how do i stop disliking my stepchildren

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016 ( 27 moms have responded )

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I feel like an awful person most of the time, my husband has two young children from a previous marriage. Yes i know they are part of the deal andi knew that getting into this relationship. But i dread when i know they are coming over. He has shared custody so we have them two days a week and every other weekend. The summer was supposed to be week on week off but his ex planned a three week trip that did not include the kids. Instead of working on an option she basically told us her summer plans and left us to figure out what to do. Not liking these kids is going to make a rough summer. I am trying not tohold my animosities against them. I know none of this is their fault. I just cant bring myself to like them even a lititle. It doesnt help that they hate being here. We have rules. They dont get to do whatever they want whenever they want. Their mother has no rules.. they are 6 and 8 and they run everything at her house. She refuses to discipline and does whatever they want. Im really at a loss of what i can do to make it easier for them and for me

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Brandie - posted on 07/11/2016

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Hi Danielle,

Reading this is actually really hard for me. As a divorced mother, and a step-mother, I can not imagine having these feelings or having my children's new step-mother have these feelings. I was with my ex-husband for 9 years and raised his infant son until we divorced. He is still in my life and still considered MY child. I now have a step-daughter who is hard to handle at times, but I still love her and care for her as if she is my own. Have you tried having a relationship with their mother. I am good friends with my ex-husband and his current gf, which helps my children adjust and have a better attitude toward her. I know this is hard to hear, but it sounds like maybe you have a little bit of jealousy.... which is ok to admit. Sometimes being a step-parent is hard to adjust to and it takes a special heart to accept someone else's child(ren) as your own. Have you tried taking them out to a movie or doing something fun without your child, so you can just talk and bond with them alone? They may even have some jealousy over a new baby. Divorce is hard, and can create a lot of animosity in everyone. You can overcome this...


Brandie

Jodi - posted on 07/11/2016

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What is the exact wording in the court orders that prevents you from "disciplining" the children? I find it very strange that a judge would agree to any stipulation about discipline. Physical punishment, yes, I can understand that, but absolutely no discipline from a person in whose house they are living for a fair proportion of their time? That makes no sense.

Ethel York - posted on 07/11/2016

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I was in a similar situation with my teenaged step-son at the time. However, we got custody when we was 12. It was pretty ugly as he got older. He is now in college and out of the house. When he moved out my husband and I needed healing within our relationship. I hope you find the right solution for all involved. Looking back, all the change was so difficult for both of us. So allowing him to assist in selecting couch pillows, suggest where things go, things like that might help. It didn't look great sometimes but it helped him feel in control. And I think our house really became OUR house. It may not work right away because trust needs to be built. Maybe if they feel they have a hand in some of the decisions, things might get a little better. Good luck and I wish you and all involved the very best.

Nadine - posted on 07/11/2016

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To be frank, I wold just NOT be in charge of them without the tools to actually be in charge. This is a problem of their parents making, and if they expect you to be a caregiver at their convenience they either give you the ability to be that, or make other arrangements. I don't think anyone is suggesting you punish them, as such, simply that you have the ability to put them in time out, or send them to their room when they need to be away from others. To have zero consequences for their actions with you is just ridiculous. But the bottom line is, until you are ready to stop the situation as it is, I don't think we can give you any other advice that is going to help you.

BTW, for not punishing kids so far after, If they are manipulating you like you say they are, I am pretty sure they can grasp why they are being punished after the fact.

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Dove - posted on 07/11/2016

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What about dad writing out a list of consequences for certain behaviors? Dad wrote it... so it's 'coming' from him even if he's not home at the time and you can just have the offending child check the list when a certain offense occurs. That way THEY are enforcing the consequences on themselves. There can also be written down what happens once Dad comes home if they did not comply w/ the consequences at the appropriate time. Just trying to brainstorm for you. :) With all the negativity coming from the mother the children should probably be in some sort of counseling regardless of whatever else happens.

Brandie - posted on 07/11/2016

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My step-daughter has a very hateful mother, and she bad mouths me any chance she can get. At first my step-daughter had zero respect for me, in fear that her mom would feel betrayed, almost as if she had to hate me. I started taking her places alone without my kids, and now we get along perfectly and she loves being with me. It is worth a try!

Brandie

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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I will have to find the papers to get the exact wording. She first tried to get it to where they weren't allowed to be in the same house as me. When that didnt work she tried to get it to where they couldn't be left alone with me. Its something along the lines of only their dad can take any disciplinary action against them. Im allowed to talk to them and ask them not to do something but not even time outs unless it comes from dad. While i can do alright talking i dont feel that anything more severe than a time out is ever needed anyway

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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You may be right. It very well could be jealousy. I have tried befriending their mother. Inviting her tochristmas and thanksgiving dinner to keep the kids feeling like their whole family is together. I have not tried taking them anywhere by myself. I didnt think of doing that. I will definately give it a try. Maybe it has more to do with their mother than them. Now that i think about it. Her constant insults and her clear lack of rrespect for me in myhome. Thank you so much for the helpful ideas

Dove - posted on 07/11/2016

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Just go ahead and discipline then. What is it that they do and what have you done about it?

