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I'm interested in the reverse opinion here.

anonymousman29's picture

I'm a SF, a very disengaged SF. I see several posts on this forum that I can relate to. SD 5 lives with us full time. I can count the number of words that are exchanged on my hands. I am cordial to SD, but do not do her laundry, clean her messes, handle discipline, go on outings, engage in activities. DW is mostly OK with this because I take care of DS1. At the beginning of our relationship, I made my position clear that I was not the father, and I'd most I'd be a fun Uncle, due to the boundaries that were set as far as parenting and discipline by DW. Then we got married, and some fights ensue because of it - nothing that I can't handle - yet. SD is in the process of starting visitation with her BF, asks why I pay so much attention to DS. It doesn't really phase me, I'm totally disengaged. I'm a good husband, and a GREAT father to my child. DW is still having trouble adjusting to having a 2nd parent taking over a child when it comes to my DS.


Thoughts, when it's coming from the opposite gender?

justmakingthebest's picture

I get why you are disengaged from her if you and your wife have very different parenting types and your wife won't give you the authority to be the type of parent you want to be over SD.

I think my big question just because your BS and SD are fairly close in age is why do you think it will be different in regards to your bio son? He is 1 now, so discipline hasn't really been an issue yet. What is going to happen when your DW says that you can't parent your son the way you see fit?

I personally think that with young kids like your BS and SD that consistency in the home is key for all the children's wellbeing. I think that when different kids have different sets of rules is creates, chaos, resentment and confusion. Kids have enough to learn without having a brother or sister have a different set of rules to follow in the same home. 

anonymousman29's picture

It's going to be that way. I mean, I'm sure it's that way with every blended family with SKIDS. When BF gets the SD, shes going to get to do all of these special things, get two christmas's, etc. I'm 100%, 150% going to make up for this with my son, it'd be irresponsible NOT to. 


As far as parenting my son, there is some blowback from DW. I've established that I have a larger part in setting the rules for DS, since she is off doing whatever with SD most of the day/weekends.


Visitation with BD starts soon. There's where the dynamic is really going to change, and we'll be able to parent DS together, I feel.

Rags's picture


I have always thought that anyone who worries about the experiences and gifts that a Skid has and receives when with the blended family opposition half of their family as compared to the experiences and gifts that their own children have are way out of line.

Kids in a blended family, particularly when there is a yours and ours situation, or even a yours, mine and ours situation should have fairly equitable experiences in the home they all share. What happens in their other home should not inpact experiences and gifts in any other home they have.  It makes no sense to me that one home where there is an ours child should care about matching what happens in a prior relationship progenies other home.

IMHO of course.

Jcksjj's picture

If they are both there fulltime it's going to make it alot more difficult to be fully hands on with one and barely speak to the other. I wouldnt count on bio dad sticking around or being there consistently if he hasn't been so far. What was the reason you decided to be disengaged? 

anonymousman29's picture

I would say that it started with overly high expectations, paired with zero authority. It culminated in my seeing DW alienate her daughter from her BD's family. I didn't want to be a party to it. It rolled from there, and works just fine.


Hello - Hello

Is dinner ready? - Not yet.

That's as far as it goes, no stress, just co-habitation.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Ahhhh, so she was shopping for a Replacement Daddy and found you. While I feel bad that you now have a kid with someone who would alienate him from you if given the chance, I give you some kudos for at least not wanting to be party to it and ruining her Replacement Daddy plans.

Jcksjj's picture

Ah I see. That's partially why I disengaged (mostly disengaged anyway) from SD. DH wanted me to completely take over the mom role when shes with us half time but yet I was constantly criticized for ridiculous things and unappreciated. And then partially because of SDs behavior. 

We have SD who is here half the time, ODS who is with me fulltime and the YDS who is both mine and DHs. Not gonna lie, it's been a disaster with trying to make everything fair between them. The only thing advice I can give right now is that you could tell her YDS is getting alot more of your attention because he is a baby and babies need attention all day. She is a big girl and can eat by herself etc. Idk about when shes older, hopefully BD sticks around and is a decent parent. SD could care less about me or how much I talk to her since her mom is in her life. ODS on the other hand cares alot more about his stepdad since his bio dad isnt involved. It could just be his personality also, he gets attached to people much more easily then SD in general. Which doesnt mean it's on DH to replace him, but it would make it much harder if he wanted to be disengaged. 

anonymousman29's picture

No, BF is actively fighting with my DW in court for visitation and custody. Thousands of dollars, tons of misery, but I have DS at the end of the day - which brightens it. I am suprised to see the support - many women react violently to men who don't accept their spawn.

lieutenant_dad's picture

I think every SP has the right to disengage so long as it doesn't cross over into cruelty, especially if the kids are close in age AND the SK hasn't done something to result in a total freeze-out.

