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at my wit's end! - Page 3

post #41 of 62
Still even separate meals for two days out of the week, I don't see the issue with it, especially if ALL of the food available is healthy options.
post #42 of 62
oh, and we have 6 in our family.
post #43 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
Wow, really? My dp is on board with the way I feed dsd, but it is very different than the way her mom feeds her. It sounds like you are saying that I should basically feed her whatever her mom does and not even attempt to explain to her why I make food the way I do (i.e. healthy, balanced meals for the most part). I am honestly a little bit flabbergasted by this point of view-are you referring just to the fact that she is the NCP stepparent or NCPs in general having a say in teaching the child how to eat (or learn about many other things, for that matter)?
Does your stepkid actually eat what you prepare? If so, it seems different than the case in this post. What I'm saying is that the OP apparently disapproves of what goes on at Mom's house, and is trying to force this square peg DSS into the round hole that is her family's eating habits. I think it would be possible to compromise in some way, and I liked the suggestion by Oriole in #11 to have a set of healthy food always available.

To answer your question: what I'm saying is that a solution needs to be reached that actually ends in the kid eating something. If the system that's in place ends up with Dad sneaking him milk, fried eggs, and whatever else, the system has failed. Maybe the OP should step back and let Dad handle food for his son instead of thinking it's inappropriate to give his kid...milk?

An eleven year old kid is old enough to fix himself food if he'd like to. Especially many of the examples that were given in this thread: fried eggs vs scrambled eggs, cheese sandwiches vs pb&j, tomato soup, hot dogs etc. These should not be power struggles and they don't have to be. This is not about money or the OP's time. This is about control. And it's wrong to put an eleven year old kid into the middle of it. It's time to unlock the cupboard.
post #44 of 62
"It's time to unlock the cupboard."


... says the man with one very young child.

Again, every individual is different, but I have a 3 y.o. and a 5 y.o. and the cupboard was quite literally locked until about a year ago, and I still have to monitor pretty closely if I don't want to find them with teaspoons eating out of the sugar bag. Maybe it's my fault for even possessing such a substance as refined sugar, but hey, this is 21st century America.

And milk? If I gave my 3 y.o. cow milk every time she asked for it, she would not eat any solids other than desserts. She would be malnourished. The OP's stepson probably IS malnourished if he's eating a diet of convenience foods all week. It seems like that angle has already been considered by the OP and her husband.

That said, if this were my dss, I'd probably be willing to cave hugely on the food issue, feeding all the kids some junk on weekends, if that were the price of domestic harmony. But this seems to go a heck of a lot deeper than food. I don't think it can be fixed by serving hot dogs.
post #45 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
"It's time to unlock the cupboard."


... says the man with one very young child.
Says the man with four siblings and two step parents. And who grew up from a teenage boy.
post #46 of 62
Fair point. I'm sorry if you didn't get fed enough by some adult who had power over the cupboard. But expecting an 11 year old to eat the family meal and snack on a predetermined assortment of healthy items =/= underfeeding. To my mind, it equals appropriate boundaries.
post #47 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
Fair point. I'm sorry if you didn't get fed enough by some adult who had power over the cupboard. But expecting an 11 year old to eat the family meal and snack on a predetermined assortment of healthy items =/= underfeeding. To my mind, it equals appropriate boundaries.
I always got fed fine, actually. My parents had very little money, especially after they split, but food was always available. It was always much better quality at my mom's house, but whatever. My Dad tried. And if I wanted to make eggs or tuna fish, or whatever, that was available. My sister is probably the most disciplined in her diet as an adult among my siblings...and she ate chicken fingers for like two years to the exclusion of all else. She's vegan now.

