. You and your partner need to present a unified front when explaining this to your kids.
If one of your stepkids says, “You’re not my mom; I don’t have to do what you say!” You can say:
“No, I’m not your mother, but you have to do your homework anyway.”
“We’re not talking about me being your father. We’re talking about when you’re going to start your homework.”
When a child says, “You’re not my mom or dad,” what they’re trying to do is take your power away. Focus on your role as the parent and calmly remind the child what the rules are in your home.
The whole idea here is to avoid a power struggle. The child is inviting you to a fight; decline the invitation. Instead, restate your role and the rules. They don’t have to call them Mom or Dad unless they want to, but they must be respectful and follow the rules.
Child: “You’re not my mom/dad!”
Translation: I don’t have to listen to you; you have no control over me.
Ineffective parent response: “You’ll do what I say anyway!”
Effective parent response: “I am not your mother. But I am one of the parents in this household responsible for you, and you are obligated to follow the household rules. And if you break the rules, there will be consequences.”
As long as your stepchild complies with your rules, don’t worry if they seem a bit resentful that you’re their authority. In other words, don’t challenge them on what they’re thinking.
For example, when you tell them to do their chores and they do them, that should be enough. They don’t have to like it. You have to let it go as long as you have reasonable compliance.
And don’t worry if they give you a dirty look or roll their eyes—those behaviors are annoying but harmless. Therefore, don’t give the eye-rolling undeserved power by reacting to it. Instead, ignore it, and it will eventually go away.
Here’s the bottom line: if you carry yourself with respect, kids will find things to like about you. That’s because kids want to like people that they respect.
Also, know that kids may never get over the breakup of their original family. But also know there’s nothing you as a stepparent can do about that besides accept it and avoid getting into fights about it.
When you’re parenting in a blended household, they’re all your kids. That means, parent them all the same and don’t give special treatment to your biological kids. Treat each kid the same, regardless of whether they’re your biological or stepchild.
Similarly, family time should also include everyone; try not to make distinctions. That means you say the following:
“When we’re going to the zoo, we’re all going to the zoo—the whole family.”
“When it’s family dinner time, we’re all eating together.”
Even though you need to parent all the kids the same, understand that it’s normal and natural to have special love, feelings, and attachments to your biological kids. Don’t feel guilty about that—it’s okay and expected. You don’t have to fight those feelings. Your biological kids are not the same as your stepkids.
Nevertheless, know that when it comes to rules, consequences, and family commitments, compartmentalize your special feelings and be consistent with all your kids, whether step or biological.
And don’t worry that you might lose that connection with your biological kid by doing so. There may be anger and jealousy, but that biological connection is strong and doesn’t go away.
Often, in blended families, it’s common for the biological kids to challenge their birth parents. They’ll accuse their parents of being unfair. They’ll say things like, “You’re treating his kids better than me.” Or, “He treats his kids better than you treat us.” And you might also hear, “He treats his kids better than he treats us.”
When your child comes to you and says something unfair happened, the kind of question you have to ask is:
“If I was there, what would I have seen?”
So, let’s say your child says, “Today, my step-mom treated her kids better than us.” As the biological parent, the question you have to ask is not, “How did you feel?” or “What happened,” because you’re likely get a distorted and emotional response to open-ended questions like that.
Instead, parents should ask what I call investigative questions. For example, ask your child:
“If I was there, what would I have seen?”
Let’s say the answer is, “You would have seen her give three cookies to her kids and two cookies to us.” That’s something they can see, not what they felt.
So, finding out what they saw is the most effective way to investigate these situations. Those are also my key questions when parents tell me their kids are acting out at home. One of the things I used to ask them in my office was:
“If I was there, what would I have seen?”
And then they’ll say, “You’d have seen my son punching a hole in the wall and threatening his sister and calling his brother names.”
I want to know what I would have seen because that’s how I can determine what they need to do differently.
So again, you’re asking for facts. And after you get the facts, say to your child:
“Okay, I’ll look into it and will get back to you.”
And then talk to the other parent in private to discuss the issue.
