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Being Happy Without Consistent Rules?

TiredMan's picture

I have a teenage SD that I started living with a couple of years back. Mom is super lax on rules, and the kid has days off from school and/or chores all the time and it just annoys the piss out of me to hear her in there playing around when she's supposedly sick or whatever. But I know it's not her fault because if we had it my way that wouldn't happen because my rule was to have no internet if there was no school.

But, there was a blowout the other day when I was mad she was staying home from school again about how I'm a dick and she needs to just be left alone and can do what she wants because I don't have experience with kids and I am just being mean on purpose so I give up and never ask her to do anything and there is no discipline because of it. Just getting days off every week or two and having fun at home because of course it's better than school when you can just fuck around all day.

Does anyone have advice on how to just stay happy even if you don't agree with the way your step-child is being raised? Am I just being a dick because I don't get how to parent? I have no experience with kids at all and I have a constant anger inside that makes me feel evil or something because I just can't be happy with this.

Sometimes I think I'm being unrealistic or crazy or whatever. Other than the not doing anything for most days like any teenager would do given the situation, she's a good kid.

Acratopotes's picture

yes yes yes, you are at the right place ..

Disengage, this kid is not your responsibility, you owe her nothing, you do nothing for her and you buy her nothing, you do not even drive her to school or the mall,

You never tell her what to do, you leave that up to mum to handle, If SD is not doing her chores, who cares, you simply tell Mum... this house is a pig pen, Im going out with friends.... and then leave, go to the pub or just to the park, tell Mum to inform you when it's tidy enough for normal humans to live there...

I would suggest, getting your own place again, not ending the relationship, just get your own place, if you do not like

go through this forum, somewhere i posted the disengagement link, think under general or I will do again tomorrow when I'm at my pc.... now on my phone... this is to good to give up... this site

TiredMan's picture

Thank you for your tips. I think the disengagement stuff is the direction I need to go at this time before the stress kills me from a heart attack or whatever. I'll look for the link to what you're talking about.

Acratopotes's picture

Nochild has the power to break up 2 people... if this happens....

then there was no love in the first place.... if you ignore the brat and you see the woman only, it works out, I livedwith SO, we bought a house together... ok he and BM did nd after the divorce I bought her half...
sick i know but so satisfying, I moved out 4 years ago, but our relationship is stronger then before..

I can wait the 14 months left of the brat in the house... then i might move back lol

TiredMan's picture

I don't want it to come to me declaring a war on her over what is not her fault. But, if things do get out of hand there is the option to be the enemy of them both by taking a stand. However, I think the disengaging thing is a lot better of an idea for the mental health of everyone.

mommadukes2015's picture

Its not her fault now but she won't magically morph into a functioning, responsible adult overnight on her 18th birthday. Then whose fauktmwill it be when she's still doing the same shitnshendoes now? You're an adult who resides in your home. You make the rules. Not some teenager on a power kick. IMHO of course.

TiredMan's picture

I try to think positive, but I have a feeling that this will end in us having an adult at home that doesn't want to participate in the real world. Why would she want to if there are responsibilities she doesn't know how to handle?

But, yeah, I think that if she drops out or doesn't get out of the house when she's out of high school I'll have a talk with my wife and take it from there because I'm not supporting an adult that acts like a child.

My life was the same way growing up. But then I finally was thrust out into the world with nothing and it took me being on drugs and homeless to finally get a grip on things. It took a lot of different wake-up calls that were not pretty, and I basically have a shitty job history, bad credit, etc. and never will be able to do a lot of what I want to for a long time because of my recent past. That is something I don't wish on anyone, and if I am at fault because I didn't try it would make me super depressed.

I think I will focus on the marriage and the positives of it. Do you think it's a good idea to tell my wife to just not bring up the kid around me or ask me about shit? I could just say that until I have a say and people mind my rules, I don't want to hear it because I can't do anything about it anyways and it just stresses me out.

