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RANT: Blending 2 families - 2 sets of parents and kids!

post #1 of 46
Thread Starter 
This is probably not quite the forum for this, but I need to let go of some steam.

We're currently living with friends of ours who also have two kids. Long story short, we had to move twice in two months because of chaos in our lives. Finding mould, mildew, and mushrooms in that appartment of ours was the catalyst for the first move (nevermind a landlady that refused to comprehend that I would not beat my "special needs" ds into silence because he screams when he can't get his way. Yes, she told me to do that!). The second move was initiated by a potential job offer (which didn't pan out) and was catalyzed by the former tenant of the trailer we were supposed to have been renting trying to run me over.

So, friends of ours offered us a refuge at their place.

We have been trying to co-exhist here the four adults and four kids. Most of the time, it works. But there are times when it doesn't.

We have nicknamed the kids after the four Ducktale's Ducklings for starters. 3 of them, "Huey, Duey and Luey" are either 4 and a half or 2 and a half. DD is "Webigail." Huey, Duey and Luey are playing the four parents off of each other and we know it. The eldest, in particular, is trying to get away with anything that they can get away with. Huey does go up to everyone and asks for candy, treats, etc. Or will just take it. It has gotten to the point where both DP and I will tell Huey No just on principle. We don't want to counter what GF and BF tell us that Huey can or can't have and more importantly, we don't believe that any of the ducklings should be getting the amount of sugar they are getting in their diet here.

Then there's Duey and Luey. Luey is DS. Yesterday, Duey decided to throw a giant die that DP had bought and it hit Luey right under his right eye. The poor kid ended up with a giant gooseegg and now has a black eye. I was furious, but instead of spanking Duey, I ordered Duey to their room. That's when GF and BF decided that a spanking was in order. And he was spanked.

Yeah, spanking's legal in Canada, but constantly threatening and then carrying through with it is driving me up the wall. All three of the ducklings have been spanked by us adults (yeah, we're not innocent on that mark), but the amount is frustrating us. DP and I believe it should be used as a last resort, not as a constant threat. They, on the other hand, constantly threaten it with all the ducklings for every single infraction the kids do. Be it not wanting to eat, sleep, play together, hurting each other, etc etc etc. They constantly scream at the ducklings, constantly threaten them, constantly send them to their room.... I know there's discipline but what I'm seeing, worse, what we have to imitate because these are GF's rules we have to follow for all three ducklings, is making me extremely concerned for DS's emotional health. The ONLY child not being disciplined is Webigail.

Just today, GF went on a tirade that DS couldn't have anything else to eat until he ate his two pieces of toast. When I took DS out today, I "let" him steal some stuff from my purse because I knew he was hungry and needed something to eat even if it was just candy, but when I brought him back, instead of letting him eat lunch and forgive him about the bread (no butter, no nothing on it, still sitting there from breakfast) , GF freaked when she found him eating an apple - until she found out that he had eaten the bread.

Then there's the bedtime rituals. I wanted DS with us last night because of his head and he was breathing "wrong." I'm glad I did because his asthma was acting up. But BF decided to scream bloody blue murder at him and threaten him with spankings if he didn't go to the ducklings bedroom right then and there. I would have intercepted but I was.. ur... stuck on the toilet. So there was my DS being screamed at by a huge man who wasn't his father.... He spent most of the next hour whimpering in bed beside me. I wouldn't let him sleep in my bed but instead moved his fold out toddler bed beside mine.

And there's more.... Both Huey and Duey are toilet trained, Luey isn't so somehow I'm a bad mother because Luey is 3 mo older than Duey and so he should be. Yet she gives her kids candy (a ring pop if they do a #2 or chocolate for a pee) in order to get them to use the bathroom. And because of that, I've had to promise Luey the same thing. Not that its helped train him at all. He still refuses.

Then there's how Huey tattles all the time. Worse, tells us, the parents, what we should be doing to Luey. Which, of course, meant that we have told off Huey a couple of times already about that. Huey is also very sassing to all the adults here. And Huey, like I said earlier, will try to get any candy or treat possible.

Ah yes, the candy situation... how can a woman who has purposely had all her teeth taken out and gotten dentures because of the amount of sugar she's eaten over the years tell me how I should be brushing my children's teeth? Especially when her eldest already has two teeth capped?

