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Lazy Parenting Vent

Stepmama2321's picture

I'm a broken record...

When it comes to your steps do you all just not give a crap what they do as long as it doesn't affect you?! Wondering if that may be the better mindset than feeling like the only person who does care.

My bf STILL is not actively parenting my SD. Same issues of : Tik Tok - not on private, inappropriate dances and songs, staying up late while over here - although now we continue on with our morning routine rather than let her sleep in (like most of you suggested), not caring about her education. 

So, for some reason, these things still greatly bother me! I don't even know why because I try to rationalize and think well the way she turns out has nothing to do with me. We've had many conversations about these issues and he agrees but then does NOTHING to resolve them. Obviously he doesn't care and he's just telling me he does. Why do I even care? She's respectful to me, nice to my daughter (her little sister). So why do I have such a problem with things that shouldn't matter to me?! Should I just stop giving a shit? I just have a tiny gut feeling that one day, the way she turns out, will in fact affect me and my children as well.



JRI's picture

That's why you care, its because you are a good person and have positive feelings toward your nice, respectful SD.  It's hard to disengage.  I don't have any advice, just empathy as you watch parenting that you don't agree with.  I'm 75yo and still watching some.  Good luck. Stepmama.

Stepmama2321's picture

I discuss some of these matters with my mom, my sister, and 1 close friend because she was a SK herself and offers good insight to the bad and good, all of them say STOP CARING, STOP WORRYING ABOUT IT. If she turns out badly, it's not a reflection of you. I agree to a point. But I just can't let it go! At the same time, I'm wasting my time even letting this be a thought anymore. 

I didn't realize that one of the hardest things about being a step is watching shitty parenting from the sidelines and not being able to do anything but watch the train wreck.

JRI's picture

Ive wanted to scream "I told you so" 1,000 times when poor parenting led to an obvious outcome.  But, surprisingly, sometimes things turn out okay in spite of everything.   I have 5 grown "kids", 2 bios and 3 SKs.  In spite of everything, I've had some pleasant surprises.  The most recent is YSS53, always the golden boy, never held to any behavior standards.  Long story but right now, he is making a big sacrifice to help a daughter get back on track.   I'm so proud of him and told him so (surprised us both for me to say a good word to him, lol.)  As they age and come under other influences, like spouse, military, boss, they can change. I guess you call it maturity.

Stepmama2321's picture

I've read some of your blogs and you offer some great insight. Would you suggest just letting it go? I may be being a control freak huh?

futurobrillante99's picture

View her as you would some random kid down the street. You can see the parents are doing a crap job and things aren't headed in the right direction, but "not my monkeys, not my circus." You have zero legal responsibility for this child beyond not endangering her or providing her with basic necessities if she was with you (food, water, shelter, medical care).

Detaching will be made easier if you can insulate yourself from the fallout of her lazy parents. Stand firm on what you will allow in your home and how long she can live with you beyond age 18/completion of high school. Keep your finances insulated.

Then let the chips fall where they may. Get busy finding the joy in your own life and making a space in your home that is peaceful and away from the mess and poor parenting. Guard it ferociously.



Picardy III's picture

 A side comment: this is quite insightful. Seems we get tunnel vision that a kid's upbringing and maturity is determined by the household(s) of origin -- but really, their responsibilities and relationships as adults play a role.

JRI's picture

I dont know if you are a control freak or not.  I do know it doesn't work out when the SP does the disciplining.  So if TikTok and bedtime were going to be addressed, DH would have to do it. Im guessing he is just unmotivated, he"s not a Disney Dad, is he?

What I was trying to say in my prior post is, she might turn out ok even with his lax parenting.  My own daughter and son-in-lsw, for example, are such permissive parents, Steptalk would blow up if I told the story.  But their kids, GD28 & GS26,  are great people, if somewhat unconventional.  Both are employed in a distant city, having relationships, one buying a house, etc.

