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Dancemom4's picture

Dancemom4's picture

I've been a stepmom to 2 teenagers for about a year now. A year ago they were so sweet, looked forward to coming to our house, couldn't have been blessed with greater kids. Fast forward a year and we barely see them... DH is supposed to have 50/50 custody but we literally get them maybe 48 hours or less per week. Our house is very structured..... we enforce rules if necessary and have realistic expectations (like not sleeping during virtual school, not sneaking out etc). Bio mom literally lets them do whatever they want and if they do get into trouble they stay grounded for 5 min and then it's over. It really really bothers me how little supervision or rules they have...... there has been some very questionable behaviors from them and DH tries to parent and give consequences as much as he can but basically when they are with her we can't do anything and if he pushes too hard they just won't come to our house. They know this as well and literally rub it in their dads face about what they do to get a rise out of him. It's eating me up inside. I don't want to see them failing school and making these poor decisions but I know if I keep bringing it up it just will drive a wedge in oir marriage and we have a wonderful relationship. I get along well with the kids too but they know I am more strict than their mom. I guess I just wonder if there is really any thing I can actually do or do I just step back and let them co parent. 

CajunMom's picture

Unfortunately, in divorce and split custody, there isn't much a "strict" home can do to combat the "leisurely" home. Just keep your rules in your home. And for you, step away completely. While you may like/love the SKs, they have two bio parents who need to be doing THEIR jobs. Your DH will need to continue his parenting within your marital home and hope he somehow makes an impact. His only other option would be going to court for some sort of modification, and I can tell you...his chances are literally zero in the courts these days. And any changes you would get will only amp up the SK troubles you are seeing now.

I'm sorry. Wish I had better news. I've been in your exact position. With DHs two youngest and a BM like yours. Both Sks ended up failing and dropping out of high school. We stepped in and found ways to "encourage" them to get their GEDs by promising cars. It worked but it still didn't fix the years of "leisure" living. Today, we take the mindset...we did everything we could. Now its up to adult SKs to get their lives together. Good luck.

Dancemom4's picture

Thanks that is what I was afraid of. Any kid would want to be like them if given the chance.... It's hard especially when my younger kids look up to them but I know at this point I have to just pray for the best. 

tog redux's picture

Yes, this. We had the same situation and SS stopped coming over entirely at 15. He also barely graduated from high school, didn't speak to DH for 3 years and is now 21 and firmly failing to launch - but at BM's. He and DH now have a relationship, though it's superficial mostly. DH has pretty much given up trying to have any impact on the poor choices that he makes.

There really isn't much you can do. The court won't make teens visit and so if they want to stay at BM's and do nothing, that's what will happen.   I agree that you should just stay out of it entirely. 

Rags's picture

IF there is a Custody/Visitation/Support CO then DH needs to role up a copy of it and beat the ever loving snot out of BM with it..... Figuratively of course.

When she fails to deliver the Skids for visitation per the COd visitation schedule DH needs to nail her with a contempt motion each and every time.  Lather.......... Rinse.......  Repeat.

If the kids refuse to visit per the CO, BM gets smacked with a contempt motion.  See how the kids like having their BM dragged to court over, and over, and over again for violating DH's time with his kids.

Tolerating this kind of  crap from kids and an X without bringing the absolute misery of effective consequences to bear is just self flagilation and truly stupid.  The key is to take away any benefit they are looking for with their choices and rub their noses in the stench of their manipulative behavioral crap until they would avoid the consequences at any cost and will modify their behavior to comply with the CO and standards that you and their father establish.

Bring the pain. Have fun doing it.

The pain does not stop until the behavior improves.


Dancemom4's picture

The kids are of age that they can decide if they want to come.... it would be nice but it's not going to happen. They had years long custody battle just to get 50/50 mainly because she wanted more $$$. I've told him to threaten emancipation becusee his oldest acts and wants to be a grownup so badly just let him.... emancipation means no child support to her so then she might wake up. 

Rags's picture

Forced emancipation can be a very effective way of delivering a clear message to an older minor child that has an overinflated perspective on their position.  A good friend of mine initiated forced imancipation on his middle of three daughters from his first marriage when she was nearly 17.  She was in an advanced education program in high school and was on track to graduate at 17.  She was skipping school to hook up with her BF who was a Jr. at another HS.  She had a friend who was a student intern in the attendance office doctor her attendance record so she could have sex instead of being in class.  She had friends provide her with the assignments and would give them her assignments to turn in.

She was nearly prosecuted for her attendance fraud and spent more than half of her Sr. year in the Opportunity Center where the kids that were a hair from Juvenile Hall went for a lock in school day under very heavy teacher and LEO observation.  She graduated with honors just after turning 17.  So... her dad had her forcibly emancipated.  She spent the next year at university an hour from home on an accademic scholarship.  She and her BF married after he graduated the next year.  He attended the same university on an athletic scholarship.  They stayed married until she graduated and took a job in another State. The intent was for him to finish his last year of university and then join her.  During that year she started dating her boss, divorced her first DH, married her boss, who she left a couple of years later when their child was a young toddler.  She had issues with his XW and her Skids.

Interestingly, she and her father reconciled and ended up going into business together.

At the time he initiated emancipation he did not want her in the home and family adversely impacting her younger sister and his youngest child, a son that he and his 2nd wife had together who was about 15 years younger than his youngest daughter.  He was adamant that if she could not abide by the household rules, she could navigate the world austensibly as an adult.  The Judge agreed with dad and cut the kid loose to launch as an emancipated minor.

Dancemom4's picture

The kids are acting out of control when they are with BM..... oldest would love to just be in his own and doesn't get that there needs to be rules. We work with them constantly when they are with us to get caught up with schoolwork then they do nothing the othe days. My DS calls me at work saying they are asleep instead of classes online. It's so frustrating but at this point I've just stopped caring. Let them fail at this point. 

tog redux's picture

Honestly, it's a no-win situation. Once they are teens, if the other home has no rules, 90% of kids will gravitate there. Almost all of the stories on here of High Conflict BMs include a stepkid who does poorly in school and fails to launch.

There is very little you can do about it - court won't be helpful. If BM wants them, the court won't force them out of her home or anything of the sort. 

It's not your problem AT ALL.  Tell your DS thanks, but he can call DH if he'd like to rat out the skids.

My SS is now 21 and child support just ended here. So BM is on her own to support him entirely - she fought hard to make him dependent on her, now she's got it.

Dancemom4's picture

This is what I needed to hear as much as it kills me to see them going down this path I know it's out of my control. I will focus on my own kids and try to make sure they make better choices. 

tog redux's picture

Yes, you didn't create this problem, and you can't solve it. Your DH probably can't either - this type of mother just has too much power over the kids.

You can spend thousands fighting in court and just come out with a worse relationship with the kids than you started with.  All you both can do is set clear boundaries and refuse to allow the kids to mistreat you.

Dancemom4's picture

When does it become an actual issue? Like if we know the kids are doing things at the bio mom house that are not ok or even legal can anything actually be done. DH just can't go there when ex isn't home can he? When does it come an issue to pursue further? Can legal action be taken if kids are of the age they change choose where to live?