Push over Dad and disrespectful step kids

K - posted on 04/15/2015 ( 8 moms have responded )




I really need some advice. I recently got married in October and he has 3 children (16,14, and 8). Oldest two are girls. I have two children, but both are grown and out of the house, so there is very little interaction between my kids and my new husband.

The problem is that my husband is a push over with his kids. They've never had to mind. They are constantly disrespectful and talking back. They have zero manners. IF he gets on to them for something, it's usually not forceful and then he plays it off with 'next time be sure to do.....'

I raised my children completely different than the way him and his ex-wife raised them. I'm at my wits end with trying to teach them manners, to stop talking back. instill in them ownership and pride in what they do and own. But, everything goes in one ear and out the other. Since October, I have since the 8 year be in time out 1 time and get a spanking one time. I have seen the 14 year old get scolded one time. There's been no grounding or things taken away. Just a few days ago, the 8 year old was constantly talking back to me. I reprimanded him, but he kept going on and on. His father stepped in and said a few words, but then the 8 year kept trying to justify why he was talking back and then said I was also talking back to him. Then later that evening, he wanted to tell his dad a secret (with me sitting right next to him on the couch). As soon as he did, my husband said "because you're 8." I asked what was said and evidently it must have been so bad that he refused to tell me. But, yet the only comment to the son for his ugliness was 'because you're 8'. In my opinion, that was totally unacceptable behavior and punishment on the son and my husbands part.

I'm also feeling like I always have to fit into their traditions. Whether it's Christmas or Easter, etc..., we always do what they have always done. There is no incorporating my traditions into the mix or trying to create new traditions as a blended family. I'm feeling like I am nothing but the existing mom with a new face - if that makes sense....

This is starting to affect my relationship with my husband. it's causing fights because we don't agree on things. I'm find myself biting my tongue more and more to avoid arguments with him and the kids. But, what happens then is that I get extremely quiet and he knows something is wrong. But, I won't talk about it - just to avoid a fight.

Any suggestions/advice from people would be greatly appreciated. If you know of any good self help books to read on unruly step children and parents that don't discipline, please let me know.

Thank you.


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Raye - posted on 04/16/2015




I am a step-mom of two. The way things are in our family is that my husband is responsible for setting the rules and dealing the punishments. I make suggestions, but it's his decision as the natural parent. I don't always agree, but, I try to follow his guidelines with the kids so they have consistency. And I will make verbal corrections and take things away, but when it comes to the harsher punishments, that's not my territory. Not my circus, not my monkeys.

You and your husband need to talk things out, set the rules, and be on the same page with enforcing them. The kids should not differentiate between you asking them to pick something up and their father asking them to pick it up. You should be united and back each other up. But, since they're his kids, it's his rules. You should just let some things go. You've parented yours, let him parent his. It's okay to disagree and know that you would have done things differently. But it's not your circus. You're one of the ring-leaders to help direct a few of the acts, but there's at least two other ringleaders (the natural mother and father), and you really should not try to control the whole show.

As far as family traditions, they should try to include some of your traditions over time, but (sorry for saying so) you are still kinda the outsider and they're comfortable with things the way they've been. You "always" do what they have done, because you're only recently married, and you've only done 1 of each of these so far as a family. Give it time. Do speak to your husband and give suggestions on things that could be easily added to their current traditions, and try to gradually implement changes. If you go too far too fast, it's a big upheaval for the family and you'll get more push-back.

Kellie - posted on 04/15/2015




My parents divorced when I was 12 and when my dad started dating again he got pretty serious with a woman who disagreed with his parenting or the lack thereof. She was always disagree with how he parented us and what he allowed us to do, she picked at our words, and made snide remarks about our mom. In my opinion she was not a nice person at all and when they got engaged I tried really hard to like her and be her friend, but she was too focused on all I did wrong. Finally I told my father that if he married her I was going to move out and live with my mom. So he called off the wedding.
A few years later he met another woman who had two small children. I was 16 when they married. I was the same person, my dad was the same dad, and we did what we normally did. My step mother did not always like how he parented us and she didn't always agree with how we behaved, but she was always my friend. She focused on the things she liked about me and gently and loving corrected the things she did not like about me. We had our struggles as a family, but I believe it was because of her kindness that she and I are friends 25 years later.
I don't have any book suggestions for you but I hope that my story inspires you to look beyond the bad behavior and focus on what is good about those kids and be their friend. That's really what they need from you.
Blessed be

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/15/2015




Perhaps things should have been discussed a bit more prior to marriage. Blending is hard, and it is something that needs a lot of discussion and pre planning before the actual event.

You cannot change how he and his ex parent their children. You can encourage him to be more forceful, but with that will come repercussions that may be worse than your original circumstances.

I don't agree with kids being handed everything, but you also have to understand that you can't change what you don't have control over. You don't have control over how the step kids are raised.

Jodi - posted on 04/15/2015




Please ignore our resident troll. She is like one of those annoying mosquitoes that keeps buzzing in your ear that you just can't get rid of so you just put the blankets over you head and ignore it.

I am sorry for your situation. Blending a family is very difficult, and unfortunately, is something that in hindsight, you should have considered before you got married. But it isn't too late to get help. It sounds like you and your husband simply aren't on the same page. From his perspective, you are done raising your children and now he is to finish raising his. As much as you want to instil good habits into his children, you have to recognise that these children have been raised a certain way for all these years, it is going to be incredibly difficult to change that. You can't walk into their lives 6-7 months ago and expect to change their basic values and behaviour.

I would suggest that if you and your husband can't talk about how things should run in your home and make compromises together, then you possibly should get some counselling to help you work through these issues. Your issues, even though they aren't your children, are very valid to you, and therefore important to the longevity of your relationship. The two of you need to resolve them somehow.

K - posted on 04/15/2015




Sunshine -

You obviously don't bring sunshine to anyone's life if you have to post ridiculous, rude, disgusting comments like that.

My post was sincerely looking for advice. Bottom line is... If you don't have something nice to say, then don't say it. I certainly don't need harassment when all I'm looking for is help in dealing with being a step mother.

By the way, I flagged your post. I hope you get kicked off this site.

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