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How can you help your man see what you see ??

CruellaDeKids's picture

Does anybody out there have any tips on how to speak about the issues involving the SDs & SSs with your SO without them always taking it SOOOO personally? All I'm sayong is how can I expect them to respect me when I can barely keep him in a room for 2 minutes to discuss what I feel in my soul is going on? And even worse... Once addressing it... I'm a horrible person for even insinuating a child is capable of doing nasty and hateful things intentionally... God Almighty any tips. Anything. Do I need to record the behavior to prove it like I know he truats me.... He just cant for one second believe a child is capable of what I'm describing. 


SubstituteMommy's picture

There's nothing that you can do. They see it when they're willing to be honest with themselves. Some of them never even get there. The biological tie that they have to their kids is all that they need to live in constant denial. It's disgusting.

Cover1W's picture

There's not much you can do.  I've been with DH for 7 years and he still doesn't like me saying anything, even when he asks for my opinion.  So I'm careful to not give an opinion (although one slips out every so often).  He has to do everything himself to see the issue.  I don't parent, I don't try to parent.  If something bothers me I leave the room or the house.  He deals with it, not me.  That's the only way he's ever improved on anything.  It's never, ever been MY saying anything or talking to him.  Even if I say something good about a book I read, he'll downplay it or dismiss it...then he reads about it, years later, and he thinks it's amazing!  My response:  "Oh, interesting."

SeeYouNever's picture

Do you have friends with very good or very bad kids? Spend some time with both. Talk about how amazing the good kids are and about how the parents did a great job. After hanging out with the bad ones wait until your SO says something about them and then slide in a "other people's kids are always more annoying than your own."

Exjuliemccoy's picture

You could be blocking the view. Don't overcompensate, overfunction, facilitate, assist, enable, or help in any way with your SO's kid(s). Dont nag, vent, complain, demand, or push. It only makes you the bad guy, and muddies the waters. Instead, let your SO feel the consequences of their poor parenting. 

I tried for years to get my DH to engage more with his kids, and to warn him that his eldest was behaving badly and needed correction. It fell on deaf ears. Finally, I disengaged from the crazy. Once I wasn't involved anymore, my DH had to deal directly with OSD, and got a full blast of her narcissism and eagerness to use us for personal gain. What I'd been complaining about for years suddenly was affecting him, and he didn't like it at all. 

Gimlet's picture


What Ex-Julie has written is absolutely correct.  You can be so right, but telling him something isn't the same as making sure he experiences that thing.  It's been the best way to make my DH see things.  It can be really hard to just pull back and let things unfold, but it's effective.  It takes away their need to "defend" and slaps them in the face with reality when they can't turn to someone else to buffer or defuse the behavior/needs. 

lieutenant_dad's picture


Another suggestion I would have is, if you have to talk to him about his kids' behavior towards you for some reason, you tie it back to his parenting and not his kid.

Example: His kids have repeatedly been disrespecting you, calling you names, rolling their eyes, purposefully leaving messes, etc.

The "Wrong" Way: "SO, your kids are disrespectful little brats and I can't stand how they treat me! You need to punish them!"

The "Better" Way: "SO, you're lack of parenting has allowed your children to think it's okay to be disrespectful to me, call me names, and leave messes around the house. This is not behavior that I or any other person should have to endure because YOU lack the ability to properly parent them. It makes me lose respect for YOU when YOU allow this to happen to me. YOU need to fix the problem YOU have caused."

It doesn't always work, but when you put your SO's behavior in the spotlight versus the kids, they will sometimes be less defensive. Then always bring back the poor behavior to their parenting, or lack thereof.

"You just hate my kids!" "No, I dislike that your lack of parenting and how that has been interpretted by your kids makes them think that it's okay to misbehave."

"You just think my kids can't do anything right!" "No, I think you haven't done enough to teach them how to behave correctly."

"You want me to have bad relationships with my kids!" "No, I want you to have HEALTHY relationships with your kids so they grow up to be good, responsible adults, and that won't happen when you coddle them and allow poor behavior."

This can also be used proactively by telling your SO that you disagree with their parenting style, that how they parent causes problems for you and your feelings about the relationship, and that you need them to step up their parenting game. Remember, the root cause of most SK issues is their parent, so address the root cause.

Lastly, I think if you get to a point where you need to put in nanny cams to "prove" to your SO that you are trustworthy, then the relationship is over. An SO not "trusting" what you say is a misnomer. It's not a lack of trust; it's willful ignorance and laziness on the SO's part. You could gather all the evidence in the world and present it, but I'd bet money that your SO would come up with some excuse for the behavior, blame you for "instigating", roll his eyes and just say you hate his kids, etc. You can't "win" against that.