Parents in all families, but especially blended families, are often in conflict about how to parent the kids. They may disagree on the rules about bedtime, homework, or the use of electronics. Try to resolve these parenting differences and learn how to parent together as a team.
But don’t kid yourselves. Although you may agree to things and work them out ahead of time, as stressors and different situations happen, realize that it’s common for you and your spouse to react in ways you didn’t anticipate. It’s impossible to plan for everything.
The key is to be adult and understanding of each other. If you’re in a blended family situation, you have to learn to live with your partner by respecting their point of view.
The rule has to be, “Whatever agreement we come up with, we have to present a united front.” Indeed, the common theme in the family should be that Mom and Dad work together as a team.
That way, when your stepchild says, “You’re not my father,” the answer is, “You’re right, I’m not. But these are the expectations that your mother and I have, and if you don’t follow through, you will be held accountable.” This clarity allows you to avoid getting into power struggles with your stepchild.
It’s important to establish the importance of the biological parent. The biological parent ought to be the primary parent in most cases. Think of it this way: marriages break up sometimes, but the relationship between the child and the birth parent will never dissolve.
Because of this connection, the biological parent should be the decision-maker of last resort for their child, as long as the decisions don’t jeopardize the emotional and physical safety of everyone else in the family.
That means when there are conflicts, the birth parent will make the final decision. Of course, that doesn’t mean the child is allowed to be abusive or hurtful.
If you think your spouse isn’t parenting your child the way they should, you need to communicate with them and work things out. If there’s a disagreement, the birth parent’s decision takes priority, and the stepparent has to be mature enough and trusting enough in the relationship to go along with it, without a lot of pouting and self-pity.
Related content: Blended Family? The 5 Secrets of Effective Stepparenting
If you want to come together as a family, you have to make rules about doing things together. So you can make the rule, “On Wednesday nights, we all watch a video together.” This rule is in place whether the kids like it or not. Make family time a requirement.
Let them know that if they refuse to watch the video, they lose their electronics for the rest of the night. But the deal is, we all watch a video, and we all go to the zoo. In short, this family does things together.
Requiring family time gives kids the message that “This is important to us, and it’s so important that it’s a requirement.” They learn that you do things as a family and respect each other when you’re doing them.
By the way, don’t overdo it with teenagers because, developmentally, their job is to start to break away. We only want them to make a reasonable effort to participate without being abusive, disrespectful, or nasty.
With younger kids, having a night where you play board games is fun. Older kids may resist it at first, but younger kids will love it. If you start when they’re small, family night becomes a given, and it becomes their way of understanding how the family operates.
One last word about kids: children have to be empowered to express what they feel and think, and those thoughts and feelings have to be accepted at face value.
When two adults decide to blend their families, kids have no choice. As a result, the kids feel powerless. That’s why if you try to do a family meeting without getting their input first, kids will likely get defensive or feel threatened.
Therefore, give the kids appropriate ways to express themselves so they don’t have to act out their feelings behaviorally. Expressing themselves doesn’t mean they get to decide how the family will run, but it does mean they have input.
Also, this input is usually best received by the child’s birth parent. If birth parents can talk to their kids about their concerns, it is much easier to work them out, and it’s much easier for the two adults to agree.
So the idea is not to squelch the kids but rather to set up a situation where they can express their feelings safely and appropriately. And remember, no rule or situation has to last forever.
Blended families can be emotionally hard on parents. For example, it’s hard to see your stepchild come back from a holiday with their other set of parents and have better presents than you gave them. And it’s hard when they brag about the fun things they did with their other family or are sad about the things they used to do before their original family split up.
You will be hurt and frustrated at times—that’s entirely normal in these situations. And without a doubt, you’ll harbor resentment and jealousy.
Nevertheless, you’ve got to learn to handle these situations maturely, and you have to manage your emotions effectively. It helps to talk to your partner or call your friends for support. If you need professional help, go to a counselor.
The main thing is, you need to work toward accepting the realities of a blended family. It’s not that you shouldn’t feel these things—it’s that you need to deal with your feelings maturely and not let your emotions control you.