And sure, there are legitimate concerns. The OP has to somehow manage a meager budget that feeds a lot of people. But it's pretty clear that the system she has in place is not supported by either her husband or this kid. And they should not be expected to mindlessly conform, regardless of how it worked in the past. Sometimes the rules need to be revised. And I think if you step back and see yourself having an argument over whether a kid can have a sandwich or a glass of milk, maybe you're not in the right place on the issue. It doesn't sound like this kid is eating a pile of M&M's every day.

This stuff matters. Nothing anywhere near this serious went on between my dad and I and my stepmother, and we have a really crappy relationship. Do you think this kid won't remember this happening in ten years?
post #48 of 62
I think you and your DH should read the book "The Explosive Child" asap. And I agree with Smithie on enabling the drug issue. That poor child! Ugh.
post #49 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
Still even separate meals for two days out of the week, I don't see the issue with it, especially if ALL of the food available is healthy options.
I don't either, though I realize I never actually got to that thought in that response. I think that might be an area where the OP could look for her own flexibility. My kids are much younger, so I know the idea of mom and dad choosing what's for dinner is a lot different for me than for a house with teenagers... but I think it is possible to offer more than one option a couple times a week while still maintaining the general idea that the adults choose what's for dinner and the kids choose whether and how much to eat. We DO offer more than one variety of soup at soup-and-sandwich meals because *I* don't like tomato soup but the rest of my family does. We offer both eggs and tofu when we are putting tofu in something because some people really don't like it.

And, like I said, we offer many things in a "you do it your way" family style (like sauce on the side or both butter and cream cheese on the breakfast table) so that people don't have to turn down a whole meal just because they don't like one ingredient. That could be another area of compromise.

And sometimes I am willing to make both scrambled eggs and fried eggs, and sometimes I'm not. Sometimes there are a couple choices for breakfast ("do you want cereal or a bagel?") and sometimes there aren't. When I'm not willing to make two different options, I take responsibility, and if someone has a reasonable solution, I'm okay with that. So "I don't think I can manage that kind of sauce because I need to nurse the baby before dinner and it has to be stirred constantly. If you are willing to stand here and stir the sauce while I am nursing, we can have that kind as an option." Or "Smoothies makes a lot of extra dishes, including the blender which is a pain to wash. If you are willing to do those extra dishes, I'm happy to make smoothies for people who want them." These seem like even more of a possibility with older kids, and it teaches them some real life skills like weighing costs and benefits, taking responsibility for one's choices, working together to accomplish a mutual goal, etc. Again, a place I see possible compromise.

Also, I don't think it is unreasonable to modify the rules when there are more people there... so the rules can be a little different on weekends with just your kids, or with just his kids, than weekends with everyone. Not because any one child (or set of children) are more special than another, but because of the logistics of the sheer number of people. Again, this would be a place where I would own it ("I really don't have the energy to make 8 different sandwiches") and if someone has a reasonable solution ("I'll make the PB&Js for everyone so you can just do cheese ones"), consider it seriously.
post #50 of 62
I'm still amazed that there was a fight over fried eggs vs scrambled. And wanting something one time, but not the next. Hell, I am a grown adult, and sometimes I am quite willing to eat scrambled eggs, and sometimes the thought of them makes me queasy.

I think the problem is quite larger than food issues though. I think that the biggest problem is communication between the OP and her husband, as well as possibly unreasonable unbending opinions held by the op.
post #51 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by myra_mcgray View Post
I don't know which type of ADHD medication your DSS is taking but I think for most ADHD medication there are no withdrawl symptoms when they are not taken. Most people who take the medication properly will take it in the morning so they can focus while they are in school and doing homework and it will mostly wear off by the end of the day so they are able to sleep regularly. It is not something that they need to take everyday if there is not school work focusing type of work they need to do. Good Luck
Unless you are a doctor, please be sure you understand the way that ADHD Medications work, especially concerning withdrawl and effectiveness when not taken on a regular basis as prescribed, BEFORE giving out medical advice. ADHD medication can and does cause withdrawl symptoms when going from regular dosage to nothing at all, it then also causes issues in its effectiveness when restarting the meds (Ritalin seems to cause the least problems in effectiveness restarting, but does often cause rapid heartbeat upon restarting, and massive loss of appetite) http://www.helpguide.org/mental/adhd_medications.htm http://organizedwisdom.com/Withdrawa...HD_Medications

