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Step-kids - how to manage the tensions

(27 Posts)
AntandCleo Wed 17-Jun-15 13:35:19

I know I am going to get criticised for this but I need advice on how to manage some bad feelings I have to my DSCs (12 and 10) who moved into my house with DP 6 months ago. They are overall good kids but there are certain things that are driving me mad which just don't with my own kids. For example, picking their smelly feet whilst watching TV, bad table manners, not saying please or thank you etc. Nothing major but things that just irriate and with your own kids you would either pick them up on or not care. Is it normal for DSC to grate on your nerves more than your own DCs?

Reginafalangie Wed 17-Jun-15 15:54:16

I wouldn't say normal as I find my DC very irritating at times smile

You kind of have to let it go a bit otherwise it will quickly turn into resentment.
In regards to their manners then I think you should remind them of please and thank you, you don't have to go ballistic but a gentle reminder when they forget is fine. The picking the feet thing just ask them not to do it in the living room as it is unpleasant.

How do you deal with your DC's bad habits?? And please don't tell me they don't have any as I won't believe you grin

If you allow your DC's bad habits to go unchecked but then constantly pull up your SDC then that is unfair and will be seen as you targeting them which will lead to a world of trouble so either treat them all the same or just suck it up.

SunnyBaudelaire Wed 17-Jun-15 15:56:00

so your own kids also pick their feet and have bad table manners? pick them all up on it !

Nevergoingtolearn Wed 17-Jun-15 16:01:56

Keep reminding them, I had to do this with my step children ,they would rarely say please or thank you so I would remind them ( like I would me own kid ), sane with the picking feet, just tell them to stop. They will learn what is opropriate and what's not, just takes time.

AntandCleo Wed 17-Jun-15 17:22:23

I tell my own DSs off all the time (in a nice/gentle way of course) but just feel I can't with DSCs as their dad never pulls them up on anything. DS has really bad table manners and DP will occasionally say something but most of the time lets it go. Just find I have to bite my tongue all the time. I am worried that it already has turned into resentment. I just don't have the same level of interest in DSCs as I do in my own kids.

Reginafalangie Wed 17-Jun-15 17:26:27

Then you need to speak to your DP about it and ask him if he minds his children's bad table manners. If he says it doesn't bother him then you need to let it go and realise it is not their fault they are not parented in the same way your children are. If he says it does bother him then say you will support him to teach them but he must address it with them.

They are not your DC so no you won't be as invested in them however it is not their failings it is the failings of their father and you need to remember that. Point your resentment at him not them. Children are taught manners and if he isn't teaching them then it is not their fault.

yellowdaisies Wed 17-Jun-15 18:11:47

I find I can enforce house rules OK with my DSC, but I absolutely need my DH to be the one who introduces new rules and leads the way at picking the DSC up on them the first few times. Your DP needs to set out rules re not picking feet in the living room and basic manners, and you'll hopefully then feel able to remind them off the rules yourself on occasion

With manners I find it best to pick your battles and focus on the things that bother you most, or that you can get most agreement from your DP as being priorities. Maybe arrange your dinner table so that you're not sitting directly opposite the worst eater.

Wdigin2this Thu 18-Jun-15 00:01:36

If they're going to be living full time in your home, along with your DC, then there has to be an across the board set of house rules! Your DP is going to have to sit them down and explain in detail what these rules are and why they are implemented, then you both have to ensure all the DC in the house abide by them! And no, you are probably never going to have the same feelings for your DSC as you do for your own DC, but for the sake of a harmonious household, you're going to have to hide it!

thepurplehen Thu 18-Jun-15 07:20:44

I think it's so much harder to pick up on these things with step kids than your own. If your dp isn't bothered it feels like you're making a fuss over nothing and you end up feeling either guilty or resentful.

I have the same issues and despite dp agreeing house rules, nothing changes (or not for long anyway!).

I generally have a rule for myself where, if it's directed at me, I will pick up on it, if not, I let it go. I also try and notice if they ask nicely with a nice tone of voice etc even if they forget "thank you".

My friend even picked up on my dsc lack of manners once directly to my dp. I thought that might shake him up, but nothing changed.

CalicoBlue Thu 18-Jun-15 09:28:22

As pp have said if it does not bother DP it is going to be hard to change things like table manners, as when you are not there he will not apply them.

I had similar with my DSS, he eats with his mouth open and makes chomping noises. He has done this since he was little, now 14. Drives me nuts, DH does not care. I used to remind him, then I would nod at DH and ask him to say something, nothing made any difference. Now I have changed the seating at the table and put DSS so I can not see if he has his mouth open, makes for less stressful mealtimes.

With general please and thank you, just remind them. Maybe have a family meeting about house rules and expected manners. Do a super nanny type list for them all to see, but don't be too personal about it all being against the DSC.

