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How do you disengage when u stay at home?

counseling.advocate's picture

I'm thinking about disengaging. However I'm unemployed and actively searching for a job. In the meantime, I'm home with all the kids while they are out of school. They are home all day, week to week is the schedule (mom can't have them cuz she works on the off week and we can't afford child care so no use suggesting we take them somewhere else lol) so how do you disengage? Sometimes DH opens or closes at work. But there are many fights between the kids, they need things, ask for things, I enforce house rules on my DS but not them? Luckily he's pretty well behaved, but the SD's are allowed to get away with everything? Treating each other disrespectfully, breaking house rules? Disengaging sounds like a pretty sweet deal for the SD's if you ask me... What keeps me from doing it is I'm worried Itll just make me sick watching them get away with everything.

See, I'm big on moral standards and rule following and DS7 knows and respects that. I've known SD's pretty much their whole lives so they should too, but BM has little structure and we can't help how she's raised them, they are just like her.

So how do things just not spin out of control when you disengage when you stay home? How do you keep the peace when they fight and how do you get them to do things/or can you?

Confused Smile

counseling.advocate's picture

They are 8 and 11 ( both bdays coming soon) and my DS is 7. Grat ideas so far keep them coming!

counseling.advocate's picture

This doesn't really seem like disengaging to me. Currently they already help with dishes, clean their own rooms, do their own laundry but I make the food. Snacks are easy to grab. Do I continue to fight with them when they try to ask for too many snacks or should I just remind them of the rule and tell them I will tell dad they broke the rule later? If they don't clean their room and make their bed should I not say anything and make my own kid make his bed?
Do I tell them to go to their room if they are fighting?

I feel that spending time, doing a reward system isn't disengaging. It's parenting. My point is that I'm not being respected, I'm overstepping my boundaries as a SM with punishments by yelling at them and trying to be responsible for undoing damage BM does to them and turn them into better ppl as they grow when it doesn't work and it's really not my responsibility. It's driving me so crazy and the fact that I can be so hard on them affects my marriage and the relationship with them so I just want to do nothing. They love me, but my influence will never mean as much as their parents and I'm starting to get it.

Should I make a list of everything they did wrong and give it to DH for him to punish later?

counseling.advocate's picture

Lol damn girl! Good for you!

I so badly want to throw their crap away when they leave it out. I'm okay with toys. Clothes though... Those cost a lot of $$$ that we don't have lol

frustratedstepdad's picture

To be honest, I really don't think you can disengage when you are home with them by yourself most of the time. You can try but it won't turn out well.

counseling.advocate's picture

Ugh you think? I discussed with my therapist today and he said he didn't think I would be happy disengaging fully because we've been working on defining our blended family. He thinks I should disengage from discipline and major decisions but still be engaged emotionally in their lives and do fun things with them showing love. This is based on a lot of factors brought up in counseling and he's right, realistically.

He recommended talking to DH about it and agreeing on what I should say to them when they break rules when they are gone. First we would tell them he would be enforcing the rules from now on when he gets home, but I would be having them go to their room or turn off the tv or whatever we decide.

But that I can't try to control how they turn out anymore because even though I care about it, i won't be able to have the power their parents have and still maintain a good relationship with them.

I'll try talking to DH about it... We'll see. I don't think he will take it well. Disengage just sounds like a bad word so I'll just not use it lol.

Rags's picture

Time for a new therapist IMHO. This pseudo science "professional" told you to disengage on discipline and major decisions but engage in love and fun things? Really?

"Go to your room and turn off the TV" That is going to go really far with a ill-behaved Skid. (Sarcasm)

I do agree that you can't control how they turn out but you absolutely can control how they behave in your presence by bringing effective discipline and consequences for unacceptable behavior.

I completely disagree that you can't have equity influence to that of your equity life partner and even more influence over kid behavior in your home than your opposition counterpart while maintaining a positive relationship with them. Kids despise weak parents and absolutely worship parents that provide structure, boundaries, behavioral expectations and bring consequences when necessary.

My Skid is a gamer and so is his Sperm Idiot. When SS was young visitation was fantasy card games, then video games and ultimately no respect for the BioDad at all. I hate that crap and the Skids time with me was hiking, climbing, fossil hunting, camping, sports, mountain biking,etc.... He would often complain that he did not want to do that stuff, he wanted to play video games. He has absolutely not one memory of playing fantasy or video games with the Sperm Idiot and countless memories of the stuff he and I did together. At nearly 22 SS despises his Sperm Idiot while I am the REAL dad who set expectation, set the example, held SS accountable and in partnership with his mom raised him to be a young man of character. The kid and I are extremely close.

It is far better to set expectation and behavioral accountability for the children in your home than to abdicate your right to demand and enforce expectations in your home. Why would a therapist counsel anyone to not demand anything less than exactly what you should want and expect out of YOUR life and in YOUR home?

IMHO of course.