Im. Just. Over it. And its just started.

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Registered: 05-04-2003
Im. Just. Over it. And its just started.
29
Sun, 09-26-2010 - 7:31pm

Sweet geezus I am so over this 14 year old attitude having, sneaky, sefish self abosobred monster of a stepson

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Registered: 11-25-2007
Sun, 09-26-2010 - 9:30pm

I sure can relate! - I am counting down too- 1 HS yr done, 3 to go - in my case he is mine,

mom_uk2socal - Mom to DS22, DS19, DD16

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Registered: 03-09-2009
Sun, 09-26-2010 - 11:32pm

Here's a link to the disengaging essay:

http://www.steptogether.org/disengaging.html

For many frustrated step-mom's, this is their bible. You can't fill the gaps when your DH drops the ball. It just won't work no matter how hard you try. I've BTDT, and had to develop "hysterical bindness/deafness" for all the stuff going on in my home that didn't directly affect me. I learned to stop trying to parent the step-kids, and as a result, I became less and less of a target of their disrespect. I did start getting on DH's case hardcore, getting him to do the work of nagging them (mostly to get them to pick up after themselves), but otherwise, I stayed out of things. That reduced the stress I was feeling immensely.

Avatar for girlyone2001
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-04-2003
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 9:36am
Omg, thanks you guys...I am plotting out the Disengagement talk for tonight. Gawd, I am nervous that this could end my marriage :o(
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Registered: 02-12-1998
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 9:52am
I think what you got was supurb advice.
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Registered: 01-05-2005
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 10:07am

I learned to stop trying to parent the step-kids, and as a result, I became less and less of a target of their disrespect.



I honestly don't mean this disrespectfully, but when I read this essay, I thought, "who in

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Registered: 03-09-2009
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 10:35am

<<>>

Well, that's great. I never suggest reading the disengaging essay to a blended family who are happy and functioning.

I suggest it to step-moms who's DH's aren't in agreement with parenting, who's DH's don't want to make their kids follow rules (rules that the DH often has initially agreed with). I suggest it to step-moms who are feeling like the abused, unpaid, hired help.

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I can't either, but for some women this is the only area where their DH falls down, or has blinders, and disengaging is a compromise between staying and being (almost literally) abused (at the very least, grossly taken advantage of), or getting a divorce.

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Why? Seriously...*dangerous*? Why such a dramatic word?

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The babysitter has taken this on as her career. She's also free to quit if your kids are too much for her, or she decides that kids aren't her thing. And by discipline, are you suggesting that when you'd pick up your kids, that you'd be told that one of your kids was grounded (at your home as well)? Or were they just controlled while in the babysitter's care? Disengaging is not about letting the kids run wild when the parent is not home, although I'd be strongly suggesting that the non-parent opt out of babysitting duties if that was a point of high stress.

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Again, good for you, but not all parents feel the same way. Or they initially claim to, but in the end don't really want the input of a non-parent (and, really, that's the right of the parent to decide). You seem to want to give the non-parent only two options: suck it up...or leave.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 11:18am
I think that things do work well when you & your DH can agree on rules, everybody knows what the rules are and they are enforced by everyone, whether it's the babysitter or grandma. Like for younger kids you might have a rule that they have to go to bed at a certain time. If you go out, your DH can say that the rule is that it's bedtime. This isn't a surprise to the kid since they know that every other night they have to go to bed at that time. When I was married to 2nd DH, we did have certain basic rules, like no one could eat upstairs in their room or you had to clean up after yourself, put the dishes in the dishwasher, etc. But when we had teenagers, we didn't always consult each other about what our own kids could do or could not do. If my DD asked if she could go out w/ her friends, I didn't feel that I had to ask my DH cause it didn't really affect him and frankly this was more my decision. If she had to borrow a car, that did indirectly affect him, so I would consult him to see if he or we had plans. Same w/ his DD--it didn't matter to me if he said she could come home at 10:00 or 11:00 or if she could go to the movies w/ his friends. I think the problem is like when the OP posted, that either parents can't agree or they do agree on a rule and then it's not enforced. We decided together that when the kids got to be driving age, they had to pay for their own car insurance cause it's very expensive to be adding 2 teens to the insurance. So my DD was a year older, got her license and paid for her own insurance. Then his DD got her license and I found out later that he never collected the money. Something like that really made me upset. So I can see where the OP doesn't feel respected, esp. if the DS is being rude to her. If he wants to be rude to his dad and dad will put up w/ it that's one thing, but I would definitely have a discussion w/ DH about why he is allowing his son to be rude.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 11:36am
I think you really need to go to counseling w/ your DH to figure out how to deal w/ this situation. There are basically 2 options--as debbie said, totally disengage except when something directly affects you. I read your other post on the porn, and if your DH thinks it's ok to allow his DS to look at porn every night, whatever (frankly I don't think I could stand that). The other option is that you figure out what your limits are and tell your DH that if he won't do that bare minimum (like make sure his DS isn't rude to you), then you won't be around. We had a poster on here, Bizzylizzy, who had a kind of similar situation, so maybe you can look up her posts. Her DH was, accd. to her, someone who was very weak & wouldn't lay down the law to his kids, so basically she told him either things were going to go her way, or she would be gone. So he allowed her to be the "bad guy."
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Registered: 01-05-2005
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 12:37pm

