I need help, completely frustrated with my step kids.( Its a Long Story)
Ok, so I have 3 step children 2 boys who live with us full time and a step daughter who is here every other weekend and then some. I have been with these guys since January of 2011. Our situation is a bit unique in the fact that the one of the boys is both my and my husbands step child. The boys' "Mom" is in and out of jail and she really hasn't had much to do with the kids at all their entire lives. She has been in jail since February of 2011 for drugs. She spent about a year and a half in prison and got out into rehab and then just before she was to graduate from rehab she escaped and got caught and went back to finish her sentence.
When I came into the picture I did my best to not over step my boundaries and what not. (I had a step parent and I hated him and I didn't want to be like that to my own step children.) Well it didn't take very long and I ended up with the role of mom. I take care of these kids just as If I am their biological parent. My husband works all the time and I stay home so everything falls on me to do. Checking homework, making sure the kids do this that and the other, discipline etc. Which has mostly worked fine, Except for the fact the kids are kids and they don't listen to nothing.
The kids have still visited with their maternal grandparents mostly every weekend while their mom was in jail. Well now "mommy" is in her own apartment that is owned by her rehab facility and she is able to see the kids on the weekends. (The only reason she is allowed visits with the kids is because my husband allows it. The judge had told her that he would not have given her any visitation rights at all.Since their divorce in 2007) So the kids go see her, or her parents on the weekends. Now that mommy is out of jail, all hell is breaking loose with the boys.
The older one Alex, who is 12, (the double step child). Is very much a mamma's boy and has a very warped sense of reality about his mother. I found a story he had written for one of his teachers about his mom and it had said something to the fact that "She has always been there for him and blah blah blah". We didn't say anything to Alex about the story, although the reality is she never wanted anything to do with the kids when they were younger, and she has not been there hardly at all until recently.
In Alex's eyes, she can do NO wrong. I personally do not try to correct the kids when they say these things because I understand their feelings towards their mom.
Alex has always been treated like the "Golden Child" at his grandparents house. They give him whatever he wants and if Alex is not allowed to go over there for whatever reason, they refuse to take Dakota 10 by himself. They have never treated the boys equally for whatever reason. We try not to make a big deal out of it because we dont want the boys to "see" the favoritism between the two of them however, we also do not make Dakota go if he doesn't want to.
Now that mom is out of jail and they have spent some time with her on the weekends (Approx 4 weekends) They have now decided they want to move in with their mom and that they absolutely hate it here with my husband and I.
They are saying things like "Our moms house is better", "She lets us play on the xbox" and her house is cleaner and she doesn't make us clean, she cleans up for us and she is much nicer. When we get grounded we are still allowed to watch tv and go outside to play and she only grounds us for an hour."
The boys had told me that "Mom wants us to come live with her", which I can understand. However now my husband and I (mostly me for both myself and my husband) are getting complete disrespect from the kids and alot of questions of Why cant you be more like my mom and do things like this?
Now the kids are coming up with things like "Cleaning in the kitchen is not our responsibility." "Our dad is a big fat liar". "Our dad is a terrible dad and we dont like him and he doesn't buy us things." "The Christmas ornaments that you had us make were stupid and we didn't like doing that at all". ( I had all the kids make Christmas ornaments this past year for our Christmas tree because I thought it would be a fun family project to do with all of the kids, mine included, and at the time they had thought it was fun.) "When we get grounded why cant you ground us like our mom grounds us and still lets us do this or that"."We only act good at our moms house because we hate it here".
I have also been hearing alot of "It is illegal to treat us like slaves" (if I tell them to pick stuff up out of the floor) Or if one of the kids refuses to eat what is served to them, I get "It is illegal to not feed us dinner" Or if their dad "threatens" to spank them (which he never does) "It's illegal to put your hands on a kid."
Yes, The kids have chores to do here, yes I make them clean up after themselves,Yes when they get grounded here ,depending on what it is they have done, they get grounded from the xbox ,tv, going outside, the ipod etc. Sometimes it is ALL taken away from them. Depending on what they have done or haven't done or whatever the case may be also depends on how long they are grounded from these things.
We have tried to get the mom and grandparents to stick to our rules and the groundings when they are over there, but that goes right out the window as soon as the kids are over there, and the boys know it. If the boys are grounded here, they tend to count the days down until the weekend where they know they will get to play on the xbox or whatever they are grounded from. When they get back home they think they can do whatever they want and talk to us however they want and their behavior is unbelievably terrible.
We also have alot of disrespect about money going on too. We don't have alot of money at all and what we do have, goes to pay bills and keep a roof over our head. So we don't always have extra money to do fun things like go to amusement parks or whatever it is the kids think we should be doing on a regular basis.
When they go to their grandparents house on the weekends they usually take the kids to do fun things that we cant afford to do regularly so it gets thrown in our faces alot of how "rich" their Nana and Papa are and that "they" can get this or that for them because "they" have lots of money.
When it comes to their mom its a pitty party because mommy can't afford to pay her bills because she only makes x amount of dollars an hour. My husband only makes a $1.00 more than their mom and we get chastised because we cant afford all the "extras" that these kids want. Like video games and new bikes and going to the amusement parks every weekend.
Now I am being Accused of talking bad about their mom, which I have NEVER done. I am the one that tells my husband all the time to try not to say things about their mom in front of them because I know first hand how damaging that can be to the kids. I am not mother of the year by any means,but I try my best to put my own opinions aside when it comes to ALL of the kids. I am the one that try's to get the kids to make their mom cards for mothers day or tried to encourage them to write her letters while she was in jail or whatever.
I have never wanted to take their mom away from them or even take her place. I have seen how tore up these kids get over their mom and it really effects them and It breaks my heart to see the kids get such high hopes just to have them crushed. I hate to say this because I really hope that she decides to get her life together this time but I really do not think its going to happen. I think its only a matter of time before she is back in jail again.
For now however, the boys' behavior is really being affected by her presence. Alex is really slacking off in school and Dakota, is also reverting back to behaviors that we have worked VERY hard on turning around. Every time they see their mom, the attitudes start flying and flat out bad behavior and disrespect for both my husband and myself are intensified.
Their dad is to the point he is ready to just cut their mom out for good but he is going to wait until she gets herself into trouble again. I am severely torn about the situation. I have told my husband that he cant do that but honestly overall it may be better for the boys to cut her out completely. I just don't know.
I am very frustrated right now. I really don't know what to do about this behavior with the boys and I don't know if it would be better just to cut their mom out completely or not . Like I said The only reason she is even allowed to see the boys is because my husband is allowing it. It has only been the last year "before" she went to jail for almost 2 years that she even wanted to have anything to do with the kids.
As a mother myself I completely understand that the boys need/ want their mom. However, from a bigger picture the kids have to have stability and consistency in their lives as well and as she has proven thus far she is not a very stable person as far as her continuing to get herself into trouble with the law. I am not at all saying she is a bad mom from what I have seen, she just tends to make bad personal choices.
I know its a unique situation, but I really do need help. I don't know how to properly handle the total disrespect we get from them. And I don't know if maybe cutting out the Mom and the Grandparents wouldn't just be better for the kids in the long run.