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Where to turn - step children problems(9 Posts)
Sorry for the name change but I'm expecting some flaming and I don't talk about my step issues under another name. I'm a fairly long term poster.
I'm married to a great man and dad, we've been together a good long time and his children have been in my life for years. He split from their mum before he met me. The kids are 19 and 15. I've never been a natural with them (I can't have children of my own) but we've done OK, I have a better relationship with the eldest. I've tried really hard with the youngest over the years but we're just not natural together, its entirely mutual.
Their upbringing was entirely different to mine. I left home at 16 and didn't have a great upbringing, i've been very independent since 16. I'm not saying this is the right way to parent children (not at all!), but it's my only experience before now. My parents were disinterested in me and we only speak now on high days and holidays.
My step children are very sheltered and childish (I know the younger one is effectively still a child). They are extremely selfish and have little regard for either of their parents or me. They treat both homes like hotels and manners are not really on their "to do" list.
I'm finding it increasingly hard to bite my tongue. When they were little I had no issue with helping to look after them, but probably as a result of my own upbringing, I wish they would do more for themselves. Is this outrageous? At what age do kids start to become self-aware and responsible for their own actions?
Should a 19 year old still be visiting for every child access day and despite having a full-time job which pays relatively well, demand we continue to provide everything for him? DH pays his ex child maintenance for the youngest and spousal maintenance and will continue to do so for many more years.
I'm genuinely looking for answers. Please don't be too harsh. I'm not a bad person or step mum, just one who is wondering whether this situation is normal?
No reasons to be harsh teenagers are not the most pleasant individuals let's face it many are as bad company as it gets. It's bad enough when they are your own but another matter when they're not.
I've been told they do turn a page and indeed the selfishness abate at least to a good extend. Don't beat yourself up and do keep faith these aliens do turn loveable again.
Thank you, I remember being a pretty awful teenager myself. To have two, at either end of the teenage spectrum makes it more tricky. Just grin and bear it I guess. It's not always terrible, but I am finding myself dreading their time here more and more.
What do you mean by “demand we provide everything?”
My DF still won’t let me pay in a cafe or restaurant I don’t demand or even want him to but I no longer fight it.
Should a 19 year old still be visiting for every child access day and despite having a full-time job which pays relatively well, demand we continue to provide everything for him?
The visiting arrangements are between him and his dad now he's an adult really. It shouldn't have to be on a schedule, but he's probably used to the routine now.
What is he demanding is bought for him and why isn't he told he has a job and should be paying for his basic needs?
I can't imagine a 19 year old has sufficient experience to get a good paying job without a bit of parental support.
Do you know if he pays any housekeeping?
I have issues with my DSD (9) who whinges if her dad doesn't open a tin of beans or grate her cheese...
No, I don't believe you are asking to much for an adult to use there own money to buy items they want and need if they have a full time job.
What you're experiencing is completely normal, as is your reaction to it. Teenagers are notoriously hideous to live with, and being a Step Mum makes it doubly hard. What does your DH think of the behaviour? If he's oblivious, unfortunately it's probably not going to change any time soon.
BUT, you don't have to bite your tongue either. For example when my then 17 yo step daughter started demanding things/being rude (at times she sounded down right aggressive) I simply looked at her and asked her if she was aware of how rude/aggressive she sounded. I also pointed out that if she wanted something, she had to ask, not demand.
You are not a door mat, or a slave, nor do you run a hotel. You have the right to be treated with respect, and you have the right to refuse to run round in ever decreasing circles after your step children whilst being treated badly. If they expect you to do things for them or pay for things etc, then they have to understand that it's a 2 way street and that "No" is an acceptable answer. They want something done? Use their manners. They are both old enough to be responsible for their own actions. If they can't/won't, then back right off and let your DH deal with it. If he wears the flack for a while and/or it makes his life more difficult I guarantee the situation will improve.
Thanks all. The eldest just expects rather than demands, sorry I should have worded it differently. He has NEVER offered to buy anything for himself. One particular incident was that we were meeting him at a local restaurant for dinner (he'd been out with his friends all day). He arrived first (unusual as he's usually late), he ordered a pint and put it on our tab for us to pay at the end of the night. Now I don't begrudge him the price of a pint, but we paid for his pints all night, plus his three course dinner, etc. I thought he could have bought his first drink for himself!
They are just normal teenagers though and as i'm not bonded by blood with them, i'm struggling more than their father is. I just wish there was a break from it every now and then. I know I don't have them every night and most parents do, but i'm not their parent either, just someone who chooses to spend my life with their dad.
If it makes you feel any better, my 19 yo step daughter is very similar. She's usually out, so if she's home in the early evening I ask her if she's going to be home for dinner (so I know how many to cook for) and she ALWAYS asks what's for dinner before she makes up her mind. It's actually quite funny and has become a bit of a running joke in the house.
Don't beat yourself up, of course you're struggling. You didn't enter the relationship with their father because you wanted to parent his children, they just happened to be part of the package that you had no choice but to accept if you wanted to be part of his life.