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Struggling with his kids


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I’m having a hard time with my husband’s kids (ages 13 and 14). The girl does not want to go anywhere on the weekends and will invent these crazy reasons to not go somewhere. She gets extremely vocal and loud if we try to make her go to a place that doesn’t interest her (such as her grandmother’s house). It’s sad because her grandma is lovely and it means so much to her to see her grandchildren. My husband just put up with it and ignores her but it stresses me out to the point of shaking. I want to support my husband, but I dread these weekends. I hate the tantrums and the way she snaps at her brother, father and me. The ridiculousness of the things she claims (eg. she got gum in her hair that no one can see/feel/detect) and the attitude she adopts goes right through me. Last weekend, after a drawn out battle and facing a 45-minute car ride to Nashville filled with her angry comments, I finally said that he could take them without me and I needed to stay home. I feel awful that I did it, but I needed a break. He was disappointed and hurt but let me do it. Is it terrible to take a break from his kids every once in a while? Do I truly have to spend the entire weekend with them every time we see them? I know we are supposed to be a family but, I’m not sure I can keep this up in the long term unless I take some time away every now and again. 

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How often does he get to see them? Every other weekend I would assume? I don’t think there’s anything wrong in taking a little break and do your thing once in a while. I don’t think teenagers need to hang out with the family every hour of the day. I understand he wants to spend time with them when he does get to see them, but maybe some low key relaxing at the house, some board games or family video games are fun sometimes? Do you feel like you always need to take elaborate trips when they’re there? I think the behavior comes with being a teenager. 

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11 hours ago, angelbou1734 said:

. He was disappointed and hurt but let me do it. 

Sorry this is happening. Your husband is the problem. He and the children's mother are soley responsible for them. 

That means custody and visitation scheduling, their physical and mental health care and disciplining them.

You did the right thing simply taking time out for yourself.

They are pubescent children. You, your husband and their mother are the adults.

Inform your husband that his children are his responsibility. It's that simple. However stop arguing with and battling with them.

In fact get busy on weekends. Spend time with family and friends. Join some groups and clubs. Volunteer. Get a fun side job. Go away with friends.

If your husband and his children's mother have arranged custody this way, then let him take care of his own children when it's his turn to be with them.

What do you mean "let you stay home"? You don't need his permission to stop being the unpaid nanny. They're his children and his sole responsibility.

 

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I don't think you have to tag along all the time, maybe some of the time. I relate to that shaking feeling and I'm very sorry you go through that.  You can't discipline them because you're not their parent but they need to treat you with respect.  Your husband would do well to take some parenting classes involving appropriate boundaries and the specific challenges with raising a teenager.  My father in law RIP didn't treat me nicely the last few years of his life (bizarre as we'd had a good relationship prior) but he was very wonderful with our young son . So when he came over I made myself scarce. 

My husband was fine with this -I got some me time, didn't have to put up with his treatment of me and my son got time with his grandfather.  It was better than me being there and miserable and my husband not knowing what to do with his elderly father.    Different than your situation but similar in the sense that there is always room for compromise and there should be very few "musts" that require the whole family to be in one place.  

Good luck and again I'm sorry.

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Being a stepparent is the hardest job in the world, and no one will convince me otherwise. 

I've been a stepmom for over a decade and the journey hasn't always been easy.  

I find thru my own experience and talking with other stepmoms, it's not at all uncommon for the man to feel guilty for "leaving the family" even if the decision to divorce was mutual and the wife (as if often the case) is given the house and primary custody.  Due to this "Dad guilt" some men do overcompensate by not discipling the children.  But this actually helps no one. 

One of the hardest things in the world to learn as a stepparent, is to know when to breathe, step back, and take a moment.  You don't have to be with the kids every time your husband is with them.  However, I discourage you from doing it too much, as there will be times you are simply uncomfortable that just have to be lived thru. I understand the urge to want occasional space from them, but understand that as a stepparent, you will not be able to escape every unpleasant moment/experience- just as a bio parent.  The teenage years are tough, especially as you want to help and get confronted with "YOU'RE not my parent!". 

