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just fed up

(24 Posts)
brdgrl Mon 11-Jul-11 20:31:01

after a relatively good couple of weeks, too.

We went to see our Relate counselor today...she's fed up with us herself, because 1)DH doesn't follow through on anything and 2)I refuse to think happy thoughts and stop being a big bag of negativity. I think she's telling us to feck off, actually...which maybe is just as well, we can save the money.

Today she basically told me that I need to lower my expectations, because all teenagers are a PITA. I rather think I have lowered my expectations quite enough, trying to make things work. sad

Don't know exactly what my question is, except maybe I wonder if anyone else out there has encountered this - where you can see that there is extreme or problem behaviour, but when you try to talk to people about it, they're just saying "oh, yeah, teenagers are tough, what can you do..."

slimbo Mon 11-Jul-11 20:39:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

brdgrl Mon 11-Jul-11 22:17:30

thank you.
yep, two teenagers. Granted, a lot of the stuff they try on is probably "normal", but the way he deals with it is anything but...And he favours one of the kids so much that it creates a very strange dynamic.

DSD16 just rules the house through a deadly combo of bossing, whining, and manipulation, and everything she does is golden to DisneyDad.

And DSS13 has been staying up all night, sleeping until dinnertime, is bolshy, and won't do anything but Xbox, literally for about 14 hours a day. Now, that may be "normal", in that lots of 13 year-old boys TRY to behave that way - but surely something is wrong when he is allowed to carry on that way? We signed him up for martial arts classes, thought it would do him good and he said he wanted them, had to pay in advance so we said he had to go at least six times if we were going to lay out the money for it...well, he's gone four times and decided he'd rather stay home on the xbox, so tonight he refused to go. So I'm standing here thinking "ok, we had a deal, surely he has to live up to his end of it or there is some kind of repercussion..." but no, DH just says "well, what can you do?" and starts trying to think of another way to throw money down the drain.

And I am supposed to be finishing a huge bit of writing (work) and no one (DH DH DH!!!!) will life a finger to help with DD without acting as though he is Dad of the Year for "helping out" with his kid.

NanaNina Mon 11-Jul-11 22:52:19

brd -it's no use talking to people who aren't step parents - they simply don't understand. Of course all teenagers are difficult and you need a big ego to get through the teen years with your own kids. But with step children it's wholly different. There are so many issues - you can't be expected to love a step child, as you would your own, and there is the issue of how the dads won't have a word against their darling son or daughter (no matter how rude or unreasonable they are being) - that in itself (speaking from my own experience) is the thing that drives most step mums mad. The other thing is that I didn't like myself for the way I felt about my SD in particular - made me feel like an ogre - but I just couldn't help my feelings.

My step parenting days thank god are well in the past but I will never forget the unhappiness and stress it caused in our relationship and how my own kids were affected by it all.

Feeling for all of you out there struggling with this most difficult relationship

Petal02 Tue 12-Jul-11 09:45:37

Nananina, that is an excellent post, very insightful.

brdgrl Tue 12-Jul-11 16:25:53

Yes, thank you. I think I am seeing more and more how pointless it is to expect empathy from people who haven't been stepparents.
When I was first dating DH, I had the same revelation about dating a widower - there are just some aspects that you can't fruitfully discuss with the general public, or they'll soon have you feeling like dirt.

Smum99 Mon 18-Jul-11 19:41:31

Excellent post NanaNina

Brdgrl, how's it going? I can see your POV as I don't buy the 'all teens are like that' - I have a fewsmile and it doesn't have to be the case of lazy, unmotivated, rude teens. However I've been active with parenting (perhaps even more than when at the toddler stage as teens seem like large overgrown toddlers!) but your DH is taking the path of least resistance which we all know is much more painful in the long run. I suggest your DH has parenting classes as for me that's the issue - not marriage counselling.

allnewtaketwo Mon 18-Jul-11 20:06:33

Hi there brdgrl - just came across this post. Sorry to hear the counselling isn't exactly going well.

It's so difficult to see such negative behaviour and in effect not even be able to mention it. For example, I fully expect that as a teenager I was a bloody nightmare some of the time. Yet I equally expect that once I'd left the room after causing a storm, my parents probably (and quite rightly!) let off steam and discussed what a PITA I was being.

