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SS13 and DH

Step575's picture

Over the weekend DH expressed to me that he often experiences feelings of guilt when it comes to SS13. I've noticed that since having DD18 months the guilt seems to have gotten worse- DH agreed. DH seems to be loving how we're raising our daughter. He has told me that he didn't have the best experience with his ex-wife and his son during SS's early years... could this be contributing to feelings of guilt? He is calling our daughter a "corrective parenting experience" as we're both on the same page. She is an easy toddler- from what I was told SS was a nightmare kid. DH and I get along and are on the same page parenting DD. He and his ex wife couldn't have been any more different....

I want to know how I can be supportive to DH. IDK if there's anyhting I can do to help him? The probelm is that SS is a smart kid and knows what he can get away with and plays DH bigtime... If I ever try to step in- DH will get mad at me. Its so hard to watch... SS totalyl takes advantage of DH as he knows he can get away with just about anyhting- as DH is quick to guilt. IDK what to do to help if anything at all? 


Survivingstephell's picture

Protect your finances from his guilt.  SS is old enough to play a parent.  "Let me think on it"is a good reply to pushy BMs and pushy skids.   Guilt will lead to problems down the road between BD and SS.  The age difference probably means they aren't close but if he spends so much money on SS that BD misses out on things, there will be resentment all around.  

My DH dealt with the guilt that comes with procreation with a HCBM.  It really complicated things until he got therapy.   Your SS needs to be taught how to treat people, not use them.  

Step575's picture

Thank you. Finances have not been an issue (we keep things separate for the most part) but definitely smart to keep this on my radar.

I think the guilt comes more in the form of wanting to please a kid who is absolutely miserable unless he's dominating the scene. You can't judge yourself as a parent based 100% on your kids approval rating. I think he just sees how SS is and isn't thrilled but will be quick to make excuses for his behavior. I don't think he sees (or wants to see) how he has contributed to the problem. I know he loves his son (and daughter) but his approach with him is just off to me. You can't protect them from the world the expect them to thrive in it.

futurobrillante99's picture

Sounds like your husband should maybe see a counselor. He can't put that toothpaste back in the tube with SS, but he can ACCEPT that he did the best he could with a partner like BM and take comfort in the fact that his daughter with you has a better shot at happiness.

A therapist can help him to set better boundaries.

The dumbest thing people do when they've failed on some level in a previous relationship is to wallow in guilt and lament over their failings to a degree that causes them to fail in their current relationship. All the hand wringing and shoulda, coulda, woulda isn't helping the CURRENT relationship and they are basically making the same mistake again instead of learning from their past mistakes.


advice.only2's picture

Remind your DH whiles he's wallowing in his guilt and causing him to be a permissive parent to SS that it will do him and his son no favors later on in life. I mean really get over it, we all have guilt on some level, yet some of us manage to get past it and raise non toxic morally healthy human beings.

Step575's picture

Agreed. I think I stepped into a dynamic that was in place before me... I'm just shining light onto it and now I'm the bad guy.

Merry's picture

Even the best parents have some guilt over somethings they should have done or not done while raising their kids. I know I do.

My DH still acts on his guilt, which only serves to drag a mistake forward. If guilt manifests in permissiveness now, then the kid isn't learning about boundaries, self control, or anything else that involves the word "no." If permissiveness means spending too much money, then the kids learns to be manipulative and greedy and values material things over healthy relationships. 

Allowing the thing he shouldn't or spending the money he shouldn't does NOTHING to rid himself ot the guilt he carries from the past. It probably ADDS to the guilt. And when does it end? Never, at least not without actively changing how you deal with it.

Accept it. Forgive yourself. LIVE IN THE PRESENTt. If he needs help with that, then I'm a big fan of individual counseling with the right therapist.

Tried out's picture

mean, but Disney dads really tick me off. They feel guilty for a variety of reasons, some real, some not real - but then alleviate their guilt by overindulging their kid. They're not doing it for their kid, though. It's all about their own needs. Even when slapped upside the head with the knowledge they're hurting their kid they get defensive and angry. Why? Because they don't want to stop.