AntandCleo Thu 18-Jun-15 10:06:59

Agree to house rules. Problem is that my DCs are a lot younger and what is acceptable, or more acceptable, in a 5 year old is much less acceptable in a 10 or 12 year old so it's difficult to have a global standard. For example, DC2 is a messy eater but he's 5. I pick him up on it all the time but somehow it is less digusting than a 10 year old eating messily with his hands. Also, I would expect a 10 year old to make his bed, carry his own bag but not necessarily a 5 year old. Am I being unfair? Seems very hard to have house rules with differing ages so it seems there are 2 sets of rules. I am sure my DScs are worse at many things (shouting, fighting, not listening) but I certainly try to correct them,

lizabeth0607 Thu 18-Jun-15 10:07:20

I get irritated with DSC more than my DD, they are older than my daughter and I feel they should know better. For example DSS was using my sofa as a fort, jumping all over it, he is 7 and I was not impressed, DP however just walked on past shock Another thing that really irritates me is I brought my daughter a new bike, she's struggling to ride it and i often find DSC riding it around my apartment!!! angry DP thinks I'm being over the top asking them to get off it!! Said its my apartment and don't they all know it!! This obvs upset me as I welcomed 4 extra people into my home and do a hell of a lot for them all. I set rules for all children and hope it will get easier!! Hope it does for you too! flowers

lizabeth0607 Thu 18-Jun-15 10:08:16

Also they all put a whole sausage on a fork- this drives me absolutely insane and I can't watch!!

yellowdaisies Thu 18-Jun-15 12:58:09

I think your house rules can be age dependent where necessary. DH and I have a variety of ages between us and I expect the older ones to put sheets back on their own beds after washing for instance, but do it for the younger ones who might struggle. You could tie it in with things like a later bedtime for older DCs. Or simply have a rule that everyone eats with a knife and fork, and then help your 5 year old to cut up their food rather than using their hands.

I think the difference is that when you're a single parent you don't really need to formalise things as "house rules" You can just chose what to pick your DCs up on. But when there's two adults who've not always been parenting in the same ways you do need it to be more formal, with some comprises from everyone.

TheMumsRush Thu 18-Jun-15 13:12:51

Slapping lips and eating with hands or not cutting food (and just gnawing it from the fork) is a massive irritant for me. I've tried so many time to mention it in a jokey way but it never changes really. It's all un learnt by the time we see them again and I don't want to be that SP who goes on and on. Is this something that kids eventually grow out of? I've moved tables in the staff canteen so as to not have to listen/hear terrible eaters (who I guess didn't grow out of it) as it put me off my own food.

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 18-Jun-15 13:14:57

I would not even mention it in a 'jokey way' I would lay the fucking law down!

Reginafalangie Thu 18-Jun-15 16:12:12

way' I would lay the fucking law down!

Crikey these are 10 yo we are talking about and some of you are coming across as quite nasty.

I wonder how many of you would be happy if another adult laid the fucking law down to one of you own DC or called them irritating or disgusting hmm

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 18-Jun-15 16:34:28

I would not tell any stepchild that they were 'irritating or disgusting' but I would insist on normal table manners for someone regularly eating with us, as I would my own children.
I think it is a parent's duty to instil good table manners, and spearing a sausage on a fork and taking bites from it is simply not acceptable is it?

Reginafalangie Thu 18-Jun-15 16:37:47

Yes it is a parents duty and the OP's SDC have 2 parents neither of which seem to be doing any teaching so maybe the anger/resentment/irritation needs to be directed at the adult in charge which in this case is their father and not the children.

SunnyBaudelaire Thu 18-Jun-15 16:39:30

yes that is v true, but the children do need telling....not in a 'nasty' way of course.

Reginafalangie Thu 18-Jun-15 16:43:57

They do need reminding yes....by their parent. If the OP has issues with her SDC then she needs to be discussing it with their father. Any anger or resentment should be directed at him as sadly some SM always direct it at the children.

TheMumsRush Thu 18-Jun-15 17:00:12

Does that mean I can't remind my dsc about manners? Only my own dc? What if they are in my care as dh is out? Because that happens and I'm not waiting for him. Plus, he'd get fed up of me reporting back every little thing. I think this is something you pick your battles on, prioritise what's most important to you OP and let the rest slide. Fwiw, I'd have no problem with an adult (whatever their status teacher/aunt/friend) reminding my ds about manners

Reginafalangie Thu 18-Jun-15 17:45:01

Don't be facetious mumsrush hmm

You know I was referring to the OP as she is "blaming" the children for something their parents aren't teaching them and her DP does not bother to teach them.

TheMumsRush Thu 18-Jun-15 18:03:49

Ok hmm

TheMumsRush Thu 18-Jun-15 18:12:12

Actually you are right, I'm in a bad mood and took it out in the wrong place. You've given good advice Regina, just ignore me. Not all i have written is crap though, you do need to pick your battles OP

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