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post #16 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 11:21 AM
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by LadybugMomma View Post
So goes the saying "it takes a village to raise a child."

I feel too, that if it's always in the best interest of the child, then discipline away. If someone else disciplined my kids for being rude or disrespectful, the kids would likely get off easier than if I were to discipline. I'm not an old battle ax/drill sergeant towards my kids, I just don't accept being rude/disrespect. Nor, would I tolerate an adult being rude/disrespectful to my kids for no reason.
I know it took a village to raise myself and my siblings. My mom and the other neighborhood parents all knew each other and all of each others kids fairly well. Any one of those moms and dads were free to snatch us up if they caught us doing wrong. And when they were done, we had to go home and confess to our parents, who would often punish us again for whatever we did wrong in the first place and for embarrassing the family.

"I can't BELIEVE you did that! You are grounded! What were you thinking? Do you want the neighbors to think we're raising delinquents!?!?!"

It's a miracle my mom didn't jump off a bridge. Or throw one of us off.

My mom was born severely disabled. Her step-mother raised her after her mothers death when she was 5. Grandma Josephine DID NOT put up with any bs. She told Momma that the world didn't owe her anything and she needed to learn to do for herself because, someday, her own mom and dad wouldn't be there to do for her. I have a boatload of nieces, nephews, cousins, cousins kids. We have a few with disabilities in the mix. None catch a break when it comes to behavior and doing what they can for themselves. Kids with disabilities in my family are expected to behave and to take care of themselves and do chores according to their ability. No coddling and no exceptions.

The shoe incident you described would have made my head explode. I think having SD check her own clothes and fix them herself is a good thing. She won't always have someone there to take care of things for her.

If it helps, my mother loved her step mother dearly for teaching her, for not coddling her, and for her stubborn patience.

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post #17 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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I know it took a village to raise myself and my siblings. My mom and the other neighborhood parents all knew each other and all of each others kids fairly well. Any one of those moms and dads were free to snatch us up if they caught us doing wrong. And when they were done, we had to go home and confess to our parents, who would often punish us again for whatever we did wrong in the first place and for embarrassing the family.

"I can't BELIEVE you did that! You are grounded! What were you thinking? Do you want the neighbors to think we're raising delinquents!?!?!"

It's a miracle my mom didn't jump off a bridge. Or throw one of us off.

My mom was born severely disabled. Her step-mother raised her after her mothers death when she was 5. Grandma Josephine DID NOT put up with any bs. She told Momma that the world didn't owe her anything and she needed to learn to do for herself because, someday, her own mom and dad wouldn't be there to do for her. I have a boatload of nieces, nephews, cousins, cousins kids. We have a few with disabilities in the mix. None catch a break when it comes to behavior and doing what they can for themselves. Kids with disabilities in my family are expected to behave and to take care of themselves and do chores according to their ability. No coddling and no exceptions.

The shoe incident you described would have made my head explode. I think having SD check her own clothes and fix them herself is a good thing. She won't always have someone there to take care of things for her.

If it helps, my mother loved her step mother dearly for teaching her, for not coddling her, and for her stubborn patience.

The shoe thing baffles me all the time. I know it seems petty but H doesn't ever take notice. I've watched SD play basketball in flip flops on the wrong feet with her heels crashing against the black top! Can't she feel that? Why doesn't H take notice? Maybe it's a guy/dad vs girl/mom thing? IDK. I don't want to seem as I'm bashing the child because I'm not. I want to see all children thrive and succeed! If I didn't feel that SD had more abilities than she displays, I would say nothing. But it eats me up inside seeing how far behind she is, when I am pretty positive that she is capable of more. It's a matter of her mom and grandma stepping it up and stop using her disability as an excuse.

I have encouraged my H to access more services for SD. It took a lot of work and H getting his ex and her mother to follow through. They eventually did and SD has gotten a lot of items to help strengthen her leg/drop foot etc. SD rarely has those items when she comes to our house. So I have to wonder if they are even used at home? SD is entitled to additional PT/OT services, day habs and outings with children of similar disabilities. Do they utilize them? No.

