Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Your Advice is Needed

A neighbor of mine has asked for advice from you readers. Her issue? Well let me tell you her story, which might take some time.

She and her husband had a bit of a struggle a few years back and he wondered, the wondering created a child. She was so upset by this that they split, eventually she went back, but once again he got the other lady pregnant.

The other lady (mother of the two boys) refused to allow her babies near his wife, in the hopes that he'd eventually leave her. This didn't work, they got stronger and eventually the biological mother let him take the kids to visit him at his home. But it wasn't until this year, which means their New mom is very new at this and has many obstacles and questions.

When the boys come back to them they treat her so horribly plus they are mean to one another and always hitting. As a new mother she doesn't want to punish and is always stating "they already tell me they hate me." Any advice for her? I told her she still needs to correct.

My own childhood was very much like this, my father once said they'd get me back wild and it would take a few days to get me right again but then I'd be off to her place in a few days. But they always stuck with the "rules" and that's how it worked. I have suggested to her to lay down the laws and have her husband work with her on it, otherwise she will always be the doormat to those boys. i know she loves them, in fact the slightest thing will get her to go shopping and buy them something.


thestepmomlife said...

Hi there, I just read your post and I felt like I needed to share what I thought about her situation. The first thing that she and her husband need to make clear in their relationship with the boys is that she should NEVER discipline them. They are HIS kids and he should always be the one that disciplines them when necessary. If she starts doing it, it will always portray her in a negative light both to the kids and the bio mom. Trust me on this. It's not worth it. It could even result in legal action which no one would want to deal with.

When the kids are acting up, she should let them know that their behavior is not acceptable and then immediately let their father know so he can appropriately discipline them. If she is alone with the kids and has a problem, again wait to let their father deal with them. If she does the discipline, she'll just keep giving them reasons to hate her!

Also, this sounds like a very emotional situation and I would strongly recommend counseling for them to cope with their situation. It's going to be a strain on their marriage until they set some house rules, boundaries, expectations and make sure they have open communication at all times.

For instance, when I married my husband, we agreed to live where his kid lived until she was at least old enough to drive and then I could choose where we lived since I had move so far away from my family. I also don't discipline at all. He is in charge of discipline, bedtime - brushing teeth, stories, prayers, picking up/dropping off and I do bath time, wash clothes and of course any family activities. Then we have responsibilities for the child when she is at our house. Her room and bathroom must be picked up and dirty clothes put in the hamper before she leaves each time. We feel it's important for her to have consistency between both houses. That ways she can't tell her bio mom that she doesn't have to clean up at our house so why should she clean up there.

I wish her well and pray that she'll learn how to cope with her new situation being a stepmom. I'll look forward to seeing how things are working out so please post updates when you can!

Shirley Cress Dudley said...

You made several great points:
-It's tough for the boys to transition back and forth between the houses. It's good to remember this and allow for the transition time. Sometimes even the little ones come back and call Mom "Dad" (or the other way around) for the first few hours. Just ignore the error and answer when a parental name is called.
-House rules are essential. Dad and new Mom need to decide on what's important to them, regarding house rules, and develop their expectations and guidelines. The boys need to be informed of these rules, and also the consequences of ignoring them. Dad and new Mom need to be seen as a united parental unit, when the boys arrive.

Also, kids- no matter how young, can sense the real motivation of adults. The parents need to do what's right- love the boys, spend time with them, but also be clear on their expectations of behavior. The boys will fight back, but deep inside kids respect, need and even crave boundaries and guidelines.

The Dad needs to take the lead in the discipline, even though the rules are developed by both parents in the home.

Hope that helps. For more information, check out www.BlendedFamilyAdvice.com
Shirley Cress Dudley

Chrita said...

Unfortunately, many blended families are confronted with the difficulties of parents using children as bait to secure their own desires. This makes for very difficult interactions but it can be overcome. The first thing this young lady needs to do is to confront her husband about his role as the father. He needs to sit down with the boys and their mother and he needs to make it perfectly clear to them that she is his wife and they are to respect her just as they do him. He also needs to assure them that his wife has their best interest at heart and is also working so that they have a good life. Sometimes the biological mother will play hardball but if the father holds his ground she will have to come around eventually. That is if she truly puts her children first.

If your husband is unable or unwilling to set the ground rules and stick by them then the step-parent will not have a leg to stand on. The children will continue to be disrespecful. The biological mother will disrespect her. And she will become increasingly frustrated by her situation.

In addition, if the father does not support his wife in establishing these rules, she may see his unwillingness to support her as another reminder of his initial infidelity.

It is of the utmost importance that these two people start working together. If the husband and wife don't join forces it will effect the relationships with their children and each other.

Chrita Paulin
Author and Writer of "Let's Bake a Family" a story of a successful blended family

Utah Divorce said...

I completely satisfied with above three comments.