difficult child 2 and MAJOR conflict with step-dad (husband)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by wasnt_me331, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. wasnt_me331

    wasnt_me331 New Member

    I cannot even begin to tell you how thankful I am to have found this website!!! I just joined yesterday, but have found a place that helps me realize that I'm not alone.

    It seems that my biggest issues aren't only with my children, but also with the expectations of husband when it comes to the children. I think he expects them to be perfect and to just SEE things that need to be done and do them willingly and voluntarily. I know kids better than that ... it's not going to happen that way for most kids ... especially mine. husband and difficult child 2 (Chase) went toe to toe about 2 years ago and the police and CPS became involved. Ever since then, the mood in my house has changed and all 4 of my bio children have lost respect for husband. I feel like a referee instead of a mother and wife. husband and I can't agree on anything when it comes to punishments and discipline. I can't seem to get him to understand that they are children and a few them need to be handled with kid gloves at times. difficult child 1 (Miranda) is a typical teen with an attitude at times and a mouth to go along with it. Chase and Caya are the two that become explosive whenever husband opens his mouth and speaks to them. I am stuck in the middle and constantly battling husband to understand that they are kids and with the kids to help them gain back that respect. I don't know if there is a forum on here that discusses step-parenting and our difficult child children, but I need help and possibly some advice or guidance.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    How long have you been married?
  3. wasnt_me331

    wasnt_me331 New Member

    We've been married for 3 years and together for 2 years prior to marriage. He was GREAT with the kids and exactly what I wanted and needed in the beginning ... until we got married. I don't know what changed and why he went off the deep end with his punishments and his need to control everything. Discipline is unrealistic and excessive. I believe that the punishment should fit the crime, but we can't see eye to eye on that. Seriously .... grounding them for not turning their light off???!!! My boys (Chase and TJ) got caught shoplifting (1st time offense and scared TO DEATH) and husband wanted to shave their heads and make them wear the same clothes to school everyday for a week or so. WTH is that???!!! They ended up grounded for a month, have to do work for family to help pay for fines and have to go to court next week to find out what the outcome will be. husband argues with the kids like he's a kid himself, which gets extremely old. I'm just sick of it and I don't want it to tear us apart.
  4. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It sounds like husband decided that getting married made him their Dad. It did not.

    Would he be willing to do family therapy with you? My suggestion would be that he back way off and allow you to be the parent.

    If he is motivated to learn more about parenting difficult children, I'd suggest "The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene.

    As a step-daughter, I remember the difficult transition to adding a step-father to the family. It can take years but it can also end up wonderful (my step-dad walked me down the aisle.)
  5. wasnt_me331

    wasnt_me331 New Member

    My kids have their issues, but they are not bad kids and I've told him that he did not marry me to save me from my kids. They are good kids and I was doing fine by myself. I've already asked him to just let me be the "bad guy", but he "refuses to live in a house where he has no say". To me, that makes it sound like he believes that there is nothing else to raising kids besides discipline and punishment.
    We are actually going to a seminar this Saturday that focuses on communication between spouses and raising kids together effectively. I am hoping and praying that this helps both of us.
  6. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    The seminar sounds like a good idea but I would also suggest couples therapy. Family therapy is a good idea also but I think the two of you need to get on the same page before you involve the kids in sessions. If he balks tell him that the two of you have tried to reach agreements and haven't been able to. Maybe an objective person on the outside can help you BOTH make compromises and figure things out.

    Welcome to the board and good luck!
  7. wasnt_me331

    wasnt_me331 New Member

    I'm definitely inclined to agree on the couple's therapy, but I don't know if he would be willing to do that. We need to see eye to eye on things before bringing the kids into the mix.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with the therapy.

    My hub also came into my life to be the stepdad and started out heavyhanded with the kids. He would hear, "You're not my father. I don't have to listen to you." Guess what? He's NOT their father. I married him, they didn't chose him. I did. They have a father. Your hub really does need to understand that he isn't the father and the more he acts out the more they will distant themselves from him and dislike him.

    Hub and I decided to let him be the friend, and me and my ex would deal out the discipline. That worked well for us because ex and I get along well when we aren't married :tongue:. It also took the heat off of my hub, and the house tension went down big time.

    I really recommend that when kids don't seem to like or respect the stepparent, it's best to step down from trying to be another authority figure. Frankly, his ideas of discipline sound abusive to me. in my opinion you don't try to embarass kids by shaving their heads or not allowing them to change clothes. It will gain stepdad no points with ANYONE and the kids will be ridiculed at school and likely act up even more at home. The school may even call CPS if they catch on.

