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Stepkids - boys ages 9 & 12 are monsters

confusedmomof3's picture

Ok, my patience has run out with my 2 stepsons. They are rude, loud, disrespectful, undisciplined, dishonest, manipulative, sneaky and just plain out of control. I am trying like hell to establish some kind of order in the household because they have obviously had no rules, schedules or responsibility EVER in their lives. Honestly, they are spoiled rotten and in only got worse when their parents divorced 4 years ago. Both parents tried to "one up" the other and the kids played that game to the max. Now their mom can't handle them and gives them to their father and I. Their father really has no parenting skills - God love him. He just lacks the basic skills and allows them to constantly manipulate him. It's frustrating to say the least.
I was a single mother before I met him and I can honestly say that I am good at it. My daughter is well behaved, has manners, gets good grades, etc. I attribute this to being consistent with routines, boundaries and discipline. These are all things I enforce in my day to day life - regardless of if it's family, friends, personal or professional.
My struggle is this - I see clearly what is going on with these boys and their father sees it to a degree. His version of the situation is muddied because they are "his boys" and I get that. However, everyone that has been around these kids is like "whoa.. they are really bad" and I am not putting up with 10 more years of this. It's not healthy for anyone and eventually it will corrupt my child, who we have no issues with, as well as hurt our marriage.
I need to get him to see how serious this is and how if we keep "pooh poohing" it and acting like there it isn't a big deal things are only going to get worse. it could even eventually drive a wedge between us and damage our relationship.


PrincessFiona's picture

I think it all depends on how he responds to you and if he stands behind you. There is certainly no reason for kids to not be able to follow rules, even if different from rules in their other home. You can be sure they follow different rules at school.

if you express to him that there are some things that are causing you stress and he is open to making some house rules.

Then sit everyone down, family meeting style and explain that things have to change and these are the new rules. I think it is best too if you can agree on the consequence for breaking the rule upfront. No surprises.

My biggest advice would be to pick one or two really bad things that you want to change and work on those first. Test the water so to speak, she how everyone reacts to make sure you are all on the same page.

Good luck !

confusedmomof3's picture

He stands behind me SOME of the time - and some of the time he undermines me right in front of them. He is very inconsistent with their discipline and rules. One week, it's "in bed and lights out by 9pm" on school nights... next week (or even day) he will allow them to screw around and manipulate it until 9:30 and that's after him telling them a dozen times to brush their teeth and go to bed.. They just plain old flat out don't listen. I know that every parent has the "how many times do I have to tell you" moments.. but with these kids its every situation every day several times a day. It's exhausting and ruins your mood.

I agree. We do need to have a meeting to discuss rules and consequences, but first the parents need to get on the same page. Unfortunately, whenever I "think" we are on the same page, it changes because his kids manipulate him so freaking much.

hismineandours's picture

This is where I have an issue. Why would your dh object to his children following rules? Yes, i know they are "his boys"-but does he think that they are so incredibly special and perfect that they will not ever need to follow any sort of rules? Compliance, schedules, and yes, rules are part of life for all of us. I have rules and schedules at work. I must comply with my supervisor's requests or I wont have a job. These things are life skills-these boys need in order to grow up and be successful as adults.

That's the way I try and sell it to my dh, anyway. I dont just make it about ME (as in i'm getting annoyed with your kid's atrocious behavior)-but about the kid and how dh is acually cheating "his boy" out of skills he needs to be successful in life. And you'd be amazed how you can fit pretty much everything into the whole "life skill" category. Chores, rules, manners, homework, basic common decency, hygiene, etc.

My dh is starting to sit up and listen-it may be too late for my ss13, but good luck to you. My ss, and I hate to be negative, is going to fail in life. I dont mean that in a nasty way-but he just skates thru life making excuses for bad behaviors and doing pretty much as he pleases. If he chooses to do something that would be considered good (such as consistently make it to class on time or do homework most of the time)he acts like everyone should bow down and praise him. I can only imagine him on a job someday with that attitude. He will show up to work on time and when the boss doesnt throw a party for him and give him a big fat raise-he'll get peeved and tell himself that's he never showing up on time again!

I use this even with how ss treats me. SS has made it clear he dislikes me-to him that gives him the right to treat me like I am a leper (not just invisible as ss goes out of his way to avoid me-if confronted he fully admits he doesnt like me and doesnt like being around me). I have told dh-it's a life lesson-ss is not going to like evryone he meets in life-he may have to work with someone he dislikes-he can't treat them that way and expect to maintain his job. You have to offer people a certain level of common courtesy and basic respect.