To the OP, I am not addressing the issue of if your DSS actually needs the Meds, you are in a situation where, out of your control, he IS taking them at leat 5 days a week, or possibly 12 days on-2 days off ( i am not sure what you said the parenting time was) Since, at this point, you can not control the fact that he is taking them while at mom's, it seems like you are faced with two options. Accept and figure out how to deal with a child that is going through drug withdrawl everytime he visits you, OR have your DH schedule an appointment with the prescribing physician to discuss the on and off usage of the medication and how this affects your DSS and/or if his EX is breaking the law (if she is not giving the meds to you either 4 or 8 days a month, but is filling the prescription every 30 days, she is breaking the law)
post #52 of 62
And this may be minor or nit-picky, but to the OP, I noticed your siggy lists your 5 bio kids as your children with names and bdays, your 2 DSS's are listed only as bonus kids, initial, and age. It could very well be that it is a legal issue that you are not allowed to give more info due to legal agreements, but if it is because of family dynamics after 7 years of being a blended family ( so looking at a 4 year old and a 6 year old) maybe there are deeper issues between you and your DH that need to be addresses.
post #53 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
And this may be minor or nit-picky, but to the OP, I noticed your siggy lists your 5 bio kids as your children with names and bdays, your 2 DSS's are listed only as bonus kids, initial, and age. It could very well be that it is a legal issue that you are not allowed to give more info due to legal agreements, but if it is because of family dynamics after 7 years of being a blended family ( so looking at a 4 year old and a 6 year old) maybe there are deeper issues between you and your DH that need to be addresses.
Well, I don't post specific info. about my kids because I am paranoid like that, but I would NEVER post my dsd's name or bday-just like I would hope that nobody would ever post my kiddo's names or bdays without my consent. I do occasionally post pictures of my dd on facebook or whatnot, but wouldn't post dsd's pictures. My dp has the right to do those things, just as her mom does, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with it. In fact, I think her stepdad does post pictures of her, but for me it just feels wrong. Just another perspective to think about
post #54 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobs4milk View Post
he doesn't like tomato soup and doesn't like grilled cheese (but will eat cheese quesadillas, go figure?).
First hugs, I step-parented for 12 years in a less than ideal situation and, at times, I don't think there can be a more difficult thing to do...

Second, I have more to offer later, but for now I just wanted to say that my daughter eats everything from acorn squash to sushi, but she does not like grilled cheese sandwiches (and, yes, she loves quesadillas). I think this is just a small part of your woes, but know that sometimes we can focus on things that are actually quite common and logical when we are hurting. HUGS
post #55 of 62
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommyto3girls View Post
And this may be minor or nit-picky, but to the OP, I noticed your siggy lists your 5 bio kids as your children with names and bdays, your 2 DSS's are listed only as bonus kids, initial, and age. It could very well be that it is a legal issue that you are not allowed to give more info due to legal agreements, but if it is because of family dynamics after 7 years of being a blended family ( so looking at a 4 year old and a 6 year old) maybe there are deeper issues between you and your DH that need to be addresses.
what greenemami said they weren't even in my siggy until recently. someone on here asked why i sometimes spoke of my 7 kids but only have 5 + my angel listed. i do not want to over-step my boundaries but i do so very much count them as 'my' children!!! they are a bonus to me because i did not birth them, but i get the privilege of helping shape their futures.
post #56 of 62
Thread Starter 
thank you all so much for the heart felt responses. you have truly made me think!

plucky-i understand your concern and i have been a step-child myself. i remember and am still a bit put off by the preferential treatment given to my step-father's child who also had some difficulties assimilating to the blended family. she became so spoiled that she still can not care for herself or her 1 (almost 2) child.

