Step Parent - Help!!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Prayfort23, Sep 8, 2013.

  1. Prayfort23

    Prayfort23 New Member

    I am the step patent of 2 beautiful children whom I've known since they were 5 & 10.
    We have always gotten along great.
    Through the years (they are now 9&14) their mother has constantly talked bad about me to the kids. She has attacked me, burned me with a cigarette, and is just all around miserable.
    She smokes pot around her children saying that its how she grew up. I'm sorry but to me that is WRONG.
    She has always wanted my husband to go back to her, they were married 11 years.
    My stepson is now telling his father that he needs counseling because he feels lost and told me he thinks he has separation anxiety. He told me when he is with his mom he misses dad. When he is with dad he misses mom. I know that she talks to much to the kids about wanting my husband back.
    I just told my stepson that I know the situation is not what he wanted but we have 50% custody and we live so close he can skateboard back and forth.
    Not sure what else to say besides I will get him a counselor. (They are covered under my insurance).
    Problem is that his mom is making it difficult for them to feel its ok to like me. Yesterday my husband had to work and my step had a concert. We made plans to go early, eat lunch and hang out. His mom text saying she wanted to take him and she's the mother and had she known that my husband was working she would have taken them anyway.... It's our week. So instead of putting him in the middle, I dropped him off and my step daughter and I went to the exact same place...
    While we were there my step son hung out with his mom the whole time and didn't talk or acknowledge me once.
    My step daughter hung out with me the whole time and only said bye to her mom when we left.
    I don't know what to do.. I do everything for the kids, I buy him shoes, clothes - his mom buys nothing. We put him in music school. If he wants something he won't ask his mom he will ask us and then get irritated if we don't get it for him..
    The kid has no rules, no curfew.
    My husband and I went out to a party (not our week), son wanted to use our house to hang out with a few friends, we got home and there were girls who ended up spending night. That was my last straw and I told my husband if he doesn't put his foot down I will... And he did..
    I don't want to be the bad guy, but its so hard to parent when the ex is making it hard... At a loss.
  2. Prayfort23

    Prayfort23 New Member

    Oh p.s, when its our week with the kids we spend it with the kids. When its her week, she gets babysitters or asks us to take them so she can go out. She always claims she has no money, but then takes trips, goes to the bar, smokes cigarettes, weed and who knows what else.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    First of all, how old are the kids? I think that if stepson is asking for therapy, he is saying, "I really need it" and he should get it. Anyhow...

    My son is somewhat in your situation. He has a five year old very bright son who is with him 50% of the time and with ex and her new honey 50% of the time. My son doesn't say anything bad about either one, but 5 year old is not happy with Boyfriend. I think maybe you should back off the parenting part and let your hub parent with his ex. You aren't their parent. Also, although how Mom parents may drive you nuts, but legally she can leave the kids w ith sitters on her time and it's ok to the courts. Often both sides think the other is a totally horrible parent, but how each spends his/her parenting time is up to that parent. Often kids go from one house with not many rules to another with strict rules and that is how they have to live...inconsistently, but it isn't something that the court will remedy. I know a lot about custody cases these days, unfortunately. The only thing the court considers in taking away custody is if the child is in danger or abused and it has to be proven.

    This a very touchy situation for the kids. I feel for kids of divorce. They want to please both parents and often try hard to do so. Often, they are not happy when Mom or Dad remarry or get a significant other as they feel their dad/mom should really still be with their other parent (right or wrong, fair or not). And they often resent a step coming in and acting like a parent.

    My son thinks his ex is the worst parent on earth, but he knows his son still loves her. In the end, what she does is out of your control. I certainly would NOT interact with Mom. And I'd be the best friend to the k ids that you can be. When the kids get stuff from you, my guess is they are thinking "I'm getting this from Dad."

    Often if steps get too involved, the kids think the stepparent doesn't like them and gets rebellious and resentful. My husband was a step for a while and two of my kids were teens. We pretty much agreed that I would parent the kids with ex and he'd be like a friend. Worked out really well. Just a few thoughts and suggestions. Sorry I can't help more. These are very touchy situations. Some stepmothers may get angry at me, but I don't think steps should get too involved in the parenting. It sure didn't work here when my husband did. The kids just hated him until he let their father be the father. Now they all get along great.

    You may also want to get involved in family counseling, minus ex, of course. That could help you. Keep us updated!
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Sending supportive thoughts your way. I have not lived through the same circumstances but my husband and I got married when all of our children were middle school/high school age ( we each had three, by the way ). Based on my now almost forty years experience I "think" that you may be making the same mistake I made. If not...feel free to say so, lol!

    Bottom line of our joint parenting difficulties was ME. Yep, that's right. I fell in love with husband because he was kind, soft spoken, loved his children, helped with meals, had a good sense of humor AND never raised his voice to any of the six children. All those traits were true and still are true. The problem??? I ended up being "the boss" by default. He didn't like and still doesn't like the negative side of parenting. Whether it is your week or her week I very strongly advise that you make sure to spend a few minutes each day talking about the children. If there's something good to share...great! If you are concerned (OR feeling put upon) share it! Don't let him sit back and be everyone's good guy and then "follow your orders" when something big happens. It is NOT fair to you or the children. HE made the children and HE must be the primary parent.

    by the way, don't waste your time worrying about Ex's sex life, drug life, housekeeping, money management, manner of dress OR whether she wants your husband back. You have NO control over that. Your husband likely knows all that and more.
    You are not in competition and you are not the primary parent. You are a special, stable and loving adult who can make a huge difference in the children's lives. Draw your line in the sand. It will help all of you. Hugs. DDD
  5. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Hi there!

