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Keep feeling like a naggy stepmum

(20 Posts)
Whitechester Thu 12-Jan-17 10:30:35

DSC are here half the week. I feel like most of the time they are here, I nag loads. "Stop shouting", "be nice to your brother" "don't mess around at the dinner table" "don't speak to me like that" "it's really late, it's bedtime" "can you tidy your room" "please don't fib to me". You get the gist.

Thing is I know I occasionally nag my own DD, but it feels more noticeable when they are here.

Please tell me I'm
Not the only one. I want to stop nagging them but sometimes when they are screaming at 6am or dicking around (they always seem
Hyped when they are here) I find it hard to not to want them to behave a bit better.

Bluebell9 Thu 12-Jan-17 13:56:12

Does your DP back you up?

Do the DSC respond to the nagging? How old are they?

And you aren't the only one. I used to be pulling my hair out until my DSC realised that there were rules. They are really good at clearing up after themselves now, but it took some work to get it to that point.
I also had to learn which battles to fight, if you nag all the time, it loses effectiveness and they don't listen to any of it.

Whitechester Thu 12-Jan-17 15:01:49

If I say anything to them, yes he does back me up. However, I find that the things that bug me, like the dicking around, messing around at the dinner table, screaming and shouting as soon as the wake etc, don't bother him like they do me.

If I say stop doing something etc, they do listen, but what I nag about is a common occurance.

My oh says I zap the fun from them
When they are here, but I've pointed out that it should be him, as their father pointing out when they are out of line, so to speak, not always me.

I've said that if I don't allow my DD to behave in a certain way, I'm not going to let his dc. I don't allow her to scream, so nor should he.

I'm not a strict parent in the least, but I am
Consistent. One of his Ds was messing around big time at the dinner table. I was biting my tongue. After dinner I refused to allow him the dessert I'd prepared. This is what I would have done for my own DD if she'd
Have behaved in the same way.

Lunar1 Thu 12-Jan-17 15:09:23

Have you talked about any kind of rules? It sounds like you have just decided that your way is the right one and his children have to follow that regardless of what their dad thinks.

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Thu 12-Jan-17 15:13:08

Is it always like this or just a phase? I felt really naggy with DSS over Christmas, he appears to be having a phase of not listening, and with all the excitement I think it was just too much for all of us. I'm hoping he'll be better this weekend. Additionally DP and I have discussed strategy's such as making sure he is listening before we ask him to do something rather than calling instructions when he is in the middle of something and not really concentrating iyswim. I'm sure you're doing a great job overall but I know it's really wearing.

Whitechester Thu 12-Jan-17 15:44:03

We've not talked about rules with the kids but when I point out stuff, like please stop screaming, I always explain why I say things to the kids (my DD and his). So my nag to them is always justified...I've explained to my partner that I do find it difficult as they are very loud children. They scream and shout a lot in our care. I know this is normal
Behaviour for kids to some degree, but it does feel like it's very constant and I'm on their backs a lot as it kind of goes through me. I think my oh just has a very relaxed approach to parenting, which I have spoken to him about. He doesn't encourage them to tidy up after themselves etc, and it means that I am the one doing it.

Lunar1 Thu 12-Jan-17 16:27:39

Why on earth are you living with him
If you haven't talked about all this before. It's a recipe for disaster and miserable children who will only grow to resent you.

You can't just decide your way is the right one with no conversations and no adjustment period. Who are you to set the rules, they have two parents.

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Thu 12-Jan-17 16:50:14

Lunar I think OP is saying they haven't talked about it with the kids, not that they haven't talked about it with each other. It would of course be a good idea to tell the kids what the expectations are. Also, of course the OP can set rules in her own house, in discussion with the father of course. step parents don't just have to shut up and leave all decisions about behaviour to the father.

swingofthings Thu 12-Jan-17 17:30:54

I've said that if I don't allow my DD to behave in a certain way, I'm not going to let his dc. I don't allow her to scream, so nor should he.

I don't know if this is totally right though. If your OH considered that his DS should spend 2 hours doing homework every night, yet you felt that 1/2 was enough, would you agree that he inforced that your DD did 2 hours of studying because if his DS does, then so should your DD?

Ultimately, nagging is part of who the person is. Some kids accept it, others do take badly to it. Maybe it's a case of habit! I nag quite a bit (I think) but my kids are used to it and manage it ok. Ultimately, I nag because they just never do the things I wish they did with little prompting, ie, I have asked my son three times to start on his thank you card for the birthday presents he opened 9 days ago!