smithie you are so right about this being about more than just the feeding/eating issues. but that is a battle i feel like i can take on because it happens in my home on my time. i am not allowed a say in anything else for my dsc, even thuogh i have gently but insistently voiced an opinion when approached by dh on a subject. i have found research for him about not only the mis and over diagnosis of adhd but also on the effects of the meds both taken regularly and misused.

we talked a bit this week and we have decided that we will do one meal on the weekend that is dss favs that we are okay with (not boxed). after that, he has to eat what the rest of us eat. he doesn't have much complaint about breakfast or lunches because we usually do some of his favs during those times. it's the suppers he has issue with so we are going to do one supper 'for him' and the other two 'for the family.'

if he refuses to eat, that's on him. dh did much better with this idea this past weekend. it isn't much different than what we had going on, but i did make dh feel that it was ALL his idea and now he's totally on board! i guess he felt like i was trying to undercut his parenting? we had originally made these rules together, but since i was the only one following them, he felt like i made the rules and ran with them. dh has a VERY hard time with the consistency thing, too. he wants to do fly-by-the-seat parenting and that may work for 2 kids who are your own that you only see 1-2 days/week or less.

as for feeding seperate meals and all healthy options and giving cow's milk...

seperate meals two days a week quickly turns into seperate meals 24/7. btdt own the t-shirt. so does the pbj option. then what do you do if pbj doesn't work??? then i feel like it's less about nutrition and more about manipulation and guilt. you choose who has what, kid or dsp.

cow milk is not adequate nutrition for human children, ever. not at birth, not at 11! in fact, too much cow milk suppresses our body's ability to absorb other nutrients if we drink too much. and the rda for milk for children is assuming that they have little other opportunity to take in other nutrients from other food sources because they aren't being offered.

fruits and veggies...i didn't list them. the kids will gorge on the fruits and what kid eats veggies?? they are offered at every meal, but i just listed the other foods to show that i don't serve freakish, totally kid unfriendly meals.

thank you all again! this weekend was better because dh told dss that this was the plan and it was good for him to eat good food. dh also made clear that he was not willing to give in, so dss ate what he wanted of what was served and there were no fights.
post #57 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobs4milk View Post
what greenemami said they weren't even in my siggy until recently. someone on here asked why i sometimes spoke of my 7 kids but only have 5 + my angel listed. i do not want to over-step my boundaries but i do so very much count them as 'my' children!!! they are a bonus to me because i did not birth them, but i get the privilege of helping shape their futures.
I am glad you did not take my post the wrong way. i know the touchiness, legalities, and other issues, involved, so I was trying to point out the difference in a way that would make you notice if it was some sort of deeper bonding issue, but not offend you because we all have the specific ways that each of our blended families have to deal with the wierdness, confusion, whatever, that we all try to manage to make a loving "real" family!
post #58 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by boobs4milk View Post


but that is a battle i feel like i can take on because it happens in my home on my time. i am not allowed a say in anything else for my dsc, even thuogh i have gently but insistently voiced an opinion when approached by dh on a subject. i have found research for him about not only the mis and over diagnosis of adhd but also on the effects of the meds both taken regularly and misused.

we talked a bit this week and we have decided that we will do one meal on the weekend that is dss favs that we are okay with (not boxed). after that, he has to eat what the rest of us eat. he doesn't have much complaint about breakfast or lunches because we usually do some of his favs during those times. it's the suppers he has issue with so we are going to do one supper 'for him' and the other two 'for the family.'

if he refuses to eat, that's on him. dh did much better with this idea this past weekend. it isn't much different than what we had going on, but i did make dh feel that it was ALL his idea and now he's totally on board! i guess he felt like i was trying to undercut his parenting? we had originally made these rules together, but since i was the only one following them, he felt like i made the rules and ran with them. dh has a VERY hard time with the consistency thing, too.

