How much involvement? - Talk About Marriage
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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How much involvement?

[SIZE="3"]Hi All, this is my first post here. I've been lurking for a while and decided it's time to make a post.

Is there any ideal amount of involvement or any, that a step mom should have in the discipline of her step children's lives?

A quick bit of history on my situation... I've been with my current husband for almost 4 years and married for almost nine months. I have three children from a previous marriage. Ages 22, 18 & 13. My husband has two from a previous marriage, ages 11 & 9.

Our children come for very different parenting situations. I've taught/am teaching mine to be independent and self sufficient as possible. My husband was/is a laid back kind of guy who let his ex-wife and her mother raise their kids. He says any time he tried to discipline his kids, the ex & her mother would intervene and cut him down.

I've seen with my own eyes, the sickening babying that goes on with his children by mom & grandma. 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."

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.

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.

I stood there speechless. I looked at my husband in disbelief that no one said a word to her!!! I asked him, "WTH?" He, like most times fluffed it off as her being her. I swear my blood pressure was rising. I would never allow my children to act that way and get away with it.

So, this is where my question comes from. As step mom, does one intervene or do you just shut up and let it go?

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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-02-2016, 07:34 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

I'm a stepmum so I feel your pain, lol. Both my husband and his ex wife are far too permissive with my SD, the way she sometimes speaks to adults and thinks it's ok...I'm like whoa kiddo...no you will NOT speak like that.

In the instances described above, I honestly don't think there's much you can do. If both parents are there and neither is doing anything, your hands are tied. If neither parent is there, then I would pull the child up for bad behaviour though. Sometimes I will speak up because my husband is either so used to it he doesn't hear it or just can't be bothered, lol - but I've said to him on occasion "You're seriously going to let that go?? Really?" and THEN he'll pull her up.

There was one day a few years ago at school, and SD was acting out. I'd arrived to pick her up and her mother happened to be there at the same time. SD was being bratty and in her tantrum spoke rudely to me and called me a liar - twice. I didn't say anything but was floored when her mother didn't either!! After the second time she called me a liar, I turned to her mother and said "Your daughter has called me a liar twice, are you not going to do something about that?" lol.

Some people will say a step parent should never discipline step kids - and in the case of a step who comes into the kids lives when they're pre-teens or older, I agree, or if the kids are only with you every other weekend. But if the step parent has been in the kids lives since they were small, and lives with them 50% of the time that's a different story.
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-04-2016, 11:52 AM
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Re: How much involvement?

Ideally, everything is somewhat a joint effort kind of thing. Right? People of similar types and all that. But you don't have that. So what you have is a couple children with 2 parents, plus a step-parent. Don't be offended. I'm only cutting it honest. My outlook would be that you and your husband should agree on in-house rules for everyone. But he is the only person responsible for co-parenting with his ex.

I guess I'm trying to find a good way to say, and please don't be offended, that his kids are his business. You're off the hook. I mean obviously "No you won't speak to me that way!" and "No we don't run with guns!" are things for you to say. Same as any other adult living there. But the burden of his children at your home, is his. Make him sort it out.

So repeat this - Not my monkeys, not my circus.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-06-2016, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by frusdil View Post
I'm a stepmum so I feel your pain, lol. Both my husband and his ex wife are far too permissive with my SD, the way she sometimes speaks to adults and thinks it's ok...I'm like whoa kiddo...no you will NOT speak like that.

In the instances described above, I honestly don't think there's much you can do. If both parents are there and neither is doing anything, your hands are tied. If neither parent is there, then I would pull the child up for bad behaviour though. Sometimes I will speak up because my husband is either so used to it he doesn't hear it or just can't be bothered, lol - but I've said to him on occasion "You're seriously going to let that go?? Really?" and THEN he'll pull her up.

There was one day a few years ago at school, and SD was acting out. I'd arrived to pick her up and her mother happened to be there at the same time. SD was being bratty and in her tantrum spoke rudely to me and called me a liar - twice. I didn't say anything but was floored when her mother didn't either!! After the second time she called me a liar, I turned to her mother and said "Your daughter has called me a liar twice, are you not going to do something about that?" lol.

Some people will say a step parent should never discipline step kids - and in the case of a step who comes into the kids lives when they're pre-teens or older, I agree, or if the kids are only with you every other weekend. But if the step parent has been in the kids lives since they were small, and lives with them 50% of the time that's a different story.
It just shocks me at times with how much some parents let their children do so rude and disrespectful. I have no qualms with telling H (in private of course) that what he allowed his children to say/do etc, while they're with us is not acceptable. He then tells them that they were out of line. It just baffles me that sometimes I even have to pint it out. I stand there thinking, does he not see or hear this as being down right rude?
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-06-2016, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by Malpheous View Post
Ideally, everything is somewhat a joint effort kind of thing. Right? People of similar types and all that. But you don't have that. So what you have is a couple children with 2 parents, plus a step-parent. Don't be offended. I'm only cutting it honest. My outlook would be that you and your husband should agree on in-house rules for everyone. But he is the only person responsible for co-parenting with his ex.