Stepmama2321's picture

I just brought up the control freak aspect because I wish I had more control over the way she was being raised and it's frustrating my concerns aren't being heard. I do not do any kind of disciplining because I know it's not my place. He's not really a Disney land dad but somewhat in the fact he's just a damn lazy parent and doesn't do any kind of true parenting when it comes to his daughter. So I guess, just let it go is my only option

JRI's picture

I dont know about you, but I can never change what other people do.  One thing about step-parenting that has been hard for me is realizing that there are different styles of parenting and its okay, as long as the kids are fed, housed and out of danger. I classify DH as a level-10 Disney who paid only lip service to education and never followed through on a threat to the kids in his life.  All 5 kids are fine (except SD58 mini-wife).

As I mentioned, my daughter is very permissive but hers turned out okay.  SS53 is big on appearances and over the top about cleanliness but his kids are going to be okay.  SD58 was a controlling helicopter parent, hers are fine. My son put up with a ton of nonsense over the years from GD37 but she's okay, too.

The main thing is, your SD sounds like a nice girl.  All you can do is be a good example and try not to stress too much.  It sounds like she likes you, that probsbly means she will want to act like you somewhat.  Good luck!

beebeel's picture

I get this, I do. But we all have different ideas of what OK means. And I don't know about most parents, but I sure hope for better than just "OK" for my child.

Stepmama2321's picture

Exactly! I don't think it's "Okay" for an 8 year old to dance inappropriately for child molesters to watch... nor do I think it's okay to not put effort into education, she's 3rd grade but easily at a Kinder level. 

Stepmama2321's picture

But I understand your point. I'm complaining about problems that aren't all that grand, specially after reading many stories on here. Most likely, she'll turn out fine. 

Bex_S's picture

It really is a tightrope. On the one hand you want to disengage. But then on the other it's hard not to intervene, especially when it can be a bad influence on your own children as they grow. I'm having the same issue; I don't want my kids thinking that it's ok, and I certainly wouldn't want them to feel unfairly treated because SD is allowed to get away with things that they're not. Your DH really needs to be on board with treating the kids the same and have the same standards and rules, otherwise it's simply unfair. 

Stepmama2321's picture

The influence on my daughters is a main concern of mine. However, I'm hoping the 7 and 8 year difference will make it not such a strong hold. I honestly feel like he doesn't care about any of that or think it's a big deal. Our daughter is only 1 so I can't say for sure how he will be in the future but as far as SD goes, it's as if he leaves all judgment calls to BM and sits back like well what can I do about it. Umm okay then, you're right, nothing. 

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

It doesn't work out well when a SP tries to parent. My advice is appreciate the fact you and her have a good relationship and use that to influence her. Sometimes just being the person a child is comfortable talking to has more influence that being the disciplinarian.

tog redux's picture

I'd have a hard time maintaining love and respect for a man who cared so little about his daughter's well-being. 

Stepmama2321's picture

I can't deny that it's caused some loss of respect... and I can't wait for the future when I get to be bad cop with our daughters while he doesn't think anything is a big deal

beebeel's picture

My mental disengagement journey was the hardest and it didn't really end until both skids turned 18. At least now they are legally responsible for themselves and knowing that has greatly eased my anxiety.

advice.only2's picture

It's very hard to actually disengage when you truly do care about the well being of the child. Much as I struggled with Spawn I did care about her and wanted the best for her. It was hard to disengage and watch my DH make an even bigger sh*t show out of things, but honestly it was his kid to deal with. It doesn't get any easier once they age out, because now you watch all that piss poor parenting come to fruition and watch your spouse just flounder knowing they were a horrible parent.

Picardy III's picture

A few reasons why his lack of parenting does absolutely affect you:

Your SD may not launch like an 18-22 year old should. She may be stunted: unwilling or incapable of functioning like an adult. Meaning, still living in your household or draining your finances.

Her Tiktok antics will almost certainly have a bad influence on your kids, if you have daughters. You can't protect them at every minute; she'll be showing them stuff they shouldn't see. 

Her dad's lack of parenting will extend to lack of parenting of your own kids together. Or, if he's disciplined with your kids while letting SD do whatever, your kids will become resentful of their dad's unequal treatment.