The key to finding harmony in a blended family is communication and maturity on the part of the parents. Accept that the kids may never blend the way you want them to, or they may blend wonderfully. But know that it’s the parents who have to blend, and that means seeing your spouse as a partner, not as an obstacle.
I know that this advice is easier said than done. But I’ve seen many families do it successfully, and they’ve been able to bring peace to their homes.
Stepchildren Making You Crazy? 5 Ways to Manage Conflict in Blended Families
Empowering Parents Podcast: Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher
James Lehman, who dedicated his life to behaviorally troubled youth, created The Total Transformation®, The Complete Guide to Consequences™, Getting Through To Your Child™, and Two Parents One Plan™, from a place of professional and personal experience. Having had severe behavioral problems himself as a child, he was inspired to focus on behavioral management professionally. Together with his wife, Janet Lehman, he developed an approach to managing children and teens that challenges them to solve their own problems without hiding behind disrespectful, obnoxious or abusive behavior. Empowering Parents now brings this insightful and impactful program directly to homes around the globe.
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I have been co parenting two step children for 19 years. My stepdaughter does whatever she can to cause trouble for my partner and I. She opens a window the.n leaves the house later Tells him I did it when I wasn’t even home. She tells me she hates him that she is using him to get her education paid for. I said nothing. She parties, skips class he has blow ups with her. She gets mad at him and does things to create tension between him and I. We found a joint on the floor one afternoon he asked her claimed it was my sons who hadn’t been to our house in two weeks. She hid her brothers cell phone in my dresser then we were all looking for it it was ringing in my drawer. She damaged my vehicle and was supposed to pay for the 700.00 in repairs she did not. She constantly lies to her father and he accepts it. If I say anything it becomes “ you dont like her “. I explained to my partner what she has done he accepts and says she is just resentful because her mothers not with her. Her mother visits and she arranged to be away at a sleepover. So that holds no water. She was given a car as a grad gift and refused to pay the insurance. Last wi tee she wrote it off while we were away on holidays and used his vehicle for two weeks he asked her if she had used it without asking she denied it. Later it came out she had used to travel 400 200 miles away. She blamed me when she moved out because I said everyone had to help with cooking she was 21 by then. So she moved out said it was because of me using her as a slave. None of the other kids had issues. Moving in with her boyfriend she convinced her father to buy them a condo . 9 months later she tells the bf she is going to commit suicide if he goes to work. He left her w
She moved out of the apartment and we got stuck dealing with
Selling it at Christmas last year. This year due to COVID we did not do Thanksgiving, her response to her father on hearing we were not doing a get together was “ it’s just because HE doesn’t want to have to cook” meaning me her step dad. I. At ,y wits end we do our best to stay clear of each other but lately she is stirring the pot again with lies. She stays away from her father because of me she tells him, but lately she is spending time with him because her and the new BF want him to give them a down payment for a house. I try not to get involved but ,y partner asks me what I think I say it’s up to him but remember we lost money on the condo when she moved out so be careful. So far he is saying no to her but she is guilting him pretty good. Do I speak up or sit back and wait for the inevitable issues? A worn out stepdad!
I am engaged to a father of 4. I have 2 from a previous marriage where I was left widowed at age 28. His kids are 4, 6, 7, 8. My two are 6 & 7. He has sole custody and the children have lived with us for 2 months. When we would get them every other weekend, I couldn't wait for them to leave. Now, they're not. Before they moved in, they were never on a routine, consistent schedule, or taught manners. They are very spoiled and disrespectful. My two are starting to be fresh and talk back. I have explained the rules in a family meeting style.
We eat at the table every meal, clean up is rough because they want to play. The 3 girls share a bed room, as well as the 3 boys. They only clean up when I get so angry and yell.
I upset my fiance because he says, they see how I am acting and shut down. If they know it makes me angry, they should listen. He stands up for them sometimes and shuts me down as a partner parent.
I barely smile and I'm so upset in my home. I love their father, but cant live so angry all the time. We start family group therapy (just the kids) next week. I see a counselor as well.