I do think you have to pick your battles though. As much as your SC must respect you, you have to allow them the fact that they are not your DD and it isn't fair to expect them to act all the time just like her because she behaves how you want children to behave and they do not.

My kids are messy, my OH is borderline OCD. My kids are never going to be as tidy as he would wish them to be (and is convinced he was himself as a child although his mum says differently...) and he had to come to terms with it, but at the same time, they recognise that mess stresses him, so they accept they have to make more efforts than what I would expect from them if it was only the three of us.

CodyAndTheCups Thu 12-Jan-17 20:07:31

Don't worry, Lunar projects her feelings about stepmums all over the step parenting board.
What do you mean "who are you to set the rules?" They do have two parents but they also have a step mum and when they are staying in her home she gets to decide on rules also! I have 2 dsc, they know the rules in this house.

Whitechester Thu 12-Jan-17 20:40:01

Thank you for your posts. When I say I don't allow my DD to
Behave in a way, I mean that I don't allow her to mess around the table and I don't let her get away without washing her hands after a wee (as examples) so I don't expect dsc to feel that they Can do what they want. My oh totally agrees with these things, so what I'm saying isn't a shock, but he just doesn't 'pick up' on them, it's left to me, hence why I feel like it's me doing the nagging. I also say that unless they eat dinner - or at least show willing iyswim, then they don't have pudding. I say this because I'm the one who cooks dinner every evening.

swingofthings Fri 13-Jan-17 18:43:03

What's your relationship with them as a whole? Do you also spend good times together? I think the key thing is to insure you have the right balance. If you don't really enjoy any quality time with them, they will feel it, and in that case, will be much less likely to accept your nagging. If however you also look forward to doing things with them, laugh, joke, and even have cuddles (if still at the age to do so), then you will be no different to many parents.

PleaseStopTalkingAtMe Fri 13-Jan-17 18:46:10

Sympathy. I feel like all I do is shout orders when DSC are here.

The thing is, if i didn't, they'd do fuck all. And then my DCs would cotton on and start asking why they have to do stuff when DSC don't, etc.

DH isn't much help because most of my nagging is about mess and DH doesn't give a shit if any of the DCs make any mess. I'm the only one who cares about living in a nice environment apparently.

Isthisusernamefree Sun 15-Jan-17 11:52:10

I feel exactly the same OP. My OH doesn't seem to do day to day parenting, just when they've done something extra naughty or annoyed him personally! But it's things like manners at the dinner table, please and thank you's, not fighting with each other constantly - it's always me that seems to catch one or other of them making horrid comments to each other, he miraculously hears none of this. When their nans and grandads (split family) come over they're even worse, and I end up looking like a right bitch, but no one else seems to care that they're screaming, shouting, answering back, ignoring questions, bringing down their entire lego collection which they won't tidy up and the dog will chomp through later. One nan even cries when I ask them not to do something they know they shouldn't be doing. I know right, CRIES.

My OH also tells me I suck the fun, but when we have dc of our own (i'm currently pregnant), they will be expected to behave in exactly the same way I expect the boys to behave now. I wanted to be consistent from the start (i'm 3 years in) because I won't have one rule for them and another for our DC - that happened to me when I was growing up in a blended family and it breeds awful resentment and tars relationships.

I don't really have any answers to it though, I just chug along, being consistent for the sake of the kids. I am a firm believer that they do better when they know the rules and they know where they stand. And with consequences for their actions. It can't be harming them too much, they ask me every Monday if they can come back to ours after school and the eldest is adamant that he wants to live here (although i'm sure the novelty would wear off after a while and he'd miss his mum terribly!) It just really annoys me that my DP sees it as me being a giant, fun sucking nag!

Can't wait to see how parenting our joint DC turns out wink

swingofthings Sun 15-Jan-17 12:46:01

My OH also tells me I suck the fun, but when we have dc of our own (i'm currently pregnant), they will be expected to behave in exactly the same way I expect the boys to behave now. I wanted to be consistent from the start (i'm 3 years in) because I won't have one rule for them and another for our DC - that happened to me when I was growing up in a blended family and it breeds awful resentment and tars relationships.
So everyone is fine with their behaviour but you, but because you want to impose your rules on your child to be and want consistency, the older children have to go with your rules.

I fail to understand why YOU should be the sole person in this family to make the rules for everyone. If my OH had acted like this with my kids, expecting them to fully change to suit him and him only, I wouldn't have committed to a long term relationship with him.

