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I really need advice (DH telling me how to raise my kids)

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have a 15 year old boy, and a 10 year old girl. The 15 year old is going through a phase where he is smoking (I have caught him both both cigs and pot) I don't want this thread to be about that, I am addressing it.

He recently was caught sneaking out at night, and his grades have been down.

He usually spends a lot of time with his friends, and spends the night on a regular basis (his dad lets him go every. single. week)

I have come up with a strategy of dealing with him in a respectful but firm way, and I have decided to pick my battles, and am still letting him hang out with his friends, but on a very limited basis, and not as often until his grades pull up, and without going into all of the details, I am comfortable with my decision, but it is hard to implement, and I sometimes wimp out, I do my very best.

My problem is with my DH, he has raised 3 teens, who are now in their 20's and he went through the ringer with them, and they have ongoing problems (2 of them, according to DH.) He has been taking his opinions on how I should be handling DS out on me. He has been critical (and not speaking to me very nicely) and he gets angry even, and acts mean to me, he is very judgmental and thinkis I should raise him in the way he *wishes* he raised his DC (because of his "mistakes" his kids now have problems) he doesn't seem to care how hard it is.

It is so upsetting to me, because I think he should just mind his own business, and I was pushed to the point the other night where I said that to him in anger. It is like he is angry at me because I am not doing what he thinks I should do. I sometimes feel bullied

I have no idea how to view/handle this
post #2 of 30
I would normally say tell him to butt out ..But since he has BTDT already he may have real insite on what works and what doesn't I have 2 teenage boys and I can tell you smoking ANYTHING here would not fly.

You , his dad and your husband need to be on the same page and may have to hand out a little tough love before things get bad.

Sounds like your DH sees where things are heading.
post #3 of 30
i understand your frustration. i felt the same way at one point... heres what i found

he is your husband he has btdt and he may know. is it possible your being defensive(i know i was) wouldnt you be frustrated if you understood someting better and your DH didnt listen? i know i would! you all need to be on the same page or ds will understand it and move on it. teens are hard
post #4 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I really feel comfortable at how I am handling things, and am willing to take in what DH has to offer. I really am. He is a lot more tough than I am, and I have a hard time implementing things in exactly way he thinks I should. I know teens are hard. His dad is more permissive than I am, I am more likely to see things as they are, asnd X falls for everything DS says that i can see is a manipulation (and it has been proven to be true) I am trying to get us all on the same page (DH,X and I)

I guess I am just feeling angry ad DH right now, I just can't seem to do things in the exact way he thinks I should. I obviously don't want to make any mistakes, but this just feels horrible. I feel like DH thinks I am a horrible mother, he has almost said that to me because I didn't follow certain "advice"
post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedK View Post
T

I guess I am just feeling angry ad DH right now, I just can't seem to do things in the exact way he thinks I should. I obviously don't want to make any mistakes, but this just feels horrible. I feel like DH thinks I am a horrible mother, he has almost said tat to me because I didn't follow certain "advice"
almost saying it is very different then saying it. i am very sensitive so i understand. i know for me my own issues sometimes cause me to read into stuff more than i need to. you probably NEED to tell your husband you are feeling like a bad mom. saying you need encouragement and assistance may ease stuff for you all
post #6 of 30
Handle it with as much patience as you possibly can.

Try to look at your interactions with DH from the outside: He cares about your kid enough to want him to be raised better and have fewer problems than his own kids do. It's hard for him to separate, in his heart, what he sees going on with your son;and his guilt, over mistakes he thinks he made with his own kids. He cares about YOU enough to want to spare you the same future guilt. He's in the unenviable position of living with a child, feeling in some ways like family to him, yet knowing he's a second-class citizen when it comes to making decisions about how to raise him. Power and responsibility are supposed to be equally balanced, but it never feels like they are, when you're a stepparent. At the same time, YOU are burdened with worrying about your kid and also having to negotiate stress with your spouse; feeling judged when you'd rather feel supported. All of that adds up to a situation where it's hard for you OR your husband to discuss your son completely rationally, without getting distracted by emotions and tangential issues.