Java_Junkie's picture

An EXCELLENT book, my counselor recommended the series to me for different aspects of my life:

Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No

They explain HOW to say the things you always bit your tongue about. So liberating when someone is going off on you, and instead of erupting, you learn to say, "Yknow, this conversation isn't going really well - how about we both take a few minutes and collect our thoughts, and meet back here in, say, 30 minutes? I think that'll let us reflect on what we really want and bring that to the conversation." Who could argue with that except for a lunatic? My volatile ex hated not being in control, and when I'd say that, it stopped her COLD. She couldn't disagree, couldn't argue, didn't have a snappy comeback, and most of all (for her), I took the control from her. She was utterly stunned. She started to work on ways to counter me, but I kept the upper hand long enough to do what I needed to. This is just one example of some things I learned, and the techniques even helped me with some difficult coworkers. Very affordable in paperback, too!

Major Blunder's picture

Absolute agreement with all the ladies here, they know what they are talking about. I'm in the same situation as you, no Bio kids two SD's, completely understand being in your place. Stepping back (disengaging ) is the best thing, not your kid, not your problem, and that is easier said than done. Keep reading the posts here, I learned a lot from reading past posts that related to my situation, not many of us guys on here but the ladies do know their stuff.

TiredMan's picture

Yeah, it's hard as a guy to watch no solutions get put into place or whatever. To be told something and then scoffed out when you bring up a solution that you know would work but that would never be implemented.

Chellebelle77's picture

It's the same for us ladies. Its like watching a train wreck about to happen, and you seem to be the only one noticing. You try and try to tell everyone for their own safety, but they get mad at you instead. I'm tired too---been beating my head up against this brick wall for too long. This disengaging thing is surely peaking my interest

Major Blunder's picture

I find screaming inside my own head also helps immensely , being that SD is a teen maybe you will get lucky and she will move out after a few years. Otherwise I suggest finding an outlet for your frustrations , you obviously won't win at home so need to find another place to kick asz and take names. Video games used to do it for me but had to move up to more physical stuff like paint ball.

TiredMan's picture

Yeah I do play video games and escape a lot that way. I want to get back into some of my old hobbies. But yeah, I need more to do that doesn't involve thinking about what's going on at home.

Cover1W's picture

Yeah, my SDs don't have rules or chores or any expectations either.
It was really, really hard at first.
Then I disengaged.

I don't help with things unless I want to.
I don't buy extra food for them.
I don't buy anything extra for them unless I want to.
I don't help ferry them around unless I want to - or DH cannot for some reason do it.
I don't bring up issues I see with SDs to DH; doing so will always, always bite you in the rear.

If there's a mess, I ask DH to clean it up. Or I throw it away, off the deck or down the stairs. Everyone knows my standards for shared living space. How hard is it to take a glass to the kitchen?

And I'm super darn happy right now.
Kind of dreading the holidays, but I've stepped back from those too - so it should be more enjoyable.

Rags's picture

Advice? Yes. Your house, your rules. Set the standards of behavior for any spawn in your marital home regardless of kid biology, enforce the rules. Whether your DW agrees or not. She can step up and get the parenting or disciplining done before you have to or she can STFU and have your back.

That is my advice.

Good luck.

Take care of you.

Acratopotes's picture

The link I promised you

it will not be easy, but hang in there, after a year or so it becomes second nature and no more tension ....
Wifey can moan and bitch as much as she wants and ask for advice - you only listen say mmmm aahhhh and then end the convo with.. Hon you are a good mother you will know best....

Ignore SD like she's not there, no money nothing.... you keep finances separate, you only pay 33% of all house hold expenses, DW has to pay the rest cause it's for her and her daughter and no you do not help her out financially, only time you will spend money on DW is when you take her out for a romantic dinner without the brat...

Let_therebepeace's picture

"Just getting days off every week or two and having fun at home because of course it's better than school when you can just fuck around all day."

Tiredman you should check to see if there are laws regarding school attendance in your state. There are in mine and that was a huge part of why my DH was awarded custody, the skids truancy from school was outrageous. If there are laws regarding attendance/truancy...well, perhaps a call to the school might have your DW thinking twice about letting SD stay home for no reason. I would suggest doing this secretly so you don't start war with DW. If there aren't any laws, well...disengaging is all you can do. If SD is missing school then you should find other things to fill your day, the park, library, museums are all free...look for any excuse to get out of the house until after DW returns home and let her deal with any mess SD has created that day.

Good luck.