Their biological mother tells them things about me and their dad that aren't true to turn the kids on us. It was a rough year this year and we want to make changes to make it better, but I'm clueless on what to do.
We have order and consistancy in our home, but his children do not obey me. I cried in front of the 8 year old because she said, "everything was fine until you came back home". I am so hurt when I'm the one providing for the kids, having my two kids share their rooms, and being disrespected. I'm burnt out!!
I live with my partner and my two children. Last year his teenage daughter came to live with us. It's been horrific. She has been spoilt and spent 6 years in boarding school. Her mother slates my character and has told her daughter that I am the cause of their marriage breakdown.
My step daughters behaviour has been appalling. She often looks at me like I'm something she stepped in and often ignores my existence. She even told her father that she wanted him to move out with her....whilst constantly telling him he abandoned her, doesn't love her etc. It is clear that she has been influenced by her mither, but life is almost untenable.
My daughter especially is really struggling and is showing huge signs if anxiety.
My step daughter has never had rules or boundaries and my partner has been made to believe her emotional blackmail, so refuses to accept that this is any more than normal teenage behaviour....even when she tells him to f off.
Whilst the article was interesting, I'm starting to think our situation is beyond being able to be mended.
I live n a similar situation. I was never told back in December that he was moving her here for good. She has been to a "rehab" which obvi didn't work, did not respect her own mother or anything around her from what I gather, manipulating, and continually lies to her father (and myself) where I want to knock some sense into him bc he looks like a fool. When I catch her in her BS she talks to me as if I'm beneath her, has texted me a nasty long message, has a fowl mouth, and could really give 2 sh***. I see that whatever she tells her father is golden and I am just an outsider. Oh and I forgot to mention that she is 17. She has pulled this talking back nonsense since 2012 where she yelled at me and slammed the door in my face and my "husband" did not flinch. Recently we had another episode and although with my own eyes I saw the lie, what she said was golden and he took her shopping and handed her back her car keys. I just don't get it. I have 3 children of my own (2 in college 1 in high school) and they can't understand why this continually happens. As you stated she as well has no rules or boundaries. Not only did she play both of her parents like a fiddle she has now added me to her band. Im not sure I can handle the stress much longer. I know that my marriage is suffering because of this. He tends to shut me off when things go south whether with his other children or if its happening in our home. It seems as long as she's not fighting with him, nothing or no-one else matters.
Since we are blended I treat everyone equal. in this case, its him and his 3 and me and my 3. Will there be a light at the end of this long twisty dark tunnel?
I'm not sure how long ago you posted this response... However, I'm dealing with the exact same situation. My daughter is 10 years old and unfortunately, lost her father to cancer when she was 1.
We moved to MA about 5 years ago to live with my now fiancé and his daughter who is 1 year younger.
My daughter used to be so sweet, and now she is acting out everyday. I'm not sure if it's her new friends, youtube, etc...
She has a phone, which I only allow her to use on non-school nights, but I have taken that away all together, which has escalated her attitude towards me. She has no respect for me and doesn't listen to anything I ask her to do.
It's causing major issues in my relationship with my fiancé and I'm scared our relationship is going to end.
She talks to a therapist, but it's not helping, because she is not honest with the therapist and she has this I don't care attitude towards everything.
I'm lost and I don't know what to do...
I'm am mid divorce and so is my partner. We have known each other for many years and we both have custody of our children. In the end we are both so sensitive and defensive about our kids that it may be ruining everything. It is really the only BIG fights we have. Help please. Mine are 11 & 8 his is 3....
Now I k ow 3 is tough he blames mine for his bad behavior I'm feeling overwhelmed but really do respect and love this man what do I do?