However, in a step-family, this 'letting of steam' is just not possible. Any word against the child is treated like another instance of "character assasination" of the child/young adult. So double whammy - not only do you have to suffer the behaviour, you're also not even allowed any release in terms of discussing it. Bloody nightmare.

brdgrl Mon 18-Jul-11 20:46:34

Thanks, Smum and allnew. The counselling was really helpful to us for a long time, I don't think we would have gotten anywhere without it, because it did help DH to see that some things were not 'normal'. But lately it feels like she thinks I should be happy that things are so much better, and accept that it might be as good as it gets. Which I just can't seem to do...

Smum, it is funny you should say what you did, because just yesterday I said something similar to DH - DSD had just gone off on a speech for twenty minutes - talking complete bollocks - specifics aren't even important; basically just 16 year-old girl banging on like an expert about something she didn't have a CLUE about really, and totally misrepresenting things. And I just sat there and didn't say anything, because really - you can't argue with a kid the way you could with an adult, and when I try to call her on her BS it doesn't get anywhere. But afterwards, DH and I were in the car and I just had to vent about it. I told him "look, this really winds me up, and I just need to blow off steam about it, and then we can forget it - but if I keep on not saying anything, I will explode."

If she was my own kid, I could bitch to him when she did something thoughtless or broke a rule - and we'd all know I still cared and it would be No Big Deal. But it isn't like that with a stepkid...

brdgrl Mon 18-Jul-11 20:49:41

I agree - DH could really use some parenting classes; not that I have all the answers myself, but when I am not sure, I tend to put a lot of energy into figuring it out. He does just consistently pick the path of least resistance...he knows it too.

It is funny, because he says he is determined to be a different and 'tougher' parent with our little DD than he was with the older kids.

allnewtaketwo Mon 18-Jul-11 20:51:56

It was interesting last week. We spent a week away with my friends and their 5yo child. DH clearly found the child very annoying, and by the end of the week was getting close to the end of his tether every time the child was being annoying. DH commented on this to me and asked me if I felt the same way. I couldn't help but to make the point to DH that this is how it is when in close confines with someone else's child, and that after all this time I had learned to turn a blind eye and say nothing. I think the irony was somewhat lost on him though

allnewtaketwo Mon 18-Jul-11 20:56:01

"he says he is determined to be a different and 'tougher' parent with our little DD than he was with the older kids"

brdgrl I've probably told this story on here before but it's relevant. DH and I are quite strict with DS's eating. We insist that he tries everything on his plate and at least eat most of what's on there, particularly before being allowed anything after his meal.

Well his 15yo DS is an effing picky nightmare with food. And DH has let him away with it for years.

One evening a while back, DS (aged 2.5) had been sent to the naughty step for refusing to eat any of his food. He was told that if he didn't finish his food then he wasn't getting any afters. While DS was on the naughty step, DSS (aged 15) proceeded to pick all his courgettes out of his lasagne. I pointed out the irony to DH. Again it was lost on him hmm

brdgrl Mon 18-Jul-11 21:13:55

oh dear!!! Isn't is amazing how they can see it with someone else's kid, but not their own? My DD is only 1, so I guess I might be the same way myself, but I feel like if anything, I will be hyper-conscious of her behaviour because of this experience as a stepmum - KWIM?

I'm sure not worried about DH being too strict with DD - if he is tougher on her than he was with his own kids, I am all for it. I don't want to have to be the bad cop all the time... and his definition of 'tougher' is still going to be pretty soft.

He is a wonderful nurturing, generous, patient guy, and his kids have buckets of confidence and know how much they are loved. So he's great at those bits!!!

brdgrl Mon 18-Jul-11 21:15:14

About the eating - I guess the good news is that your DH might have learned something, since he's willing to try a different approach now!

allnewtaketwo Mon 18-Jul-11 21:21:48

Yes I guess so!

theredhen Tue 19-Jul-11 06:35:09

I've always been very careful not to bitch about dp kids on a level personal to dp. I point out how negative personality traits are similar to their mother or their friends influence etc. It's the only way I can let off steam to him. Ironically he now comes to me and moans about his kids lack of manners and respect. I suppose I should feel flattered that he does this as he trusts me enough.