I do urge you to have this discussion with your dh asap-I waited to late and didnt do it the right way-we are now at the point that ss is not visiting in our home and we did almost lose our marriage and it has hurt MY children. I often think if dh and I could have gotten stuff straight and worked together that it might not have had to be this way.

confusedmomof3's picture

Because they are "BOYS" and boys are just "different"... in his words. For example, his 9 year old has no "indoor vice" and it drives me nuts.. come to think of it either does his 12 year old. I ask them several times a day, every day to lower their voices. Sometimes their dad is on board, sometimes he just ignores it. Last night I was in the living room watching a show and the 2 boys and him were in the kitchen (the dining room is between the two rooms - open floor plan) and for the life of me I could not hear the TV because they were talking so loudly to him. Normally the Tv needs to be on Volume 8 to hear it - I had to crank it up to 15!! Enjoying the program wasn't possible because of all the background noise. Of course, I speak up.. they tone it down for about 2 minutes and it's back to loud mouths. They are like this everywhere - stores, restaurants, events.. they are always the loudest kids there! Quite frankly its embarrassing and I'm sick of it.

This is just one example of my "power struggle" with these kids.

I have tried the whole "life skill" approach - especially when he says I am sweating the small things. I'm like, really.. "I'm not asking them to make their beds with a military crease in them - I'm asking them to clean their room and put dirty clothes in their hamper, not on the floor. I'm asking them to pick up after themselves. I'm asking them to not yell indoors. etc."

Some days he gets it.. somedays I think he is just too lazy to follow through and the kids know it. They will wear you down if you aren't strong in your belief. I have the stamina to do battle with them because I believe in structure within a home and I know how easily not having it will resort to chaos. We both work full time and there isn't room for chaos or disorganization.

Bottom line is I have my work cut out for me with this relationship and these kids. My daughter is a cake walk to parent because from infancy she has been on a schedule. One would think my better half would look at how easy she is to parent and go "how'd you do that".. and want to learn. Unfortunately, he just says "well, she's a girl"... true to an extent.. however I have seen many girls that act just as bad or worse than his boys, so gender really isn't that huge of a factor..


alwaysanxious's picture

Tell him her vagina doesn't give her the capability of acting right, your parenting does. Having a penis doesn't make you less able to be parented (or less able to parent for that matter).

confusedmomof3's picture

Wow.. and thank you!!

This is such a difficult journey and it helps to hear stories of how other S-moms are dealing with the same issues. It reassures me that I am not insane and not alone in my struggles.

Regarding chores: I want the "boys" to have responsibility and daily/weekly tasks. At one time it was taking in the garbage cans, however after a few bad weather days of their dad "excusing" them from doing it, they never started it back up again. I have to now ask them to do it every Monday and frankly I feel they should do it automatically. They walk right by them when they get off the bus and have to notice them, right? Why can't they just do it? Am I being unreasonable here?

What are some other chores they can do? I had them emptying the dishwasher every day when they got home and of course, just like the trash.. it got dropped by their father because it wasn't fair. Why? Because my daughter doesn't have to do it. Well, the fact of the matter is, I have shared custody of my daughter.. meaning a week on/off. We have the "boys" full time - except every other weekend. They make 90% of the messes - that's a fact. Muddy shoes, laundry, dishes, toys, etc.. 90% of the mess is theirs. When she is there she assists with chores, but she isn't there as much so she doesn't have to do as much. I think that is fair - him and his kids do not. The other thing is, if I ask my daughter to help with anything - dusting, vacuuming, dishes she will happily chip in. Them.. you have to ask 6 times and argue. I hate to have to compare because I get the "well she's your perfect little daughter" crap.. fact is, yes, she's my daughter and she is respectful and well behaved.. they aren't

They live such a responsibility free life it sickens me and they are constantly asking for something.. it's just ungrateful and the sense of entitlement is absurd.

Ughhh.. the video games.. their father allows them to play video games as much as they like - DS, Playstation, Wii.. they are always on one of those devices. I have shown their father quotes from experts that say "20 min at a time max up to 1 hour per day" .. yet he still allows them free reign. They sequester themselves in their room or the basement and play them constantly.. and we wonder why they have no social skills or friends. It's because they don't interact with other humans.

I just feel like I am fighting this battle all alone here - with regards to their father and them. He says "pick your battles".. well, crap.. there's a lot to choose from.

Punishments are over ridden and labeled too harsh. I'm talking things like 30 minutes earlier bed time, no video games for a day, etc. These aren't harsh or cruel. Punishments are meant to be uncomfortable, miserable and inconvenient. They are that way as a deterrent from bad behavior.

ok, not gonna vent anymore..

I'll download that book for sure - thanks!