I have been married for almost one year. My husband and I have 4 kids but none together. I have 2 boys age's 12 and 8. My husband have 2 girls age's 12 and 4. Now my 2 boys live with us and my husband has temporary custody of the 4 year old. When the 4 year old came to live with us it was like starting over from scratch. From discipline to learning ABC's. Her mom wasn't raising her and you could tell. Of course she had to get used to me but she has been with us for 4 1/2 months and I don't think she will get used to me as far as taking care of her in her mothers absence. Sometimes she listen and other times she can be a little rude. I have to remind her who is in charge. I also caught her telling her dad that she wants my husband to "love" her mommy. I was a little upset about that. Also my youngest son is having a bit of a rough time with her being here because he thinks she is taking his place. I explain to him that I'm only helping my husband with her and I'm not trying to be her mother.
Now my oldest step daughter is another story. I experienced some disrespect from her as far as not speaking to myself or my children when she come to visit for the weekend. Now I have expressed this to my husband and he talked to her about it but it's still happening with my children, as I don't want them to feel uncomfortable in their own home but I also don't want to make it seem like I'm picking on my stepdaughter so I'm kind of nervous about having the same conversation with my husband again. Sometimes all of this drama cause issues in my marriage. I have no idea what to do. My happiness and my children happiness is what's important to me first. PLEASE HELP!!
Living with stepchildren can be tough when there is an absence of mutual respect. I don't have any kids but I'm a stepmother to a 16 year old girl and she is under her father's custody. At first, she was so nice to me. We got along really well. She always shared her sentiments with me but not with her father. I took care of her by telling her father what she would need- from lunches, clothes, vitamins. However, her treatment towards me changed. She began seeing me as a rival. I understand the kid's situation. She has been affected of her parents divorce. She was only five then. Deprived of her mom's love and attention and now her father remarried. No matter how many times I gave her advices about facing the reality, moving forward and not dwelling on the dark past coz it won't lead her to a brighter path, she still acts as if she was pitiful. Always angry, depressed and acts as if she has nothing. Short-tempered, attention-seeker, only wants sympathy, empathy but never listens. Coz of her attitude, our relationship gradually became worst. Coz of her temper, she loses her respect to me. She nags at me, nitpicks everything I do like how, when I should do things in the house. In other words, she was treating me like her housemaid. She beats the house in front of me, screams and stomps her feet. I let her dad knew about it and we talked to her.I only asked her for respect. I never treated her that way. I never even bother her to help me with the chores. But it didn't stop there. She keeps treating me with disrespect. She wants change. She told me once that now her father is married again, she lost everything. I understand her but I cant tolerate her rudeness at all. My husband said to find a common ground with her. We don't have to have the same interest to get along. All I asked was respect. The kid and I never have any conversations that dont lead to arguments. I never argue with her but she does. A know-it-all kid. Understandable.
To cut it short, I know it's already long. My husband and I get along really well and we never fought. Because of the girl's behavior, we consider asking for professional help for the kid. The toxic girl is poisoning me and killing my marriage with her father. I feel sorry for the kid, want to help her but not helping herself. She is making my life like a hell. Afraid that I might not be able to control myself next time she disrespects me and physically hurt her by slapping her face, I filed for divorce. I told my husband that I want to be at peace. I'll protect my sanity and protect your daughter. I know it's like a battle I can never win coz blood is thicker than water. He is torn between us. He said he wanted to protect both me and his daughter. That he needs me in raising his daughter to be a better and happier girl. The case is still on going but I'm still living with them. The girl has learned to control her attitude now and trying to reach out to me nicely since she has witnessed how it has affected her dad. Stressed, would always skip meals and irritable. I felt sorry for my husband, too. I know I'm a bit selfish coz all I care is my happines and leave my husband heartbroken. We are trying to work things out but I'm still worried and scared that what if it will happen again. I can't bear rudeness and sadness. I've been a happy-go-lucky person and always want to have a harmonious relationship with people around me and a peaceful and happy life but I can't achieve it when the other person around me doesn't want me to be happy and being disrespectful. I told both my husband and stepdaughter that no matter how much I love the person and no matter how much I value marriage, if sadness outweighs happiness and if the people around me bring out the worst in me, I'd rather leave. I know my worth and I respect myself.
