Step parenting help

(17 Posts)
Stepfun2005 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:04:50

Hi mums net!

I'm new to this site. I would really like some advice - I hope this is the right place to post.

I am a step parent to a child that I have step parented since 1 year old. Mother is on the scene and we have shared residency.

Childs mum struggles a lot and is a fairly 'relaxed' parent. Child's dad is also quite relaxed and our parenting style is different. I am a firm but loving parent but because my husband lets more go I look like the bad guy a lot. Some say not to get involved but all involved say my input has been invaluable and enriching. However we now really disagree on how firm to be and because I am not the biological parent I feel I have to constantly back down to my husbands wishes. I don't think I'm too strict but he does. I'm so frustrated, as I'm so committed and want so much to do the right thing but our parenting styles Mis match. I don't know what to do.

Any advice or words of wisdom or identification would be really appreciated, I don't know any other step parents and we don't have a child together.

Thanks x

Crazyex Sun 06-Oct-13 21:18:41

"Mother is on the scene" combined with you saying you are being a "firm but loving parent" would get my back up as an actual mother and parent. Perhaps respect the parents especially if they're both on the same page...

GillyMac93 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:19:50

Hi there ,didn't want to read and run . Im a step parent to nine year old dss . It is very difficult with differing parenting styles you sound like me and my partner . I found myself biting my tongue a lot , I just sat him down and talked about how I felt , without trying to step on his toes and he was really glad to have some backing , we now are on the same page and it works really well however dss mum is not on the scene . Hate to say though if your parent styles are very different and you cannot find a middle ground it could be a deal breaker for me . This is something you need to resolve before it creates bad feeling . However I would say you may need to simply support your partner in parenting especially as sc mum is in his/her life , hope you can make sense of my rambling !

Arisbottle Sun 06-Oct-13 21:26:12

I think that if hurt parenting styles are different you have to be prepared to follow the lead of the biological parent or accept that you need to move on.

FrauMoose Sun 06-Oct-13 21:31:47

I sometimes used to talk about what I could and could not cope with in my own home. So it wasn't so much about parenting styles, but what I needed. For example that I couldn't cope with the TV being on all the time, even if nobody was watching.

The phrase, 'It's my home too,' sometimes got uttered.

fairy1303 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:40:00

We have this. Mum not really on scene though. I am primary carer so do get more say I guess.

DH has tendency to be a lot bit Disney and I'm all about the boundaries so we have clashed - for us we sat down very early on and discussed my role - I am very much her parent and I said that I was either in, or out, as it were. I think you need to sit down with DH and decide what rules are really, really important to you, that you can agree on and then enforce them.

Ultimately the final say is his decision, but I would hope that as his wife he would respect you enough to meet you half way with stuff that will impact you - I.e rudeness etc which is one of my bugbears!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 07-Oct-13 20:53:45

I sometimes used to talk about what I could and could not cope with in my own home

Definitely.

It's not my DPs place to tell me how to parent, but I sure as hell want to know what he is and isn't prepared to tolerate so that I can make an informed decision about my parenting choices.
Something I might be prepared to let go if it were just me and her, I will address if it is important to DP. But I wouldn't enforce rules or discipline I strongly disagree with in order to keep him happy.

Bonsoir Mon 07-Oct-13 20:59:44

If you are doing a lot of the groundwork (meals, personal care, general development to meet milestones) with your DSD, you have every right to have say in how she is parented. You don't really talk about who is doing the groundwork?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 07-Oct-13 21:35:36

Oh, hello Bonsoir - is that the law according to you, then? That all stepparents have to do to gain rights regarding the parenting of their DSC is to choose to take responsibility for their DSC practical care?

Stepparents have no rights. Even if they are responsible for their DSC day to day care full time; stepparents have no rights. Only a court can issue those. Not a parent.

Bonsoir Mon 07-Oct-13 21:43:20

You are wrong. Adults have the right to make decisions about the running of their own home, including whatever pertains to children's health and safety, manners, adherence to family customs. Stepparents are not required to be spectators of their stepchildren's behavior in their own home.