I'm not looking for praise for helping get these services going. I just can't believe that when there are services (free at that) available to help your child, WTH wouldn't you do it? IDK. It's all frustrating.

Maybe I shouldn't care?
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post #18 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 12:34 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

I don't think there's a "Right" answer to your question about the roles of step parents. It largely evolves based on the relationship with the other parent and what the two of you agree on. I'm struck by how intensely emotional you are about something that doesn't really involve you. Regardless of how you and he work this out, intensity is usually a lousy main ingredient.


Your task here is not to get distracted by your own values and ideals and either impose them, or WANT to impose them, b/c without your H's consent, you'll create a huge problem in addition to whatever is going on with the kids.

So, my advice would be for you to tolerate what you see and begin the work of calmly sharing with him your very general and totally unemotional concerns and see where it goes.
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post #19 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 05:50 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by LadybugMomma View Post
The shoe thing baffles me all the time. I know it seems petty but H doesn't ever take notice. I've watched SD play basketball in flip flops on the wrong feet with her heels crashing against the black top! Can't she feel that? Why doesn't H take notice? Maybe it's a guy/dad vs girl/mom thing? IDK. I don't want to seem as I'm bashing the child because I'm not. I want to see all children thrive and succeed! If I didn't feel that SD had more abilities than she displays, I would say nothing. But it eats me up inside seeing how far behind she is, when I am pretty positive that she is capable of more. It's a matter of her mom and grandma stepping it up and stop using her disability as an excuse.

I have encouraged my H to access more services for SD. It took a lot of work and H getting his ex and her mother to follow through. They eventually did and SD has gotten a lot of items to help strengthen her leg/drop foot etc. SD rarely has those items when she comes to our house. So I have to wonder if they are even used at home? SD is entitled to additional PT/OT services, day habs and outings with children of similar disabilities. Do they utilize them? No.

I'm not looking for praise for helping get these services going. I just can't believe that when there are services (free at that) available to help your child, WTH wouldn't you do it? IDK. It's all frustrating.

Maybe I shouldn't care?
I'd be frustrated, too. You care about your SD and know that her biological family isn't doing all they could to improve her life now and in the future.

My mother had multiple surgeries between ages 6 and 18 to insert pins, do muscle transplants, and even bone transplants. Between surgeries, she was supposed to wear leg and/or arm braces, depending which part of her the doctors were working on.

The years long battle between my mother, who did not want to wear the braces, and my grandmother, who wanted her to wear the braces, was legendary. My mom would have to be wrestled into her braces and then she'd have a friend on the bus take them off for her. Mom finally gave in and started wearing her braces when grandma started going to school with her...all day long.

A LOT of the disabled kids I've known over the years were similar. Braces suck. Weighted braces suck hard. They're uncomfortable, restrict movement, make a kid feel like a robot or a freak. Of course they don't want to wear them! And that's when parents need to step in and get the kid in the braces for their own good. Reason, bribe, blackmail, beg, plead, out stubborn, whatever needs to be done to get the kid to wear the braces. They only grow up once. The braces are there to get the best outcome possible for the limb. Once the growing stops, that's pretty much it. You don't get a second shot.

I was supposed to wear a back brace for my S curve. I was a vain teenager and didn't want anything to do with it. My mom felt I was old enough to make my own choice, so I chose not to get the brace. I live with back pain daily. I do not take meds because the ones that work make me into a zombie. The curve isn't quite bad enough for surgery. So, I just hurt. I also kick myself in the azz for not wearing that damn brace when I was 15.

DH was supposed to wear special shoes because of the way his legs turned out. He was a pre-schooler and threw fits, so his mom gave in and didn't make him wear the shoes. Later, it became low braces, which he also refused to wear. Now, he's 40 with completely flat feet and legs that turn our just enough that he cannot run. Most people don't even notice anything, but it's devastating to him that he has never been and will never be able to simply run.