Hi I've been divorced for 6 years and have been with my partner 4 years now. I have 3 kids 1 girl 16 2 boys 15 and 12 . My partner has a boy 12 and a girl 14. I used to have 50/50 custody with their mother up until 7 months ago when she moved interstate . This put massive pressure on my partner and my kids as she had to take them on full time and they miss their mum a lot .Generally the kids get along ok apart from the early days there were a few tiffs which we took personally and it created tension between us but we learnt to not take much notice and move on . My kids attitude towards my partner however has been trying to say the least and she is at wits end as to what more she can do to gain there respect and she blames me a lot for taking a different approach by pulling them aside and talking through their attitude which obviously I admit got us no where. This allowed them to play me and to manipulate the whole situation by acting out whenever they liked towards my partner in subtle and also blatantly obvious ways .I did punish them although my partner thought they were light and inconsistent I also demanded apologies to her by them which were promised were delivered but
not convincing or from the heart. I admit I am very torn as I have protected the kids from a lot of hurt of the divorce and I thought it was another cry for help but also my partner whom I love deeply has been hurt bad in the process. We have also both felt held over a barrel by the kids threats to live with their mother and it has definitely affected the way I parent but also our relationship. My partner is treated like a nobody in the house and is only acknowledged when she addresses them or they have something they want or some where they want to be and even then I've found out they have been blunt and rude about it .This has been going on for too long now and obviously I blame myself as their parent not nipping it in the bud and pussyfooting around it all and I'm trying new strategies to knock it on the head but I fear it may be too late and too much hurt for her to go on dealing with . Do you have any advice to show both sides I am deadly serious about making this work as recently I have limited sport and taken phones for disrespecting me which I also notice a lot and have noticed her kids disrespect towards her too . This is a cry for help hopefully you can cheers.
I tell you what. Being a step parent is one of the hardest things I've ever done!! I was married to a drinking sbusive husband for over 15 years. Left and almost raised my kids by myself while putting myself through college full time and working 3 jobs -- THAT was easier than being a step parent!! I have 3 awesome respectful loving responsible kids. My steps not so much. Their dad refused and refused to be the enforcer. My step daughter is now 21 with 2 kids which she kept from us for over 2.5 years! She has called me every name in the book and yes plainly told me I'm not her mother. More than once! The sad reality is that he never stood up to her for me. She's been trying to seperate us since she was about 13 years old. Even allowed to go to lunch with them or dinner "as long as I didn't go". We had custody of her kids when the special needs kid woke up in the middle of the night with a broken femur. The only ppl gone wrre the parents and neither knew what happened. He can't walk talk or feed himself -- until me. We had never met the 10 month old then stepped up to take custody of them. Had them for almost a year. Now she still plays games with her boys who love their nana so very much! Her dad still won't tell her like it is! She even stated to me that she wishes she'd not let us into their lives. Now mind you if this wrre MY children, even at 21, I'd bust their $&&. My kids like myself was raised to be respectful. That's why they've all graduated college and paid for their own cars and are responsible. His, nope. Not so much but she's not afraid to ask me for money. Anyhow, there are no words for how hurtful this is. I pray for this girl daily. She's preggo again via trapping a guy lied about birth control and I'm telling you, I just wonder how much more a person can and is supposed to take!! You get emotionally invested, grand kids, and those things aren't easily corrected!!
Step parent -- NEVER AGAIN!!
TCMJTCMJ Step parent never again No one knows but someone who has been through this before how hurtful and damaging it is to your marriage! It's a constant battle -- of the mind, the heart, the soul, your emotions, for yourself -- it's just not worth it! Let me tell you, it's just not worth it! Just yesterday we got into yet another arguement over his GROWN irresponsible daughter. Thing is, HE AGREES SHES lame and don't take care of her kids and plays games with them us and uses them as pawns... the story goes on and on -- but he refuses to even tell her because he's afraid he will offend her... it's not even that he loves her, he's just afraid. ......... I'm speechless totally speechless! It's common sense to me ----- it's the same thing as being an enabler!! EXACT SAME THING!
Yes TCMJTCMJ -- I hurt for you! With you and no amount of prayer has fixed this --- I'm emotionally WORN SLICK OUT! Heaven help us!
