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What's that mean?

Bradymom's picture

I'm very new to this site. I keep reading "disengage" I'm not quite sure what this means. Idk. I feel like if I disengage with my step kids then things will be drastically out of balance with my bio kids, in our massively blended family.


AngelOfMisery's picture

I wanna disengage. Your thoughts and belief is right down my ally. At this point that is where I like to be but you are right on one thing. You have to have your husbands support on that and I don't have that.

My husband still dreams this perfect little dream that We are family. him , I and the girls. Well, you can't have that dream if the girls are going to keep bringing their mother up in conversations when the come and stay.

I call their mother the devil bitch because she is nothing but the devil in sheeps clothing I don't care how many times she goes to church her soul will never be relieved unless she can make her Ex what ever he is to her suffer the full extant to never ever land.

I think he knows he would sink if he let me disengage.

Bradymom's picture

I've recently taken a different stance. I use to "just" support my husband in his relationship with his kids, my step kids. But after witnessing their bio mom continue to screw them up & overall be a discussing excuse, in combination watch my step kids drool over my children & their love & attention I give them, I decided to take my relationship with them personal. I do for them what I would for mine. It's not easy. They are not mine. My kids are absolutely good with it, if it hurt them I wouldn't be able to do this... I don't know as if my step kids recognize it, it's only been 4-6 weeks since I've made this change of propose. It's definitely unconditional.

askYOURdad's picture

As echo said, you will find that disengagement means different things and there are several levels of it.

I am in a blended family as well (full custody of bios and 50/50 of steps) and for me, disengagement means that I let my DH parent his kids the way that he sees fit and I parent mine the way that I see fit. That said, there are house rules and we both have the authority/support to enforce those. There are levels of respect that we both agree the other deserves and we both enforce that. The aspects that I don't involve myself in would be such as last weekend, skids ate Halloween candy all day long, this is not something that I would let my children do. I did not step in and correct this because if DH doesn't care, there is no use stressing myself out about it or being the "bad guy"... two years ago, I would have been the bad guy. When it comes to responsibilities for them, I don't mind doing laundry/making dinner or doing anything for them that I do for my bios such as packing lunches or driving them to school, but I will not speak with teachers, attend conferences, make doctor appointments etc. Skids have TWO parents already they don't need me calling the shots.

The best example that I can give you of my level of disengagement is homework. If the skids ask me to help I will absolutely help them. I go through my bios backpacks/planner and check grades on the online portal. I do not do that for steps. That is DH's job. I will not be the homework bad guy, most of the time when I say "when we get home we are going to get homework out of the way" the skids will follow along, but if they decided not to do it I would simply just let DH know and it's up to him to handle it.

Because we are blended it can get sticky with the "not fair" issues. DH and I work together to try and eliminate as much of this as we can. We spend equal amounts on birthdays/xmas and make sure one doesn't have more gifts than the others etc. When it does come up that DH and I have different opinions this is usually how I handle it:

Me: You are not eating cookies for breakfast, pick something else.
bio: SD had cookies for breakfast
Me: That's fantastic, I hope she doesn't get a stomach ache, you will not be eating cookies for breakfast
bio: That's not fair, how come she can and I can't
Me: You will have to ask DH, he is their parent and I am yours.

People who aren't in step families may be appalled by this, but the kids do understand and usually when DH hears conversations like this it aggravates him and he corrects the behavior of his kids. Now, he has stepped up, I have not stressed out, and the steps don't see me as trying to "ruin their life" If I had handled it different and told SD she was not allowed to eat cookies for breakfast I would have given DH a free pass to let me run things and step back and not care.

Bradymom's picture

We definitely have those issues... My kids are asked to help with house chores, cleaning up after themselves & others too... My step kids do nothing I don't feel comfortable asking them to help & my husband just doesn't deligate things... But as a result whoever helps make a dessert gets a second piece, whoever helps with chores gets a later bedtime, etc.

askYOURdad's picture

I don't have all of the answers, the disengagement has been going on for me since summer and I can tell you I am already a MILLION times better. I think the rewards are a great idea to get the skids involved!

When stuff like you mentioned become an issue I have learned ways to get DH on board without nagging/telling him how to parent. For example, when it came to chores, one day I asked DH if we could stop at the dollar store on the way back from dropping off kids, I grabbed a poster board and random stuff and he asked what I was doing, I told him I wanted to make a chore chart and a "treasure chest" (our kids are fairly young) that they could get rewards from when doing chores, he thought it was a good idea, so when we got home I asked him to help me come up with stuff for the kids to do and asked him if we should have chores for each kid or have set chores that rotate? By giving him choices and coming to him like I needed help and we were a team he was now on board way more than if I had just said "your kids don't do chores, make them do chores, you never....."

Bradymom's picture

A lot of times there aren't rewards... Just depends. Sometimes I just say "that's what being a family is, helping" Thet are always thanked & praised-- especially if they helped cook or set a beautiful table.