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Desperately need advice..

qb1111's picture

First I thought I would set up the situation:

Me (Bio Mom and Step-Mom): divorced from my first husband, have a very good (friend) relationship with him, remarried to my 2nd husband for 1.5 years
My Husband : divorced from his first wife, very hostile relationship, absolutely 0 co-parenting
The Kids: 2 girls A-7 B-8 and 2 boys C-4 and D-4

The scenario:

My ex husband and I have a very good relationship and are on friendly terms, I am even friendly with his current girlfriend. It is of the highest importance to both me and my ex-husband that our kids have as stable of a childhood as can be expected after divorce, and we have worked hard to maintain this despite our differences. When I married my current husband, there was a lot I did not know, this is my error in choosing a partner-- but I wonder if there is any way this can be rectified so it does not lead to yet another divorce?

My current husband and his ex-wife have a VERY hostile relationship. They are not on speaking terms and in our 2 years together, they almost never have been. She has used restraining orders, CPS threats, and the court system to harass him non-stop. There has been police involvement due to this, but never any charges filed. I thought this was ALL her at first, but of course I now realize that it is likely BOTH of them contributing to this terrible situation. Anyway, for her part, she works the night shift and is never home with the children. They are left with babysitter after babysitter, and even though they have a home they are constantly rotating between her two boyfriends homes with the children sleeping on the couch. There is no structure in the home at all. The children have no rules to follow and nothing is expected of them.

At our house, the situation is very different. My biological children have always lived in a structured environment and are used to it, we keep the same rules for everyone and expect everyone to follow them. In the 1.5 years we have been married, my step-children have not adjusted to this environment at all. The eldest one is constantly acting out, lying, and displaying inappropriate behavior. The youngest one seems to hate it at our house, and spends most visits throwing tantrums and refusing to eat anything that is not candy or cookies. I am an mean parent, although I am strict on some things, but the youngest one hates me so badly he barely will even look at me and certainly will not speak to me. I do not understand why, as the extent of my discipline has been time-outs, and I mostly leave the discipline of my step-children to my husband.

The oldest child is also starting to become quite a bad influence on my biological children. She has told them about things I REALLY do not feel they should know about at their young ages. For example, she told my oldest biological child that her mother has "many guns" and that her mother even "bought her a gun." This is only one small example of that issue.

I do not know what to do here, I am really at the end of my rope in dealing with this situation. I want the best for my biological children and I feel my #1 duty is to protect them. Of course I want the best for my step-children as well, but I feel much of this is out of my hands and there is nothing I can do to help.

Thank you for any and all advice.

- Emily

Harleygurl's picture

I can understand how you feel. My SS7 also has little structure at his BM's but in my house there is structure and always has been with my biological sons. For what it is worth, you can't control what is happening when they are with BM so don't try to. The only thing that could be done there is if your DH has verifiable proof that his children are being abused in some way. The steps might not like the structure but it is your house, your rules. If bed time is at 7 PM then it is at 7 PM. Reasonable punishments should be expected if the rules aren't adhered to. Children cannot verbalize it but they all need and crave structure. It should settle down with time. My SS7 was an absolute bear for the first year because of all the things BM let him do and we won't. He finally got it and now it's pretty much a breeze as far as bed times, eating, etc. I just need to get him to understand that furniture is not meant to be destroyed! Thanks BM for letting him jump on your beds and couches!

As for your house, if your children are old enough to understand, explain to them separate from the step kids that although their step-sister or step-brother might behave this way or that you consider it inappropriate and will not allow that behavior out of your bios. Stop your steps from talking about things you consider inappropriate to your bios whenever you notice it happening. This will take diligence on your part but I think you can help your bios understand what is allowed and what isn't even if the steps are acting like jerks.

qb1111's picture

I have tried taking my kids aside and telling them that certain behaviors/actions/talking about certain things is wrong- but this causes my husband to go in defensive mode, and make snide comments like "well aren't your children just angels. "

I know my husband is part of the problem here. He feels like he cannot discipline my step children much because ANY sort of discipline is reported back to their mother as much different than it actually is. She called CPS and told them we were with holding food and water most of the time and then forcing the children to eat until they throw up at other times. The real situation is we do not short order cook ( although I do try and make at least 2 things I know everyone will eat.) I also do not have much junk food or soda in the home, which is all they want to eat.

I am so fed up with everything I have begun to dread my step children coming over. I fear what lies they will tell their mother about me and my children. I have taken to mostly hiding in my bedroom when they are over -- which is 40% of the time!

The situation is so bad that since he has the children all of winter break, I requested he and them go stay with his mother the entire time.

alieigh21's picture

Stand your ground. If you allow them to do what they want it will only get worse. My SD will be 18 next month. About 2/3 the time she complains about what we eat. DH and I went round and round because I refused to wait until 7 or 8 to eat or would not make her something special or make what she wanted for dinner every night.

qb1111's picture

I know , that's what I am afraid of - that it will only get worse. His family hates me, they say I am stuck up and that u should be more understanding of my step children's lack of ability to follow rules , etc. Basically his family thinks his kids can do no wrong and he acts likes this too sometimes , to a much lesser extent.

Harleygurl's picture

You need to work on DH first. He needs to get with the program and gently but firmly tell his family to back off. Your house, your rules that both parents should abide by.

SituationalTourettes's picture


DH needs some attitude adjustment too. Sorry but c'mon here. "Arent your children little angels"? My SO would have some serious problems being that snide to me especially hearing how his own act.