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OK So here it is. I have 2 girls 4 and 8. There mom left me for another man and we got divorced. After about 6 months I started dating.. Found the woman of my dreams! Got married and this is the only woman my kids has seen me with other than there mom. Because I wanted to make sure it was going to last before I put people in there life and then took them away. Anyway we have been married for over a year now. And up till now the kids acted like they loved my wife. She takes really good care of them and they have always had a good time together. But the ex-wife started piloting against us because we have rules out our house. Such as not eating in the living room or bedrooms and picking up toys when done playing with them. The ex wife has never had rules with the kids. She just cleans up after them and complains about it. Now she is telling my kids they don't have to listen to my wife and there is nothing she can do about it. So in just a few days of my ex-wife doing this my kids are right down mean to my wife. Telling her what to do and screaming at her. To thew point where she breaks down crying because they have went form best friends to this. To get to the point I dont know how to talk to them about it? I dont ever want to put there mom down also. They dont even know why we got divorced because I dont want my kids to think bad of there mom. I really dont know how to approach them. And them so young makes it harder. Can anyone help me with this?
Hi Darin its ashame that the ex is using yalls children in this manner, my advice would be to explain to your girls that your household has rules and they will be adhered too when they are there. I think that you stepping in and reaffirming these rules with your spouse would help as well. Let your wife know that you support her and are willing to help enforce the rules. I believe thats helps establish boundaries for your girls later on in life.
Well as far as me pushing the rules I have always done that. But I am going to try to talk to them tonight. I just know its going to be hard because they have there dad telling them one thing and there mom telling them another. Life has been perfect up to this point so I have been truly blessed. My wife has always done well with me kids and they have always done well with her. She treats them like her own. Loves on them spends time with them and plays with them. I just hope the love they are getting from her will over ride the things there mom is telling them to do to her.
Kids constantly test boundaries, and it is horrible that your ex is goading them into defying your wife.
Stop this immediately before it becomes a huge problem. As soon as your children exhibit defiant behavior, have a consequence that you are prepared to carry out. Children are uncanny about detecting weakness, and they will exploit it mercilessly if you don't put a stop to it.
Your wife can remind them of how much fun it was to be a group who got along nicely, and how much better it made everyone feel about themselves. Then sit down and decide which rules can stay and which might be changed. This also gives the opportunity for the girls to decide which rules really work for them in a positive way, and how they can take these particular rules to their mom's house! Having good rules and a peaceful household means they can more likely have friends over. In fact, schedule some play dates, and that will help in many ways, including peer pressure. Peers are the first to recognize stepmom is real nice, and will ask, why are you mean to your stepmom, she's being nice to you...and we have those rules in our house too, what's your problem?
Also don't restrict the relationship just to the house, take them out in the community and support their interests. Kids like fairness, so once stepmom has helped them with something they need an adult for, she can ask for a return favor at home (within reason of course)...
It's not hard to sit them down and say: We have rules in THIS house, and you are expected to follow them or you will have your privileges taken away. The first rule is to respect me and [wife's name]. So when we tell you to pick up your room, you pick up your room. It is not a request, but a requirement.
It doesn't even matter what your wife tells them - your house, your rules, and they need to get with the program or they don't get their tv and computer and play time and trips to the zoo or whatever.
Kids need boundaries. Give them the boundaries and be clear about them. You are not your kids' friend - you are their parent. It doesn't matter if they get mad at you or "like mom better" because she lets them run wild. It is your responsibility to teach them to behave like respectful people.
1. So your wife created the divorce, and apparently now has some second thoughts, and becomes angry at you. Typical narcissist.
2. Step parents should (NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT) be the primary disciplinarian. If there are rules, you need to enforce them.
Have your wife be the pleasant one, who gives gifts, take the kids out, etc.
3. Have a discussion with your former wife. Listen to her, try to figure out ways of minimizing stress and discord. Perhaps a few rules could be modified. However, do not let this discussion get into a yelling match or war. If your former wife seems uninterested in productive discussion, gracefully terminate the discussions.