<<>>



Why? Seriously...*dangerous*? Why such a dramatic word?



You're right, dangerous is a dramatic word, at least without any context. When I say dangerous, I mean dangerous to a happy and healthy marriage, not physically dangerous. I will have to believe others when they say that they can have a satisfying marriage with disengagement, but I just can't see it. I wasn't trying to make it a "divorce or abuse" situation. I was saying that rather than disengaging, I think serious family counseling is in order. And yes, honestly, if my dh refused to go to family counseling when I felt it was seriously needed, I would choose divorce.



As far as the babysitter, YES, she would occasionally impose punishments that went beyond her immediate care, because we had discussed and agreed upon those in advance. It wasn't like out-of-the-blue the babysitter would say, "hey, you're grounded for a week," and honestly, at that age, the kids were pretty easy and didn't need longer punishments much, but there were times when things happened and she would say to me, "okay, I told dd that I was putting X in timeout for two days because she used it to hit her sister" or whatever, because we had discussed it in advance.



With my dh, we usually knew the consequences because we had discussed them in advance (with the kids as well, so they knew them) and our mantra was ALWAYS follow through.... however, if something came up and one of us wasn't really sure what to do, we'd say, "okay,

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2009
Mon, 09-27-2010 - 3:57pm

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I disengaged from the parenting of my skids. My marriage didn't suffer as a result. My DH respected ME enough to realize that I wasn't one of his kids' parents, and shouldn't be burdened with that responsibility. I respected HIM enough to realize that he could parent as he saw fit, and bring only the issues that directly affected me to him. I felt that our marriage was in more danger with me backseat driving his parenting, than it would be if I disengaged. There was no more elephant in the room than there would have been if I'd been an aunt or good friend who also happened to live in the house.

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I think that's crazy. It would be like finding a note from my DS's teacher saying that DS is grounded from tv for a week for something he did in class. Um, I'll decide what goes on in our home, TYVM.

What if you'd decided later that the punishment was not appropriate, or that it wasn't having the desired effect? What if babysitter insisted that you continue with the agreement? Who gets veto power?

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I disagree. To me, this is about a biological parent's right to parent as they see fit, so long as it's not directly affecting that parent's spouse. In my home, I decide when my DS's curfew is, how many cookies he can eat, if he can stay home from school, how many hours he can spend online, ect., so long as it doesn't directly conflict with my DH's needs. I decide what the punishment will be for infractions, and what the duration of those punishments will be.

I always tell DH what's going on so that he's informed (and gets the chance to bring any conflicts to my attention), and I quite often bounce ideas off him (he's the more experienced parent, and a great sounding board). I'm not asking approval, nor am I asking him to participate in the parenting (especially not the crappy parts of parenting). He's a friend, not my kid's other parent.

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I agree, BUT if you are putting yourself in the middle of situations where you are not needed, that don't directly affect you, then you are kind of asking for it. And what is blatant disrespect? Is it eye-rolling, muttered complaints, ignoring? Most parents ignore that anyway.

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Sometimes coexisting is the best that can be achieved. Peaceful coexistence is definitely not the end of the world.

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Well, you're probably not alone in that attitude. They do say that second marriages have a higher divorce rate than first ones.

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