DP and I know that this situation is only temporary. We will move out again within 3 months. Sooner preferably. But this is also driving us up the wall and down again. We're expected to treat the ducklings the same and in fact are told we have to. So DP and I have been trying to do GDish type discipline (talking, getting down to their level, guiding) instead of yelling, screaming and worse. But we're "failling our parenting checks" as he puts it.

We need ideas on how to cope and to show them that spanking isn't what they should resort to on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis for not only their kids but DS as well. I just did some GD with Huey and sent Huey back to bed, so I know it can be done. DP knows it can be done. How do we do it when we're trying to keep these two families from ending up as enemies? It doesn't help that both moms are Alpha females. I'm going to keep on trying to GD the kids as best as I can, but even I know I have limits.

Telling us to leave isn't a good idea. And I won't report their parenting styles to the local CPS because I loathe CPS here. Unless I took the kids with me and went to a transition house, there is no place that would shelter the four of us and we'd be on the streets. And after nearly getting run over 10 days ago, right now I need DP with me as much as I can get. I'm just a little ... frazzled from it. And yes, I did report it to the police. Any advice on how to handle Huey?
post #2 of 46


what a challenging situation.

I have been lucky to observe how my preschool teachers handle issues - with GD.

This might help.

Conflict Resolution by Bev Bos

Maybe post on the GD board too?
post #3 of 46
Thread Starter 
i would, but I'm not "gd enough" for there.

Its hard... especially with food allergies/weird diets - luey can't eat carrots, I can't have shellfish or coffee, BF is a lacto-ovo vegetaria and GF is lactose intolerant. At least DP is an omnivour. So the meal times are interesting to say the least...
post #4 of 46
Sorry - don't know how helpful this will be bc I got a bit confused by the nicknames and pronouns - can't quite tell whose kid is whose!

I think the only thing you can do in the circumstances, if leaving is not an option, is to lead by example and set clear boundaries around what is and is not acceptable treatment of your own children. That means no spanking by anyone (I know you say you sometimes resort to it, but you're not going to get it through your friends' heads that they spank 'too' much if they see you doing it AT ALL). That means you discipline your own children and that you clearly state that the other adults may not yell at, threaten, or hit your child. That means (if it were me at least) that you state clearly that, where your children are concerned, candy will not be used as a reward, or punishments set up around food issues. And then you police those boundaries like crazy, so far as your children are concerned. You have a duty and a right to set these boundaries, and not to let other people unleash their lousy parenting skills on your kids.

Oh, and I'd bend over to be kind to their poor little ones. Even if you don't feel like you can be as direct as you would like to be about what's wrong with the situation, because of the precariousness of your own living situation, please do what you can to make their little lives a bit saner. Any way you can get out of the house, too, with yours and (volunteer sometime, I think) theirs as well - to the library, a neighbourhood house, a playgroup, a park without the crazy disciplinarians?

I realize it's their place, and there's an element of 'their house, their rules', but that extends to things like whether you leave the toilet seat up or down, or not running the washing machine late at night. It does not extend to letting them threaten, yell at, or hit your children.

Sounds like a rough situation - good luck!
post #5 of 46
Yuck yuck yuck. I'm so sorry you are going through this, it sounds very difficult! I lived with my mom until DD was 3, and she still babysits her fairly often. We had some general parenting rules that we came up with so she didn't step on my toes. The main one is that I am the only one to discipline DD (and now DH does too, of course). Period. If she was being really difficult and I wasn't around, they could and do give her time outs sitting on the steps (its boring there, so a good place to calm down) but that's it, and if any actual punishment is needed, I take care of it when I get home. I did think I believed in spanking when she was small, though I've never actually hit her, but I would have never ever let anyone other than me spank her, because I'm the mom, and it's my job to discipline.

I really think that would be reasonable--just asking them if they have a problem with your kid, to let you know and you will handle it. If they don't agree with how you do it (GD as opposed to spanking or whatever), you can just say "well, that's how we discipline in our family".

I don't let people yell at and frighten my DD, and I do think you can protect your child from that without completely offending them, by saying you would prefer to handle it yourself. You could also possibly "punish" (or discuss it with your child or whatever you choose to do) in the privacy of your bedroom or something, so they won't necessarily know how you handled it.

I do agree that it's easier to just say you don't spank anymore than to try to explain why this particular behavior doesn't warrant a spanking while another one does. Besides, you may be surprised--I kept saying when DD was small that she may "need" a spanking at some point, thinking I might "have" to spank, but I always managed to come up with a better way to handle the situation, and it did work well, she's a pretty good kid.

