New to the board

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
New to the board
10
Mon, 04-21-2014 - 9:30am

Hi all, 

New to the board. Someone said they would love to see me more so if she keeps this link at the bottom of her posts i will visit!! And probably gain some insight and maybe some advice! Hope I am posting in the right spot.

I am remarried, 40 this year yikes, for 3 years in June. We have a little girl that will be two in July, and the boys from my previous marriage are 17, grade 11 and 14, grade 8. 

My husband is wonderful and I just love his parents who help baby sitt while I am working our little girl. They are just great people. Our biggest problem and basically the only thing we fight about is my boys....

Back ground....My ex and  I split in 2007. Just could not get along. Very different people, he was kind of manipulative and could not stop spending money, deeper and deeper in debt and I really didn't even think he liked me anymore at all. We don't live that far apart, rurually about 10 miles on separate farm yards. Don't get along too bad, we have the boys 50-50, he has them more on the weekends as he travels for work. I have them more during the school week.  He is a bit of disney land dad.

So they are good kids actually. No drugs, respectful but not all that ambitious and kind of lazy. Typical teenage boys. The problem is that my husband has an amazing work ethic and was raised to do lots of chores, he never forgot anything and helped out anywhere and any way he could for his parents. If they do small things he gets upset over it like leave the door open, or foget their chores, or make bad decisions with their spending money. It is hard on the kids and I am always in the middle. 

How do you all handle these things? Advice is always welcome.

Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 04-21-2014 - 11:22am

When I married my 2nd DH, I had 2 kids (13 & 6) and he had one (12).  I naively figured that he would just take charge of raising his DD and I would raise my kids--for the big decision things that did happen but for the day to day things, it was difficult.  Things that didn't bother me would bother him that my kids would do, like my Dd had this habit of leaving her shoes in the living room instead of brining them upstairs.  Now the thing is that she was a good student and not causing any trouble.  Meanwhile his DD was doing all kind of crazy things which he could not control, so I felt like he should have been concentrating on those big problems and not picking on my Dd.  Eventually we got divorced--we had bigger problems than that, but it was a big relief not to have him around and I could certainly enjoy my kids more.  But one big difference there was that we never had a child together, so I do not have to interact with him.  Since you have a child together, you are going to have to decide how to raise your own child so I think it's time that you started talking about your child rearing principles and see if you can compromise.

I mean the 17 yr old could be out of the house soon but the 14 yr old will certainly be there for a while.  so think about it objectively.  do you both agree on the chores that your teens should be doing around the house?  If the kids don't do their chores, have there been any consequences in the past?  What would you do about it?  There are some parents who do nothing so then the kid feels that why should I bother to do anything since I can get away with it?  As far as spending money, I usually feel that if the kid gets an allowance or is earning some money, they should be free to do whatever they want with it--unless they are buying drugs or alcohol.  Maybe they should be expected to pay a certain amount for a personal expense and then the rest is theirs--how else are they going to learn to budget their money?  I have an 18 yr old who has been working since he was 16 and he has to give me $100 a month for car insurance and pay for his own gas--other than that, I don't really monitor his spending.  I might mention something like maybe he has enough clothes and shouldn't buy too many more, or maybe spending $5 on Starbucks could add up pretty quickly, but I was amazed yesterday when I heard him tell his grandmother that he has to start saving some money!

I think the main problem is that he is not their parent and should not be in charge of them.  They already have 2 parents.  It just causes a lot of resentment when someone new comes into their lives and starts changing the rules.  You & Your DH should talk about the issue but you should be the one making decisions and making the rules for them.  He should not try being the disciplinarian.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 04-21-2014 - 1:51pm

Hi Gal, and Welcome!!!  Wink

I only have a quick second, but wanted to say that although in general it is true you want the parent to be the disclipenarian, I have found that "You know what, I kind of need a little help here.  I didn't get re-married to be a single mom."  

My DH has a hard time staying out of stuff.  He does his best, and usually tells me what he thinks out of ear shot of DD14 and says "of course, you can do what you want."  Sometimes he can't help himself and blurts stuff out.  But for the most part, he reinforces "house rules" like chores and we have a standing rule that he can take DD14 phone if she isn't doing what she is asked.  

He tries to say things like "what does your mom or dad say about that."  

I know sometimes the step-parent if more of  friend to the SS or SD, but I prefer a parental role, even though we do try really hard to let me be the bad guy.  KWIM?  

Again, so glad to see you!  I hope you keep posting.

Serenity

Serenity
Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 04-21-2014 - 2:11pm

I do not understand the "you raise your kids; I'll raise mine" idea.  If you are married, all kids should be raised by both of you.  And how you go about that, is something you should have worked out long ago, ESPECIALLY since you have a child together.  The way you are raising her, is the way you also should be raising the first two.

I also do not believe that simply because a teen is not doing drugs they are good kids.  Teens are not typically unambitious, lazy and poor with their money.  Your children should be required to get good grades, do chores, pitch in around the house, and the older one should have a job.  This is common sense parenting, and lays the foundation for a hardworking, well educated, thrifty adult.  From what you've said, these are qualities your first husband was lacking, so it would seem like a good idea to instill these values in your boys.  Instead of fighting with your current husband, you should back him up. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Tue, 04-22-2014 - 2:45pm

Hi Gal--

((hugs))

Only time for a quick reply here, but I agree with the concept that bioparent should be the one disciplining the children, HOWEVER it is perfectly acceptable to have "house rules" at your place that your DH can remind/enforce.