Getting SD wearing her braces and whatever else she may need, getting her out and doing things with other kids who are disabled and active, taking advantage of whatever therapies or programs that are available is vital.

Is there any chance you could enroll her for services while she is with your family? Even if it's just something like an outing for disabled kids to ride a horse or to an exercise for disabled kids class? Those are usually held in pools in my area and every kids around here loves the water, so they like to go.

Other than that, work on your husband to get her using the gear she needs. Really impress upon him how important doing these things for her is. Make sure he understands that these services won't be as readily available or as effective later.
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post #20 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 11:18 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by MJJEAN View Post
Kids with disabilities in my family are expected to behave and to take care of themselves and do chores according to their ability. No coddling and no exceptions.
This ^^

I'm the same with my SD. She is ASD and has a lot of special needs that go along with that, the biggest two being social skills and sensory. I'll make allowances for her - for example, she can't cope with the chemical smell (very heightened sense of smell) in the dishwasher when it's cleaned the dishes, so the allowance is she wears a mask when she empties it, not that she gets out of doing it. Same with dusting around the house.

With her social skills, even when she doesn't want to come out and interact with people, I make her - but I give her a time limit. I say to her "For an hour I want you to be involved and try to talk to people, then if it's too hard you can go on your computer or we can go home", that way she knows how long something is going to take and she can pace herself...she usually exceeds her own expectations...she needs to have more confidence in herself. We're now up to 2 hours each time we go out which is a HUGE achievement for her.

I want her to have the best life possible. If she wants to travel, or live in a flat on her own I want her to be able to do so. To do those things she NEEDS to know how to interact with people/pack and unpack a dishwasher/wash her clothes/clean the house. Coddling is the worst thing a parent can do for any child, but especially a special needs child.
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post #21 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 09:10 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by MJJEAN View Post
I'd be frustrated, too. You care about your SD and know that her biological family isn't doing all they could to improve her life now and in the future.

My mother had multiple surgeries between ages 6 and 18 to insert pins, do muscle transplants, and even bone transplants. Between surgeries, she was supposed to wear leg and/or arm braces, depending which part of her the doctors were working on.

The years long battle between my mother, who did not want to wear the braces, and my grandmother, who wanted her to wear the braces, was legendary. My mom would have to be wrestled into her braces and then she'd have a friend on the bus take them off for her. Mom finally gave in and started wearing her braces when grandma started going to school with her...all day long.

A LOT of the disabled kids I've known over the years were similar. Braces suck. Weighted braces suck hard. They're uncomfortable, restrict movement, make a kid feel like a robot or a freak. Of course they don't want to wear them! And that's when parents need to step in and get the kid in the braces for their own good. Reason, bribe, blackmail, beg, plead, out stubborn, whatever needs to be done to get the kid to wear the braces. They only grow up once. The braces are there to get the best outcome possible for the limb. Once the growing stops, that's pretty much it. You don't get a second shot.

I was supposed to wear a back brace for my S curve. I was a vain teenager and didn't want anything to do with it. My mom felt I was old enough to make my own choice, so I chose not to get the brace. I live with back pain daily. I do not take meds because the ones that work make me into a zombie. The curve isn't quite bad enough for surgery. So, I just hurt. I also kick myself in the azz for not wearing that damn brace when I was 15.

DH was supposed to wear special shoes because of the way his legs turned out. He was a pre-schooler and threw fits, so his mom gave in and didn't make him wear the shoes. Later, it became low braces, which he also refused to wear. Now, he's 40 with completely flat feet and legs that turn our just enough that he cannot run. Most people don't even notice anything, but it's devastating to him that he has never been and will never be able to simply run.

Getting SD wearing her braces and whatever else she may need, getting her out and doing things with other kids who are disabled and active, taking advantage of whatever therapies or programs that are available is vital.

