You are here


DannyB87's picture

So... I got married in July of last year. My wife has an 8 year old that is with us all the time, her biological father is starting to FINALLY get involved in a real way now that there is another guy around.... anyway

My step-daughter, whom I love, has obstinate-defiance disorder(diagnosed AFTER the wedding), which has been improving fairly steadily, but, she is still really disrespectful and argues and talks back. she doesn't have the knock down drag out hours long tantrums, but everything else is still going on. When things are good, they are GREAT, when things aren't good, they SUCK!!!

My wife and I are due with my 1st biological child who is due to arrive in June, and lately i have been almost unable to enjoy my family at all.

We have 2 rules in the house
1: Do what you're told
2: Be respectful

My wife thinks that i am too strict about respect and obedience. She says I'm too demanding of an 8 year old. And lately she may be right. Any time i'm dealing with my step-daughter and i have to keep repeating myself, or she talks back, or argues, or pisses and moans about having to do the same stuff she is expected to do every day, or she's caught lying or anything, I lose my shit! I become a whole other person. I don't like it, it scares my wife, it scares my step-daughter, but instead of a gradual build to being furious over hours of battling with the child, it just switches to it. I sometimes feel like i hate her. I fantasize about a life with my life, where she was never born. I can't help but think about how much better our marriage and the prospect of my son being born would be if we weren't constantly fighting and arguing about my step-daughter. I love her to hell and back, and i feel like that is being tested.

I don't know what to do. I've had a temper all my life, but never like this and never with other people. It's always been with myself or with something not working properly. Neither my wife or myself believe in divorce (she got pregnant in high-school and was never married before me). So, that's not an option. I want desperately to have a good relationship with my step-daughter and of course my wife.

jumanji's picture

I would seriously suggest some counseling... both for how to manage your temper, as well as to improve your parenting skills...

Good luck!

Disneyfan's picture

Your temper is so bad that it scares a grown woman. Can you imagine the impact it must have on an 8 year old?

One would think a mother's desire to protect her child would be stronger than her views on divorce.

DannyB87's picture

It's a very recent escalation. The last week or so. I'm just as confused as to why it's escalating as my wife and her daughter are.

DannyB87's picture

My wife and I decided that I need to step back as an authority figure for a while(or more permanently) to build trust and a better relationship. I'm looking into counseling for my temper.
My wife and I had it in our heads that I could just step into the dad role, and everything would smooth out. Turns out we were plain wrong. Hopefully this will work.

Rags's picture

I completely understand the switch issue you are having. I raised my SS-20 as my own since he was 1yo. I love him unequivically. But ..... I too experienced the temper switch you describe.

I could be patient for miles then I would lose it. Usually over something comparativly inocuouse. What I lost it over was of course not what was bothering me. The build up is what was bothering me. I never got violent with him but I know I scared the crap out of him a few times. I scared myself on those occassions.

So, learn to discipline then walk away. Do not expose yourself to the constant back talking, arguements, etc.... Discipline then the lippy kid goes to their room. This gives the kid time to cogetate on the behavior/discipline link and gives you a break from the lippy little shit.

We tied a variety of discipline methods. The one we found that worked the best was sentences. Countless numbers of them. At 8yo your SD is at the optimal age to learn the joys of writing sentences as a consequence for her actions.

Thousands and thousands of them. All perfectly neat, no erasures, no poor handwriting and no procrastination. Pick a sentence with an applicablel message for the infraction.

Some of the favorites during my SS's sentence writing years were ...

I will do my homework and turn it in on time. (He had a screwy habit of doing it then not turning it in.)

I will not lie, I will not hide the truth and I will not hide facts required to understand a situation when an adult in authority asks me questions.

I will do what I am told when I am told to do it and I will not talk back or be disrespectful to my parents (teachers, etc...).

etc...etc.... etc.....

A quota of 120-200 sentence per hour depending on length of sentence and age of the child (We used sentences from age ~8-14). Missed quota, poor hand writing or miss spelling resets the entire count. This is critical to keep the kid focused and from manipulating. 5 minutes ever X hours for bathroom breaks and 15 minutes for meals when the family eats. To keep this from being a punishment for yourself and the rest of the family sentences are written during any free time the kid has when not engaged in school, homework, sports or family activities away from home.

The highest number assigned to our kid was 10,000 when he was near the end of his sentences as punishment period. That took him a couple of months of his free time.

The positive side effect of sentences .... to this day he has beautiful handwriting.

This method also gives the rest of the family a break from the drama associated with the behavior of a difficult kid. When a kid is in a different room alone the rest of the family gets a break. In our case we had several unused rooms in our home. We put an antique wooden school desk in the middle of an empty room, a handwriting tablet, pencil, sharpener and waste basket. That was it. When we started with sentences we did not use an empty room and we would check on him to find blanket forts, pirate ships, space ships, pillow castles and a very engaged kid playing instead of writing. As he got older, we gravitated to what we called the TOWER concept. He wrote sentences in the tower. Of course the tower was just an empty bedroom upstairs in our home. Heated, cooled, next to a bathroom and easily checked on by his mom and I.

Most importantly ... give your DW clarity that if she does not like how you discipline your Skid then she better step up and get it done before you have to.

That is what ultimately worked for our situation. When my wife got over the single teen mom, visitation court order, SpermClan, poor little Skid guilt crap and stepped up as his parent things in our home got much better for all of us. This was the final lynch pin that connected she and I as true equity partners and participants in our marriage. If we were to be true equity partners in our marriage I had to be a full equity parent to the kids in our home. For us that was just one. We were not able to have more due to health complications associated with pregnancy. We struggled with the equity parent/discipline element of our family for a few years but ultimately we figured it out.

To my son I am his dad. The only full time dad he has ever had and the only one of character and integrity. Your SD will learn the same things from you just as your STB born son will learn them from you.

Your situation sounds extremely similar to ours. My wife was a single teen mom (16) when our son was born. Never married to BioDad, I am her first marriage. We have been married for nearly 19 years. My parents have been married for 50 and my ILs for 37. I was married once before to an adulterous skank with a MIL who proved to be a felon who embezzled $millions from her employer over the 30+ years she worked for him. I did not believe in divorce either but thankfully my XW did not have the same convictions and blessed me with a divorce after 2.5 years of marriage. We had no kids.

Congratulations on the new marriage, the new baby and being a REAL dad to your daughter. As challenging as Skids can be, they need parents who love them, support them and are commited to raising them to viable adulthood. IMHO a parent is a mentor, confidante, advocate and disciplinarian. None of those roles are easy and sometimes can be extremely difficult. But, that is our responsibility as parents to every child who lives in our family home.

All IMHO of course.

Good luck.