I totally understand! I think we really do well "blending" but maia & sage have very "extreme" personalities, when they are angry or sad they lash out and will have fits, however, when they are excited, lovey, happy, their reactions are just as intense. Madison is a middle of the road kid, she doesn't throw big fits, but doesn't give the extreme love and excitement either. She shows those emotions, but if we were looking at a report card, her "negative behaviors" rarely go below a 'D+' and "positive behaviors" rarely go above a 'B-' (where Sage can hit a LOW F when she is angry, but is an A+ when happy & lovey), but Madison quietly exhibits manipulative, selfish, and instigating tendencies (towards the other girls, myself, and her dad) Matt is often oblivious to "quiet" misbehavior, and I feel like i am always the only one pointing out Madison's misbehaviors because he doesn't notice. on the flip side, it seems like he is harder on Maia & sage, not because they are his step-kids (he truely treats, views, connects, with them as HIS daughters) it is just that their loud "fits" or obstinate behavior, pushes his buttons.

It is really the only thing we argue about, i feel like i am pushed into the role of the "wicked step-mother" because he rarely notices when she is doing those things to the other girls and especially to me. About every 8-12 weeks, it seems like we have a big blow-up about the differences in the way the kids are disciplined (no spanking ever, short time outs, lots of cuddles and hugs and talking about why after) but I am the one that ends up doing 80% of it with maidson. Matt is a genious (literally) but his memory for day to day things sucks! after 2 years of the same issues (and his "excuse" of "I'll remember and stick to it this time") I made him get a tiny flip notebook and write down what we agreed upon regarding discipline and follow through. Our code word is Neapolitan! one time she was majorly manipulating him and i did not want to be the bad guy, so i spelled 'Manipulation' so he would notice, my amazing (MENSA qualifying) husband said "Huh? Neapolitan?" so, until the kids figure it out, Neapolitan is our code word when I notice DSD doing something that DH doesn't and he steps in.

It took a long time, but he has finally come to see that the explosions that Sage & Maia have and based out of the same feelings and "punishing the family" that Madison's quiet instigating, pouting, manipulating type behavior, come from. We ended up making some basic "Family Rules" but each girl also has 2-3 "personal goals" so that we can address the behavior issues that are distinct to their own personalities, without appearing to allow different treatment for different kids.

They each have their own copy (little ones can't read it, but they do have them pretty much memorized ) because we thought it was important for them to see it in print.

So, if you are still reading my novel Maybe coming up with a positive way to put in writing (focused towards the family unit, not singleing out dsd obviously ) the mealtime guidelines, would be helpful for your family. That might help avoid any issues of "well, I thought you meant . . . . . " or "I'm pretty sure we decided that we were doing ___________ not ____________" For some reason, with my dh and all my kids, putting the blame on the words on "The Family Rule Sheet" takes the pressure off of me. Like I don't have to always be the one pointing out what someone (including dh) is doing or that it is "because mommy says we can't"





cow milk is not adequate nutrition for human children, ever. not at birth, not at 11! in fact, too much cow milk suppresses our body's ability to absorb other nutrients if we drink too much. and the rda for milk for children is assuming that they have little other opportunity to take in other nutrients from other food sources because they aren't being offered.

Agree! We limit our kids to 8 ounces of milk a day. They are 4, 4, & 7, so that might increase as they get older, but for now that's it usually. (Unless they have cereal for breakfast, then they can drink that too) They must drink a minimum of 12 ounces of plain water also. beyond that the option is more water or "juice" (1/3 100% juice, 2/3 water)

