You are here

"But at my mom's house..."

mella's picture

I'm looking for advice on what to do when my 4-yr-old future stepson (FSS?) responds to anything he doesn't want to do with "Well at my mom's house I don't have to do that."

It could be anything from brushing his teeth to picking up toys to changing into clean underwear.

I would love to have a response that would convey that Angel what he does or doesn't have to do at his mom's house has no bearing on our expectations for him when he is at OUR house and (b) he's not "getting to me" with that comment (which he is).

I have tried "Well at our house we DO brush our teeth before bed." (Not effective.) I have tried "Well, we're not at your mom's house." (To which he responds "Yes we are" which makes no sense.)

Exchange that took place today:

[FSS eating pie with his hands]

Me: You need to eat your pie with a fork. Use the fork. [Points at fork next to plate]

FSS: Well at my mom's house I don't have to eat pie with a fork. [Continues to eat with his hands]

Me: Put that pie down and use your fork!

[FSS puts pie down, but declines to pick up fork.]

Me: Pie isn't like a cookie that you can eat with your hands, you need to use a fork.

FSS: But I don't want to use a fork, I want to eat it with my hands!

Me: Fork.

FSS: It's too harrrrrd!

Me: OK, let me show you how to use a fork on pie, you sort of poke it like this and it breaks off a--

FSS: Well I'm just going to use my hands anyway.

Me: Well maybe I'm putting the pie away until you agree to eat it with a fork.

[FH enters kitchen]

FH: You were told to eat your pie with a fork, son, so eat your pie with a fork.

FSS: But at my mom's house...

FH: OK, I'm taking the pie away [starts to take pie away]

FSS: [grabs pie plate and has general meltdown]

[Timeout ensues.]

I'm really new at the step-parenting thing and it's been a rocky at times. Any ideas you have would be great!



Lauren1438's picture

keep at it....FSD4 did and still does this a lot. At least your FH is backing you up. Try saying that this is daddy's house and Daddy and I make the rules. But just keep it up I know how crazy it can make you at times. As long as you and your FH stay on the same page you should be fine.

Disneyfan's picture

What he is saying is normal. If he's in preschool, I bet his teacher hears the same thing.

Instead of going back and forth about a fork (or anything else), tell him once and give a warning. If he doesn't listen, take the pie.

mella's picture

Thanks you guys! I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets torqued over that comment. I guess I find it hard to believe that a 4 y/o can be so manipulative. When he first started saying it I was like, huh, that's weird that she doesn't have him brush his teeth... But after hearing this excuse more & more often I'm now giving BM the benefit of the doubt - she's not the sharpest tool in the shed nor the best parent, but brushing teeth is pretty basic...right?

Next time this comes up I will just give a quick response and a warning and follow up with a consequence instead of arguing back and forth.

Also gotta say the analogy to going to a friends house makes me feel better about the whole "different house, different rules" thing. At first glance it doesn't seem fair to expect it of a preschooler, but there's no way we're stooping to BM's level (no rules, anything goes, just stay out of mom's way) so I guess that's how it has to be.