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Very frustrated and feeling defeated today

ksmom14's picture

I never seem to know where I stand with skids and DH. DH seems to want help "parenting" the skids, but then when I attempt to parent, it seems like he thinks I'm being to harsh. DH and I have different parenting styles....I know this, I know that I'm much more rigid and strict as a parent. As far as parenting the skids, I ALWAYS defer to him when we disagree, I will usually tell him my thoughts, or opinions, but I never force him to choose my way. So I tend to go back and forth between being somewhat disengaged and staying out of the "parenting" which usually means not interacting with them much at all, and trying to find a balance between parenting and not going overboard. 

There are so many things that skids do and DH allows that drive me up the wall, but I've learned to let it go, because that's the way DH wants to parent. However, sometimes DH's leniency spills over into my life and I become frustrated. 

I keep writing stuff and then deleting it....basically I have tons of examples, but they just seem all so petty when I write them out, not to mention it would make this blog a book. 

I don't know, I just feel like I can't win....DH wants me to help parent, but only in the way HE wants. I can't do that easily, I have a tougher parenting style then him. I hate that I feel like I'm nicer to skids than to DD3 and DD1 (really only DD3 since DD1 is still a baby and doesn't really do anything) because I can set expectations for my girls, but not skids. I can talk sternly to DD3 and scold her when she's done wrong, but if I treat the skids the same way DH thinks I'm being to harsh. Skids just have no expectations...wait let me correct that...DH HAS expectations for skids, he just has no follow through if they don't meet those expectations....which is the same as not having them!

I just feel so lost with it....I'm sure most of you will tell me to disengage, and I try to sometimes, but DH then accuses me of not having a relationship with them. 

Just venting I guess...just feeling really lost and like I can't ever do the right thing



ksmom14's picture

Skids are SD13 SD15 and SS16

SD13 recently submitted an application for an advanced high school (SD15 currently goes there). I am the one that helped SD13 with her 4 essays for the application (which I'm fine with, I'm better at that kind of thing than DH). After we were done working on each essay I told SD13 that she should go ahead and copy them down onto the application now. Once we were done I found that she had "not heard" me tell her to write them down, so she still had all 4 to do. This was on a Sunday and I asked her to have them done by Tuesday, this is Xmas break so no school (Thursday she was leaving for BM's and she wouldn't have time to re-write them if she made any mistakes and I needed to print new pages after coming back so I wanted to make sure she had time). Tuesday evening when we go to say goodnight, she's working on one, apparantely it was THE FIRST ONE. I reminded her that I had asked her to have them done already and left it at that. The next day when DH and I got home from work I asked her if she had finished them, and her response was "I did the second one". I again said you were supposed to have these done, I already asked you multiuple times, these need to be finished ASAP. Then I told DH what happened, explaining that I was frustrated because she had been home all day, and only done one more and his response was "well she did one right?". I could tell from his tone and question that basically he was defending her of well she did work on it. I don't care if she worked on it, I asked her to be DONE with it YESTERDAY and it's still not done! 

SonOfABrisketMaker's picture

the magic words: harsh, aggressive, intimidating. What is it with these parents and kids that use 0% as the base standard? When did 20% of a job completed become something to celebrate because, hey, at least it's not 0%. The goal is 100% done and that's what we should strive for. No functioning adult could get away with less than that. At my job, a doctor would be on the phone screaming at me if I don't do not only 100% of my job but also making sure the next step in the process is done and the step after that. That's how the world works. Lazy, spoiled kids and enabling parents. My own 18 year old is like that and I am utterly baffled at his work ethic.

Aniki's picture

It doesn't matter how inconsequential it may seem. It affects YOU Vent away, sister!

pickles45's picture

Yeah that would bug me too! My SO doesnt  push his daughter to do anything though and he would never let me be involved in anything to do with her education. I couldn't even ask her if she had homework when she got home from school when we first started living together. And NO hes not an A**Hole! Or a control freak or abusive like so many women love to say when I complain on here. He is just soooo freaking scared to death that his daughter wont like me and then go to the ex and complain. He has changed a lot recently but only becuase I reached my breaking point and told him he is making things way worse by trying to keep us in our seperate corners and that he just needs to chill out and let us be us around one another. But some days its one step foward, two steps back. 

He also seems content with her doing good in school but not great, not being involved in ANY extra curricular activites, not having any interests or hobbies, not thinking about college etc. 

ksmom14's picture

Yea, DH only cares about the final grade for skids. He can see when they have missing assignments, and will just tell them to turn them in. In our school disctrict they can get partial credit for late assignments. 

As long as the final grades are decent DH doesn't care. 

Our DDs will NOT be in that same boat...multipule missing assignments is NOT okay in my book. Having one here and there is understandable, we all make mistakes, but the skids always have multipule missing. 

