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"Deal with it."

paul_in_utah's picture

When the first signs of strain started showing in my relationship with SD17, about 4 years ago, I went online looking for resources that would help. There was very little out there (if this forum was around then, I didn't locate it). However, the tiny handful of sites I found seemed to be written from the perspective of the custodial bio-parents, who were chastising their spouses, the step-parents. On a number of these sites, they told step-parents "You knew what you were getting into, deal with it." From this bio-parent perspective, their spouses had signed away any rights to say anything about the skids, and had to accept whatever the bio-parents decided.

I personally found this viewpoint ridiculous. Step-parents are members of the household too, and should have a say in how things are done (this could range from things like household rules, chores, discipline, etc.). Nonetheless, a large number of bio-parents don't feel this way, and seem to get away with dictating terms. Step-parents are force to live with the oftentimes undesireable consequences. I fought my DW for many years, insisting that I should have a say in things, since it is my house too. I recently disengaged, and things are better, but it was at the price of having a voice in my own house.

Have other folks heard this before - the "deal with it" BS? And are other people frustrated by having their authority stripped? Or do you just disengage? I'm just trying to get a sense for what other folks go through. Thanks.

stepgin's picture

I just posted about this myself! I do NOT believe that a step parent should not have any input into what happens in their own house!!!! I think most of us will put up with quite a bit because of our love of our spouse but sometimes these birth parents aren't really in touch with reality as to how their kids impact a family in a negative way. My own DH thinks SD32 is great because she actually holds down a job. He ignores that fact that she keeps getting pregnant and popping out babies by a variety of gang bangers and is now knocked up again by a guy who spent his entire adult life in prison.
We've been together 3 years and married going on 2 and I now call it bullshit when I see it. He doesn't like it, but it has become obvious to me now that his vision of his adult kids doesn't have anything to do with reality. It has more to do with what he wishes they were like. And anyone who tells me I knew what I was getting into, gets my opinion on that too!!!! I sure didn't know that full story when we got married. In fact, I tease him that he must work for the CIA since he only tells me things on a "need to know" basis!

LizzieA's picture

Believe me, I'd love to say a lot about our two. Both have acted like losers. Drug arrests, drinking arrests, truancy, SD didn't graduate because of failing English, she got prego by loser BF, SS crashed his truck, got DUI, had to repeat 8th grade twice, etc. DH did the child-rearing, church and rules and all, but when they hit teens, BM's "friend' approach led to major rebellion on their part. So he has disengaged too after he got tired of beating his head against the wall. They live with BM and we only see them a couple of times a year now (we moved). I hold my tongue most of the time and I do blame BM a lot too. She gives no guidance, discipline or structure to the household. Pathetic. They flounder around quite a lot. But if they want to live the reality show lifestyle, good for them. I (we're) not paying for it in any way. I don't know why they are so attracted to it. DH's family is quite prominent and all achievers--yet these kids wallow in the gutter. No BFs stick around her long--wonder why.

If they lived with us it would be different for sure. We're on the same page about that. No freeloading. That's the key--team effort--and it sounds like your DW doesn't see that. It is BS that you can't set rules in your own home. Wouldn't you with ANYONE else--roommates, other relatives, etc? You guys are saints that live with unruly teens.
These besotted parents don't realize they are sacrificing their marriages while wrecking their kids...

paul_in_utah's picture

Your comment about the "friend approach" is telling. I have heard it called a number of things - "free-range parenting," "permissive parenting," "guilty-parent syndrome," "child adoration," etc. Whatever label you use, I think that this phenomenon is the biggest problem in parenting today. Kids need PARENTS, not FRIENDS. They never learn life lessons if you are their FRIENDS.

wicked's picture

I don't think stepparents EVER really know what they are getting into. I sure didn't, and my husband didn't either (we each have BKs). We both acknowledge it and have never said that to each other. Actually, we both feel like we have little say in our own homes, and its very frustrating.

Halgsmom's picture

Our BM told DH that the kids would live with him "Over HER dead body" I KNEW he had kids, yes, but I was counting on what she said about them living with us. I figured that they wouldn't unless she died. I did not count on that happening EVER and I was right.... however, per the exparte that granted us custody per her abuse and neglect of said kids.... they DO live with me. When we won in court, I felt like asking her if she needed to pay for a plot. }:)