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I can't stand my Stepkids - Need to vent

Emmanon's picture

Forgive me for the long post.

I've grown to dislike my stepchildren. Here's some background: I've been married to my wife for almost two years and together almost four years. It's cliché, but she's my soulmate. Her children are another matter. She has a 9 yo boy, 11 yo girl, and 12 yo boy. My 7 yo daughter stays one night every weekend. My in-laws live with us. I get along great with them. Bio dad is a loser.

General issues with kids

They are disrespectful, disobedient, selfish, and greedy. I avoid eating with them at the dinner table because it’s a circus. Getting them to sit in a chair longer than 30 seconds is a struggle. We can’t have a conversation without them shouting over each other. My wife wonders why I eat quickly and excuse myself. Being ignored is not uncommon if you ask them something or tell them to stop misbehaving. They have no problem talking back or arguing with you.

My primary grievance is I don’t trust these kids at all. Bio dad coached the kids to “report” to him mistreatment. He reported us to Child Protective Services who informed him that his “reports” weren’t child abuse. Meaning don’t waste our time you petulant deadbeat. If CPS had believed him, I could have gone to jail or lost visitation with my daughter. Also, I know he tells the kids to lie about things to us. My wife and bio dad are civil for the moment. What happens if they have another falling out? I’m keeping my distance, so they can’t say I abused them.

Specific issues

 The 9 yo boy still has accidents. It's getting better, but he still craps and wets his pants (or my couch) and can’t wipe correctly. The kid won't eat a normal meal. I understand kids don't want to eat broccoli. He won't really eat anything except corndogs, French fries, or McDonalds etc. He develops a stomach ache if given a healthy meal. However, his stomach ache doesn’t stop him from playing Xbox. His poor diet causes constipation requiring laxatives. He’s started carrying a stuffed animal around and wanting to take out in public. I realize stuffed animals are still age appropriate for a 9 yo. However, he just started doing this and I feel like he’s regressing. I feel the kid have some serious underlying issues that require professional therapy. My wife ignores and keeps babying him.

The 11 yo girl is patently insubordinate and greedy. In the beginning, I tried to bond with her. I spent several hundred dollars on dance class and accessories for her. She quit after three weeks because she didn't like the dance studio because it “smelled funny” and was in an industrial park. Meaning it wasn't fancy enough. I have three children of my own I support. I'm not made of money. The dance class is but one example of something I provided her only to be shortly discarded. Is she grateful? Nope. The only thing she says to me is if she can use my tablet to listen to music or buy her something. I’m tired of being used by her. SD once refused to switch seats in the car so her grandmother (with a bad knee) wouldn’t have to walk completely around the van to get in the other seat. If that’s not selfish, I don’t know what is.

The 12 yo boy is a special case. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. He has zero social skills which is central to the disorder. I can’t interact with him because all he wants to do and talk about are computer games and screens. My issue with him is that my wife doesn’t think his lack of social skills is a problem. I know it’s neurological, but to be successful in the world you need to be able to interact people. Bio dad doesn’t believe the diagnosis. They are setting him up for failure.

I’ve talked or fought with my wife about these issues. Her reaction is to yell at them which doesn’t change anything. If she punishes them, follow through is weak if any. The children have never been sent to their rooms. SD was grounded from screens for a week. She straightened up until she got them back. I finally took away all the consoles and screens.

I’m can’t stand being around them. Thus, I’m disengaging. If my wife doesn’t want to expend the effort to address these issues, I’m not going to either. What really drives me crazy is they don’t act out at their dad’s. He can’t spoil them like we do. The kids don’t treat him like this. I told my wife to stop buying them stuff, since they are content with having nothing over there.

Yet, my wife wants me to spend time with them and bond. She says they want my love and attention. I see no evidence of that. Maybe they do, but you only get to sell me out once.

Help me, I don’t know what to do. Any other step-dads dislike their step kids?

Evil3's picture

As a step-mom, I hate my SD30's guts with the passion of a thousand fiery suns. I grew to love my SS28. They were 5 and 7 when I came along and your SKs sound exactly like mine were. I couldn't stand the noise at the dinner table. They had no manners at all. They were coddled and spoiled. They, especially SD, were so entitled and thought they were above me. They treated their dad like an ATM and they assumed that I would spend all my money on them, especially SD. It wasn't long before I withdrew any and all of my time and resources towards SD, because she shunned me while living with me full time and she worked relentlessly to get my DH to divorce me and send me and our infant DD19 packing to prove his love for SD. She was never consequenced for it and now she's a 30 year old narcissist.

Don't count on coddled kids to launch or meet any other milestones when their peers do. If you make the mistake of counting down to 18, you'll be sorely disappointed, because coddled brats don't launch. They don't get boyfriends or girlfriends when their peers do, so you can't count on that to get them out of the house more often. Coddled kids are often clingy as hell, so you will likely get no break at all. You can disengage, but that's to save your sanity and remove yourself from the direct line of fire. Disengagement is to no longer give your SKs opportunity to defy you or disrespect you again. However, they will still be wild animals out of control and drive you insane. I disengaged and as the sole house cleaner, I went on strike. My house was a pig sty and my SKs remained feral.

