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Marriage in Turmoil because of step kids!'s picture

My husband and I continually fight over issues with our kids. This is the 2nd marriage for the both of us. I have a 7 yr old daughter from my 1st marriage and he has an 8 yr old daughter and a 5 yr old son from his. No kids together. Our main ongoing fight is, what I feel is, his lack of discipline with his kids.
This past weeken was HELL!

One of the fights we had was because he said my daughter was rude to his. Here's the scenario: our daughters go to different schools. I have joint custody with my ex he has one night a week and every other weekend. On the weekends we have our kids, we have them together. So my daughter gets an invitation from a girl at her school to attend a birthday party at a skating rink. Without talking to me about it 1st, my husband tells his daughter that she is invited to the party and gets to go skating. While at the party my daughter is talking and playing with her school friends and not paying much attention to her stepsister. This angers my husband! While I don't condone my daughter being rude to my stepdaughter, I understand her wanting to be more involved with her school mates as she rarely gets to interact with them other than school. My stepdaughter is not one to make new friends or be outgoing so in this situation she expected to be right by my daughters side to be included. My husband was furious that my daughter was not paying attention to his and his daughter was upset and felt left out. My daughter at one point told her stepsister to "go away" and was trying to skate away from her to be with her other friends. I am the more strict parent and while I do NOT agree with how my daughter spoke to her stepsister, I understand her wanting to play with her school friends and not wanting to "entertain" my stepdaughter! My stepdaughter is extremely high maintenance and feels the need to be entertained all the time. She does not play on her own and always wants an activity to do and someone to do it with. If for some reason we have my husbands kids and not mine, my stepdaughter is up my husbands butt needing to be entertained! He cannot even go to the bathroom without interruption. What is the right way to handle situations like this do the kids are happy and my husband and I don't fight over what is right or wrong?

Still Have Hope's picture

I can't get over the fact that he invited his daughter to crash another kids party. In our area a party like that is priced by the number of guests. If siblings are invited it cost the host more money. Way not cool!
And one child should not be responsible for entertaining another.

Annoyed1's picture

Well, I remember being young with my sister and I was the same way with my own blood sister. That's just how some siblings are. We are best friends now, but I think that's just the way siblings are when they are young, whether they are step siblings or blood siblings!

PeanutandSons's picture

My sister and I were only a year apart, and we NEVER went to each others friends bday parties. Never. That was setting up a situation where feelings were going to be hurt for sure. Either SD feels left out and abandoned, or bd feels like her time was ruined because she has to babysitter SD.

Granted, bd shouldn't have been rude, but I would also want to know what SD was doing to elicit such a response. Some times kids can only be pushed so far. But if she was just showing off for her friends and playing the "mean girl", then she needs some consiquences. But if SD was truly being a pain and she had tried to resolve it other ways, then maybe just a talk.

But bottomline, you and Dh need to get on the same page with boundaries between the kids. You daughter is entitled to time to herself with her friends. Just as his daughter is.

B22S22's picture

Maybe, just maybe your DH decided to "invite" his daughter to accompany your daughter to the birthday party because it was a "convenient" sitter option?

Not that I agree with it, because I absolutely positively don't! That was rude of your DH, and maybe he needs to understand that HE was the one being rude. He basically 'set up' his daughter - going to a birthday party for someone she doesn't know, with the unspoken expectation that your daughter would stay by her side and entertain her when she herself wanted to socialize.

I guess I would as DH when exactly he decided your daughter is his daughter's keeper.

Jsmom's picture

He is in the wrong. She should not have gone to that party to begin with. She was not invited.'s picture

I agree, the dad was out of line. I've dealt with this as well, where the dad jumped in before the daughters even had an issue themselves. I told him that the girls would've worked it out themselves if he had let it be, and instead he overreacted and looked like a fool. God forbid these poor little girls would actually get their feelings hurt, especially by an SO's child! I informed him that they received much worse treatment on the playground daily at school. Little girls are vicious. But they need to learn how to handle themselves and work things out without parental interference.

momoftwinz's picture

There's issues between my 7 year old biodaughter and 10 year old stepdaughter. SD isn't the kid who wants to be entertained, she's more the kid who sits in the corner on her iPad while DD7 plays with her friends, then DH gets pricky about why 'his' kid is being isolated.