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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I agree completely dove. In this situation she will be out of state and cant take them. I would like to get along with them. I want it to be easier for them i cant imagine their confusion. I just dont know how to go about it within my restraints

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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Shawnn- im looking for advice on the best way to withstand the hardest part about the situation in order to make it better for everyone. Not just me but the kids as well. I know this is not their fault and the didnt ask for it. Im not holding it against them. Just trying to figure out a way to get through this while building a relationship. You saying to stop calling myself a mother is not helpful. I am a mother and do not have this issue with my children. I also do not have the same disciplinary restrictions with my own. If you have something helpful to say i would be glad to hear it. But insults and jumping to conclusions only get in the way

Dove - posted on 07/11/2016

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Then if he is not going to be around to take care of them... they need to be left w/ the mother and she needs to be made aware that if you can not guide the children as a babysitter or teacher would do... then she needs to keep them when your husband is working. Period. She wanted that situation... let her deal w/ it.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 07/11/2016

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If you cannot bring yourself to love and accept your husband's children, then stop calling yourself a MOTHER, and get out of that relationship before you cause more damage to those children.

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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Thats where my problem is. He cant stay home from work to watch them. Cant afford a babysitter. His parents (who i am not on the best terms with because of their religious views on his divorce) will not help me. They dont even acknowledge our child. They are basic grandparents and spoil his other kids without discipline. I think the kids know i cant do anything and thats why they push so far. When he gets home he takes care of any problems ive had with them throughout the day but he cant punish them hours later for something. By then they wont even understand why they are in trouble. He does talk with them about it though.

Nadine - posted on 07/11/2016

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It is not fair to give you the responsibility of the kids with no tools to care for them. I am agreeing 100% with Dove. Discipline is needed, even to babysit, let alone left all day. It is no wonder you do not like them. I doubt anyone would like children under those circumstances.

Dove - posted on 07/11/2016

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If you are not allowed to discipline then you need to inform your husband that you can not be alone w/ them at anytime and it's up to him to figure out childcare when he can't be present. ANYONE (parent, babysitter, grandparent, teacher) that is in charge of a child needs to be able to stop unwanted behaviors. I watch a room full of toddlers every Sunday morning and we discipline all the time. If I can not discipline (which basically means teach and guide) a child... I will not watch said child... ever.

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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Dove - I dont think i really dislike them. As i said they are good kids. The issues i have with them are the issues most people have with kids but i have no way to handle or discipline. Even time outs are not allowed unless they com from their father. Their mother made sure in court that i am not allowed any form of discipline so i dont know how to handle it

Nadine - posted on 07/11/2016

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I am a step mom. At first it was really hard with his younger son. I just let him do the parenting. If I had an issue with his behavior, I let my partner deal with it, always mindful that I am not his parent. But it was easier because he loved and respected his father. But my advice would be to let him do the parenting. Let him make the rules. And counselling is not a bad idea.
In terms of liking them, find something you all enjoy. We play board games almost exclusively when my step son comes over (oh, and it is the only time I make homemade tacos, something he does not even like his mother making now), so it is something special that we look forward to especially with him. It makes him feel like he is important. It also makes me really enjoy his visit as it is something special for all of us.

Dove - posted on 07/11/2016

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Why would you ever marry a man if you didn't like his children? Not that you can go back in time and change that, but.... that's really not fair to anyone.

What does their father do about their attitudes and behaviors? If it's been 3 years and HE has always been consistent... things should be significantly better by now and if they aren't then I would recommend some family counseling for you guys.

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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They have been complaining about it since he moved out of his old house and divorced their mother. We have been together for three years and i have had an issue with this the entire time. The 6 year old has only gotten mouthy this past year. I know shes at an age where she is able to develop her own opinions and has a hard time expressing them in a manner that is acceptable as she is used to her every demand being met without question

Dove - posted on 07/11/2016

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It could definitely be because of the baby. How long have you been in their lives and did you dislike them before you married their father?

It must be so hard on them to go back and forth all the time to vastly different environments and then to have their parents competing for their affections. You don't have to 'make up' for not being able to take them places and buy them things. Sure, kids like that, but they don't need it. Yes, fun family activities are a great thing, but it's not a competition. If the mother can't see that... that is her problem (which, unfortunately, also makes it the kids' problem, but there's no controlling that).

How long as the situation been like this that they are complaining about dad and dad's home?

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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Like i said they aren't bad kids. I know its very different for them. The 6 year old, when her dad isn't home will give me a horrible attitude. She back talks, i ask her to put her clothes away and she tells me she doesnt have to. I make eggs for breakfast and she literally snaps at me "this isn't what i want!" But as soon as her dad gets home shes the picture of perfect well behaved little girl. I know they may have some adjusting to do especially since i had a baby a couple months ago. I still spend time with them and try to do extra stuff with them but it seems like its only getting worse. Could it be because i had a baby?

Danielle - posted on 07/11/2016

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They have voiced that they dont like it here. Honestly i dont think its them that i dont like, i think it is the fact that they are so spoiled everywhere else with no rules that it becomes a problem when they are here. They are not bad kids and generally they are very well behaved. I know the major differences between homes is very hard for them as well but i can't just let them have run of the house to make it easier either.when their mother last dropped them off they cried for an hour. They literally said they dont like this house and they dont like dad. We know it is because they are not so spoiled here but we cant change that. Their mother buys them whatever they want, we cant afford to do that. We try to plan trips to the park and the zoo and take them fishing but none of it seems to help. It doesnt help that no matter what we do their mother has to take it a step farther and one up us. For example we knew they loved cats but couldn't have one at moms because shes allergic. So we got them a cat. Two days later she hot them two cats even with her allergies. We take them to a parade, she takes them to chicago. Financially we cant compete with what she does, we try to make it up to them other ways but they just complain that it is better with mom

Shannon - posted on 07/11/2016

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Hello! This is just so sad. Do they do anything to encourage your disliking them?? Or is it more that they are a reminder of his ex? Do you typically like kids? It has to be very hard on them having such a dramatic difference between homes....sounds like would be very confusing for them. Have they voiced that they don't like your house or are you assuming? Also please know...no judgement here, I have mad respect for stepparents 😘just trying to get a better feel

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