    I think a good idea would be for you and hub to get into marriage counseling (even if you drag him by the ear) AND also have family counseling. It's probably a strain on the kids to have four new siblings AND a stepfather. I was lucky that way (in my opinion). Hub didn't have any kids so at least we were only dealing with his issues (hubs).

    I'm afraid that if you don't get professional intervention YOU will lose respect or get fed up with hub too and your marriage will fall apart.

    Good luck, whatever you decide to do!
  9. wasnt_me331

    wasnt_me331 New Member

    Midwest ... thank you so much for your post. It is so hard sometimes trying to deal with this entire situation. I'm very glad that it seems as if someone else is on my side when it comes to all of this. I love husband so much and know that he is truly an amazing guy, but he seems to have lost his mind when it comes to the kids. I have 4 bio kids typical teen (MD), love bug (CS), little mommy (MR) and Tinkerbell (CS), so the majority of the kids are the ones suffering step-dad's "wrath". For that matter ... my step-son, class clown (TJ), would rather come to me than go to his own dad. He's unreasonable and never cuts the kids any slack.

    As stated before ... he refuses to let me to be the disciplinarian and would rather poke his own eyes out than to let my ex have any say in our house. I don't get it. I've even told husband that it seems like he LOOKS for reasons to punish the kids and takes little things and makes them into so much more than they are so that he can punish them. That's pathetic. The actual fights and arguments between him (husband) and CS have gotten so crazy that I've told them to go to their rooms ... both of them. I'm all about, You get what you give and if you give the kids attitude and disrespect, how can you expect anything different???!!!

    Oh well ... wish me luck and keep the advice coming!!! I've been dealing with this by myself for way too long and I am about to lose my mind. LOL
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm really sorry this is going on. And trust me my hub started out all ready to be a tough guy...I had to reign him in. It was hard for him to accept that my kids would NOT respect him as a father figure because they had a father. Once he 'got it' I think he was very relieved to just be the good guy...lol.

    Are you on good terms with your ex? Will your ex co-parent with you from a distance? I would call my ex on the phone and we'd discuss each situation and come up with a solution and hub, once he saw that this worked, did not interfer. He now has a good relationship with all those kids...they are grown now.

    I don't know how you can change your husband, but counseling would be a great start. Then it would be somebody other than you (the wife) telling him to step back and ease off and that his punishments and behavior are not appropriate. He could truly get turned into CPS by one of your kids OR the school if he does any cruel punishments. Does he hit them? He really has no right to do that either.

    My hub had been in the military for ten years and his dad had been a cop. When he didn't behave his dad used a belt. He'd say to me, "It didn't kill me." I'd say to him, "But if you do that to my kids, I'll kill YOU" lol. He laid off even thinking of corporal punishment. He'd never raised a child before. We would talk about it a lot. Now he is the father to our two kids and he's a great one. He has never so much as started to lift a hand to either. He has changed how he sees fatherhood and recognizes that the belt was inappropriate (although common back then). Your husband needs to listen to you and others. I hope he does.

    Pam :)
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I am sorry things are so tough. It really hoovers to be stuck in the middle.

    Your husband really needs to learn how to be a stepdad. Having a say does NOT mean he gets to pick the discipline. It means he can express his wishes but the final say regarding his stepkids belongs to YOU.

    Don't give that power to him. It will damage your relationship with your kids.

    Couple therapy seems imperative. In your shoes I would probably make it a "deal breaker". For my marriage that means either we go to the therapy or to divorce lawyers.

    It is NOT the choice for everyone, of course. There are only 2-3 issues that are deal breakers in my marriage. Every marriage/relationship is different and needs different handling.

    With this situation, esp given the anger that the kids and husband feel and generate, therapy would be something that I would insist on.

    Shaving the kids' heads and making them wear the same clothes to school all week is NOT in my opinion) appropriate "discipline" or "punishment" for what the kids did. Extra chores, extra supervision, fewer privileges - those are OK. The shaving and same clothes could bring CPS down on you for abuse.

    It is also just not acceptable to humiliate someone as a punishment. It destroys your relationship, the child's self image, and will NOT result in a person who does not do it again. The child will repeat the behavior, or develop even worse behavior in retaliation. Or do something horrible to husband and you.

    Humiliation is just not OK. Discipline is meant to change a person's behavior to something better. Your husband is going against that in many ways.

    I am so sorry you are stuck in the middle.