I guess I'm trying to find a good way to say, and please don't be offended, that his kids are his business. You're off the hook. I mean obviously "No you won't speak to me that way!" and "No we don't run with guns!" are things for you to say. Same as any other adult living there. But the burden of his children at your home, is his. Make him sort it out.

So repeat this - Not my monkeys, not my circus.
No offense taken! I love honesty! And I agree with what you've said. There are rules within our home that goes for all children and together H and I enforce them when not followed. I often, in cases as I mentioned in my post, find me biting my tongue and later wondering if I should have said something instead. I often second guess myself as to whether I say something or shut it! I often opt for the latter.

I guess my main worry is that how these parents are raising their children now, will effect how they could turn out as an adult. If it's anything like their mom has turned out, we can expect to have 40 y.o. children living with us forever because they're not taught to do things for themselves, and they'll depend on everyone else to carry them. And I'm raising my children to be independent so I can at some point in the future, have some peace and quiet, you know?

As for "not my circus, not my monkeys" I am forever saying that to myself. LOL
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-06-2016, 01:37 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

You're the one who decides who lives with you and for how long. There's no reason you have to allow any 40 year old you don't want living there.

Don't intervene, just set an example. They may not let you know it, but they WILL observe and learn, and what they learn will come back later when they're grown and making their own way.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-06-2016, 02:41 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

I have nothing of positive value to contribute other than to point out that this thread clearly illustrates why subsequent marriages, especially with children from prior marriages, fail more often than not.
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-09-2016, 02:56 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

What I would do in that situation is be friendly with her, don't judge her, let her come to feel comfortable around you. And every time you see an instance in which you can provide her some kind of feedback, do so. Not about HER, but about situations. I found it helps to talk about something that happened in my life, the kid just listens, and sees the point or not, and goes on their way. But it's a fair bet that kid is internalizing the point of the discussion and letting it add to their future 'code of beliefs.'

Like, if I had a SD who acted like a brat, I wouldn't say anything in terms of punishing her. But I would find a way to bring up what happened and relate it to a story about my own life or someone else's, and show how behaving like that didn't get the result I expected, that I in fact lost that person as a friend, for example, and I now wish I'd handled it differently.

Stuff like that.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2016, 08:32 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by turnera View Post
What I would do in that situation is be friendly with her, don't judge her, let her come to feel comfortable around you. And every time you see an instance in which you can provide her some kind of feedback, do so. Not about HER, but about situations. I found it helps to talk about something that happened in my life, the kid just listens, and sees the point or not, and goes on their way. But it's a fair bet that kid is internalizing the point of the discussion and letting it add to their future 'code of beliefs.'

Like, if I had a SD who acted like a brat, I wouldn't say anything in terms of punishing her. But I would find a way to bring up what happened and relate it to a story about my own life or someone else's, and show how behaving like that didn't get the result I expected, that I in fact lost that person as a friend, for example, and I now wish I'd handled it differently.

Stuff like that.
Some great wisdom in this post.. I was raised in my teens by a very strict Step mother...I pretty much feared her... I did not feel wanted in that house.. my dad did his own thing.. I felt like I had a Room.. I Obey.. and I was on my own.. Oh I learned independence.. but I never felt I had anyone to talk to...to go to... so without friends.. I would have been one lonely young girl..

I feel it's very important to be "approachable".. also bringing some humor into any/ every situation.. (this can be used with stories to relate/share )....getting them to laugh with us, open up...it's important for them to feel the freedom to be themselves, voice an opinion too...if we want to influence them.. when we listen.. they generally will listen to us too...

1st seek to Know them, what they enjoy, show interest in their activities...as best you can, try to hone in on the positives to encourage them in a good way......so when you do come down with consequences.. there is some relationship built , some respect there.. as without this connection... it will only seek to divide you...
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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-09-2016, 10:35 PM
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Re: How much involvement?

What my DD25 told me, years after high school, was that the one reason she loved me so much is that I always told her I would never judge her (she didn't believe me), and she could tell me anything. She tested me a few times, and was surprised to realize I meant it - I WAS SAFE to come to.

And that meant the world to her, in high school, when she was full of doubts about herself.

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-10-2016, 12:14 AM
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Re: How much involvement?