Differences:

Not closing door--house rule.

Dirty dishes to the kitchen, not left in family room--house rule.

MIs-spending their allowance, etc--bioparent issue.

Staying out past curfew---bioparent

Not doing homework--bioparent.

Get the idea?

See if DH and you can agree on some basic house rules, list them, post them, etc.

ALSO---call around all over and see if you can find a "step family" workshop somewhere---or any type of parenting program re: teens---you dont mention your DH as having a biochild through teen years?  That is one huge hurdle itself, y'know , the "MY kid will never_______".....lol, then your kid gets there, and , guess what--the do.

Gotta run for now--

more will have other suggestions/ideas--

BEST WISHES!
keep us posted!! 

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Thu, 04-24-2014 - 3:25pm

Ahhhh Sabrtooth such a delight to have you on this board too.

Thank you so much for all the responses. Some things to take away here and apply.

I do a agree with all the house rules, I helped put them there. Its enforcing them and forgettfulness that is getting us into trouble. The kids often forget, especially the 14 year old. In one ear etc. My husband knows he can enforce things by taking away the ipads ect. I often work evenings a few times a week and he is there is with the kids. The boys don't do it on purpose to forget they just do, I remember forgetting when I was that age but I guess my husband never has. We try to raise all the kids the same or will but at 21 months you just don't have the same responsibilities. She will be doing chores as well. 

My husband just can't understand a chore being left out after 4 years of telling someone, but he is the adult here. Not sure how to deal with his frustrations. I have tried family meetings and no one seems interested or they think it is stressful or not worth it. The 17 year old is out of the house soon I think, is it bad for me to wish for less stress here. I have said to the husband how it hurts my feeling when he over reacts...even though we must be consistent with the rules. I think that is important. He feels not listened to when they forget. Still, he is the adult. I like to think we are consistent, but when they go to my ex's house I don't think they have any chores and maybe that is why he thinks his daughter will be better but I have told him not to hold his breath here.

Love everybody at my house. If they could get along better and I could help them, that would be ideal. Can you guys help me help everyone?? What do you say? I like it! More suggestions welcome!

And yes they are good kids. Thanks Sabrtooth, again, always a pleasure.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Thu, 04-24-2014 - 3:30pm
Oh my husband is so like that! Hard time staying out of things, and I'm not sure I want him too. Just ease off a bit maybe? He has not tried to be their friend but try to get them involved and interested in things in the yard etc. He has been the youngest son's 4-H leader and played lego etc to do something together, the boys are just not interested in a lot other than computer things, my youngest writes programer code and games of course, Dh would never do that. I have tried board games but it gets a little competitive and to be honest, I cheat a bit and it throws everyone off lol. Sigh. We need some fun, and I need ideas! Thanks Serenity!
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Thu, 04-24-2014 - 3:36pm

Perhaps I am confused. DH has no children other than our 21 month old together. I had my kids at 23 and 26 with my ex husband.

I would like to entertain the idea of me being in control of certain things. I am where the money is concerned. Teach very good values there but the ex always has other ideas and it rubs on them kwim. They might have to fall flat on thier faces here before they soar but they know I am here to listen and give advice. We will see what happens there. 

I want DH to feel like he has a say and can enforce rules. That is important to me. I also don't think the kids don't shut the door on purpose. Everyone has to give everyone a break here and keep things in perspective. Is the world going to end if the door doesn't get shut? I do want the boys to come back and visit as adults. I have mentioned this to DH before. There are things to get mad about, rules to be enforced, and things to enforce and then let go...

His child is going to do all sorts of things...she is a very determined smart little girl! He might get a wake up call here. We will see!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Thu, 04-24-2014 - 3:39pm

I  value your opinions here and think I answered everything in the other posts. Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 04-25-2014 - 10:53am

I always think that people who have not had children of a certain age should at least make an effort to understand what they are going through developmentally.  It is not uncommon for teenagers to forget to do chores--they don't do it on purpose, it had to do with the structure of the brain.  You might want to get the book Yes, Your Teen is Crazy, which explains a lot.  You also have to know when to pick your battles.  I have an 18 yr old and he drives me crazy because he is messy--he has a ton of clothes and just throws them on the floor in his room.  I will not clean his room or wash his clothes.  One weekend he finally got around to it and had to wash 5 loads!  But I also know he is very busy with school work, which is really the priority--he takes 3 AP classes this year, also had to do a senior project, plus he works part time, so I give him a break.  What is really important is that he does well in school.

I also think that your DH could try to connect with the kids better if he tried to learn their interests instead of expecting them to adapt to his.  It's good that he can introduce them to new things but doing computer programming is just as important as any other interest.

I think what people don't take into account in 2nd marriages is that the kids did not have a say in this--some adult who they didn't pick is coming to live with them whether they like it or not and the mom (or dad as the case may be) loves this  new person and wants everyone to be happy together, but maybe the kids don't even like the step parent.  I think the most you can expect is civility and following the rules since the step parent is an adult and taking the place of the parent when the parent isn't there.  But they may never have a better relationship than that.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Tue, 04-29-2014 - 8:57am
I was hoping for better but after 6 years, this may very well be the case. Its nice to hear it from someone else though. thanks.