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I need help, completely frustrated with my step kids.( Its a Long Story)

Posted by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM
  • 12 Replies

 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.

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 11:36 AM
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by Ruby Member on Sep. 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM
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 well of course moms is more fun. she doesnt have to deal with the day to day. and addicts are great story tellers as well.

dad needs to not threaten things and not do them. he loses credibility when he does that. he also shouldnt shit talk mom.

i would have dad discipline for the lip, but be understanding as well. they are going through some things. you should step back and let dad handle the heavy lifting right now though. they are hurting and honestly you havent been around that long.

are the boys in therapy?

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Get the kids some one to talk to. Get the older one into an alanon group and a support groups for kids with drug addict parents,I think it's called na(narcotics anonymous). 

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 12:01 PM

No, the boys are not in therapy right now. I completely understand what you are saying as far as the kids are hurting and dad needs to follow through on his "threats". And your right he needs to not say anything bad about mom, I also understand too that he gets frustrated when we are constantly hearing how great she is and how terrible he is when the truth is He is the one that has been there and He is the one that works his but off to take care of them. He does get on them about thier behavior but it really does no good right now thats why he is to the point of cutting her out along with her parents. And you are right she doesnt have to deal with the day to day , she would probably run again if she had to deal with half of the crap I deal with out of them. Its not easy at all.

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM
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wow, I sympathize with you and your hubby.  Your husband is right, he might have to take away the visitation.

not sure if you are doing this, but you and your husband need to keep a united front to the kids behavior.  Immediately address their inappropriate behavior.  have a standard response, depending on the situation. for example: swearing - do you kiss your mother/father with that mouth? disrespect - don't you talk to MY husband/wife like that. 

Just remember, they might be pulling the same thing at the other houses, but it might be working there.  Also, he (hubby) needs to reinforce his stance with BM by saying 'this is your 2nd warning regarding kids' give her the last chance, then take it away.

also, if a kid ever told me that I could go to jail for hitting them, my favorite response is...Only if I leave marks.  Someone is filling their head with lies and you need to correct this thinking, but try to avoid bringing BM up in the conversation.

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I agree, I believe that the grand parents started the whole "its illegal to do that" thing. The kids have been saying that for a few months now and Mom just got out . Now that mom is out , they are saying it more often. 

My husband and I try our best to stay united especially  as far as the kids are concerned. We learned a while ago (thanks to our step daughter who is now 6) that the kids (mostly my step daughter) would go behind our backs and ask the other for something if already told no.

We are not perfect and it is a learning process sometimes, and sometimes we do disagree with each other about some things, but while we are disciplining the kids(his or mine) we don't try to interfere or undermine each other as far as punishments or anything. If we do disagree with each other on something we talk about it later away from the kids.

He has said things to the boys like "I would not let another man disrespect my wife and I certainly wont let you disrespect  her either". He has also told them similair  to the "only if I leave marks" remark. (Which I like by the way.)

Sometimes I feel like the worst parent ever, even though I know for a fact that all of these kids have had it way way better than either of us growing up.

As far as their actions at the other houses. I do know they get away with alot of things that they don't get away with here. For example they had told the boys to take a shower and go to bed, at 4 am grandpa woke up to find the oldest one had not taken a shower as told and was up playing xbox. In his defense he does TRY to discipline the boys,however he is very overrun by his wife. Probably one of the reasons they think he is mean.

by Platinum Member on Sep. 18, 2013 at 1:32 PM

My suggestion would be to limit the time the boys spend with the grandparents (probably should have done that a while ago) and to let BM see the boys EOWend for a bit.  Of course her house is more fun, she's not doing the 'heavy lifting', she's the fun house. 

When my boys play the 'slave' card, I'll start really piling on the chore (on their list), to let them know what a slave REALLY would have had to do.  Then I'll go sit on the couch and turn on the TV, while adding to the list still.  They get the picture pretty quickly that they aren't anything close to 'slaves'.  ;) 

The back talk, I'd stop quickly as well.  They must say 3 positive things about me, the home, the things they have, each other, etc. for every ONE they say negative about.  Don't like the meatloaf I made for dinner, fine.  Tell me three things you DO like about what's offered.  Next time YOU are in charge of dinner for us all, from shopping to cooking to serving it.  ;) 

There are ways around these issues but they also should be in therapy IMO. 

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 3:00 PM
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Sounds a lot like my SKs.  BM had them full time until 2 yrs ago.  It's always been a constant fight when it comes to BM.  When she had the kids - she'd fill their head with so much stuff.  Even going as far as to tell SD that DH isn't her real daddy.  For real?!?!  Then why was he paying so much child support?!  Anyway, once we got them - it was hell for a while but then they settled down.  BM wasn't even in the picture.  She lived 2 hrs away and wouldn't come visit them.  We also made sure no calls went through until we got things settled down at home. 

But now she's living 30 min away and the fun has begun again!  I swear, never seeing or hearing that woman's name again would be too soon.  And SKs, forget it.  For a while, with her out of the pic, they started seeing that she wasn't doing anything for them.  But once she showed back up, poor pitiful mom - she doesn't have a job, a car that runs...oh poor thing.  For real?!  So when I'd discipline the kids for what they did at home, they'd feel like she was a perfect mother.  And of course they want to live with her, which to be honest, after 2 yrs of dealing with this crap - I wish they could! 

I know this isn't much help but I completely understand where you're coming from.

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 3:04 PM

I LOVE those ideas.  Saying 3 positive things I will have to try that with them. As far as the therapy I don't know if it is like this everywhere but where we live the pediatrician has to make a referal for the kid to get into therapy. I am not sure why it is like this but when we got the younger of the boys into therapy, for pooping himself all the time. I had to beg the pediatrician for the referal to get him in. I have talked to the pediatrician about some of their behaviors but that was before it got to this point. All the pediatrician had chalked it up to was puberty.

Therapy however didnt do much good for the younger one because everything is a joke to him. I know deep down its his way of deflecting and protecting himself. Every once in awhile things will sink in to him, but it really is like talking to a brick wall with that kid when he wants to tune you out lol.

I love them all dearly and they can be very good kids when they want to be and I swear it is like living with 2 seperate sets of children now that mom is back in the picture again.

Maybe I will try to talk to their doctor about it again and see if he will give a referal.

Also @ Singlemom416 : Their mom has been taking them to her group and they love going to those meetings. It might be a good idea to look into that for them. Their mom had told them that she was "tricked"into doing the drugs that got her into trouble. I had tried to explain to them without trying to say anything bad about their mom and using other people as examples That their mom is an adult, she makes her own choices wether she was "tricked" into doing the drugs or not , she had still put herself into that situation and That completely blew up in my face. The only reason I had even tried to make that point is because she has the kid believing that it wasnt her fault that she got into trouble. So maybe that help them to understand a little better I don't know.

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 3:18 PM

You and DH are being undermined by the GPs and BM.  I don't know how you do it, I have very little patience for kids that are disrespectful or rude.  Can you say anything to the GPs or BM about not speaking about you and DH or your household to the SKs?  I would want to threaten taking their visitation away if they couldn't keep their mouths shut regarding your home. 

The kids will eventually get it and realize that their Mom can not provide them stability but that doesn't mean that this is any easier on you. 

by on Sep. 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM

I hate to admit it but some days I feel the same way too. When they start in on me I feel like just telling them to go find out just how great it is. I think it makes me more upset when they start in on my husband. They dont say those things to him they say it to me about him and I am always baffled by the things they come up with about there dad. I don't always tell him what they say because it is pretty hurtful. I don't know where or even how they have came up with such a warped sense of reality.

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