My Step Kids keep manipulating their dad...

[deleted account] ( 7 moms have responded )

My step kids ( ages 12 & 10 ) manipulate my husband everytime it's their weekend to be here. They begin calling the Monday or Tuesday prior and want to know what we're going to do and where we're going to take them. If it's not good enough (which I don't think my husband should give into it and say anything) they suddenly have something else they have to do and can't come here. They live 2 hours away, so mid-week visits don't happen. My husband misses them so much, but they just don't care. They are un-grateful and only come here to receive..... me me me. I'm so sick of it. My kids are beginning to resent it very much. When they do decide to come, they bring in a lot of negative energy and stir up a mess of trouble. It is so frustrating!

7 Comments

View replies by

Sandy - posted on 02/25/2009

165

6

15

We have the same here...when bio mom sees her she doesn't want her time spent to be negative and filled with discipline...which I can certainly understand...it just makes it very difficult when we always have to be the bad guys...the enforcers.lol

Ashley - posted on 02/25/2009

216

25

32

I meant to also include that ideally, all parents will impose the same consequences for getting in trouble. Unfortunately, that is generally not the case in most situations (keep in mind, the bio parents got divorced for a reason and some of that includes how they believe thier kids should be raised). So, you can't always count on a talk to all get on the same page. But, we have done that too and where we can, we all work together to enforce the same consequences. We are just more effective enforcers on our side, and he knows it.

Ashley - posted on 02/25/2009

216

25

32

He does reap the consequences. The rules are still the same for everyone. The consequences are waiting for him when he gets back. He knows it and the other kids know it. He understands consequences and if we can determine that he did it on purpose (to delay the consequences), then the consequences are generally worse.... much like lying is an "add on" to an already bad situation. All that said, preventing visitation with his mother will only make the situation worse with the mother, cause a lot of ill amongst everyone in the extended family and will not teach him anything more. The consequences are enforced and he learns.

Sandy - posted on 02/24/2009

165

6

15

I don't know that I necessarily agree with allowing kids to go to the other parents house when they are in trouble.  I think it may work in a household where there are no other kids but in a house where the spouse and step parents have additional kids I can see it becoming a problem when one of the kids is allowed to run away and escape or put off punishment...to see the other parent...and the other kids are not allowed to do the same when they are in trouble...



What is everyones take on this?  Is there a better way?  We try so very hard to have the same rules and guidelines for everyone.  I think when a child misbehaves they have to learn that there are consequences and that someimes those concequences hurt more then just themselves.

Meghan - posted on 02/24/2009

1

0

0

I have the same issue with my step-son (12), he is very coddled and very manipulative.



 



I recently bought a book for my husband called "How Much is Enough?: Everything you need to know to steer clear of overindulgence and raise likeable, responsible and respectful children."



 



It's been a big help for both of us because he never really wants to listen to what I have to say but hearing it from professionals changed everything.



 



Highly recommend it!

Ashley - posted on 02/24/2009

216

25

32

I totally agree with Kerri. Do not allow them to decide on the arrangements and never tell them what you are doing. They'll just have to wait and see. Kids are going to go where they are going to have more fun and do whatever they want. Its just part of being a kid.  I remember playing my parents against each other and they were never divorced. Its just easier for stepkids to be more manipulative because they have more parents to work with (particularly ones who don't talk to each other).



I just wanted to chime in because this situation can work backwards too. We do lots of fun things as a family. But, we also are the ones who enforce more consequences and discipline than the other side. We've often been placed in situations when the kids (particularly my stepson, now 13yo) will act up right before he is supposed to spend a weekend with his mom. He knows that there will not be consequences in the other house and it is very difficult to deal with. But, we have to let him go and deal with it when he is with us again. It takes a lot of patience but we work through it. Definitely talk to your husband about enforcing the visitation. It is important for him to be a father to them and the more that they are at your house, complying with the rules, the better thier behavior will become and the more benefits they will have as they grow up... as long as you and hubby are on the same page :) Good luck!

Kerri - posted on 02/24/2009

134

19

21

This is definitely a difficult and painful situation to be in.  I would have the kids come and have dad sit them down and directly explain to them what they are doing - "You are manipulating me."  You are making me feel like I have to entertain you in order for you to come here and it is wrong. 



Really all you can do is support your husband and let him know not to take this personally.  Kids want to do whatever is most entertaining.  They have a here-and-now instant gratification attitude.  Children learn this early on in divorce.  They play mom against dad and step-mom against mom and step-dad against dad and so forth.  Everyone  really needs to be on the same page with this and if they can't be then okay - you and dad have to be consistent.  As they get older, demands will become more and more outrageous from them for both parents.  If either parent is supporting it in any way - trust me, it will come back to bite them in the rear. 



Co-parenting classes would probably help.  Counseling for the children would also probably help.   



They may seem ungrateful but all children are selfish to a degree and this is very common in divorce.  Selfishness is a quality that we all have in common to some degree.  Children will push it as far as they can.  The key is to remember not to take anything personally.   



One thing that father should be firm on - the kids are not allowed to decide whether or not they are coming.  It is a set schedule and they come - period - regardless of what else they have or is going on.  Scheduling anything during another parent's time is WRONG.  And the other parent should enforce this also.  Mom should say - "Guys you really don't have a choice here, you are going."  There is a book that is very helpful in situations like these:  Helping your children deal with divorce the Sandcastles Way.  It addresses issues such as this!  Hope this helps!  Good luck. 

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms