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Disengaging.... day one

Step575's picture

Hello everyone,

So tomorrow SS13 will be back at our house. Tomorrow will also be the first day of me disengaging. I definitely have triggers when he is around- so I'm looking for support of what to do in these monents when taking this new approach of disengaging. 

Its really three things that bother me time and time again... 

1.When SS lurks around the house waiting for DH to occupy his time and/or acts as a couch jockey on his phone all day (still just waiting for DH).

2. When SS trying to be a mini adult and dominate his dad and I.

3. When he starts attention seeking (acting over the top obnoxious) when DD18 months is around (I don't want certain qualities influencing her). 

In an effort to not be as reactive- I'd like to go into this weekend with a bit of a plan for myself. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should/could do in these moments to take good care of myself and DD? Any advice/recommedations would be appreciated. Me going to DH is out of the question becuase while DH sees SS's behavior- at times he chooses to ignore it saying "that's just normal for 13". DH and I definitely view thigns differently. His approach is not my approach- which is fine. Its not my job to tell him how to parent as this is the main reason I'm choosing to disengage. I would just feel better going into the weekend with some strategies for myself. 


Thank you!!!!

failuretolaunch's picture

From peronsal, only 3 weeks experience, just ignore, bite your tongue and walk away. You have to retrain your mind, your way of thinking to Not Reacting. Eventually it will become normal but until then you are more than probably going to find it hard and you are going to react.

Step Away From The Child Smile

futurobrillante99's picture

If your SS misbehaves and your DH ignores is, your DH should experience the loss of your company.

For instance, if you're having a conversation with your DH and your SS interjects himself without correction from your DH, the conversation is over. Don't get mad - get distracted and busy with something else, eventually excusing yourself to the bathroom and don't return.

When your DH comes seeking you and SS follows him without any correction, find another place to go. Consider suddenly needing to run an errand with your 18 month old. No one gets to come along - it's your time together and SS is there to BE with DH.

If you're watching TV with DH and SS starts hovering, go to another room or get busy with something else.

Your DH WILL notice that he's missing out on time with you. He has a superpower where HE can ignore his annoying son. You cannot. When he experiences your absence because his son is being a pest, it will work against his super power.

Just be cheerful and consistent - not angry. Remove yourself and your baby each time he acts out. Your husband can enjoy his son pestering him all by himself.

Cover1W's picture

And if your SS interrupts a conversation, stop talking immediately. Your conversation with DH is just OVER. Do not pick it back up. Go do something else. This works wonderfully.  At least it did for DH and I. DH hated being inerrupted and after only a couple times of me doing this and made him see the control the SD was exerting.

Rags's picture

You know SS, you know DH, and you know how SS's visits tend to unfold.

So script some pointed responses and comments designed to end the behavior you want stopped.

SS interrupting. Immediately tell him to zip his lip and to leave the room.  Then turn to DH and say "This conversation is over as will be any conversation we are having that he interrupts and you do not correct him.  If you won't I will."  Immediately correct SS's interrupting then apply consequences to your DH.  Lather, rinse, repeat.

If you find that is not correcting the issue, Home Depot and Lowes have small compressed air horns that you can have on hand to chirp when he interrupts. That way no one hears him.  A few chirps while giving both SS and DH "the look" ought to send the message.  Or a spray bottle.  A spritz of chilled water in the face when he interrupts should shut him up. The point is.. zero tolerance and immediate consquence.

Hovering.  He needs to self sooth and self entertain.  When he hovers, send him to the back yard for an hour.  Every time.  Rain, snow, wind, sun, it does not matter.  If DH protests, send him to yard to entertain his kid.

Poor examples in front of your baby.  Do not tolerate it.  Have some scripts ready, and use them. e.g. "You are not an adult and you will not interrupt. You will do what you are told.  You are not your sister's parent, I am.  Do not make the mistake of forgetting this lesson.  If you do, you will not be welcome in this house and when you visit you will sit in your room by yourself." Then turn to DH and tell him to get his parental shit together and fix the disrespctful behavioral crap his son is forcing everyone to suffer through.

Lather................................. Rinse.............................................. Repeat.

Find the effective consequence, apply it, and adjust as needed as events progress.  Keep in mind that pre-teens and teens abhor public humiliation so correcting them assertively in real time immediately upon an infraction regardless of where it occurs and who is around will set the example that when SS steps out of line he will be met with immediate consquences. Apparently daddy missed that lesson when he was a kid and lets his kid skate on the disrespectful behavioral crap.

Good luck.

Wicked stepmo.'s picture

I do not bite my tongue anymore because I refuse to feel uncomfortable in my own house. I direct any comments I have to SO instead of SKs 

An example of SDs are being rude and mouthy to him. I leave the room and tell him to wipe the footprints off his back after SDs are done walking all over him like a door mat. 

Other times I stick with using"I statements" If I leave for the day I will tell him it was too loud and obnoxious for me at home and I just wanted to be somewhere I quiet where I could relax. 

I never mention or say anything directly about SDs anymore so he can't gaslight me and say I don't like his kids and it puts the responsibility on him when he is upset we are not spending time together.

Step575's picture

Okay so I'm just going to post here instead of completely losing my shit...

SS hasn't moved from his spot on the couch since he got here. Eyes glued to his phone. He then decides he wants to take on a baking project. DH is now running to the store to get him his supplies... SS is just staring out the window waiting for him to get back. He and I have not exchanged two words since DH left. 

I haven't said a word. DH knows I'm disengaging so I feel like I'm under a microscope a bit- but so far aside from just being annoyed- I'm okay...