That sounds unavoidable, for the time being. So be as patient as you can with your husband and try to remember he doesn't mean to be hurtful to you. A lot of this is about his own hurt. And be patient with yourself, when you lose your temper with him. Who among us hasn't done the same?

It might not hurt to remind him, on occasion, that although he's frustrating you - and you know that you're also frustrating him - the important thing is that you will still be together in 10 years, when your son is past this phase and off on his own.
post #7 of 30
It's hard to tell without knowing the whole story (And I understand not being able to type out and explain every single detail!) what your position and your husband's is and if you truly have two incompatible perspectives on how to handle it or if you basically agree on the philosophy behind the plan but differ on its implementation, or what...

SO, acknowledging that I don't have a grasp of the whole thing...

I wonder if it is possible to talk to your husband about getting his support to help you be strong when it comes to doing what you feel you should do. From your post it sounds like your husband is more likely to stay strong and follow through and he gets frustrated when you can't do that. That is the case at our house, and I can very much see how my husband could get (and has gotten) frustrated with how I am handling things because it can be really hard for me to enforce the boundaries I've set, and he can clearly see the fall-out.

So, rather than be frustrated with both my children, myself, AND my husband, I ask my husband to help me stay strong... when I have set a boundary and I am starting to waver, he can give me a look or a whisper and remind me to hold my ground or a smile to let me know I'm doing good and he believes in me.

Does something like that seem like a possibility? Even if he isn't totally on board with how you are handling it?
post #8 of 30
Just a thought, and it may be totally wrong but...

I find that I get angriest at dh when he is saying what I know is true. Like when dh tells me that I have been getting lazy in dealing with this or that, it makes me mad. I want to justify what I have been lazy about rather than dealing with the fact that he is speaking what I already know deep down.


Now, if that is completely wrong, then stick to what you are saying but include dh in what you want to get done. Maybe like the pp said, see if he can just help you to be strong in your decisions. Show your dh some empathy, and let him know that you understand his frustration but you disagree on this area. Explain that you understand that he thinks he made some mistakes and is trying to help you but the best way to help you is to support the decision you have made. If that fails, or if you are still having problems, then you may want to seek out a neutral third party to mediate (basically counseling, it just sounds better to say neutral third party, don't know why, but it does). DH and I had to see someone shortly after we got married due to issues we were having about dss.
post #9 of 30
I was going to suggest asking your dh to alter his attitude when he is trying ot help. I know that I immediately get defensive and angry at dp when he tries to give me advice in a "know-it-all" or aggressive tone of voice and it sets us up for disagreement even if I can see his perspective (this is pretty unconscious on my part).

I do think your dh should have some input into the way the kids are raised (I assume you all live together), but it shouldn't come by way of telling you what to do.
post #10 of 30
I know nothing gets my back up more than my partner saying (or me perceiving that he's saying) that I'm not doing a good job as a mother, that I'm not doing enough or that I'm not doing what he thinks I should be doing!!!! I totally feel ya!!!

Here are a few things we are learning about these situations:
1. My partner says these things because of his own baggage (in my case, it's often when he feels out of control in his own life). In your situation, it's possible that your dh is feeling like he 'wished' he had done things differently because it didn't turn out perfectly with his own children and because men are such 'fixers' -- maybe he realizes that what he did wasn't the best so he wants you to do differently than he did...or he thinks he did do the best he could and wants you to follow his footsteps. But it's important to know IT IS ABOUT HIM when he says those things.

2. And, I'm realizing that I get my back up so much in these discussions because deep down, I'm questionning myself or feeling unsure and wanting some outside validation. What I really want him to say is that I'm doing a great job and everything will turn out okay. But, fortunately (although I woudln't say that in the moment), he challenges me and it pushes me to see that I'm looking for him to meet the needs I need to meet in myself. I really need to be okay with my decisions or make new decisions and trust that I'm doing the best I can at any given moment.

He's doing the best he can. His words come from care and concern for you and your children...but they're wrapped in his own baggage and comes out all wrong. Whatever emotions you are feeling...it's wrapped up in your baggage too.