Good luck, I hope you are able to work this out.
post #6 of 46
How about some way to seperate your families? I realize space is probably at a premium, but maybe your family needs to sleep all in the same room for the next 3 months, so you children have somewhere their own to be, for a couple months even some kind of tent or if you have a large enough closet or big box that could be thier own space that they can retreat to and be alone.

Maybe there is some other way you could keep your family seperate from thiers, at least part of the time. Could you just try to be awake and asleep at different times? Like if their family goes to bed early could you stay up later and sleep later. I know noise and space problems again. Maybe a tv in your room so you could have family movie time.

Could you spend the weekends at least somewhere else? Camping, visiting friends or family, something

I think the first issue needs to be that two familes can live together and still be two familes, they can each still have their own rules. And if you want to be firm about them not disciplining your children they you will have to not discipline thiers. So to handle Huey you would either work it out or retreat yourselves, not send him to his room.

I don't know if any of these will help any, but I sure hope things get better. When I left my husband about 1 1/2 years ago we also spent about 6 months staying with friends or familes, and it was very hard.
post #7 of 46
Thread Starter 
I don't really want to bend over backwards to be kind to their little ones because Huey will do anything to get candy and unless I'm giving the kids, especially Huey, candy, I'm not being kind to them. That and if one parent is extremely "nice," it'll throw all discipline out the window.

Duey was the first one up this morning. BF leaves for work at an ungodly hour (about 4 am, but comes home by 3pm latest). So, because we're sleeping on the living room floor, instead of getting the sleep we need, we're up when the kids get up and we don't get to go to sleep until the tv has finished being watched.

They have an entire room they could have emptied out for us to use, but instead have decided to keep it as an no-kid-zone office where all four of our computers are. So privacy is at an issue. I don't know how many mornings so far I've woken up to Huey sitting on the couch staring me in the face. Ugh.

Yet, BF and GF get the privacy of their own room, DP, Webigail and I don't get any privacy. Luey shares with Huey and Duey in their room, but often joins us in the living room to sleep on mattresses on the floor with us.

I'm trying to be patient with the kids. Honest. But this is trying. Very trying. We are trying to do seperate things with the kids (but Huey and Duey's grandpa showing up and taking them for the day and bringing them back with McD's and not anything for Luey... UGH. Anytime I go out I try to make sure there is stuff for all the kids, not just my two!) but it doesn't always work.

I'm thinking about taking mine swimming today. I want to go, DP probably needs the vacation too.
post #8 of 46
Thread Starter 
UGh...

GF today says she only had 2 hrs of sleep so DP and I are trying to give her some extra time to sleep (cutting in on DP's job hunt, but nevermind that...).

Anyway, Huey decides to go and interupt mom's sleep and so I do a time out punishment (go to the corner for Xtime=kid's age) and I swear the kid sounded like I just beat them even though I didn't come near. Ugh.

We can only do gd and non-pd when GF and BF aren't around. If they are, we have to stick to their standards or the four of us get into arguments.

Ugh. I think I'll go get some DQ. I need ice cream.
post #9 of 46
That sounds pretty awful! Obviously, you're working on getting your own place as soon as it's feasible, but you feel stuck for now.

Do set up boundaries around who disciplines your kids (i.e. not them). Keep in mind as well that, although spanking is not illegal, nothing in the criminal code protects anyone who hits someone else's kid. Plus, if the authorities believe that you permitted this, you could be in trouble.

BTW, I'd just leave off with Duey about the toilet training. He probably has enough going on right now, and the one thing he can control is where he pees and poops! No wonder he's not giving that up.

Put on your flameproof suit and ignore GF's comments. If GF/BF start giving you trouble about how you deal with your own kids, just say something general like, "We feel it's important that our children learn that every family is different." They know you've had trouble with CPS, right? Blame your choices on that if you want - say "our social worker said we really need to make an effort to X, and so we're trying to make it work for us and stay positive about it. I'd appreciate your help with that."

So far as being 'nice' to the other kids goes, I'm sure it's tough, with them throwing things and being so candy-oriented. But I don't think 'nice' = throwing discipline out the window. I've found that when I'm around kids who are used to being disciplined through yelling and smacking, the kids usually end up being better - behaved out of sheer shock at having someone use a normal tone of voice with them! Huey may not 'get' it at first. The poor kid thinks that someone being 'nice' to him means giving him candy as opposed to more positive kinds of attention.
post #10 of 46
Thread Starter 
They've also had trouble with CPS. Different trouble than us.