Is there any chance you could enroll her for services while she is with your family? Even if it's just something like an outing for disabled kids to ride a horse or to an exercise for disabled kids class? Those are usually held in pools in my area and every kids around here loves the water, so they like to go.

Other than that, work on your husband to get her using the gear she needs. Really impress upon him how important doing these things for her is. Make sure he understands that these services won't be as readily available or as effective later.

First, thank you SO much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it.

I've talked to H about getting her into programs while she's with us. He often agrees that we should do it but never takes the initiative to get it started. I think I'm going to have to be the one to look into what programs are available. Being that I'm not 'mom', I don't know if I can enroll her though so H may have to do that.

On a good note, I work for a company that supplies medical equipment to the elderly and disabled. I'm in contact with a lot of PT/OT's and should be able to find something beneficial for her.

This is were my other frustration comes in to play. Why is it ME who is doing this? Why isn't her mom and dad?? I've been told by people that it shouldn't be my concern, let mom and dad handle it. She's not my daughter, I shouldn't butt in. Mom and dad are the only ones who should have say in what happens. If they don't seem too concerned, should I be? I've had people tell me that I should just be a positive role model in my step kids lives but not get involved with raising them. Then I've had people tell me that I am mom, of course not bio, but her step mom and it's my responsibility to help raise her like my own.

Most times I feel like I have no idea what the hell I should be doing and if I should be doing anything at all?
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post #22 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 09:22 AM
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Re: How much involvement?

Whenever I take the time to respond yet don't get a sense that the OP has even read my thoughts I'm left to wonder what the motivation is for the original post was in the first place.

Along those lines and in response to your last post, I have to wonder if the issue with you is genuine concern... or a need for control. People who are generally concerned tend to take in all opinions and respond in ways that indicate they're processing it all and evolving their perceptions or opinions of the matter at hand.

When it's merely control, they tend to appreciate most those responses that basically reinforce their own predetermined opinions, using them as a justification for maintaining their attitudes and responses.

Perhaps you should re examine your own motivation here? It sounds more like you're intolerant of your own impotence rather than a concern for the kids well being.
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post #23 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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This ^^

I'm the same with my SD. She is ASD and has a lot of special needs that go along with that, the biggest two being social skills and sensory. I'll make allowances for her - for example, she can't cope with the chemical smell (very heightened sense of smell) in the dishwasher when it's cleaned the dishes, so the allowance is she wears a mask when she empties it, not that she gets out of doing it. Same with dusting around the house.

With her social skills, even when she doesn't want to come out and interact with people, I make her - but I give her a time limit. I say to her "For an hour I want you to be involved and try to talk to people, then if it's too hard you can go on your computer or we can go home", that way she knows how long something is going to take and she can pace herself...she usually exceeds her own expectations...she needs to have more confidence in herself. We're now up to 2 hours each time we go out which is a HUGE achievement for her.

I want her to have the best life possible. If she wants to travel, or live in a flat on her own I want her to be able to do so. To do those things she NEEDS to know how to interact with people/pack and unpack a dishwasher/wash her clothes/clean the house. Coddling is the worst thing a parent can do for any child, but especially a special needs child.
@frusdil I'm so glad to read your post. It makes me feel like I'm not expecting too much from my SD. Although, I'm still struggling how much and IF I should be doing anything to assist her in furthering her potential. I told H that without pushing her to do more, no one will ever know her abilities. It KILLS me that when someone tries to talk to SD, she literally withdraws. For instance we were having a family talk about everything, to see if there were any concerns with anyone etc. When we got to SD, she was sitting up straight and when we asked if she had anything that bothered her, anything she wanted to say, she curled her shoulders and curled within herself. She started playing with her hands, looked in a different direction and said "I feel happy when I come here", then she started crying. H said "it's okay, you don't have to cry, you don't have to say anymore" and that was the end of that.