ESMOD's picture

I went back and skimmed your earlier posts.. and in a nutshell, it appears you have two rather young (4 and 8 ) children who have had to deal with the "loss of their mother" due to issues with drugs... which means they likely had a very chaotic household even when they were with her.. and they have had to adjust to a new home... loss of mom in their lives and a new "mother figure".   Even the split up of their parents too.. assuming their parents were together not too far in the past.  All at an age where they don't have the emotional tools to truly deal with all this change and grief.

So, of course they are acting out to an extent and in some ways you are a reflection of the biggest change.. the loss of their mother.. and the competition of sharing dad with another person.  In a way, it's not personal at all.. it would be the same for anyone in your position.  They don't hate you.. but they are having a hard time dealing with what you represent.

NOw, kids aren't necessarily subtle.. they feel hurt.. so they will act in ways that hurt others... and they have not been parented well.. by EITHER parent.  I would lay bets that your SO has an expectation that you mother these kids.. that you act in a parental role.. including discipline and childcare.  So you probably have expectations that are over and above what these kids can do right now.. and that frustrates you.. they sense the resentment and it circles around to more hurt and bad behavior.

Then, when you complain to him that his kids are being brats.. he takes that as a personal attack on him and his children.. he defenses up.. he stops listening and you get further frustrated because he can't "see how horrid they are".

So... how do you deal with this and improve the situation?

First, I like the concept of by trying to prove yourself with the kids... taking care of them... "playing house" so to speak.. you are allowing your SO to avoid dealing with his kids in enough situations to see where they have holes in their development.  Perhaps if he was the one who had to clean all the messes.. he would be more inclined to prevent them?  Maybe if he dealt with the bratty turn up of noses at dinner, he would teach them better manners and helpthem become better at trying new foods?  Maybe if he were the one to enforce bedtime, he would deal with the backtalk and tantrums and work on a better standard of behavior?

Second, there is always the possibility his kids might benefit from some counseling.  You can approach this from a place of concern.  "Honey, I think the kids are struggling with the situation.. loss of mom in the picture and all the changes.. do you think it might help if they got some counseling to help them adjust?  I think we would find they would be happier"

Third,  There is disengagement (part of the first part.. let him BE their parent).  Disengagement isn't just stepping back physically.. but ALSO emotionally.  You have to get to the point where you "don't care what people do that don't care about you" to some extent.  They roll their eyes?  no reaction.. just ignore.  They are kids and by DEFINITION.. immature..  And.. again, it's really not meant as personally as it appears.. even though I am sure it feels like it.. it really is probably less about you than you think.  So.. let him parent.. interact with the kids only to the extent that they initiate it in a positive way.. train them that the only reaction they will get from you is when they are behaving well... they are in their brattiness.. nautiness.. then you simply leave them to their father to deal with.

Fourth is picking your battles.  Surely there is a short list of non-negotiables when it comes to their behavior.. physically destroying your things?  Leaving mess in the living room.. address those first.. make it your SO's responsibility to make those things stop... either by parenting or exclusion from areas of the home.. whatever HE has to do to make that happen.



SacrificialLamb's picture

As long as you point it out, you will always be the bad guy. You need to step back and let him deal with things all on his own.  Don't ever say "your child did this" say "the dishes in the kitchen sink need cleaned" etc.

And here's the deal - even when he realizes his child has issues, he will still love her and she will still be around. Even if she has done something to hurt you. 

Just another reason step-anything is so unnatural. 

SubstituteMommy's picture

And here's the deal - even when he realizes his child has issues, he will still love her and she will still be around. Even if she has done something to hurt you.

This is the annoying, painful truth.

DPW's picture

Sometimes not hearing it from you but from someone or something else may help. Sometimes talking to our SOs about these topics ad nauseum sets the stage for failure in future conversations. Pride kicks in. Emotions are in overdrive. Right fighters take over. Someone maximizes while the other minimizes. 


simifan's picture

A friend of mine told her DH about "Someone's" kid who was cursing out their stepparent every time the Dad left the home. He of course was horrified that "someone's" child would do such a thing. It was a good thing SD wasnt like that... She then showed him a video from her phone. It did solve the issue. 

I would imagine this would only work for a specific issue. 

Ispofacto's picture

Everyone else gave great advice.  I only want to add that you can opt out of any contact with the kids.  You don't have to go out to eat with them, vaction with them, etc.  You also don't have to babysit them.  Avoid them whenever possible.


ITB2012's picture

Unless you need evidence for your own purposes. I ended up with video of a skid doing exactly what I said and DH was denying and he still made excuses for the skid.