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Grown Step Children problems

Alaskan's picture

In my case the 2 step kids are in their mid twenties. Most of the things I have read on step children problems involve children still living at home, but the problems are similar: children feeling the new wife is taking their parent away; if their dad makes a decision they don't like, it's because the new wife brainwashed him; the step parent feeling they are walking on eggshells when the step kids are around, because the step kids compete with and contradict the step parent; the step mother feeling the need to please the kids and make them like her regardless of how nasty they treat her; the step kids thinking that everything belongs to their parent, not realizing what the step parent has contributed. All these have happened with my step kids (esp my step son who lives in the same town).

My husband and I got together after he and his X were living apartfor a year or so and he was attempting to get a divorce. This was 5 years ago. I was previously married and have one son. He lives 4,000 miles away. My second husband and his x-wife divorced and we married a year later (March 2007). From the beginning of our relationship, my stepson and his girlfriend have been nasty to me, mostly when my husband was not in earshot...telling me I am too negative and that I was not healthy for his dad. For years I have put up with his disrespect and the step son one ups me continuously.

Last week, my husband and I came upon my step son and the X wife in our shop. He does not live with us but uses the shop. She has been extremely nasty to me (tried to drive over me with her car, locked me out of my house so she could bad mouth me to my husband). My husband said he does not want her on our property either.

I never bring up the kids mom to them, but when he invited her to the shop, I told him the next day, "I know you love your mom but she has been nasty to me and your dad. I would appreciate it if you would not invite her to our property." He yelled at me, shaking his finger in my face and said he will invite his mom to the shop any time he wants and I have no right to ask him not to. It was a terrible scene, since I let emotions rule and told him he has no right to make the rules on our property. The shop may be his someday, but right now it belongs to his dad and me.

My husband told me he is afraid to lose him, and he admits he has not been upfront with his son about how he treats me. Two days ago, after we came across my step son and his mom's x- boyfriend building a frame for a porch for her house in our shop, my husband told his son this is not acceptable. Later the stepson, as he moved the wood out, told my husband how confrontational I was and criticized me, even making up stories about me. Now my step daughter (who is visiting) who we invited on a ski trip would not go if I was going. There is a chance they will be over tomorrow on xmas eve to exchange gifts. I am dreading it.


LizzieA's picture

Sounds like time for you and your DH to get on the same page. He needs to make it clear that you are now his wife and they are to treat you with respect. Period. They don't have to love you, but they need to treat you with the same respect they give teachers, bosses, any other living person, etc. Inviting the ex over is not ok if you and DH don't want her there. Would you two hang out at her house while she wasn't home?

Assure him that they will indeed "snap to" if he lays down the law. My DH uses judicious amounts of "that's not how I raised you" and it works with his kids. They are actually decent, although I still keep a low profile with them, i.e. not forcing a relationship. I have more trouble with in-laws and BM is a pain in the you know what.

winehead's picture

Yep I agree with LizzieA. Don't expect to be pals with skids but they do need to treat you with respect. ANd DH needs to make that perfectly clear. I'm lucky that I have a pretty good relationship with adult SD and her family, working on my patience with adult SS. DH insists that SS treats me with respect even telling SS that he (DH) was embarrassed when SS acted like a jerk.

He will not lose the relationship he has with is kids. He'll strengthen it by being a loving father with high expectations for his kids.

Orange County Ca's picture

You are dependent on your husband in this matter. Further conflict between you and the kids is only going to increase as they cannot back down from you.

But they will from their Dad if he'll take the steps. It sounds like he's coming around. How can you convince him that his children are not going to abandom him because he demands respect for you? In reality they'll respect him more as he's sticking up for what right. (Plus they don't want to get dis-inherited if it got that bad).

Make it clear to him that he can gain respect from you by standing up and likely as not will gain the same from his kids. For surely he will lose your respect by failing in this and will gain none from his kids by doing so also.