Isthisusernamefree Sun 15-Jan-17 16:52:41

So instead it's better that they run riot and neither of us parent them? And in my home I shouldn't be allowed to expect the children to have manners and not to behave badly? Yeah, sounds fair.

Next time the kids are eating spaghetti with their hands at the dinner table, I'll keep my mouth shut and let it happen shall I? Or the next time I ask one of them to please get off their tablet because it's bed time, I'll let them sit there and ignore me for as long as they please until they feel they've had enough? And the next time one of them smacks the other for choosing the wrong character, i'll let them scrap til they've sorted it and not get involved?

Where did I say everyone is ok with their behaviour but me? I said their nan cries when they're asked to behave. Their father won't do the day to day parenting because he wants to be 'fun dad' and feels guilty because we only have them three nights a week. Although he says I suck the fun sometimes, he seems pretty grateful for me doing the grunt work for him.

But please, if you can think of a way to do it better, I'm all ears.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Sun 15-Jan-17 19:16:02

Maybe you should, Isthis. Maybe a week of not intervening will make your DH step up and do some actual parenting when he's the one that has to deal with the fallout from the misbehaviour.

swingofthings Mon 16-Jan-17 17:39:36

So instead it's better that they run riot and neither of us parent them? And in my home I shouldn't be allowed to expect the children to have manners and not to behave badly? Yeah, sounds fair.
I don't want to come across as patronizing, but when I met OH, before we took the next step of considering a commitment to each other, we discussed at length our values and principles and how these impacted on our views on behaviour and discipline. We both agreed that if he didn't agree fundamentally with my parenting style, there was no point in taking things forward.

So from my perspective, I can't understand how it can get to such disagreement. Why would you want to make a life with children who you think run riots? I find it very sad that a step-parent is left having to discipline the children of her partner and frankly, I would struggle to love my partner if that was his expectation.

Bluebell9 Wed 18-Jan-17 09:09:30

I find that occasionally being unavailable when we have the DSC makes sure DP appreciates what I do.
The last time I had a night out when the DSC were with us, DP said the next day that he didn't realise how much tidying up after the kids I did as the house is always tidy but without me there every time he turned round there was more mess! I also make the kids tidy up after themselves more.
I'm always happy to do things for the DSC, I love them, but it's nice to have recognition for the work I put in.

Does he have sole responsibility for them, you mentioned you cook tea every day, but do you ever leave him to manage on his own?

user1485983685 Wed 01-Feb-17 23:13:33

I read your post and I feel like I can totally relate to how you're feeling. Sometimes, I feel the same way. My DSS is just a little bit over 3 years old, and as sweet as he can be, he is also very spoilt with attention, which frustrates me. I cannot be affectionate towards my OH, without his son moaning that it's his daddy and trying to get his attention. I understand this is completely normal for a child his age, just like the behaviour you describe from your step children, however it is also frustrating. I find that a small part of me cannot sympathise with my DSS, when he's having tantrums, because as much as I love him, I didn't give birth to him or didn't raise him from day one, so I definitely act a lot stricter and can see clearly past the tantrums, whereas my OH can't, and always tells me I will feel differently when I have my own children. Does that make any sense?
It was a lot easier before we lived together, but we have lived together for a little over a year now, and I am pregnant with his child (12 weeks), so now I feel like I can have a say in raising this little person, whereas before I tried not to get involved in my partners way of raising him, because he is an incredible dad and I didn't want to undermine him.
For example, today I tidied up the bedroom, which took me a while, and I found a lot of bits and bobs of DSS toys. Under the bed, sofa, in my washing basket, in the wardrobe. My DSS makes a massive mess all over the flat and I have always had an issue with it, but as he's only with us for two nights, I let that slide. However, today I spoke to my OH and said I think we should make a rule, and that will also include our future bean, no children in the bedroom. I explained that they can come to cuddle and see us obviously, if we are spending time there, but not bring their toys and make a mess of the entire house. Our bedroom is for adults, and as DSS has his own bedroom, and uses the front room as his playground, I think it's a fair deal. My OH agreed with me, and I am allowed to ask my DSS nicely to take his toys back to where he can play with them.

To conclude, I think it's important to have certain rules and know when to speak up. Sometimes, when I feel like I'm being a little bit too much, I just walk away from the situation and do my own thing until I calm down. Yes, children are a handful, but we need to remember that we want to create a childhood that we always dreamt of for ourselves!
Also - Don't be so hard on yourself. I'm sure you're doing a great job!

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