Like, I wouldn't plan a big Disney trip for your DS and not take SD. Or only take DS to the park and leave SD at home. Or throw a giant bash for DS's birthday but barely do anything special for SD. Or buy DS a mountain of Christmas presents that he opens in front of SD while she only has a handful.

It's different when the kids aren't related. But when they are half siblings, icing one kid out will cause a strain on their sibling relationship. Plus, little kids have a hard time understanding why they are beimg treated differently - they know it's happening and will blame themselves for it.

So, I think it's fine to not be responsible for her care. I think it's fair to recognize that her and your DS will have different childhoods. Just don't push it to the point of excluding SD entirely because you aren't dad. There will have to be some compromise - such as going out to dinner with SD or taking her to school when they are in school together - that just make practical sense and are meaningful to your spouse while promoting a good relationship between SD and DS.

anonymousman29's picture

Family vacations are one thing, but there will be very few of those I feel. They are in negotiations for custody and visitation - it looks like she'll be gone weekends and summers. It's unavoidable that she'll go on vacations with her own father, while I take my children on vacations as a family here - especially over the summer. SD will have 2 christmases, 2 birthdays, 2 of everything - while I won't blatantly give DS more - I most certainly still will. His self-worth shouldn't have to suffer, right? He's also a boy, and I get to teach him how to hunt/fish/hike/enjoy nature. It'll be as unbalanced as it is balanced, I'm sure it's that way with most if not all blended families where the other parent is involved.

sunshinex's picture

If you're always looking to "make up" for the fact that SD gets two of everything, your son is going to become entitled. 

Sorry to say. I know it sucks - I'm in the same boat. But I don't bother buying our son more than SD on christmas just because she's visiting her mom shortly after and getting a heap more presents. Why would I? Nothing else in life is going to be constantly equal. He's not going to get the same grade as another kid in class just because he exists. 

Who makes up for the fact that your son has two loving biological parents in his home? Who does this for your stepdaughter? Certainly not you, you're too focused on freezing a little girl out. 

anonymousman29's picture

So you're pressing that I withhold vacations from my son during the summer because SD will be on vacation with her biodad? Or that I withhold gifts that I would get for my son regardless of SD's presence? 

"Freezing a little girl out" is one thing. It's not this thing. My involvement in that would lead to a divorce. The kid is nasty. They do what they want, and I do what I want. Not healthy, I realize, but with SD going to be 50/50 with her biodad, bearable. Worth keeping my wife who I love, and keeping my son in a home with 2 parents.

SD is just as I see a thousand women post on here. Not my kid - not my problem. It's no different, other than the fact that I'm a man, and the roles are reversed.

Jcksjj's picture

If shes gone all summer you can probably get away with going on a summer vacation since there really wouldn't be a way to accommodate her coming with. We have only done family vacations altogether. I honestly dont want to even go anymore after the last 2. I try to do the extra things with my ODS when shes not here so it's not blatantly in her face and dont feel bad about it because she does most of the same things with her mom anyway. I do some small things like reading at night with my son that I don't with her even when she is here, but she really doesnt care about that anyway and we've explained to her that that is his only special time with just me and she gets her mom all to herself the whole time she is with her. 

Presents are generally equal since they are from DH and I both together for all the kids. Yes, she does get more total since she gets from her moms family. It was a little bit of an issue for awhile because she was getting an entitled attitude so we had to nip that in the bud but it's not much of an issue usually since anything she gets at her moms stays there and the other kids arent there to see it. I dont want to buy my the son the amount of stuff her mom was for awhile because I thought it was excessive and didnt want him to get her crappy entitled attitude. He does get more clothes and necessities etc because he is here fulltime and therefore needs more. GBM usually buys her shoes and winter jackets etc and she doesnt need us to so we dont even though DH wanted to buy everything she already had to compete with BM.  

anonymousman29's picture

Same kind of deal. I wouldn't raise a son to be entitled, but I would raise a son. What perks go along with that will differ from family to family - depending on the father and how well off the family is. 

I'd buy my son a $1200 rifle on his 12th birthday to hunt with and not bat an eye. It's not spoiling, I feel. I most certainly would not drop 1200$ on a gift for SD.

ITB2012's picture

Do NOT do that to your son! Your thinking and soon your behavior are the perfect example of what most of the rest of us come on here to vent about! Children DO NOT need to be spoiled just because you are feeling guilty or jealous.

anonymousman29's picture

Spoiled? No, I don't think spoiled is the right term here. I'm going to do all of the things I would do with my child - even if I didn't have a SD. I'm not letting have a SD change my behaviors - disengaged, as is the title of the forum.

lieutenant_dad's picture

Your DW will want to schedule vacations and trips when your SD is around, too, because she'll want those memories as well. And she'll want both of her kids and her DH involved in those.