Being a parent is a tough job and the results aren't seen for so long...we never really have an idea of how we're doing. It's easy to feel unsure about decisions, unsure about situations that are challenging and unsure about what is or isn't best at any given moment. Just keep following your heart and doing what you feel is best and believe it's all going to work out for the best. Be gentle with yourself and be gentle with your partner. You are both coming from the right place, even if the baggage is getting in the way.
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedK View Post
It is like he is angry at me because I am not doing what he thinks I should do. I sometimes feel bullied
I would have a problem with my spouse treating me this way regardless or what the issue was.
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys, you've given me a lot to consider. Yes, ssh, I think it's unacceptable to feel that way. I am keeping an eye on that one.

MCA, thank you for your insightful answer, I do agree that the way this is playing out for him is filtered through his own baggage, and he has even told me before that he felt bad and guilty that he didn't do more for his kids when they started going down a rough path.

Petie1104, you also nailed it. I know I should be better at standing my ground, and he strikes a nerve, and I feel like I need someone to "have my back", but I feel like he is constantly "calling me out" and that doesn't feel very supported.

Jeannine, thank you for reminding me to be patient with him. I really need to hear things like that instead of things about him being totally in the wrong. I am trying to adjust my attitude towards him.

We semi-talked about it. Actually I reached a breaking point and was almost ready to walk (out of extreme frustration) and we then realized how serious this is, and I think we may be able to be more conscious.

DH tells me that he doesn't feel comfortable being one who meters out boundaries (and I don't think he should) That is my job.

I just with I would feel supported, rather than "called out"
post #13 of 30
If you want to feel supported, you need to tell him what he needs to do to make you feel that way. He can't mind read, you have to tell him what you need. Is there a different way he could voice his criticisms? Is there a different way that you could talk about your ds so that you won't feel called out?

Can you plan on specific times to talk about it so that it doesn't come up in the heat of the moment, and you both have time to think about what you want to say, how to say it, and where you will talk about it? Talking about things on "neutral" ground always helps me - at school, at the coffee shop, just as long as its not home (for me, home really is where the heart is, and I HATE fighting in my own home) - not being at home also helps keep things civil for me since I'm more aware of my surroundings and unlikely to get really angry, it helps me to think more clearly I think.

I don't know, just a few suggestions.
post #14 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedK View Post
DH tells me that he doesn't feel comfortable being one who meters out boundaries (and I don't think he should) That is my job.

I just with I would feel supported, rather than "called out"
Tell your DH that if you feel supported then you would be able to be stronger and more confident when your dealing with your DC. That being "called out" and criticized undermines your confidence as a parent and makes it harder for you to follow through with your discipline decisions.
post #15 of 30
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post
Tell your DH that if you feel supported then you would be able to be stronger and more confident when your dealing with your DC. That being "called out" and criticized undermines your confidence as a parent and makes it harder for you to follow through with your discipline decisions.
Yes! I am going to do this, thank you, it is so simple.
post #16 of 30
And remember: a minor smoking cigarettes and MJ in his house IS his business. It's against the law. It's all y'all's business (you, ex, DH). Just acknowledging that may help.

You say that you are mad at DH, but it sounds to me like ex may be the one is sabotaging you more seriously, by falling for the manipulation and letting your son stay overnight with people who, um, lead him into temptation. Getting that aspect of the situation fixed might also reduce the tension all around. I understand that it may be out of your power to fix it, though.
post #17 of 30

I guess I'm in a minority here, but I don't think it's a given that your dh has a point.  Sounds like he has a lot of fear because of where his kids are at and he's projecting that onto the situation and on to you. It sounds like you feel comfortable with how you are handling it.  I'd say that you are open to support of your choices and willing to have a rational discussion about different options, but that ultimately you are his mother and need to make the decisions you feel comfortable with.  (How long have you and your husband lived together with your son?)