Is there a way you could find some other girls in the area to introduce your SD to, kids who aren't friends with your daughter? Girls that age need friends. Maybe ask your daughter to introduce her stepsister to some other girls, arrange a playdate. It could be a good teaching moment for your daughter as well.'s picture

My husband totally has the "weekend Daddy syndrome"! While he is completely happy with being divorced from his ex (he wanted the divorce, she didnt) he misses not seeing his kids every day so when he does get time with them he, in my opinion, over indulges his kids by planning activities and doing whatever they want to make them happy out of guilt. My husband and I generally have a good marriage but when we do argue 90% of the time it's about his ex or the kids. We constantly fight over, what I feel, is his lack of discipline! Personality wise he is more laid back than I am but he is never consistent with his discipline or he just dishes out idol threats. He is more focused on what he can do to entertain his kids and planning fun activities in the short amt. of time he has with his kids. I want him to enjoy the time he has with them but that shouldn't mean not disciplining them. Subconsciously, I think he feels like if he punishes them for something that it results in them having a bad time at our house and they won't look forward to our visits. He completely agrees with me that his kids are extremely high maintenance ( which his ex is the major contributor of) but he does nothing to help change that. From the get go we decided that as a blended family we should do as much as possible like a nuclear family would and be fair/even with rules, discipline, activities and such. HOWEVER, there are times like this whole skating rink ordeal when things should be seperate! When it is just me, him and my BD things are so much easier, our life is not hindered in any way. We can take her anywhere, do anything and it's centered around the 3 of us as a family. My husband and I decide what we want to do, what we eat, where we go and there is never an issue. My BD knows and feels she is included, her needs are met but is aware that we are the parents, we make the decisions and is happy to be along for the ride. On the other hand when my step kids are here it's : what would they like to do, where they want to go, or what they want to eat. Our whole family dynamic changes when they are here. I've grown resentful of his kids because of this and I dread when they come to visit. On certain occasions it's gotten so bad that I will leave with my BD and we will do our own thing. This is causing a HUGE strain on my marriage and I fear if things don't change we will get divorced. I want very badly for us to be a cohesive family but I'm scared that won't happen. While my husband and I have discussed this several times, nothing seems to change. He acknowledges that there are issues he needs to address and I'm more than willing to compromise but I don't think he knows what to do about it or how to change. I know I need to handle situations differently than I have been. I'm not perfect nor do i think I'm right all the time, but I am adamant in the fact that our marriage comes 1st, kids 2nd and that there needs to be structure and discipline in our home! If we don't put our marriage 1st and have a stable foundation how will we ever be productive as parents? I love my daughter with all my heart and soul and would do anything in the world for her and she knows this. But I've also made it clear that she is to respect her SD and our marriage! I feel as if I have presented a good balance of this to her and because I remarried it has not prevented me from being a good mother to her and has not deprived her from anything in her life. I don't feel as if my husband has expressed, shown, or told his kids the importance of our relationship. And while they are still young ( 8 and 5) I don't think that is beyond reach. All they know or have been shown is that when it's time with Dad it's all about THEIR wants and needs. I have been made out to be the "bad guy" with them because I'm the one that yells at them to clean up after themselves, makes them do chores, punishes them for bad behavior and makes them mind. I treat them the same as I do my own. I have never laid a hand in them and I NEVER will but because Im not all about having fun all the time I've become the evil stepparent in their eyes! I talked to my SD the other day with my husband right beside me. I got onto her for not listening to her father and being disrespectful in how she talks to him. I asked her why she was behaving that way to him. I said "you don't back talk me, why do you do it to your dad"? She grinned and said "I don't talk or act like that with you because I'm scared of you"! I was flabbergasted! I asked her why she felt that way. I said "have I ever spanked you, or hurt you in any way"? She said "no". "why are you scared of me then"? "Is it because I make you mind and don't let you get away with that stuff"? She said yes. So I asked her what the reason was that she didn't listen to her dad: when he tells her to stop running or clean her room or be nice to her brother, or not interrupt adults when they are talking ( which she does ALL the time, A huge pet peeve of mine). I asked her if she behaved that was because she knew she wouldn't get in trouble with her dad and she giggled and said yes. My husband just shook his head. My step kids are not horrific monsters by any means but they do lack manners, are lazy, high maintenance and are not respectful of adults. They don't behave this way to be mean nor do I feel they are intentionally being disruptive. I just think that they are accustomed to being the center of attention and catered to by everyone in their family ( the majority being their mother and her large family). I don't want to be the evil stepmother and I don't want them to be scared of me. But I do want respect, order and discipline in my life. I don't feel as if I'm asking too much, I require the same things from my daughter! I realize that when my husband and I got together that this was a package deal on both sides. But how do I make this marriage work without compromising who I am, what I believe in, and how I think this family should run without being completely miserable? My husband is not opposed to working on this or making changes, and I'm willing to put the work in as well, BUT at what point do I draw the line and say that our parenting styles and situations are way too different and throw in the towel to do what's best for ourselves and our kids? I have a strong personality and I cannot do things halfway, I either have to be an active/engaged stepmother and wife and participate in all that consists of or I need to move on. I cannot chose to be idol or omit certain sections of my life to simply exist in this marriage! I have been through too much in my life to not live it to the fullest. Life is way too short for that! I love my husband very much and ultimately just want us to be happy! If that means that our marriage has to end for the betterment of all involved than I would reluctantly bow out, and leave my soulmate rather than stay in a relationship that is doomed to fail and hurts all involved. PLEASE HELP!