Some things that helped me- 

1. Pick your moments- try two weeks on, one week off- if you know you have something important or stressful coming up, or you know you need a mental break, choose that as your week to do something independent. 

2. Create a ritual.  I'm serious.  Mediate. Breathe.  Whatever you need to prepare yourself emotionally.  I would sometimes talk to myself out loud- " I know they are likely to say this, don't take it personally."

3.  If you've had a particularly difficult visit, do something special with your husband- go out to dinner, ask him to watch your favorite show or movie, take a walk together- something to help you decompress together and feel like a team again. 

I think it can be difficult for bio parents to truly understand how challenging it can be to be a stepparent.  Imagine dealing with your kids at their worst, but you DON'T have that innate love for them or they for you.  It's not easy, and even the most sainted person in the world will have moments of needing a break from it.  That's not wrong.  Take your breaks.  Trust me, it will help save your sanity. 

Best of luck! 

 

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I think when it comes to kids, you have to detach yourself from the crappy, mean things they do. 

Seriously, they are kids and so much of their behavior they will out grow.  And its important that you find a way to not run and hide. 

This is your life, too. Don't let the kids push you out.  Maybe try to find a way to defuse the tension. At her age, visits to grandma aren't a priority. And grandma probably knows that.  So think about the battles you pick. 

Let your hubs handle things.  Support him. If he's fine with her not going, then why trouble yourself? 

You know she might be acting out because she feels that's the only way she gets attention or she is hurting about things she can't control and therefore trying to control what she can. 

I'm not sure exactly what you should do or say because it's very specific but I think I'd work on my reactions. Be a calming force.  Let her be a brat. move your attention away from her. you have a good time with hubs and the son. If she see you all having fun anyway she may soften. You don't have to ignore her but if she's not playing nice, let her come to you.  

You have good intentions but don't let them get lost in a power struggle. You are the adult. You have more power than you think. 

 

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3 minutes ago, Lambert said:

I think when it comes to kids, you have to detach yourself from the crappy, mean things they do. 

Seriously, they are kids and so much of their behavior they will out grow.  And its important that you find a way to not run and hide. 

This is your life, too. Don't let the kids push you out.  Maybe try to find a way to defuse the tension. At her age, visits to grandma aren't a priority. And grandma probably knows that.  So think about the battles you pick. 

Let your hubs handle things.  Support him. If he's fine with her not going, then why trouble yourself? 

You know she might be acting out because she feels that's the only way she gets attention or she is hurting about things she can't control and therefore trying to control what she can. 

I'm not sure exactly what you should do or say because it's very specific but I think I'd work on my reactions. Be a calming force.  Let her be a brat. move your attention away from her. you have a good time with hubs and the son. If she see you all having fun anyway she may soften. You don't have to ignore her but if she's not playing nice, let her come to you.  

You have good intentions but don't let them get lost in a power struggle. You are the adult. You have more power than you think. 

 

I agree, grandma does know . My mom has many teenage and young adult grandchildren. She knows visits to grandma are not priority in young people’s lives and my mom is not hurt . She misses them but knows they love her. 
 

My mom was a step mother twice in her life. She is close to her step daughter now and one step son. My mom and my step sister are very very close and have bonded over my step dad’s recent death. My mom is grandmother to my step sister’s 8 kids. 
 

Teens and young adults can be difficult but they are learning who they are and forging an identity and life . 

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My own son is 24 and there were challenges when he was a teen and still now however he has a disability which makes self regulation more difficult. But he is pretty done hanging out with mom and dad and family too. This is a normal path of development for humans . As I said it helps create identity that is separate from caregivers. If they don’t do this they become dependent on you for everything . Rejoice they want to be independent. 

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