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New here and frustrated with DH and SKids

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Hello! I'm new here and could use some advice. I'm not sure if I'm just over-reacting or what...Here's the scoop: DH and I have been married 8 years. I have 4 SKids - 3 SS's (19, 17, 15) and a SD (13). We have 1 son together (6). BM lives 2 blocks from us. Shared custody every other week for a week at a time. Basically we do all the "work" and she gets all the "glory."

My problem is that in return for room and board and vacations and being able to be on sports teams, providing them a car, etc....the kids should be doing some chores around the house. I don't expect 8 hours a day out of them, but minor stuff (cleaning their own bathroom, sweeping, cleaning up after they make lunch) won't hurt them, right?

DH says he agrees, and lays out a chore list and goes over it with them, but then doesn't make them do it. If they don't want to do the chores, they just don't do them. If they have something better to do (swimming, ball games), they do that instead. How do I get him to see that he needs to step up and make his kids do these things? I am tired of the lack of respect they are learning. My son went to use their bathroom the other night and was "disgusted" at how dirty it was. You know it's bad when a 6YO refuses to use the bathroom because "It's disgusting!" This has gone on since I've known DH and I know he is afraid that if he is too hard on the kids, they will move out and go live with BM. It happened with the oldest and that was a disaster. I don't want that, but at the same time, I also don't want to continue to be their maid and personal checkbooks either.  I honestly think the only reason DH ever says anything to them is when I get angry and start harping and nagging at him about it. I think he only does it to make me stop...not because he thinks it's a problem.

I could use some advice. I'm so frustrated I don't know what to do anymore.

by on Jun. 27, 2012 at 11:04 AM
Replies (21-30):
by Bronze Member on Jun. 28, 2012 at 10:17 PM
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I so disagree with this. It absolutely matters what she thinks about what does or doesn't happen in her own home! The issue is not that she isn't respecting dh's parenting style. It is that nobody is respecting her, her feelings, or her home!

You don't. Especially at these ages. Your husband has decided to parent his children differently than you would. That's okay. The issue is that you are not respecting his decisions. So, start respecting them. Problem solved. It doesnt matter what you think, it's not your children or your business. You can raise your children however you see fit.

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by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 10:28 PM
1 mom liked this

I got a new stepfather at 12.5 years old.  Once they got married, it was he was the boss too and I had to listen to him.  PERIOD!  There was none of this crap about Stepparents and they have no say in their own homes BS.  I will NEVER understand this mentality.  You do it, there is no choice in the matter.  Our house would have NEVER gotten that bad!  The kid's bathroom was also the guest bathroom and my Mom would have been horrified by that mess! 

You need to tell him to back you up on this once and for all.  They follow the chore chart or HE does it, because YOU are not going to live like this anymore. 

by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Since its also ur house u should have a say:) try asking them politely to help out a lil more around the house, u r definitely not their maid. Some kids will take advantage of certain situation if they get the chance to.

by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 10:56 PM
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I grew up in a blended family and there was no seperation of bio parent and step parent. A parent is a parent. I also grew up with chores and if you didn't do them you got in trouble. I don't see kids doing chores as earning their keep. They are helping maintain the home.
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by on Jun. 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM
My house my rules. Skids don't get an out just because they are not mine. If you live here you contribute.

That being said, if your dh doesn't enforce it I would stop being the skids' maid. Hell, I would have stopped eight years ago and would have made dad 100% responsible for his kids.
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by on Jun. 29, 2012 at 4:13 PM

I understand your frustration - I have 3 teens of my own and chores have been a major point of contention. While working for Focus on the Family I discovered some great articles and resources that address the issues you're facing.

I recommend that you check out the following links on their website:

Also, if you would like to speak with a caring licensed counselor who can offer guidance (at no cost to you), you can call 1-855-771-HELP (4357) weekdays between 6:00 A.M. and 8:00 P.M. (MT).

I pray that this situation changes soon. Grace and peace to you and your family!

by Gold Member on Jun. 29, 2012 at 9:22 PM

It seems to me that it's a little late to put up a chore chart.  I would try asking for chores to be done "on the spot."  For example, when you get up from the dinner table, say to SC A, "please clear off the table," and SC B, "would you help your little brother with his math homework, and finally, SC C, would you load the dishwasher while I put the leftovers away.  Your dad is going to straighten the living room for us while we get this done so we can all relax.  

Mealtimes - Get the teens in the kitchen with you.  At first maybe they help with cookies and simple shopping and getting ready for cookouts, but if you make it a fun time with music and interesting, light conversation about their day, you might fust find you win them over.  Use psychology on them.   No long lectures or family meetings.  Trust me, the minute you start talking is the minute they tune you out!

Find other creative ways to get the chores done.  On Saturday, when the kids get out of bed, go into their rooms, strip the linens.  Then they will have to remake their beds.  Bathrooms are tough.  DH needs to step up on this one!  

Put a laundry basket in each teen's room.  They can do their own laundry or run out of clothes!  Don't you wash one more item!  Same for the towels!  Wash yours and the six year-old's!  Let your son use your bathroom!

Stop catering to the kids with their favorite junk food, etc.  Make life a little tough.  We let people know how much they can get away with so teach them they have to do better.

Good luck!  

by on Jun. 30, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Thanks for the great ideas. I feel like I have tried everything but after reading all your replies, I now have some new things to try! It also helps just to know I am not the only one struggling sometimes.
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by on Jun. 30, 2012 at 1:42 AM
Wow. How about move to a two. Bedrrom and leave his grown kids behind.

Quoting Bells2000:

I agree with you, that at their ages, they should be able to do something more than they are doing. I get that its a problem because YOUR CHILD is suffering, because of the laziness of his kids. However, its not as if we as a SM can make them do anything.

I'm in a very similar boat, except all of my step-kids are 18 or over.... and the idea of them actually doing their 1 chore (take out the trash) is impossible for them to do. Its not as if its because they are busy with other things... the oldest is 21, is not currently enrolled in college, does not work, does not do anything but play video games all night and sleep all day.

DH won't do anything to tell his kids to do something, he instead just does it after I've bitched.

I wish I knew a solution to the problem. But I've since given up and we are working on making our marriage work... so part of our agreement is moving. I want 2 bathrooms... 1 for me and my daughter... the other his kids can use. They want to be pigs? sure, be pigs. But keep your dirty ass out our bathroom/space. etc.

I'm sick of it.

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by on Jun. 30, 2012 at 1:48 AM
I agree here. You do your part but as far as cleaning up after them, turn it to DH. Give him their part, their rooms, bathrooms, after they mess the kitchen. He will get tired of it, but you take care of you, your DS, and your DH. That doesn't have to mean his kid's messes.

Quoting Ms.Gwen:

If DH won't make his kids clean up after themselves than it needs to be his job to clean up after them. Tell your DH this is your boundary and enforce it by any means necessary.
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