Is being the Step-Mother really suppose to be this hard?

Carmen - posted on 07/07/2012 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I' am a 47 year old mother of 3 kids ages 25, 24, 22. I also have 2 grand kids ages 5 yrs old and 6 months. I married a man recently that has 2 toddler boys, at the time we met they were 3 and 2 years old. We have been married for 2 years now and I am having the hardest time getting the boys to listen to me when Daddy is around. They do listen to me when Daddy is not around but, as soon as Daddy walks in the door they start to do things they know they are not allowed to do. The oldest will say; "Look at what I am doing". Then Daddy will make excuses for what it is they are doing. So, they continue to do them knowing Daddy will stick up for them. My husband does not encourage them to rely on me when he is home. They will not ask for me to do or even to get them anything when Daddy is around. I tell my husband that he needs to encourage them more but, I believe he has "Separation Anxiety". He works and I don't. Has anyone gone through or going through this as well? I should have mentioned that their Biological mother has not been in their lives for 4 yrs. Since the youngest was born.

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Jodi - posted on 07/08/2012

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OK, well, it is normal behaviour. If you are with them all day all the time, and dad is working, it will be pretty natural to gravitate to him. It's not an issue of disrespect. Yes, you probably do have to reprogram the kids after your husband's two days off. I know how you feel. It isn't because they are step children, just to reassure you. It is because the routine is different when daddy is home. Why not just make sure you organise "family time" on those two days. Even though they will still be all over daddy, its a way for you to be involved too. But honestly, it is totally normal. It will likely change once the children are school age and not home with you all day every day.

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Carmen - posted on 07/08/2012

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Jodi... Thanks!!! Their biological mother has walked away from these boys. Their father has had them since the 4 yr old was born. It made it to be a much easier decision for me to be with him, knowing the mother wasn't around. I knew that getting involved with a man with kids would bring challenges but, if the mother was around, those challenges would be far worse for "me" to handle. I raised my 3 kids alone, no interference from their father. I just had many friends that dealt with the other parent and some of it wasn't pleasant. It is just that my husband is home 2 days in a row and I feel like I am having to "reprogram" them after those 2 days and he just doesn't see it. He just keeps saying; "they are just kids". I just feel if I can't get them to respect me in our home soon, that I won't get it when they are older.

Carmen - posted on 07/08/2012

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Thank you so much for your reply, Michelle. I have told him that we need to be on the same page when it comes to the boys in everything. He was taking them to his mothers when we first got married to ease them off of being with her. Then we had 3 people raising and caring for them in different ways. I discussed with him that there was too much confusion for them as to who they are to follow when it comes to discipline. So, I now have them all the time except for when he is home. I know he wants them to rely on him when he is home and wants to spend all his time off with them. I try telling him, that when he is home he should encourage them to "include" me in helping them when daddy is home. I also have told him the excuses must STOP.

Jodi - posted on 07/08/2012

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Before I answer, can I clarify if they are with you all the time, or if they are with their biological mother most of the time? Because the involvement of the biological parents and the different rules in different houses can have an impact too. There are so many things to consider, but some of those details would help :)

However, having said that, what your step children are displaying is pretty normal for any child. My daughter will test the waters with her dad too, because I am with her much more than her daddy is (he works some long ass hours), so he misses her and lets her get away with murder. We've just found the right balance.

Michelle - posted on 07/08/2012

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You and your husband have to be on the same page when it comes to discipline. He needs to stop letting them get away with things otherwise it will only get worse.

I think you need to have a good talk with your husband about what is expected and what the consequences will be if not followed and BOTH of you need to stick to it. It doesn't work even if both parents are the bio parents if you are on different pages and have different expectations.

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