Additionally, why are you setting your DS's self-worth up on the number of birthdays and holidays he gets? He gets the benefit of BOTH his parents living with him and raising him together. He gets the benefit of not having a mother who tried to alienate him against his father. He, in theory, already has a leg up over SD. Give him what you plan on giving him whether SD were there or not, but be mindful how it may make her feel if she is there and don't spoil your son trying to overcompensate for SD getting 2 of everything.

Lastly, keep in mind that your son is his own person. You may find that he doesn't want to hunt and fish and hike. He may rather play sports, or dance, or be artsy. Allowing him to be his own person will do more for his self-worth than pitting him against his sister in a battle over who has better/more birthdays, vacations, etc.

You're right that it is about balance, and it's tricky in a blended family. Just remember that SD is a kid who didn't ask for two households and a PASing mother and a disengaged SF. In your attempts to make your son feel loved, don't be cruel to SD, even inadvertently. You don't have to parent her, but don't blatantly show her that you're disinterested and ambivalent to her as a human being, and don't make your son think he is "better" than her because you buy him more stuff and he has an intact family.

sunshinex's picture

This is what I was thinking. 

I feel like this is how I treat the situation. We have SD7 full-time and our biological ours baby who is 18 months. 

I don't handle a lot of the "care" for SD7 - I don't remind her to shower, I don't take her to and from school, I don't schedule play dates for her, I don't help her with homework or make sure she's doing good in school, schedule medical appointments for her, etc. I just don't bother. I will do all of that for our son, but that's because it's my responsibility.

I think it's important to remember that there is not taking responsibility for a stepkid and there is not including/treating a stepkid kindly. There is a huge difference. You can avoid responsibility while still having the decency to treat her well. You can avoid responsibility and still make sure you're putting equal efforts into fun things for the kids. They are both young. Don't alienate your stepdaughter in your efforts to avoid responsibility for a child that isn't yours. 

Just like if you had a friend's child at your house. Would you expect them to get picked up by someone so you can take your son to the park? Would you make them sit out while your son eats a piece of cake? Would you go to the store with both kids and buy a toy for only yours? 

Common decency, man. It's important. 

anonymousman29's picture

I'm one of the most commonly decent people you'll meet. I wouldn't do things in FRONT of SD. It would only serve to cause conflict. Will I take DS to Ritas on the way home from daycare? Yes, of course. Does it make me a bad person for not bringing a ton home? I don't think so. Will I take my son hunting and fishing, camping, etc? Of course I will. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

I'm changing my tune given your other forum post.

Your DW is abusive, both physically and psychologically. I'm glad you're documenting her behavior, because her behavior is bad for both you and your son. You need to be less concerned about taking your son fishing and whether he'll feel lesser because SD gets two of everything, and far more concerned about whether the current environment is healthy for him to be in.

If you haven't consulted an attorney, do it now. Get their opinion on what you can do to protect your parental rights and your son. I understand not calling the cops every time she throws something or screams insanely as there are still plenty of police out there who would do nothing or assume you swung first. Get an attorney on retainer NOW to figure out a plan forward.

Rags's picture

There are many things in this situation that are raising red flags for me.  "Taking over a child"?  In an intact marriage one parent should not be "taking over a child" IMHO.

As for dealing with your SD.  The tension between you and your DW with this SD situation does not bode well for the longevity of this marriage.  While I understand some lever of caution in dealing with SD-5, with a child that young I think that there is an opportunity for you to establish a foundation for a decent long term relationship with this little girl and also with your bride as equity parents to the children in your home.  Your DS and SD are fairly close in age and no matter how disengaged you choose to be, SD is your son's sister.  

My SS-26's siblings are the only remaining pain he deals with as far as his SpermClan are concerned. The SpermIdiot, the SpermGrandHag and SpermGranPa are write offs as far as my SS is concerned.   His sister he remains in contact with and the youngest two (boys) are a constant heartbreak for my son (former SS-26 who I adopted at his request when he was 22).

If SD-5 is already commenting on the extreme differences in how you interface with her and how you interface with your DS it will not be long before DS sees and comments on the same things.  Keep that in mind.

I would caution that a partnership approach to parenting in your home is a better move than full disengagement with a 5yo.

Harry's picture

You only have your son once,  he is a child only for  a short time.  Your time with him should not be effective by SD.  Don’t miss out with fun with your DS because of SD cra* .  Life is not fair, your SD will be doing thing with her bio father and his family,  There is no reason not to do the kid thing, North Pole, Santa workshop, lego land. 

Have fun, because he is only small for a short time