    I, too, am a stepparent to two lovely children - Belle and Pat. (Butch is technically a step but not really in our lives ever.) Anyway, I met husband when they were 8 and 5. I loved them almost at first sight. Aside from biomom being what is colloquially known as "a piece of work", we did really well for a while... Until... We went from her being the residential parent, to 50/50, to the other way round, to husband having full custody. We'll just say abuse was the reason and leave it at that; I am sure you can fill in the blanks.

    Belle was pretty much taught that husband was horrible and to love him meant she didn't love bio. By extension, me too. But then she figured out bio's games, and refused to visit, which got husband tossed in jail for 3 days for contempt for denial of parenting time. And... We tried to get the kids counseling, but bio blocked us at every turn.

    Belle is 18 now and in county lockup awaiting trial for forgery, theft, and a handful of other felonies. Pat is 15 and a truly awesome kid. I truly believe his gender saved him from the same fate, because bio mostly ignored him.

    That said, if SS wants counseling - please do everything in your power. Sometimes having an uninvolved person to talk to can make all the difference! The kids know about their mother... What they need YOU to be is a friend. I had to step in and be a mother due to a lot of circumstances, not the least of which was bio passing away 2 years ago. But honestly, they need that sense of stability and to know you are not trying to replace her. I heard this a lot and resented it at the time but if I had been able to... It would have been BEST!

    :hugs: been there done that. Hated it.

    PS - If she is still assaulting YOU, you MUST report it. When it happens.
  6. Prayfort23

    Prayfort23 New Member

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to be the parent at all, whatever my husband says, goes. I never talk bad about mom. But this is my house too and when there is disrespect or rules broken I have to say something.
    I'm with the kids more than my husband, he works a lot. I am their friend and I love them so if I'm seeing something wrong I feel as an adult I have to say something.
    I know the kids love me. I feel for my stepson. I am going to call a counselor and get him help.

    I know he feels put in the middle, I saw it yesterday when we were all at a function together. He wouldn't talk or stand by me, which is fine but I feel if she didn't talk bad or act like a victim he wouldn't feel so torn.
    I don't know. Hopefully therapy will help...
  7. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    You're right that it is your home too. There was a very long stretch of time when I did not feel comfortable in my own home. And yes, you DO have to say something. Heck, we give babysitters and day care the right to say something, put kids in time out etc., why shouldn't a stepparent be able to?! (But we get in trouble for it!)
  8. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I know it's semantics but in lieu of "my home" I suggest using "our home" to indicate that you and husband have a home with basic rules that the two of you will equally enforce. Saying "your Dad and I agree that unsupervised company is not allowed in our home" will translate into a united front. It will be more effective if Dad is the one who says it. That can eliminate statements like "SM was really upset" which is more likely to result in Biomom responding "you are not her children". Good luck. DDD
  9. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I think you need family therapy so that you can settle into some sort of understanding, with professional help, as to what role you have in these kid's lives and when issues come up you can hear the best way to handle them. Saying "it's my house too" may be a true fact, but also may alienate the kids. Stepparents have a very tricky role and it is easy to turn the kids against you, which will impact your marriage. Literally, my husband told me what he wanted changed and I was the one who said it. The harmony in the house really jacked up a lot when he stopped telling them what to do and their relationship improved tenfold.

    It is different when a teacher, a scout leader, a piano teacher or a neighbor sees your stepchildren acting up and correct them. They are NOT sleeping with their father (we hope :)) and the kids are less apt to cop an attitude and rebel because of it. One day it may happen that the kids see you as a mother figure or even as the better female parent, but you have to wait for that to happen. Family therapy addresses everyone's role in your family unit, not just your stepson's issues.
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    What DDD and MWM said, they are absolutely right...
  11. Prayfort23

    Prayfort23 New Member

    Maybe I'm not expressing myself correctly. I e never said to the kids "this is my house too" I'm just telling you guys that's how I feel.
    I've never tried to parent the kids. The extent of my telling them what to do is telling stepdaughter to take a shower every other day, and pick up her room. Both of which she does willingly.
    I've never said anything to stepson except for be quiet when I'm working.
    My frustration is their dad is lax, their mom is lax and in essence they feel they have no rules. Not as much the step daughter, but the step son.
    I feel kids need rules, when I tell their dad, he agrees and lays down the law. But then nothing happens.
    I feel as tho kids need structure, rules, consequences. That's what is frustrating to me, and I feel that I have no voice because I'm not their mom.
    I just feel like if we all got along a lot of things would change for the better. But ex won't hear of it. Yes we do need counseling.
  12. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I guarantee you I did not have any intention of criticizing you. I have (in some ways) been there done that and I "feel" your stress trying to do the basics...without backup. That's why I described my husband as the really kind nice man he is. on the other hand he didn't "get it" when we were in the midst of coparenting. Since his IQ is average or above, lol, I know he choose "not to get it". We were lucky that most of the "kids" ended up just fine. I do wish, however, that I had pushed the envelope with husband so I wouldn't have felt like the enforcer. I'm rooting for you! DDD
  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    When you two have kids, you will have this say. Right now, they have two lax parents. Likely you knew that going in. You can't get in there and start changing things. It won't work.