Hi Lady
I'll address your SD since you mentioned she has mild CP. what a disservice her mother and grandmother are doing to her by babying her when she needs independence in her own ways while she's growing, and not of the mouthy sort.
Can she walk without assistance? Does she have normal brain function? Describe her a bit more. Maybe you can ignore the mouthing off for now and learn what you can regarding CP to see for her level of disability, what can be expected. Does she get therapy? Maybe you can help your husband in subtle ways. I guarantee you, she wanted to ride the bike but was afraid. They have bike camps and even sell bikes for balancing, all sorts of bikes. Pity neither of them had been on bikes before! Or maybe they were on three wheelers?

I'm in a blended family too, and my hubby married me with two teens at home, only one left. He has none. The rules here are big deals, he comes to me. Driving long distances or unfamiliar places (I can no longer drive), or events that cost money, I ask his opinion in front of her. In summer we always have road repairs and construction so I don't trust GPS.
Any, back you you. I wish you well and think you've received some great advice.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-24-2016, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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Originally Posted by Seasong View Post
Hi Lady
I'll address your SD since you mentioned she has mild CP. what a disservice her mother and grandmother are doing to her by babying her when she needs independence in her own ways while she's growing, and not of the mouthy sort.
Can she walk without assistance? Does she have normal brain function? Describe her a bit more. Maybe you can ignore the mouthing off for now and learn what you can regarding CP to see for her level of disability, what can be expected. Does she get therapy? Maybe you can help your husband in subtle ways. I guarantee you, she wanted to ride the bike but was afraid. They have bike camps and even sell bikes for balancing, all sorts of bikes. Pity neither of them had been on bikes before! Or maybe they were on three wheelers?

I'm in a blended family too, and my hubby married me with two teens at home, only one left. He has none. The rules here are big deals, he comes to me. Driving long distances or unfamiliar places (I can no longer drive), or events that cost money, I ask his opinion in front of her. In summer we always have road repairs and construction so I don't trust GPS.
Any, back you you. I wish you well and think you've received some great advice.
I can't believe I have missed all this advice. I never got notice that so many responded.

SD can walk, talk and even braids her own hair! She has a left side deficit. Her brain function isn't that of an average 11 yo, but I also feel she has SO much more potential but grandma admits she babies those kids. She "babied her kids and will baby the grandkids."

Sad constantly has her shoes on the wrong feet. I tell her all the time to "check your shoes, do they feel/look right?" The she changes them. She often has her clothes on backwards or inside out. I also tell her to look at herself and see if her clothes look/feel right.

She gets therapy in school and is often given tools to continue for extra help at home, but I know damn well it isn't carried over at home. She has instruments to help stretch and strengthen her leg, they never use it . I'm forever telling my H that it needs to be continued at home and our house and he agrees but never does anything about it.

I once talked to H's ex about it and told her I felt they weren't giving SD enough credit and I felt she had so much more potential. She told me I needed to mind my own business and be realistic about her disability.

IDK about anyone else, but if she can braid her own hair very well with her bummed hand too, she should be able to tell if her shoes are on the right feet.

I feel like I'm the one who is always noticing these things and correcting them, but when I speak up in favor of the girl, I am told to mind my own business.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 10:08 AM
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Re: How much involvement?

And this is why I made it very clear that my DH can discipline the kids, all of them, even the ones that didn't spring forth from his loins.

Actually, any adult I trust can discipline my kids. My siblings, my Dad and his wife, my close friends... If you catch my kids being rude or doing something wrong, feel free. I am one person, I am busy, I am outnumbered, I cannot catch everything, and I refuse to have rude or disrespectful kids running around.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 10:43 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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And this is why I made it very clear that my DH can discipline the kids, all of them, even the ones that didn't spring forth from his loins.

Actually, any adult I trust can discipline my kids. My siblings, my Dad and his wife, my close friends... If you catch my kids being rude or doing something wrong, feel free. I am one person, I am busy, I am outnumbered, I cannot catch everything, and I refuse to have rude or disrespectful kids running around.
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.
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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 06-28-2016, 10:48 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How much involvement?

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What my DD25 told me, years after high school, was that the one reason she loved me so much is that I always told her I would never judge her (she didn't believe me), and she could tell me anything. She tested me a few times, and was surprised to realize I meant it - I WAS SAFE to come to.

And that meant the world to her, in high school, when she was full of doubts about herself.
I'm the same way with my kids. If one of them comes to me (and they all have at times) and tells me something in private, asking that I don't repeat it, I don't. Not even to my H or their dad.

I'd do the same for my step children, unless of course it was something extremely bad. Then I'd feel obligated to say something but I'd stress to him/her the reason why I had to tell.

It's all about trust. That's how good relationships develop.
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