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How do you handle the situation when your husband does not back you up when discipline his kids?

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I am a new stepmom of 2 months now, I tend not to try to discipline my husbands kids, I want to be the "nice guy" not their mother, they have one already.  But when something is important to me, I will put my 2 cents in and voice my opinion.  (I feel if I said everything I thought, they would hate me) so I tend to keep to myself on a lot of things.  If I do say something to them (2 girls), tell them to change their clothes, because the pants they are wearing are too short, or comb your hair or brush your teeth.. little things like that, I would like my husband to back me up.    That happened this weekend, and when the one daughter said no I am not changing I said yes, she said no, I said ok then I will tell your father, she said go ahead, he said for her to listen to me, but still she did not change her pants and he did not make her.  He then told me to choose my battles and that was the end of the story.  I am very frustrated, if I am going to say something, he needs to back me up.. big or little issues!

by on Feb. 18, 2013 at 10:38 AM
Replies (31-36):
steplifewife
by Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 6:56 AM
My DH backs me 100% with the skids, but I still pick my battles and let him deal with most all of the discipline when it comes to his children. Will I give him input? Absolutely. But ultimately: his kids; his decision.

When it comes to SD 'revealing too much skin' around my house, even if she's not going out in public. Nope sorry. That is a battle I chose. I have 11YO and 17YO bio sons who don't need that kind of show going on, so I WILL make SD go change, and she WILL listen, because it affects me and my children.
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bteachout
by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 9:52 AM

I agree that you need to pick your battles but if you don't have the back up from your husband on the small things, whats going to happen when it is something "big"....??  I do think that the adults in the household need to be respected. I don't mind a respectful argument if the child has a valid point, but otherwise, I am the adult, I pay the bills, pay for the clothes on your back, the food in you stomach and the roof over your head.  Please respect what I ask of you. 

I have two children and have always enforced that they respect adults, no matter what.  There is a respectful way of stating your case but being flat out rude and disrespectful is never ok. 


missym31
by Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Good Luck... I have been a SM for 2 years now and still have a problem with this.. I finally told my DH fine.. You deal with your kids and I will deal with mine.. Well that didnt work either.. Finally I just sat down and had a heart to heart with DH and all 4 kids.. Explaining that we both (me and DH) are the bosses and that we both have say at what goes in OUR home. I asked DH if he agreed IN FRONT of the kids and asked the kids if they had questions.. and so on and so forth.. I done this like 2 months ago.. and so far it has seemed to help.. I realized that we (me and DH) have to have open communication with our feelings and with the kids.. GL Momma..Being a SM is not easy..

shoptravellove
by on Feb. 19, 2013 at 10:36 AM

These last 3 posts, I totally agree with and love to see that kind of communication!   I didn't want to quote them all to make this super long, but I soooo wish all blended families could get along like that instead of a dad and SM arguing over who gets to say what to which kids.    How about everyone just getting along and realizing that rules and discipline are for the kids benefit in the long run and not over a power struggle!?   

shake hand

Birdseed
by Platinum Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 11:54 AM



Quoting bteachout:

I agree that you need to pick your battles but if you don't have the back up from your husband on the small things, whats going to happen when it is something "big"....??  I do think that the adults in the household need to be respected. I don't mind a respectful argument if the child has a valid point, but otherwise, I am the adult, I pay the bills, pay for the clothes on your back, the food in you stomach and the roof over your head.  Please respect what I ask of you. 

I have two children and have always enforced that they respect adults, no matter what.  There is a respectful way of stating your case but being flat out rude and disrespectful is never ok. 


But if they're "little things" by your definition, maybe they're "little things" to DH too and he just doesn't care?  Maybe they're things that have always been allowed and he doesn't see the point in pursuing them?

I think one thing you should consider is that your idea of respectful is probably different than DH's and thus the kids'.  They may not be trying to be disrespectful at all.

Here's the best example I can give from my very early SM-ish life:

Dinner.  

My expectations at the dinner table for older kids/adults:  set the table properly, put a napkin in your lap, wait til everyone is seated before beginning to dish up/eat, use your utensils appropriately, have conversation, stay seated til everyone is through, thank whomever cooked, help clean up or at least offer.

What was happening at the dinner table: kids standing on their chairs singing and yelling and laughing during dinner, kids eating things like steak with their hands or mashed potatoes with their faces (and they were 11/12 at the time), people digging in and sometimes even taking all of a dish before I had even gotten to sit down, no thanks, no help cleaning up, just gone when they were done.

It bothered me.  A lot.  I tried talking to my now husband about it and he said "Oh, they're just having fun."  Yeah, well it was ruining dinner for me.  So one day when this stuff started yet again, I took my plate and my glass of wine and went up to my bedroom to eat in peace.

That was a big deal for me.  Partly because I found it to be very disrepectful and partly because it was embarrassing because they'd do the same thing at other peoples' homes or out in a restaurant.  I was mortified.

Long and short of it was that I told DH I wasn't going to cook for them anymore, wasn't going out to eat with them anymore, etc until this was resolved.  

Now?  The kids offer to set the table and know how to do so correctly.  They do put a napkin in their laps.  They wait for everyone to be seated before digging in.  They use their utensils.  (I quite literally had to show the oldest how to use a knife and fork.)  In our house, whomever cooks doesn't clean up.  I usually have the kitchen clean before we sit down, but they help clear the table and get dishes in the dishwasher.  We get compliments on their behavior when we go to a nice restaurant.  Truly. Complete strangers stop over and compliment them directly on their etiquette.  They are proud of it themselves!

I know it sounded silly to a lot of people back in '09 or '10 when I was posting about that.  But it was a big deal to me.  I wanted to be able to enjoy sitting down to dinner but I couldn't when it felt so chaotic and disrespectful.  But you see--they didn't KNOW ANY BETTER.  Someone had to teach them.  And before I could go there, I had to get Dad's attention and buy in.  Because he didn't think anything of it.  While I'd be sliding down in my seat at a restaurant red faced and mortified or getting up from the table seething, he was usually playing along and having a grand ol' time.

You won't get anywhere til you have DH's buy in and you really do have to pick your battles.  But he has to be the one to lay down the rules.  



OvrMyHead
by Silver Member on Feb. 19, 2013 at 12:12 PM

 I generally won't say anything about clothes except something like "I'm not sure if that matches, what do you think?"  or "Are those pants OK for you?  They look like they may be a little short."  If something doesn't fit I make a mental note to put it in the donate bag next time I do laundry.

If something is really bothering me about hygene, I'll whisper to DH and let him handle it.

The kids know the house rule is only to eat in the kitchen and at the table and if I catch them otherwise you bet they better respond.  They know the rule, its a house rule, we both enforce it.

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