Stepmama2321's picture

You summed up exactly the reasons I feel it WILL in fact affect us and why I have a difficult time "letting it go"

ESMOD's picture

In situations like this there is a golden steptalk saying "You can't care more than the bio parent".

I know it is hard to see an otherwise nice enough kid be allowed to do things and have influences that you know are most likely not in her best interest.  But, if her parents don't care.. there is a long uphill road to parent and then you get to the second saying which is  "no good deed goes unpunished".  Your DH gives you lip service to your boundaries and rules... Im going to say it in a kind of blunt way.  "he really doesn't care about the rules.. he just wants you to stop bringing it up and discussing it so he just agrees"

But, I get it.. if SD goes down certain roads.... there absolutely can be bleedover to your household and your other child.

I personally have tiktok.. mostly just to look at the videos.. some are interestiing.. some are shocking.. some are silly.. some informative.  But, there is some subject matter on there that reallllly is not appropriate for young kids.. Kink, drugs, and yes.. a lot of the dances are fairly provocative in nature.

Do you feel that her dad has or tries to give her a good moral compass for her behavior? or do you think that she is exhibiting behavior that is detrimental to her growing up?  I mean.. I think kids will copy dances.. and listen to music with lyrics that parents will cringe over.. as old as time that is.. "lines on the mirror.. lines on her face".. and shake your money maker to "honey dripping" country songs... much of what is in media is a full of that kind of stuff..  I think that it's ok for kids to have some exposure (they will hear lots from friends..haha) but the parent should be a balancing voice of actual factual information and moral compass building with their child.

I was lucky.. my DH absolutely had no problem with me giving his kids advice.. I still get calls for it even though they are adults now.  but, he never forced me as a "mom" to them either.. I was like an older woman who was nice to them and shared her home with them and was like a fun aunt.. not a super big authority figure.. I made DH tote that bucket of work.

Stepmama2321's picture

That's one thing I bring up to my bf all the time, that I feel like I care more than him or BM. It's truly sad and I feel bad for my SD. And you hit the nail on the head about the fact he is just telling me what I want to hear so I can shut up already then never acts on it.

Stepmama2321's picture

Thank you all for your responses. Sometimes I feel silly making posts to bitch about these seemingly insignificant issues but to me they are significant and I have no one else to complain to who can offer as good of insight as you all can. I guess I came to post this to validate what I already knew I needed to do, which is to mentally disengage from this. Hopefully it won't affect my little girls in the future, hopefully she'll grow to be a great person once she's an adult, and if that doesn't happen, not my problem! And also time to stop complaining to my bf about it because he's just saying what I want to hear and not acting on it by being a true parent. Let it gooooo

Sara888's picture

And I could have written this post myself. SD is 11 and the same issues re: no restrictions on social media, no bedtime, too much freedom staying out with friends and just hanging around, no interest in doing homework. I also worry about the influence it will have on my own daughter who is 4. I'm just hoping the age gap will be enough not to have to big an impact.

Stepmama2321's picture

Yea I think it's tough when you have conflicting parenting opinions when it comes to steps. At least with shared children you can discuss and make compromises. With steps, however, you can express your opinion but not much more beyond that. My bf hears my concerns but often shrugs it off with a "well I only have her 4x/mo, it's out of my control" type of thing. 

hereiam's picture

Actually, the way she turns out, CAN (and most likely, WLL) affect you.

If she gets pregnant, wants to move in, gets into trouble (especailly as a minor), all of these things, and more, will affect your BF, so will affect you and your children.

JRI's picture

I understand the concern mom's have about a SK's possible bad influence on their younger children.  But as the eldest daughter to much younger siblings, I wouldnt worry about it.  My nearest sibling is my brother, 8 years younger.  I babysat him and my sister, 10 years younger, back in the day.  It's like we were raised on different planets.  I was out of the house at 18 when he was 10 and she was 8.  Before I left, I was so busy with school and my social life, I was seldom there and never gave them a thought.  I'm not even mentioning the brother who is 17 years younger.  Mom's, don't worry when you have those big age differences, the SK will ( hopefully) be gone and living their own life by the time your bios are old enough to be influenced.