Disegnagement is if you want to save your marriage, but it does not mean the bio parent will step up and it doesn't mean the SKs will improve. I'm not much of a fan of disengagement as being the be all end all, because in the end you will still have unlaunched clingy cling-on, useless, helpless, malingering boors in your house and you will have no relief nor escape. Things will not get better. They will get worse, because since the kids have been programmed to live totally hedonistic lives, they will start with the pot and booze and do it right under their parent's nose who will justify it as "at least they're not hiding it," as if that's such a major asset to their rotten personalities. They may come home pregnant at 15 and you get to start the cycle all over again because bio coddling parent won't want to give up their grandchild. Feral brats get worse as they age, because they become more cunning and their bio parents fight all the harder to stay in denial and keep their adult babies home with them forever.

As you can tell, I'm in a horrible mood, but if you ask why I'm in such a mood, it's because of still dealing with the step-demons. They are 30 and 28.

Lollybobs's picture

'I hate my SD30's guts with the passion of a thousand fiery suns'. Sshe worked relentlessly to get my DH to divorce me.' 'She was never consequenced for it and now she's a 30 year old narcissist.'

OMG Evil3 I think we share the same SD! Smile

tankh21's picture

I have two teenages skids. They are both boys one is 15 years oldand the other one is 13 years old. The 15 year old has Asperger's as well. He has zero social skills and I cannot stand being around him either. Both skids are lazy and my DH pretty much lets them do whatever they want. They waste food both have no filter especially the 15 year old but I think that is part of the Asperger's as well. You will not win this battle with your wife though. I really feel that our spouses will never see OUR side so we can eithe just suck it up and ignore their brats or leave. The 15 year old constantly tries to push my buttons on purpose to upset me every time he comes over and I used to get upset and tell him how I felt or try to correct him. Now I just don't care and I ignore him or just say yeah ok whatever you say.

Emmanon's picture

You're right. She won't see perspective. We've had heated arguments or civil talks about it. I'm tired of being ignored. However, she still says she wants to speak up. The funny thing is she cured my daughter my little girl of her tantrums and disciplines her. I'm grateful for it. I don't know why she won't do that with her kids. I guess her kids' problems require more effort than some time outs.

tog redux's picture

OK - so much to unpack here. 

First off, your soulmate is a terrible parent.  She needs to get control of her kids. 

Secondly, none of this is your job, so stop trying to parent or change them.  They don't listen to her, they won't listen to you, and she doesn't really want to learn any effective parenting skills. They will just resent and target you. 

Third, if the kids don't behave badly with the father is that because he's actually the better parent? "He can't spoil them like we do" sounds as if instead of a "petulant deadbeat" he might actually be better at managing them.  Is he turning the kids against you guys and encouraging them to behave badly, or is he just concerned that his ex-wife allows them to be feral monsters in her home?  I guess I'm not clear why he's a "deadbeat" when it appears you have very little visitation with your own child. 

At any rate, blaming him is a red herring when your own partner is mismanaging the kids so badly. 

Emmanon's picture

On why he's a deadbeat. He emotionaly abused my wife for years. His exgirlfriend reached out to my wife to apologize for being nasty to her. Guess what, he emotionally abused her too. He owes me several hundred dollars for his half his kids medical bills. He's always delinquent on his paltry $100 per month in medical support. Working more than part-time is hard for him. Is that not a deadbeat? I never blamed him. It was evidence that my wife's approach isn't working.

I don't know how to respond to your comment about my visitation with my 7 yo daughter. I love the internet?

tog redux's picture

I don't call any parent who has regular custody time and exercises it a "deadbeat", personally (especially when he seems to be the better parent), but I think you should direct your anger at your wife, not at him. He seems to be able to manage the kids.  How much custody time does he have?

My comment was that some might call you a deadbeat for only seeing your kid once every two weeks for a night, so it's all in the perception.

You also don't have to pay for anything for your stepkids, that's on your wife.

I'm not meaning to be harsh, but sooo many people come on here blaming the other bio parent and talking about how "amazing" their partner is, when really - their resentment and anger should be directed at the partner who won't adequately parent their kids.

Lollybobs's picture

You said your in-laws live with you. How do they find the behaviour of their grandkids? 

MissTexas's picture

for her kids' horrific behavior.

She has to step up and parent HER KIDS. They are not your responsibility, nor will they take anything you say seriously.

There are many good books on setting boundaries (I have all of them by Dr. Henry Cloud), however, if your spouse isn't on the same page, (boundary resistant) than there is little hope this will be successful.

To recap: You have a wife probelm, as she enables her kids' behaviors, and any discipling she pretends to enact, doesn't get enforced and she  allows them to be inconsequential. She's the ring leader of this circus. While she may be your soul-mate, she gets an "F" in the parenting department. I have to think your soul needs peace and solace, and since she is not affording you that luxury, and honor. Not to step on toes, but  I would question if she is in fact your soul mate, when her ill parenting is attributing to your soul's suicide. (Soul:Comprises the mental abilities of a living being, reason, character, feeling, counsciousness, memory, perception , thinking etc. What makes you who you are, and tht will live on after your death.)

ctnmom's picture

So, so tired of hearing this on these boards at ST. "My partner is perrrrfect in every wayyyyy except he/she has monsters for kids and I'm misreable".... life IS your stepkids, your relationship needs to be able to weather storms. Job loss, in laws, sickness, no relationship is immune to outside forces. REAL "soulmates" handle and get through things together as a team.