I stink at step-parenting

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by myfirstandlast, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. Now that our oldest daughter is living with us, the differences in my parenting style and hubby's parenting style are really showing. I get so frustrated with what *I* see as favoritism, and he is struggling with the same thing -- thinks I'm too lax with mine and that I blame his daughter for everything. We need help, fast!

    We have "house rules" that apply to all, but to ME it seems like he lets her get away with more, when I think she should get away with LESS being the oldest and most mature. He seems more gruff with my kids when they are being slugs about getting ready for school, doesn't grumble at his daughter as much (it seems to me) and just overall has a longer fuse with her.

    I KNOW I'm not perfect, I am not avoiding any amount of blame in this. I am more "relaxed" when it comes to hey, time to go, as I know with my explosive/rigid child, you can't just expect him to STOP doing what he's doing and walk away from it. He does NOT operate that way. I feel like hubby thinks I'm not firm enough with him, that it is a defiant behavior or that he's ignoring/disobeying/disrespecting me when he doesn't shut off the video game after I've told him 3 times. I know I probably have to remind him 5 times before the switch in his brain gets the message.

    I don't want to go rounds with hubby over these things ... we need each other's support too much. Any ideas?
  2. SaraT

    SaraT New Member

    As a fellow step-parent I feel your pain. husband and I had some of the same problems. Steps getting away with too much, too hard on mine/ours. Steps calling me all sorts of names.(That I dare not repeat.) :smile:

    I hate to say this, but husband and I finally had a rip roaring fight over it, stated all our feelings on the matter and cleared the air. I then tried to be easier on his and he tried to be easier on mine/ours. We made a concerted effort to treat each equally according to age. husband also worked on not letting Steps disrespect me. It was hard work, but we worked through it.

    I am not saying a fight(verbal) is a good thing, but airing feelings is. We learned to not bottle the feelings and perceptions up. We made a pact to let each other know if we were doing the favorite thing again. It worked well, and now steps are grown and on their own.

    Being a step-parent isn't easy and there may be things in the past that might make your husband act the way he does to daughter. That was the case in my situation.

    A good old fashioned air clearing(calmly if possible) might be what is needed.in my humble opinion

    Good Luck, and know you are not alone.
  3. Yeah, we've gotten close to verbal blows, but we've yet to really fight about anything. We're just both so terribly overstressed right now. Money is a major issue too, he's staying home to be there, and I love him being the at-home dad, but I can just barely cover our bills. No fun money. And we were accustomed to fun money.
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    No additional advice other than talk thru it.

    Just sending support and knowing hugs.
  5. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member

    Sit down all of you. Everyone gets to express their feelings and opinion and everyone gets to help each person do one thing better. Get together once a month until there are no more problems with his and hers kids and you are as one.
  6. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    I can't relate to being a step parent but my husband is one and while I think he's very good at it, he does tend to favor his bio children. I think its understandable, especially as our other kids are "his" and they are easy child's....making them much easier to deal with. What we are trying to do is make sure we're on the same page as much as possible and understand that each of our children are all unique and there are a lot of rules that are not going to work across the board. We strive to be as fair as possible while keeping in mind that it is impossible to be fair all the time. husband and I have words about this once in a while but I try to look at it from his perspective(can't quite get there but I try)to see what it would be like to have a child living in my home that wasn't mine that treated my other kids and I like :censored2: a good deal of the time. I probably wouldn't deal with it half as good as he does. When I do this, I see that he's doing a great job and is really quite an outspoken advocate for difficult child. She's very lucky to have him in her life. I guess I don't have much for advice but am sorry to hear its a rough transition. Hang in there and I hope it gets a little easier over time.
  7. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    One thing that worked with a friends step kids and their situation (they have a difficult child) was checklists.

    Everything from brushing teeth to homework to household chores, laundry etc. hit the checklist.

    Everyone got one and each had to be completed every day.

    It took out any gray areas and made each child responsible. It also made it very very clear to the parents who was getting over burdened compared to another child/stepchild.

    Just a thought!

  8. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Back when mine were 8 and 10, difficult child was really starting to have bad rage attacks and even though I lost it, I had the niggling feeling in the back of my head that it was more than just difficult child being resistant and so I tried to tailor my parenting styles to suit the family as a whole. H hated that and only became more stern and rigid with her - I thought I hated him at times. It was awful. I sought counseling because, surely, I was doing something wrong...why was my older daughter so easy and this one so out there?!

    When the counselor, bless her, heard our story she completely revamped our goals for counseling and she put us through this step-parenting program that she designed through the research of many other resouces. Anyway, she really helped us a lot. I wouldn't say it was perfect after that by any means, but it definitely helped us A LOT. H was able to vent about his feelings, me mine, the girls theirs. She advised us to have family meetings, which H hated. But we had them every other week and they were, for the most part, a productive and 'safe' way for everyone to be heard and have their feelings acknowledged and respected. I think my H had trouble coming across as vulnerable, something he's much better at now.

    Anyway, my suggestion falls in line with what the other posters have already said. Talk it out. If you cannot talk it out with one another, bring in a 3rd party to act as mediator. Not someone who will say anything about either of you being right or wrong...but someone who will help each of you acknowledge the other's feelings in a safe, calm setting. You may never agree on the 'right' way of parenting, but at least you will know the other's perspectives and understand what it is about parenting your styles that throws the other off, Know what I mean??

    If you seek a counselor for help, find one who has experience dealing with step/blended families. Our counselor told us that step/blended parenting is one of the most difficult ways in which to raise a family.

    Hugs and good luck~with some communication and a little compromise on each end, things should get better.