Me, I was thinking, why isn't he asking her what is going on? Why isn't he asking what is making her cry? My brain was reeling with questions with what was going on inside her head. I didn't push it further because H told her she didn't need to say anymore, so I honored his word. Later in private I asked him how he could just let that go. Why not ask more questions about what is happening. H said that he just feels that she doesn't understand. Why not take it a step further and ask more questions? Why not dig further see if she understands? I think that she is a very frustrated girl and wants to be able to interact and be accepted by other kids but has NO idea how to do so because she has been so babied/coddled etc.

Again, should I care? Should I be the one to forever point this stuff out? Shouldn't mom and dad or even grandma, since she's in the household, too, wake the hell up before this child becomes an out of control child due to frustration?
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post #24 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 10:28 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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Whenever I take the time to respond yet don't get a sense that the OP has even read my thoughts I'm left to wonder what the motivation is for the original post was in the first place.

Along those lines and in response to your last post, I have to wonder if the issue with you is genuine concern... or a need for control. People who are generally concerned tend to take in all opinions and respond in ways that indicate they're processing it all and evolving their perceptions or opinions of the matter at hand.

When it's merely control, they tend to appreciate most those responses that basically reinforce their own predetermined opinions, using them as a justification for maintaining their attitudes and responses.

Perhaps you should re examine your own motivation here? It sounds more like you're intolerant of your own impotence rather than a concern for the kids well being.

I'm sorry, I didn't see your first response to me. I appreciate all responses and I value everyone's thoughts.

In another response I said that I am struggling with whether or not I should be involved with any of this. Some people have told me yes, others have told me no.

A lot of things I see going on, I say nothing about. Other times when H and I talk I'll bring things up that concerned me. As I said for instance, in another response, is how SD withdraws, literally curling into herself when people talk to her. H has expressed how he feels bad that she can't/won't willingly hug her grandparents and when he tells her to, she walks up and hugs them as if they are diseased. Should I still not care when he says these things and I see how she withdraws from and isn't at ease with people outside her comfort zone? Should I just keep my mouth shut and let him figure it out? Or should I tell him what I see?

I guess as an outsider (meaning not the mom or dad) looking in, a lot of what I see isn't necessarily how I would handle things. However, I totally get that every parenting style isn't the same. And I respect that.

I have a son w/ADD and suspected, but never diagnosed, mild/high functioning aspergers. I treat him no differently than I do my other two children. He isn't off the hook because of his disability. In fact I'm often harder on him than I am my others. I can do everything for him that he can't remember to do on his own, but what am I teaching him? I want him to grow up being able to care for himself, to be independent and do all things to his fullest potential. Just as I want the same for my SD.
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post #25 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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I don't think there's a "Right" answer to your question about the roles of step parents. It largely evolves based on the relationship with the other parent and what the two of you agree on. I'm struck by how intensely emotional you are about something that doesn't really involve you. Regardless of how you and he work this out, intensity is usually a lousy main ingredient.


Your task here is not to get distracted by your own values and ideals and either impose them, or WANT to impose them, b/c without your H's consent, you'll create a huge problem in addition to whatever is going on with the kids.

So, my advice would be for you to tolerate what you see and begin the work of calmly sharing with him your very general and totally unemotional concerns and see where it goes.

H and I talked in great lengths about how WE would handle everything involving all our kids. We both agreed to be a positive role model in each/all of our kids lives. He told me he wants me to be the same way with his kids, that I am with mine. He's told me that if his kids are doing something they shouldn't that I can say something to them about it. The majority of the time, if something is going on that needs attention, I get him to handle it anyway. He has my go ahead to discipline mine as well. Lucky for us all, there is hardly ever any disagreements,fights etc to be dealt with. The kids, for such wide age ranges, all get along very well. H and I want the best for them all.

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post #26 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-29-2016, 05:03 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

The girl needs the help, you care about her and want to help, so I say do what you can. You're her family, too.

DH is a great guy, but he's never been one to do the follow through, that's my department. I get an affirmative from him, make all the arrangements, have him sign the paperwork if he needs to, and voila!