TiredMan's picture

I actually looked this up and it said something about it being a class C felony in child neglect or something like that if they miss 15 days a semester. However, I did ask my wife about this and she said that it doesn't apply or something like that so I dropped it.

IMO a kid that knows they can have an off day and stick around playing all day will always have off days or will create situations that lead to them.

She's been home a ton. I dunno what to do because it seriously makes me question why I'm even here trying to help with money and shit if I have 0 say in matters like this. This is not what I signed up for. It's like watching a wreck in slow motion and I feel guilty all the time.

steponmeagain's picture

Don't feel guilty. I am in the same situation with you somewhat but he is an adult now at 21 and yes, its like watching a train wreck or a roller coaster go up and down continuously. Try the disengaging. Its hard to perfect it but it might help you out in the short term.

TiredMan's picture

I'm pretty bummed out that I was excited to be someone that could help make a successful person and now everything I've done is just seen as mean-spirited or whatever. There has to be a father and mother figure, and if I can't be the father then there's going to be an imbalance. That's something I'm all too familiar with but being the enemy is worse than not being there at all so eff it.

TiredMan's picture

Not at all. Just saying that I'd rather just disengage and wait for the kid to move out than to fight any longer. There's no reason for me to have to deal with anything related to someone I can't make choices with so I'm just doing what I can to get everyone by while I keep to myself.

If something happens to where I'm stuck living with a lazy 20 something year old, then I'll consider leaving until something changes.

notasm3's picture

I was not with my DH when my pathetic POS SS32 was a minor - thank goodness. He was in his early 20s when I encountered his worthless a$$. He'd spent 3 1/2 years in juvie for some unnamed crime.

But I will not spend one dime of my money for that pathetic crotch dropping. I had no interest in whether he launched or not. Have let him be homeless and in jail.

One should NEVER subsidize aholes. It doesn't matter who they share DNA with.

LJFSYD's picture

Tiredman,,,its exhuasting to sit and watch a SC with no bounderies and no discipline and not being taught the rules of such as well as respect...something all to common today....Adult children are not much better and where i am now.....I sat down with my now husband before we got married and explained my boundaries and what was acceptable and what would not be tolerated by his two younger children 20 and 26 and that I would speak up when I was affected directly by their behavior, but hoped he would jump in before i had to, which in the past 8 out of 9 years he has not done.....well, the stuff hit the fan when he told them we were getting married, (one week today we were married) and all H broke loose ..they are now 25 and 31.....we both wrote emails to address the issue,,,one is in the Navy (an officer, scary, huh?) and the SD is in Taiwan teaching English and soon to come visit and stay with her brother an hour from us (rather she not be here given past false accusations towards me) but that was a waste of time as the rants of their being victims was beyond our realm of suggestion is to sit with your wife/GF and have this discussion and come to an agreement, then sit the child down and tell her the boundaries,,,and if necessary you and wife/gf go to a couselor for strategy help.....dont fall victim to a child wanting to put a wedge between you.

JustGettingUsedToThis's picture

I guess I have two different perspectives to offer here.

We started a rule years ago that the kids are not allowed to watch television or play on electronics (unless it's for school) on school nights. So, on other words, they only get to do those things on the weekend. However, my husband used to work every Wednesday night and occasionally, I would let the kids watch TV and we'd order take out on those nights. I fully admit, it was because I am/was a workaholic, and I was using those nights of not cooking and having the kids watch the tele because I was catching up on work without distractions. My husband and I discussed it, though, and came to an agreement. I also didn't do it EVERY single night he worked and there were some nights when we made an exception even if he wasn't at work. I think because of the way we handled it, it never became an issue. We don't have those "cheat" nights anymore simply because they are getting older and their homework amounts are insane.

The other perspective I have to offer is that while we set the same rules for all of the kids, my husband does not enforce them the same with every child. His youngest gets away with murder. After years of discussions and even arguments about it, things are starting to improve. What has helped the most is that I don't wait to talk about things anymore. I used to wait because I didn't want to start an argument about it during the day. But by the time we were going to bed that night, he'd forgotten all about whatever happened and I felt like a crazy person, bringing up every facet of our day. Now, when I notice something being enforced unfairly, I make a decision: say something now or forget about it completely. The forgetting part is really hard for women. LOL But that's what I've been doing and it helps a lot.