4. You guys seem set up for lawyers. Note lawyers will tell you what you want to hear. Bob, I am shocked at her behavior and you are completely right, give me 5,000. Jane, what's happening with the step-mother is terrible, and I feel so sad about how your children are being mistreated, give me 5,000. Each lawyer will tell his client these things are very important, prepare detailed documents for court, and the judge will look at them and think, why are they bothering me with all this crap. Like I'm supposed to figure out whether the kid can have a tv dinner in the living room?
Thanks guys for all the advise. I have talked to the girls and there mom. But I am the person that enforces the rules 90% of the time. But some days they are there when I work. I have told my girls and there mom this. This is our home and we make the rules and these rules has to be followed. I also told the girls that we love you and take good care of you but there are rules and boundaries here. And from this point on when you rebel just because someone else told you its ok to then there will be punishment you will be grounded. So we can go back to the way we where and go by the rules and still have fun like we always did before. And then I ask them would you rather be mad upset and grounded because someone told you that it was ok to tell us no and not follow the rules? Or would you rather go by these simple and easy rules and continue to have a good time? Go places and have fun together? Anyway I hope this works.
Just keep sticking to what you told them. You did well.
As a step-mom I had similar probelms with my step children and their mom. Their mom basically abandoned them. But she would call them from time to time.They would tell her how awful it was that we had rules. And she would tell them that we were obvously horrible and they should not listen to us. Then she would disappear for a few months. What a gem we is.
My step children were older however. They moved in when they were 10 & 12. So it was the teen years and teens hardly need an excuse to be a pain in the arse.
Your children are testing boundaries. They will test boundries often. So get in a pattern of bring firm but loving. And do not allow them to mistreat your wife. I know you are not allowing this so you are on to a very good start with them. Children are hard. Step-children are very very hard.
I think it's VITAL to establish clear lines between parents of the household and children of the household. Your first responsibility (both you you) is to parent. If that's going well then you can be friends as well. My experience has been that always being ready to switch to parenting mode in a split second, and providing a consistent parenting front, provides a great deal of stability in the house and we get to spend much more time as friends.
The rules in your house can bend, but the difference between your house and the ex's house are non-negotiable. It's a fact of life that we all have to adapt our behavior to the environment we're in. The divorced/merged family is just one of many scenarios in which we have to do this. Be prepared to reciprocate as well though. For example, last Thursday I was at the ex's house picking them up. While I was there one of my kids kicked the other one and a crying/profanity ensued. My ex looked at me and I told her "It's your house and you need to address this.". I certainly had my ideas of how to deal with the issue but it simply wasn't my place and I see stepping over that line as being highly detrimental to establishing the clear division that I seek.
@Bobby - no offense is intended, but I strongly disagree with your second point. The step-parent is still a PARENT and with that comes responsibilities which aren't always pleasant for everyone. Grand-parents have the fun role, always fun, buying things, spoiling... not the PARENTS. Relegating the step-parent to the always fun, happy, play adult in the house compromises their authority and mitigates any fruitful work they could do towards raising the kids. Just as it's their obligation to care for the kids when they're sick and hurt when you're not around, it's also their obligation to parent when you're not around. You just both have to establish a consistent parenting front for the children. Not easy I know, but I believe it's essential.
Yes I am a firm believer that if the step parent can cook clean and care after the children then they can help discipline the children. My wife has took on a new and hard life.. She has no kids and for someone to step into something like that with open arms then she is worth something to me and my kids. She never gets mad. Hurt and upset sometimes yes. But I am always there to listen to her and we work together. If anything she has helped me become a better parent to my girls. She is the one that has started family nights. Where we do different things like games crafts. Together as a family. It really does help to hear others opinions are to. So thank you guys so much.
P.S With a step parent always address children as our kids and not my kids.