Kaluki Mon 07-Oct-13 22:30:42

Are you going to derail this thread too with your opinionated nonsense Bonsoir? Don't you have anything better to do?
OP - I would say pick your battles here. If you don't agree with everything that's ok but you and your DH need to agree the deal breakers and the things you will compromise on between you and stick to them.
DP have done a lot of 'meeting in the middle' over the years.

Petal02 Mon 07-Oct-13 22:31:36

Bonsoir, I would take your posts more seriously if you were even vaguely consistent - but you seem to have a different set of rules/opinions/experiences for each thread. Chameleon, bi polar, or just a bit confused??

Petal02 Mon 07-Oct-13 22:33:10

Kaluki - yes, meeting in the middle has worked for DH and I on numerous occasions.

heidiwine Mon 07-Oct-13 22:47:33

Talk about it with your husband - think of the 2 or 3 things that you really can't cope with in your own home (mine are: rudeness, shouting in anger and tidying your own mess) and ask him to support on these.

Not everyone's step parenting experience is the same as bonsoir's. I find it very hard to discipline my step children despite the fact that when they are in our home I do everything that their mother would do: washing, cleaning, homework help, cooking, helping if they're sick etc.
On the rare occasions when I have challenged them about their behaviour they get extremely upset and angry with me (no matter how kind I try to be). I find this very challenging. I am lucky in that my DP supports me very well - but we really needed to talk about it and understand each other's perspectives before we got to that stage...

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 07-Oct-13 23:19:30

You are wrong

What, again? Oh dear sad

I'm fascinates to know what RL is like for you, Bonsoir; it must be exhausting for you being surrounded by people who need constantly correcting and putting right. Or do you only know people who defer to your superior knowledge without question or opinion of their own?

Bonsoir Tue 08-Oct-13 08:10:36

China - I have a different opinion to yours and you are yourself extremely forthright. I know you think stepparents must defer to parents on everything the parent deems important, even in their own home. But it isn't the case and the OP has every right to assert her own position in her own home. Very little DC need a lot of guidance in order to behave in ways that are acceptable to the adults who care for them and the OP sounds very willing to get involved. She does not have to defer to her DSCs parents - what she needs to do is negotiate with them.

daisychain01 Tue 08-Oct-13 14:12:29

Hi Stepfun, I have found it helpful to have one on one chats with my DP, if I feel that DSS needs to be told how many beans make five.

Anything relating to basics like table manners when we are all eating our evening meal for example (please will you eat with your mouth closed), leaving lights on when not in the room, etc (please will you open the curtains so you can turn off the light), are just things I tend to say automatically, because they are generally a good thing to correct "on a case by case basis" and actually DSS laughs because DH gets told the same things.

For bigger things, discipline etc, homework, DH covers those (but often with me in the background mentioning something that may have passed DP by!)

The most important thing for DP and me to is have a united front. It has been very difficult to fully demarkate what I can and cannot do as a SM. It has definitely evolved over time, sometimes its trial and error and it has required infinite patience to talk stuff through and constantly ask for opinion and consultation. Largely our parenting style is in alignment, but I tend to be on the stricter side so have learned to pick my battles!

Perhaps I break all the MN rules by doing some of the things mentioned above, but the investment has meant we have a reasonably happy household. I have needed to keep up the constant communication piece as I was scared in the early days of overstepping the "invisible" mark of DSM.

IME, Young people /teens can be receptive but its a question of picking the right time/place - then mention just one thing to them (ie dont bombard them with multiple things at once). Yes, it makes the process a helluva lot slower, but better to "win the war" in 3 slow phases (eg get him/her to put clothes into the laundry basket, then sometime later get them to do that, plus turning off light, and so on until they become housetrained.... By the time you "nail it", they have left home, but hey ho!!

Caveat, this is only my experience, others will maybe tell it from a whole different perspective!

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