If the rules of your place of business are broken again call the police to complaint about a unwanted visitor who won't leave. After fair warning of course. That'll be the last time that happens.

Alaskan's picture

Thanks so much for these comments folks. It sure has helped a lot to know I am not the only one with s kid problems and how so many of the issues I am having with them are being talked about on this website. Yep winehead, My dh told my ss about a native american speaker we heard on the radio the other day who said you do not really gain enough insight or really know your self until the age of 40. At this the ss disagreed and said at 24 he feels like a full grown adult.He acts like he knows everything. He is a bright and talented kid but has to have some other other explanation or disagreement with everything I say. In fact when he talks to me and when he wagged his finger in my face, I felt like the child and he the adult. I let him know this was not acceptable to me. Also when my dh (and he is) tried to set the rules down on our property, the ss replied "What about freedom, dad?" Anyway the ss and sd are coming over to dinner tonight and I am hoping they have learned as much as I have by this situation and we enjoy each other.

Alaskan's picture

The ss did get out bigger guns. He told my dh the problem is me and that I have conflicts with many people. Then he listed them. Of course on top of the list is the x....yep we do have serious conflicts, so much so that my only option is to avoid her. That is why I felt it was disrespectful for my ss to bring her on our property and tell me he would bring her here again. Next on the list were my 2 sisters. When i told my sisters this, they laughed. We live on separate sides of the continent but talk to each other often. One sister asked "why are we the last to know about this?" LOL The final example was the ss girlfriends mother. I hardly ever see her, barely know her....and have no recollection of any conflict with her. So he basically lied, perhaps thinking he could turn my dh against me. Anyway, luckily my dh and I head to Hawaii for two months...and a respit from all this negative stuff....

Alaskan's picture

Wow you are right. You do have it even worse. Only thing is if you leave, then they have "won". Is it possible to get pictures of their incestual relationship? AT their age they should be paying rent to stay at your house. Better yet they should not be staying at your place. They do stay with you for the six months?

marvinleejones's picture

My wife and I have a roommate: her 23-year old son.
He’s lived with us for as long as we’ve been married.
Actually, a little longer than that.

He works hard, attends the local community college, keeps out of trouble.

I don’t think he particularly likes me. But that’s okay. I’m not particularly likeable.

The challenge I face
Is the way our home has changed since he came on the scene.

Perhaps I’m overreacting to what I perceive as a violation of my personal space.
Let’s face it: Marriage was a big step all its own.
So perhaps he’s simply compounding a challenge which already exists.

Whatever the case,
I’m writing to express my frustrations over this new living arrangement.

I'm not sure exactly why I'm having so much trouble with this.

I suppose I’ve always been a little bit “OCD”.
I like order, organization, control.

But lately, I find myself sacrificing these perceived needs.
And I don’t want to.

So many questions need answers.

Who is this person now living in my home?

How is it possible
that the basic concepts
of common courtesy
and good housekeeping
simply don’t exist in his world?

The truth of the matter ?

I’m jealous.

I am jealous because he can do things that I only wish I could do.

I wish.

I wish I could forge a peaceful coexistence with chaos and clutter,
Stepping over piles of dirty clothes and other debris everywhere
like you do.

I wish I could completely ignore
that dried green glob of toothpaste
in the middle of our white bathroom sink
without feeling the overwhelming compulsion to stop and clean it up.

I wish I could walk past the bath towel you’ve so carelessly crammed into the towel rack
Without taking the time and effort to hang it properly to dry.

I wish I could leave my dirty dishes in he sink for someone else to wash.

I wish I could simply ignore that ant-infested soda can you’ve so nonchalantly left in your room.

I wish I wasn’t bothered by
cabinets left open,
patio doors left open,
lights left on overnight,
doors left unlocked,

I wish I could live carefree for months on end
Without the slightest sense of responsibility
to contribute to the rent
Or food expenses
Or utilities
Or anything.

I want to be like you.

Because being like me simply isn’t working.