ITB2012's picture

This is my DH and I exactly.

He told me he thinks his way is better. Okay, fine I told him. I will parent your way, DH. Remember this is what you asked for. He looked a me funny, like that was a weird thing to say.

The next day I "parented" BS the way he "parents" the skids and DH had a problem with it (BS got away with something the skids do all the time and never get in trouble for). (Hmmmm.)

Another day when DH was upset with BS about something I responded to him in the same way he responds to me when I say the same thing about a skid and DH had a problem with it (I made excuses for BS to minimize the situation and make it not bad). (Hmmmmm.)

I pointed out that DH had a problem with both the way I parent and when I parent the way he parents. He can have it both ways but then the kids will probably see the hypocrisy and inequality in the parenting. Or, he leaves me alone and I parent as I parent with everyone. I challenged him to find a time I was harsher on the skids than I was on BS. No answer.

I can't say this fixed everything but he backed off a little bit.


Simpleton21's picture

ITB2012, this is one of my favorite things to do in order for SO to realize that he has DOUBLE STANDARDS and I'm expected to treat SD better than my children.  They can see every flaw in our children and correct them non-stop but try the same with theres and OMG we are so mean!  

My SO was actually complaining that he noticed that my BS was coming and telling me that he loves me and our younger son that he loves him while ignoring SO and how he felt it was an intentional slight on my BS's part.  It likely was but it is amazing how he doesn't notice that his little precious SD does the exact same thing to me EVERY time she is there and I just ignore it because I know what she is doing.... but according to him she doesn't have ill intent with it but my son does?!?!?!?!?! What?!?! ! It is the exact same scenario!!!!

ksmom14's picture

I really wish I could do this, but because of the age differences between the kids (SS16 SD5 SD13 DD3 DD1) I don't know how I'd find a comparable opportunity Sad

Simpleton21's picture

Yeah, the age gap makes it a bit harder to do this.  My BS and SD are the exact same age.  We have a younger one together as well.  SD is the only one that gets the special treatment like she is so fragile in comparison.  Once your bios get older you will likely find some ways to do this b/c even though there is an age gap those older snowflakes don't have very high standards to follow.  I'm sure you will expect more out of your toddlers.

ITB2012's picture

What you could maybe do is find a rule that your DH has put in place/wants to have happen (like no food or drink outside of the kitchen, no shoes in the house, etc.). It should be something he's adamant about or is a pet peeve. Then let the kids break the rule, make sure he sees it (and it's helpful if you don't have to point it out), and do not say anything yourself. It's even more helpful if they ruin something in the process.

Then when you listen to him rant about the thing that's broken or the annoyance of it not being followed, you can tell him you would have said something but you were following his parenting lead and he didn't say anything so neither did you. Then ask if it's still a rule. If he says yes, then ask if there are times when it's okay to break it. If he says no, it's not okay to break it then ask why it was okay for the skids to break the rule. If he says it wasn't okay, then ask why he didn't say anything. If he retorts that you didn't say anything either, just reply again that you were following his lead. But, you are having the discussion now to find out if it's not a rule or if there are times you should correct the skids. Then he will say a few more things. Just keep asking if it's a rule or not and if it's a rule if it's an always rule or a sometimes rule and if it's sometimes what are the parameters that make it enforcable.

You will tie him in knots and he may see he's being a lax parent and hypocritical.

This, too, has worked for me, and may work for you since you don't have the benefit of bios the same age.

Cover1W's picture

Oh, I know all about this and it's what totally made my disengagement the right thing to do.  I was called too strict, too harsh, authortairan, etc., etc. you name it.  DH even referenced my childhood which was very strict and I was no where NEAR what my parents were like.  Just wanted some basic rules and expectations.

So I stopped trying and left it all up to him. 

Recently he was talking about his concerns with older SD, who no longer wants invovlement with DH.  He knows that she has no rules, no expectations and basically runs BMs house.  He told BM his concerns with that and how that is bad news for a teenager.  He told me this and said that BM called HIM authortarian and too strict (for making her do dishes, unload the diswasher, making her own meals if she refused to eat what we served, clean her room, do her laundry).  I was like, "Huh.  That's familiar isn't it?!"  So for me it came back around. 

He does this with SD12 and myself sometimes.  Example over holiday break, driving home from town.  I told SD12 to tell me how to get home (I think it's imporatant kids know how to get home from certain places on their own) - we've done this before from various directions.  EACH TIME I was asking SD "Ok, now which way?" DH would interject and tell me!  I kept telling him I want SD to answer, not you!  It's like he was protecting her from what, a game?  She likes doing it!  It was so frustrating.  He finally shut up after the 5th time, but I won't do that again when he's in the car.  Sorry DH for teaching your kid to maybe find her way home in an emergency.