I have 2 step daughters, 17yrs and 18 yrs, both are Asian and have been in New Zealand for almost 10yrs. Their mother is one of the hardest working woman I have ever meet, and done everything for her children. It is obvious that she was over compensating for the lack of a male influence. She also has a son who is 24yrs old and has basically been the minder and example for the younger girls as she had to work so hard to provide for them all.
Enter the Stepfather, I had previously bought up 3 children of my own, who have all left home and living adult lives prior to my appointment as the stepfather. When I first arrived on the seen the children where 8yrs younger than now and adapted to my fathering style and the financial stability I bought to the family. I quickly realised that the oldest daughter was very demanding and requested everything to be bought to her liking, eg. all kinds of Asian treats, coca cola and a lot of comfort type foods. The oldest son was attending the end of his high school year and spent every hour from after school to late night playing computer games on line with his friends. He had his computer set up in the living room close to the internet connection and commanded that everyone be mindfull he was trying to achieve some kind of result? This was the first big alarm bell to go off. He was babysitting his sisters and displaying a commanding control of selfishness to a high degree. The girls feared his retaliation if they didn't conform. The first thing I did when I had lived there a while was to move them into a better home, but his mother insisted he have his computer in a prominent position again, the living room. I fought this to be changed which caused some friction in our relationship, the golden boy couldn't be shifted. This example basically took away any authority I was going to have. Eventually I just put my foot down and gave the ultimatum , do you guys want me here or not. My answer was that I am not leaving a relationship with your mother because you guys cant conform to normal behaviour patterns. I am not leaving because of snotty nose , spoilt kids . So since then it has been a hell of a ride, but their mother deserves better, only the youngest of the children lifts a finger to help around the house, the other two just ignore me most of the time unless they need money for something substantial. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and their mother is a great woman to have survived this and we both look forwards to then all moving on very soon....... So sorry kids you picked the wrong stepdad to play with!
An Update...I had my StepDaughter's Boyfriend move out.This was my Wifes idea,aything to please her Daughter,he was to be here for 1 week as he was looking for a Room to Rent but that week lasted 2 Months.Every time I brought it up to my Wife she would ignore me,she didnt want to hear it.Finally I couldnt take it anymore,Two lazy Young Adults getting up at Noon and doing Zero around the House.I already blew my cork when I found them sleeping together.I brought her up with Morales and Respect,what happened?Well when I asked him to leave my Daughter mouthed off to me and said "We arent Family" and has yet to apologize or even talk to me which is fine as she can be annoying and only talks to me when she wants something.Her Boyfriend told me in confidence that She Hates Me.Always saying bad things about me.Im a retired Law Enforcement Officer and knew He was telling me the truth.
Its very sad as the only losing party is my Stepdaughter.Im considering taking out the College Tuition I saved for 12 Years for her,"we arent family" as well as have her pay her own Auto Insurance,we arent family.
I hope and pray her Boyfriend gets an apartment as Im sure she will leave,the Tension is so thick around the House as my Wife took Her side!!She threw me under the Bus to be the Bad Guy,no problem as my Love for her has long been gone,she "mooches" of of me as she makes a good salary owning her own business yet doesnt contribute to the house other than food.
I told Her too she can leave if she didnt like it as I dont need Her either.Ive been Independent my whole Life and dont deserve this.They both have had the best of everything,Cars,Beautiful Home and I also cook.On top of that Im Totally Disabled and still would rather be alone than live in a hostile environment where its Me against Them.12 Years of wasting my life,soon I will resolve this.One Day at a Time......
I hear you.
It can be so frustrating when your stepson acts one way with you, yet acts
completely differently when his dad is around. I’m glad to see that his
dad has talked with him about this behavior, as presenting a united front to
him is going to be one way to address this with him, and to demonstrate your
authority in your household. Another part of this will be to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-where-do-you-draw-the-line/, not his attitude or feelings. In other
words, give more attention as to whether he is following your directions
instead of the glares or lack of eye contact. You might find some
additional tips in our article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/the-jekyll-and-hyde-child-targeted-behavior-problems/. Please be sure to
write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family.