If you have to be the one to do it, with him just signing permission as her legal parent, then at least someone is doing something.
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post #27 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-30-2016, 08:33 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

OP for the child's sake I think you have to intervene. If I hadn't done so with my SD, she would be on an out of control spiral by now. Both of her parents missed her ASD - how that is boggles my mind, but it is what it is. I first raised the possibility and had to push and push and push and finally they agreed to investigate. Her diagnosis was clear cut, and clear.

I love my SD so much, couldn't love her more if she were mine. I want life to be as easy as possible for her and for her to be able to enjoy the same opportunities as anyone else. It turns out her mother couldn't cope with her special needs, so we now have her full time, which I believe is the best thing for her. I take her to all her appointments and do her "homework" with her, homeschool her, the whole shebang. She's thriving, her school grades have soared, she's blossomed into a beautiful, smart, funny young lady - I'm so proud of her

That poor child needs someone to step up - please please help her.
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post #28 of 29 (permalink) Old 07-02-2016, 04:35 AM
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Re: How much involvement?

I think you're just stuck in one of those 'she's the female so she'll take care of it' syndromes. Many men simply weren't raised to care about or learn to deal with issues; the mom was always around to keep things going. Or else she wasn't handling such things and the family just scrambled by as best it could.

You can't change him. But this is a child you're talking about, one who NEEDS people helping her. If you see that he's not going to do it, my advice is to just take care of it and stop being resentful.
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post #29 of 29 (permalink) Old 12-12-2016, 02:35 AM
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Smile Re: How much involvement?

The Step kids are being CRIPPLED by very bad, inadequate parenting and it will cost the kids dearly later in life!
Quote:
Originally Posted by LadybugMomma View Post
[SIZE="3"]Is there any ideal amount of involvement or any, that a step mom should have in the discipline of her step children's lives?
I'm assuming you mean discipline is about helping and improving a child and not just taking revenge.

Quote:
He says any time he tried to discipline his kids, the ex & her mother would intervene and cut him down.
And by allowing that to happen, he indirectly damaged his own kids.

Quote:
One instance is when husband was making step daughter (11 yo) put her own shoes on. Mom and grandma came to pick them up from their weekend stay at our home and step daughter went into hysterics at the first site of them. Immediately, mom & grandma started talking in loooong drawn out baby voices "oh princess, come here, we'll put your shoes on for you."
If the kids are only with you and hubs on weekends, their principle source of conditioning and en-culturing is coming from the mom and grandma, so there isn't much you can to to HELP these kids, who are being damaged by inadequate parenting.

Quote:
This past weekend husband and I taught step son how to ride a two wheel bike. Step daughter doesn't know how and may never know how, due to having mild cerebral palsy and balance issues. We did however, encourage her to get on the bike and try. She did, but quickly got off the bike not wanting to try anymore.
By being the very best ROLE MODELS possible, you may have a positive impact on those kids regardless of how bad the other adults are.

Quote:
Yesterday, when mom & grandma came to pick the kids up, they saw that step son had learned how to ride a bike. They were praising him and cheering him on. Step daughter got SO mad that everyone was paying attention to step son that she stomped off, got into the car and slammed the door. At one point she reached out the window and grabbed grandma by the arm and yelled, "let's GO." Grandma just got in the car and they left.
Yes, the daughter is an emotionally damaged VICTIM here! Allowing her to develop bad social habits will go against here in the future all because of BAD PARENTING. Pity the poor girl!

Quote:
I would never allow my children to act that way and get away with it.
You most likely have HELPED your kids acquire correct and healthy social behaviors whereas this poor girl is being DEPRIVED of normal socialization by very stupid adults.

Quote:
So, this is where my question comes from. As step mom, does one intervene or do you just shut up and let it go?
I'd do the best I could to MODEL healthy social skills while those kids are in my presence and HOPE some of it rubs off on them - and it will! I still remember much of the "better" attitudes and behaviors of a few relatives who had a big impact on me when I was young.

choose happiness
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