Simpleton21's picture

Ugh, they are all the same, I swear!  My SD kept talking about how she was a VEGAN while still eating meat and lots of things that VEGANS do not eat.  I was explaining to her that she is not a VEGAN (not being mean just trying to educate her) and of course SO butts in, "I think she is trying to say she is eating more healthy"....way to save her from that awful learning I was throwing at her!

ksmom14's picture

I'd love to be able to play this card, but I swear DH can twist his memory to play back however makes it look best.

In the past when he's complained about how the skids are never ready on time in the morning even though he's told them they need to be, I've tried to point out it's because there are no consequences for them being late then he just starts making excuses. 

Simpleton21's picture

Yep, I think that is typical for these guilty daddeeeessss!  Amazing how they can twist things and basically be pretty manipulative themselves in order to "protect" their special little children from gasp CONSEQUENCES!!! Oh my!

tog redux's picture

He doesn't want you to PARENT, he wants you to help and engage with the kids. Those are two very different things.

You can still have a relationship with them and not parent. So, your example of the application? I would have helped her with the essay and then told DH it was done and let him give her next steps.  I used to help SS with homework, if he was motivated to do it (rare) - I'd quiz him, etc. But the minute he balked at anything? Done.

If SS asked me to make him some food, I usually would - but it wasn't my responsibility to make sure he ate. Or showered. Or did his homework, or anything. I treated him like I treat my nieces and nephew. Not their parent, but another kind adult in their lives.

In my case though, DH is a strong parent who didn't want me to parent.

ksmom14's picture

It's like he does, but doesn't at the same time.

Like last night DH and I were in bed, DH was already basically asleep and I saw a light on in the kitchen. I went out to turn it off and saw that SS16 was in the game room on XBOX at 11:20. In the past I would have told DH since he wasn't totally asleep so that he could deal with it, and he would have done nothing because he wouldn't want to get out of bed. Instead I decided that if he didn't care enough to make sure SS16 was off XBOX before he went ot bed, then maybe it wasn't a big deal for him. Well this AM SS16 was over 30 minutes late and DH was complaining about it. I told him what I saw last night and his response was "you should have told me" it's a loose loose situation I fear 

Cover1W's picture

This stuff is why I disengaged.  Older SD used to be up almost all night on her phone.  I made suggestions, pointed things out about her behavior to DH, tried to tell her to stop directly, etc., etc.  Nothing worked - he continued to ignore it.  So I stopped.  If she was up, I walked right by and didn't say a word.  Not my problem.

Harry's picture

Parent his kids. He is just Playing you so you think you are doing something adult. He wants you to help with SK care . So he tells you can parent his kids. And once you do something he does not like, you can not parent any more.

only thing you can do is Disengage from SK,  he want to only parent, he then can do everything for SK. He can do the homework, take them where they want to or have to go,  if SK do something wrong then it’s DH fault for SK behavior.  He pays for the problem.  No more of “ you should of told him”  you can not care more then the BF

If you do not get this under control now, it’s going to be like this forever.  Do not think once SK are out of the house it’s going to get better. 

Letti.R's picture

Your DH wants you to parent his kids the way he does.
He wants you to rubber stamp and mimic his ideas of parenting.
He doesn't truthfully want to give you the authority to parent as you see fit.

You can not do it the way he does because you are a different person with your own ideas.
He should either allow you the freedom to parent as you see fit or ask you not to parent his kids - he cannot have it both ways.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

OP, if your DH wanted your help, he would either give you authority to parent how you see fit OR outline what he would like and discuss with you how to mutually make that happen.

My dialogue with DH would be:

"DH, it is clear that you and I have different parenting techniques, and that is okay. However, if you want my help in parenting your kids, I need you to either let me do it as I see fit or give me an outline of what is acceptable. I cannot parent like you, and I don't want to be punished when I don't parent like you want. This is a partnership, and if you want my help, you either trust what I am doing or help guide me toward what is acceptable. Otherwise, I'm going to step back from parenting your kids."

When he says that you don't want a relationship with them if you don't parent:

"DH, I have great relationships with my niece/nephew/friend's kid, and I don't parent them. It is possible for me to have a good, healthy relationship with your children without being parental. I can be a mentor, a confidant, or another adult family member. None of those relationship dynamics require parenting, and I'm happy to pursue those types of relationships if we cannot reach an agreement on parenting."

Then, if he really loses his mind:

"DH, I will not parent your kids for you. That is not my responsibility, and I do not have the authority to do it. I will have good relationships with your children without being their parent. There is nothing left to discuss."

Our spouses get away with being authoritative because we allow it. They are our equal, not our boss. All because they have "first" kids doesn't mean that they are somehow more important. You are both on the same team, and they are not the team captain. Never be afraid to stand up for yourself with your spouse.