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Difficult Stepkids

StepUp2020's picture

Hey all. I've never been on here before, but after doing a Google search of what I'm experiencing I thought I really needed some advice. My boyfriend and I have been dating for several months now. I have one daughter on my own, who is 7. He has two on his own that are 5 and 2. 

I've come here because I am really struggling with some of their behaviors. I don't remember my daughter ever acting the way they do. I care for both of them, but I am literally exhausted all the time. I have also been pretty consistently sick since around the time it all started to affect me and stress me out. I'm not sure what to do about it. My boyfriend is wonderful. He's supportive and helpful and sweet. He listens to me and comforts me. I don't want to lose him. 

The two year old will scream bloody murder when she does not get her way. Sometimes it's things like she simply wants dad off the phone and she will scream in the car so he can't have a conversation. Which is just ridiculous to me. It's an ear shattering scream too that hurts my head. I can't deal when she does this. I've walked away with so many headaches/migraines because of it. She also wakes up in the middle of the night screaming and crying. He's convinced they're night terrors, but they don't seem like it to me. Whenever she wakes up like that he puts her in bed with us, which we all know sleeping with a two year old is no cake walk. She frequently wakes up after being put in bed with us and will push and hit and cry. There was one night it was so bad I moved to the couch. She was slapping me and everything. I've tried numerous times to tell him that he needs to just put her back in bed when she does this instead of putting her in bed with us, but he doesn't. Or if he does one night he doesn't the other. He's not consistent. 

The five year old is the rudest, most stubborn child I think I have ever met with no respect for authority figures. She will blatantly look you in the face as she does something you told her not to do and she will keep doing it and making sure you are looking while she's doing it. She will try to boss adults around and also boss my seven year old. My daughter gets very annoyed sometimes. She has purposefully broke things. She picked all the buttons off the remote one night while dad was cooking dinner. She broke the blinds on purpose. She will demand my daughter do whatever she wants to do 24/7. I don't know how to handle her. I don't feel like it's my place to fully punish her the way I would. We don't live together. We haven't been together for a super long time. But her behavior is genuinely concerning to me. I honestly think she may need to see a counselor. Her teachers have voiced concerns and her daycare provider. 

Their mom isn't exactly the best. She drinks and parties a lot. She leaves them with grandma frequently and said she was opting out of getting them on Sunday's because she didn't want to deal with their dad and she only gets to see her boyfriend on Sunday's. The five year old had a meltdown over this because she was supposed to come get them one Sunday and just bailed. She has them 2 days one week and 3 the other and sometimes all those days are spent at grandmas. There's been many times the 5 year old has said she's been up very late, like until midnight. Her aunt and her cousin are also living with them now and she said he's sleeping with her and keeps her up all night. There was also an incident where mom didn't use a car seat for her in a snow storm. It's heartbreaking and I've tried to be very understanding. They don't have a lot of stability because of her, but it's very hard. He is trying to save the money to take her to court, but it's a slow process.

My other concern is that the 5 year old is not technically his. He is not her real dad, although he's been in her life since she was a baby. She doesn't know this. I think it speaks volumes of his character that he didn't walk away from her when he could have. But I'm also concerned about going to court and everything that will happen with her and her behaviors. I have no idea what her biological dad is like. 

I feel like I need to mention also that I work with children. I work with 1-2 year olds five days a week, eight hours a day. I have A LOT of patience and I am at the end of my rope. I know my boyfriend is very frustrated too. He frequently talks about it. I've tried to give him advice, but consistency seems to be an issue, which is partially not his fault. He also doesn't have a lot of extra money. He's basically raising them himself and doesn't have a lot of extra money to save for court. I'm trying to be very supportive and understanding, but it's getting really hard. I need sleep and for our every conversation not to be about negative stuff going on with them or their mom. I'm not really sure what to do at this point. I don't want to walk away, but I'm concerned about mine and my daughters well being as well. I don't know that if their behavior keeps up, that I can keep up. 

Harry's picture

Number one , he should be taking care of them.  Not you.  He must get child care for them.  He made them ?  He takes care of them.  You are the GF not the babysitter.  Two, no kids in the bed .  He has to take care of his DD with out putting her in your bed, the easy way out. 
Time to start thing long and hard that this relationship msu not be for you. Nothing is going to change unless you do something 

StepUp2020's picture

I didn't mean I was babysitting them. He has daycare for them. I'm just talking about the evenings I am around them or on the weekends we are all together. 

SteppedOut's picture

How long have you been in this relationship? 

If he isn't willing to change the way he parents, the behavior of these children will never change - well, it will probably get worse.

You should find out, fast, if he is willing to make some changes. If not, then you can decide if you can accept that or not. Don't waste time if it's not going to work out. 

tog redux's picture

What the others said. You have a boyfriend problem, not kid or bio mother problem. He may be very sweet and loving but if he doesn't parent his kids, your life will be miserable. And why are you taking care of them when you don't even live there? They are his kids, let him deal with them. 

Your daughter didn't act that way because you parented her. You can't make up for the fact that neither of the parents want to parent these two kids. 

StepUp2020's picture

I don't take care of them. I don't babysit them or anything like that. I'm just around them sometimes when he has them and sometimes we all hang out on a Saturday or something like that. 

Aunt Agatha's picture

It sounds awful for you and your daughter.  You SO is not respecting you, nor your personal boundaries.  

It's dangerous for you especially as you work with kids.  I'm assuming you have some licensure, which could be at risk if one of his little hellions make a false report of abuse, or the dunk-drugged our mother does.

If he can't respect your boundaries, and his kids are this awful now as youngsters, you and your daughter are going to continue to suffer.

You are deserve more than this!

Gimlet's picture

I agree with the others, it sounds like your boyfriend and his ex are poor parents.

Personally, I would not subject my own child to this mess.  Between the ex being unstable, your boyfriend lacking parenting skills, and a kid who isn't his and the potential complications that has, this is bound to be an miserable and volatile situation for a long while. 

 I am sure you can find another partner who is caring and supportive, but not towing around this kind of baggage.

DHsfamilyfromhell's picture

If that was me I would either end the relationship, or just date the man (ie go out for drinks, meals cinema etc) and get a babysitter and not involve the children. 

Rags's picture

Well...... when she is in your home she behaves or she is disciplined.  The more blatant the in your face behavior of this toxic spawn, the more firm the application of age appropriate consequences.  

Pretty simple.  Her mother doesn;t matter. Her mother does not live in your home.  You live in your home. Your daughter lives in your home and apparently her failed worthless father lives in your home.

Since he will not step up and parent, you do it.  He can bite his tongue and have your back.  If he doesn't like how you discipline, he can step up and get it done before you have to.

As equity life partners, you are both equity parents to any children in your home, regardless of kid biology.