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Fools hope?

Dc3sc2's picture

I had a long chat with my dh about everything that's going wrong from manners to hygiene to screen time and never getting alone time. He said things will change. He said he has been really lazy parenting and it has to stop. He just needs to get his bum in gear etc. Everything I was hoping for tbh. There was no anger towards me he didn't get annoyed at me pretty much ranting about his lack of parenting and all the ridiculous stuff skids do that I find disgusting. He even agreed with 99% of it but said he just doesn't notice/pay attention. He even said the youngest sd needs to stop with the I'm coming and going home whenever she feels like it. And he will not be doing that anymore. 
I used phrases I've read on here too which I think helped a bit cushioning the blow. Eg I don't want to be the mean step mother who makes them do everything while you get to be fun dad. I want to be their friend not their parent. And my favourite I can't care more than you do. 
However how much are we betting none of these "changes" come? I so badly want to hope that this is the turning point and he will start actually parenting them but I'm definitely cynical. Any success stories? Any unsuccessful stories?  


GrudgingSM's picture

So change is big and abstract, but yay for him for being up for it! My DH said trying to fix his kids now it's like trying to handle a house fire with a bucket of water. But it's also not my job to fix what I didn't break. So I asked him to pick one battle. So if were you it's hygiene or screen time or meal time or alone time. Focus on that one thing for a bit. Say that you would like to see screen time down in the next couple of weeks, and then you can ask some follow-up questions as the weeks go on. Or if it's hygiene just nudge with some questions about whether he's asked them to take showers a brush their teeth. I don't think even the follow up question should be your job. But if you pick something concrete and measurable, then you can see if change is happening, and maybe if he sees change happening he'll be inspired to pick the next battle and keep working on these issues with his kids.

Dc3sc2's picture

I've read a lot on here where the partner doesn't see an issue at all or gets angry about how much the step parent HATES their child/ren or says things like not much I can do when they're with bm most of the time passing blame really so was pleasantly surprised when he said dc3 your right I've been really lazy parenting and it has to stop. I need to pay more attention to what's happening. I agree you shouldn't have to be doing the parenting. Yes I want you to be their friend and it's up to me to be the bad guy. Sd12 is disgusting and I need to constantly be on her back about these things because it will help her long term. Honestly was like a day dream saying exactly the right things. I've left the ball in his court now if he decides to focus on 1 thing at a time that's fine if he chooses to try and do it all that's also fine. The skids behaviour will not be the deciding factor it will be how he reacts to these behaviours I have pointed them out now it's up to him to see if he drops the ball. Although I'm sure there will be hiccups regardless. 

Merry's picture

I call B.S. on this: but said he just doesn't notice/pay attention. He might not CARE about it, or he might not want to do anything about it, but he does notice bad manners (unless he has no manners himself and thinks it's normal) and stinky breath, etc.

There have been studies debunking the myth that men "just don't see the mess." Generally this is in reference to a messy room or a dirty kitchen. Yes, they DO see the mess. They just aren't judged for it. WOMEN are judged for cleanliness. Men and women SEE the same things but don't ACT on the same things.

So I'm going to extend this beyond just messes. I think that men DO see that their precious children have horrible manners or don't comb their hair or are glued to their phones/screens. They just don't DO anything about it because men aren't generally judged for how children behave. 

Totally and absolutely unfair -- and that's one reason why stepmoms go insane.

Dc3sc2's picture

I think that too he doesn't care about it. But also think the unlimited screen time that has them out of sight all the time has also helped him to not "notice" things. If you can't see or smell them then there's not an issue. 

Cover1W's picture

The advice above is good.  Just make sure your DH follows through.  I like the idea of picking one thing to start on; it's unlikely your DH will be able to do a 100% turn around on a dime.  I gradually disengaged so DH, as a result, slowly had to start picking up the pace. My first big disengagement was closing car doors for skids and carrying their stuff. His car door was left open all night one time (in the rain) and he resorted to using a wheel barrow for their things (our first house had a loooong walk to the house from the parking area) instead of just having them carry their own backpacks or help carry a grocery bag. After the night long car door episode that never happened again and after one particularly rainy night he made them carry stuff from then on.

My next disengagement was from arranging fun things to do or at least activities outside the house together. Every single time it was my idea one of the SDs would refuse to go and DH would back THEM up - even if I had already paid for tickets to something. So i stopped and never ever did it again with no regrets.  Several years later I did take OSD, when she was getting along with everyone still, to a movie or two but she had to pick the day and time (with my ok) and make the reservation with DH's card. It had to be a movie I also wanted to see. She had to be showered and clean and ready to go at the appointed time. 

Practicing makes it easier - repeat and repeat firmly and nicely.