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Noises, anxiety, and tears Oh My

Lindsayb08's picture

Hello. I (31F) am a step parent of a 13 year old and 17 year old, both girls. I am lucky that their moms are pretty easy to get along with. 

My husband and I are very happy. We have a string relationship with open communication and honesty. The one area in which we consistently disagree is discipline for the kids. 


I grew up in a mentally, physically, and emotionally abusive home. I have no framework of what a balanced amount of discipline is. He grew up in a very healthy home. He was rarely disciplined and turned out great. 

My parenting philosophy is to explain why something is wrong then provide some sort of punishment, which is typically removing phone, game, or TV privileges for a set amount of time. His philosophy is to explain why something is wrong amd tell them not to do it again, with no additional consequences. With our older daughter, this has always been enough because she has a very strong sense of personal accountability. Our younger daughter consistently does the same things wrong over and over and never changes these behaviors. 


For example, she let our dogs outside without watching them or putting their boundary collars on for an extended period of time. They ran away and were across town before she even knew they were gone. She has been told multiple times that she must either put their boundary collars on or stand at the door and watch them. Another example is dumping food in the sink. Not like milk or broth, but half a bowl of ramen noodles or spaghetti Os. I have to clean the kitchen sink drain pretty much every night. 

I know these are mild examples, but it is clear to me that her behavior will never change without some sort of punishment, like taking her phone away. My husband refuses to give or enforce punishments and I am just exhausted. I feel like I am beating my head against a wall trying to keep the house from being a shitstorm and keeping everyone alive. 

I am tired and angry. I sat in the bathroom at work today and sobbed. I am at my wits end and I don't know what to do. 


Thank you for listening. ❤


tog redux's picture

Welcome! Why are you cleaning the drain if his daughter is dumping food in there?

Your husband was probably like his oldest daughter - a responsible kid who rarely if ever needed any discipline. He doesn't realize that all kids aren't like that, some do need consequences to change their behavior.  His parents' style of parenting worked well with him, but won't work with his youngest daughter.

I'd suggest that you insist that he cleans up after his daughter, let him experience natural consequences of his own.

As for your dogs, perhaps it's time you insist on a physical fence so they don't get hurt or killed.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

You may have to compromise your standards. I unfortunately in stepworld when it comes to SKs some battles will never be won.

I had the same issue with the dogs. The only solution I could come up with that solved my problem and didn't stress me out. Was to forbid SKs from letting the dogs out period. Nothing else would have worked because it would have required SO to cooperate.

As far as SKs messes, when I come home, I point out to SO the issue and tell him to fix it. Now he is just trained to hurry and clean up after them before get home.

SO completely lacks the ability to give consequences and stick to them, unless it's a huge battle between us. So I pick and choose my battles carefully and let go of the smaller stuff. 

YSD wouldn't stop bringing food and dishes in her room. After a year of SO only giving her reminders with no consequences. I finally hid all the cups, bowls and dishes and everiyone the house has 1 set with Thier names on it. 

YSD lost her mind and has recently moved out to her grandparents in protest for the last week because I had the audacity to do that. That's what I am dealing with a kid who goes off the deep end because she isn't getting her way. 

Oh well my house, my dishes!!  If she doesn't like it her birthday is coming up she can ask for her own set from her father.