I can understand your
frustration. It does sound like you are in a pretty challenging situation with
your stepson. I think it is best to try and not take your stepson’s behavior
personally. I am sure it feels very personal, but in all likelihood it is probably
more about faulty thinking and poor problem solving skills. A great article to
check out for more on this is https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/good-behavior-is-not-magic-its-a-skill-the-3-skills-every-child-needs-for-good-behavior/
Also, like Rebecca mentioned,
try and focus on whether your stepson is following through with something,
rather than how he feels about it. If he is protesting and being mouthy about
having to put away his clothes, ignore it. This will help to stop a power
struggle before it starts, and he will be much more likely to comply. We wish
you the best with this. Thank you for reaching out.
majutsu_em funny how similar our situations are and i have felt so alone in all of this. I dont have kids of my own yet since he had kids already we cant afford to have a kid of my own. I have also tried reward charts, prizes, lottery tickets, new toys sitting where he can see them to stay motivated but nothing seems to work. I dread having to care for him on weekends when he doesn't have school to go to all day and dread Sundays when his dad is home and we are all together because I know he will be super fake to me. I dont know what else to do. his sister is polite and respectful so I have no issues with her. Its the boy who I dont know how much more I can take. Its causing so much stress between me and my husband that we have been growing further apart. we appear as a united front to the children but behind losed doors its not like that. my stepson resents me because he would rather be with his mom but he wont say that but I know its the truth. He is always staring at the calendar asking how many more days till he goes with his mom. emotionally im drained out. I have my own issues and I go to therapy myself and then I have this kid to deal with everyday. I too am exhausted by it all. He sees a therapist every other week. I dont know what else to do. the therapist wants to me to still give him things but I dont feel like he deserves it. He always sees me as the bad guy even though i do a lot for them and take them out places and try to get them to have fun things because I know when they were with their mom it didnt happen. but it all goes unnoticed and unappreciated. He could be grounded all day with me and be miserable and then the next day be grounded all day with his dad around it he looks and acts like he is having the best day ever.
i know Im not much help but at least maybe knowing you arent alone makes you feel a little better. I have always felt alone as a step parent. I have had a hard time adjusting and feeling like the outsider and a third wheel and my husband says its my fault. So i have always struggled with it. I alwasy thought maybe having a kid of my own and experiencing this whole parent hood might help me deal with things better and not feel left out. but I cant have one right now because I have to care for them.
I hope things get better for yo and your family!
Have a 9 year old step daughter that continuously challenges me, numerous times she has the "you're not a parent, I don't have to listen to you"
Something simple as cleaning up her mess from dinner, playing with toys...she chooses to do something else, ignoring what I've asked of her.
I have tried speaking to my wife about this, and she says it's my fault, that I haven't earned the respect from the child. She praises her child for acting this way because I haven't earned it.
Some advice or insight to this would be great!
Thank you for reaching out. It can be very difficult
when you are not only hearing “You’re not my parent” from your stepchild, but
also hearing the same from your spouse. I encourage you to continue to
talk with your wife privately during a calm time, in order to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/ and develop standard house rules for everyone to
follow. Sometimes, it can be useful to involve a neutral third party,
such as a marriage/family counselor with experience working with blended families,
to help you find common ground and develop a plan moving forward. For
assistance locating support in your area, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222. I
recognize how tough this must be for you right now, and I hope that you will
write back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
Living with adult children can be extremely difficult, and
it can be even more difficult when they are being dishonest in an attempt to
pit you and your husband against each other. It’s going to be important
for you and your husband to https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-blended-family-wont-blend-help-part-i-how-you-and-your-spouse-can-get-on-the-same-page/, and show a united front when these issues arise.
You and your husband might also consider https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/ground-rules-for-living-with-an-adult-child-plus-free-living-agreement/ with your stepson and his wife which outlines your
expectations for their behavior while they are living with you. I
recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I wish you all the best
moving forward. Take care.