 

All kids are different. Yes, for some kids, smoking and sneaking out are first steps on a bad path.   For some they are normal boundaries testing/risk taking activities consistent with adolescence.  For others, it falls in between and it can be a red flag. And how you handle it is something people can disagree over.  I tend to think you want to look at underlying causes and try to address them while setting some basic limits - but going all authoritarian and punishment-oriented is unlikely to resolve the situation, which is what I'm sensing your dh would like.  Plenty of kids had parents who "put their foot down" on risk-taking behaviors and just escalated them and learned to hide them better - or became alienated from the very people who were in the best position to help them.  

 

For what it's worth, my partner smoked pot when he was 12, which I find astounding.  He had just moved across the country, totally socially dislocated, somewhat overweight, trying to fit in and starting middle school.  Tough times.  Anyways, he is now a highly functional adult raising a stepdaughter, a toddler, with a great job and supporting a whole family.  He is one of the most responsible, honest and organized people I know. (And his parents did not take a punitive approach to it) A kid smoking, or smoking pot, doesn't mean they're going down a bad road.

post #18 of 30
Thread Starter 

Bronxmom, a lot of what you've said rings true for me. DH and I are married only a year and trying to navigate this thing. While it is his concern, it is ultimately up to me to make the decision. I guess what really bothers me is DH's strong reaction to me and criticism about how I am handling things. he cannot be as involved as he could be if DS were younger when we married, and I need a balancing, supportive partner. I react badly when I am on the phone with DS and I can hear DH in the other room making exclamations of distaste at how I am handling things when his hands are tied when it comes to helping me take a more balanced approach.  I feel for him, but I also really don't appreciate the intensity of the judjment I feel from him.

 

I realize it is against the law for him to smoke cigs and pot and I have told him I don't condone it, he knows I disapprove. I can't control what he doesn when we are not around (and I cannot be near him all of the time, he is in a stage of his life when he likes to be with his friends a lot. )  I am not a hugely punitive person though, perhaps I should be more strict. My DH has a point, and I am also open to his opinions. I do feel, however, that it is my job to raise my DS along with X (who is not helping  by not working with me on what the consequences should be) I wish DH could talk to DS, I think he would listen to him more than me or his dad, he likes and respects his stepdad. 

 

I have taken all of your input to heart, and I appreciate your taking the time to respond smile.gif

 

An update:  DH is laying off, he has been holding his tongue and it feels better. I just hope it doesn't create bad feelings that can't be expressed. I had no idea how difficult this blended family thing could be.

post #19 of 30

If you've only been married a year than that's a big deal. This means your son went 14 years without this guy in his life and is now 15 with only a 1-year old relationship.  I'd probably recommend counseling for you and your partner.  It would help you sort out what issues are hangovers from his experience, what's your defenses, and what's real. Also, if your son really does respect your dh then maybe you could tell your dh that he has a really helpful role to play if he can come from a position of empathy.  For example, I bet it'd have a big impact on your son if your dh was to talk openly about his own feelings about his kids and the challenges they are facing and his own feelings of inadequacy and fear and love for his stepson. If he could do that, without making it about your stepson but just about his own feelings, it might provide a level of outside perspective that could be really helpful to your son.

 

Finding ways for your partner to be helpful without him being judgmental seems key.

post #20 of 30

"I can't control what he doesn when we are not around (and I cannot be near him all of the time, he is in a stage of his life when he likes to be with his friends a lot.)"

 

My son is at the stage where he likes to eat cupcakes with green frosting for breakfast.  Doesn't mean that's something I allow. 

 

If your 15-year-old is leaving the house to hang with his friends and get high, you KNOW he's getting high, and he's not grounded - well, no wonder you're hearing appalled exclamations from the other room. If you can't or won't keep a kid that you don't trust in the house, you are making a grave error and creating a dangerous situation.

 

I'm sure your DH is being totally undiplomatic and rude. No doubt. And given how recent the marriage is, you're right, he shouldn't discipline your teenager. But YOU should. School home homework dinner TV bed. That's his world until he earns your trust again. Hanging on the corner is not a sacred adolescent right - it's a privilege, and one that needs to be revoked. Don't worry - he'll be hanging on the corner plenty when he visits his Dad. But even if his Dad lives in bizarro world, it's your job to insist on real-world rules and values when he's with you. 

 

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