Petal02 Tue 19-Jul-11 10:19:31

My DH always claims other people's children drive him up the wall, but totally fails to see why his son may get on my nerves ......... double standards, bio blinkers ???????

brdgrl Tue 19-Jul-11 10:35:23

DH says he doesn't even like kids (hah - he does really, he's a big softy)! But he has an awfully hard time seeing any flaws in his own - including our shared DD. I actually worry about it - in a year or so, if she pushes another kid at the playground, will he correct her and stop her being a bully, or will he just laugh at her "strong personality"? I want her to feel loved and confident, but this 'anything goes with my kids' stuff isn't going to work for me...

DSD got kicked out of nursery because she was such a brat. First Wife quit working for several months to stay home with her instead. DH and DSD laugh and tell this story proudly - they think this is a sign of DSD's strong will and intelligence. Needless to say, I think it is a sign that some intervention was needed a long, long time ago!

And I won't be putting up with such things with DD...

brdgrl Tue 19-Jul-11 12:46:46

on another point - is it any of my business that both teenagers are still asleep at 1 pm? i think maybe it's not...what do i care, at least they are quiet, right?

DH is out on a dog walk with his friends, took DD with him; I am supposed to be cleaning my office and doing some laundry (not doing the DSD and DS laundry this week, as after asking three times, they didn't put their dirty laundry out; am tired of that happening week after week, so this time - they're not getting clean laundry!). Think this - the sleeping all day, I mean - is one battle I will just ignore. But wouldn't have it with my own DD.

(The kids haven't done anything since school ended a month ago; DSD16 makes noises about getting a job, but hasn't actually even asked anyplace if they are hiring so I don't think that will happen, and as long as we aren't upping her pocket money, I guess that is not my business either.)

allnewtaketwo Tue 19-Jul-11 12:59:52

If it was me I'd overlook the sleeping in thing, on the basis that at least they're not under your feet. Presumably the alternative would be something along the lines of lolling around on the sofa/computer games

My expected standards from my DSSs are much lower than for my DS, because in his case, I can have an active participation on how he grows up. So, for example, I accept that DSSs eat a very small range of foods. So rather than cause myself stress by trying to find something healthy they will eat, or arguing about it, I just serve the same old tinned crap food they like and eat. But no way would I give that stuff to DS to eat. Similarly computer games - when DSSs are upstairs playing xbox, they're not constantly complaining about being bored, so I let it go. Path of least resistance I guess!

Petal02 Tue 19-Jul-11 13:15:49

I think this is a case of picking your battles. I've done my best to detach over the last few weeks, and whilst my resentment still simmers beneath the surface, it's certainly reduced the friction between DH and I. Unless SS does something which is HORRENDOUS (and to be fair, that's unlikely), I hold my tongue.

As I suggested to stepparents last year - Lord, give me the grace to accept the things I cannot change .......... !!

brdgrl Tue 19-Jul-11 15:54:10

Yeah, I know you are right. Biting my tongue! It is 3:45 PM now and DS is still in bed. DSD got up at 2 when DH came home, and he fixed her a cup of tea; now she's ensconced on the sofa to watch Harry Potter dvds again. He's taking them out to the cinema tonight; DSD wants to see the new Harry Potter for the third time. So I won't see much of any of them today, at this rate.

berkshirefem Wed 20-Jul-11 11:13:28

Hi brdgirl I am pleased to see this thread (although that sounds harsh, I'm honestly not taking pleasure in your misery!) I have posted today about DSd's behaviour and how I am increasingly feeling like it will never change.

I am in the fortunate position that my DP agrees that it is unacceptable so atleast I'm not suffering disneydad behaviour from him.

Where are we supposed to lower our expectations to?!! Why can't we expect the same from our step children as we do from our own children?

And more to the point... what will become of all these pampered princesses when they are in the real world confused

I am a very active parent and to be honest on top a full time job it is fucking exhausting. But I do it for the little one for an easier life for both me and her in the future. I actually object to the fact I am going through this now with DSd because no one could be arsed to do it for her.

brdgrl Thu 21-Jul-11 23:31:00

I know what you mean, berkshirefem. I often feel like - ok, this isn't anything new, why hasn't anyone done something about this behaviour before? Then came on here and saw how common it is! I'm glad your DH is supportive, anyway.

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