fruits and veggies...i didn't list them. the kids will gorge on the fruits and what kid eats veggies?? they are offered at every meal, but i just listed the other foods to show that i don't serve freakish, totally kid unfriendly meals. Ours gorge on fruit too, started requiring one bite of veggie at lunch & dinner about 3 months ago (simple stuff, canned, raw carrots, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, nothing that takes big prep) and now they are actually starting to ask for more! Fruit is still the clear winner though. I have been thinking of coloring a kid friendly food pyramid & talking about it with them one day, and then making some type of chart where they can color in boxes of how many servings of each food group they ate that day (need to look up sizes of what an actual serving is for their ages first) I thought it might give some incentive to my most reluctant veggie eater. And our kids are so competative that anytime we have done some sort of contest, they have never asked what the "winner" gets i have a stash of cereal box type toys, but I don't think I have ever actually given a tangible prize for anything we have done that way

thank you all again! this weekend was better because dh told dss that this was the plan and it was good for him to eat good food. dh also made clear that he was not willing to give in, so dss ate what he wanted of what was served and there were no fights.
Glad your dh stepped up and explained the new rules, how you took dss's feelings into consideration and tried to make it work with what IS necessary for your WHOLE family of 9 to live together.
post #59 of 62
Thread Starter 
thank you for that mommyto3girls!!! your situation sounds eerily similar to ours. dss is a lovey-dovey quiet type so when he's acting out, it's hard for dh to 'see' it because he envisions his son as his little snuggle man. it's difficult for dh to equivocate the treatment he gives to my 11 yr old to the treatment he gives his 11 yr old because dss is smaller and quieter and is his son. i get that he feels the need to protect his child, but the need to bring this family unit into some sort of calm and order is greater, imho.


and my dh is also scary on intelligence but can not or will not see that he treats his kids with kindness and gentleness and mine with roughness and shortness. he says he treats them the same minus the snuggles because they aren't his kids. however, when he finally does discipline his kids, it's with gentle reminders and hugs. with my kids, he jumps at them at the first infraction and yells and lectures. we are trying to work through this and adding in the no rules for eating and no chores for his kids was the final straw!

this weekend i had a horrific stomach bug and dh had to step up with all 4 of his kids (mine were with their dad). he realized how wearing it is to try and come up with food that his son would eat that is adequately nutritious. he finally just told w to eat it or do without because he was exhausted! it's one thing to ONLY parent on the weekends and then only to 1 or 2 kids. it's entirely different to have 3 days of parenting 4 kids, one who is a newborn and the other a very precocious toddler all while dealing with the withdrawals of a pre-teen and the rantings of a teenager. he is sick today and thankful that i am here and that i have rules and order in place 24/7.

we also have the periodic blow-ups and i think it's because i get tired of the order being constantly broken down and he gets lazier and lazier about following the rules. it's very emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually draining to know that things are going to go downhill fast on friday and on monday you are expected to wipe it all up and get your kids back on track. dh complains about the 'attitudes' my kids come home with from their dad's house. little does he realize that we deal with those attitudes every weekend from his kids!!!

my whole concern is i want fairness, equality, and LOVE to abound. i want it to work even though the odds are steeply stacked against us. and even is we decide to just go with it and let chaos ensue and every man fend for himself at meals, i'd like that to be a united decision that we stand behind. it's not so much about being strict as it is about STICKING TO IT.

oh, and the nutrition thing is important to me because i think we really are what we eat. i usually puree veg's and stick them into sauces so the kids don't know. dh found out and didn't like them being lied to. eh. no one said i had to disclose all the 'secret' ingredients
post #60 of 62
Quote:
i want it to work even though the odds are steeply stacked against us
that made me so sad to read, but it is true. you are really in a tough situation and i really hope that your dh can open his heart and mind to the different ways he treats the children... cause they do notice it and are effected by it.

hang in there sister, being a step parent is so hard and step family blending is frought with so many pitfalls and situations that intact families dont seem to have to deal with.

you sound like you are trying so hard to be fair and loving and nurturing with all your kids, bonus and bio alike. i hope you remember to take time to nurture yourself as well

vs
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