Duey's theirs and is toilet trained. Luey, ours, isn't toilet trained and honestly, until we get our own place, I'm not going to pressure him, but will give him lots of hugs and more if he does use the toilet instead of his diaper with no 2s.

Huey just complained about Webbigail crawling on her. Oi vey... DP rescued our daughter from theirs. (yes, Huey is a girl).

Duey is currently in the hospital with mom. Something happened outside so now we have to watch Huey as well as our own (nevermind being a taxi service).

See, we had originally agreed that we would stick together in discipline and that if we were going to discipline their children, they wanted reciprocation. This also extended into chores and more (although I think I am doing more chores than GF at the moment.... but then again, we aren't paying her rent, but we are paying for hydro and phone use and buying groceries). This was all discussed last month before we moved and it was all agreed on.

That was before we realized that they aren't even really AP parents. We thought they were, but boy have we been proven wrong.

I need to go find my sling. DD needs some cuddling time.
post #11 of 46
Mamid, boy are you in a tough spot! Ive been in similar situations before - twice, but in the other position I guess... twice I've allowed another family to stay with my family when they needed a place short term. The first time was a friend and her bf with their only ds, who was about a year older than my oldest. They used harsher discipline and it was agreed to discipline our own. However the issue became the reason it didnt work out.
the second time I had an overly permissive parent who let her ds get into everything and never disciplined at all. she never bothered with safety either - I had to insist on a carseat and frequently would find hers not strapped into the highchair and standing - once he fell. This mother was asked to leave finally because I could not parent her child as well as my own - I have enough on my plate with 2 sn kids.

What made sure that my family made it thru these hard times was insulating us as much as possible. Like others have said, you need to get as much time away as possible - go for a swim or a walk or out anywhere without them!

Quote:
See, we had originally agreed that we would stick together in discipline and that if we were going to discipline their children, they wanted reciprocation. This also extended into chores and more (although I think I am doing more chores than GF at the moment.... but then again, we aren't paying her rent, but we are paying for hydro and phone use and buying groceries). This was all discussed last month before we moved and it was all agreed on.
Quote:
That was before we realized that they aren't even really AP parents. We thought they were, but boy have we been proven wrong
Are these people prone to angry arguments, or could you try to explain this to them? That you thought your discipline style matched but you feel that its actually quite different, and you would prefer to change this agreement to : discipline your own, only. Do you think this would fly? If you feel that you can't even talk rationally with these folks, is there anywhere else your family could stay? I would really exhaust all possibilities, to find a place to stay that will not be traumatic and scary for your kids.

I wished I lived up there in Canada to offer you a room to stay in.
post #12 of 46
Thread Starter 
we were supposed to have originally moved into a trailer with acres of land around it. When that fell through and my sanity was in question, we started to look at other options. That's when GF and BF offered us their place as a launch point to find our own here.

It has sorta worked. Not quite, but sorta. What is really driving me up the wall isn't so much their style (what we used to do) vs ours (supernanny wannabees if you can believe that), its that their Huey will try to get away with anything and everything she can.

Her dad, BF will be home in a bit. Then he's going to go out to the hospital to sit with his wife while waiting to find out if Duey has a broken foot. They might take Huey with them. If they do, then I'll be stuck cleaning the house - AGAIN - and DP will be dealing with cooking supper. I'm already working on the laundry.

I need to go fold some cranes and stars... I can't knit at the moment cause I have a huge gouge in my one thumb so I've resorted to kawaii origami to deal with my stress. You don't want to know how much stress I've had lately. Even dealing with them and how they parent their kids is far less stressfull than having to deal with a meth abusing b-rhymes with snitch who refused to leave even when evicted.

I've had to seperate Huey and Luey from each other right now. Every other minute she was saying that Luey scratch/kicked/bit/stole a toy/did something and since she didn't want to watch the video that he picked out (the first time since we've been here), she was going to get him in as much trouble as she could in order to get to watch HER choices. So I have since seperated them and told her to go for a nap in her parent's room. That's not what I want to do to her......... but I know forcing her to take a nap is not what she wanted.
post #13 of 46
Huey's 4 and a half, right? Take a deep breath and remind yourself of that There's folks in her space all the time, other kids to compete with who weren't there before, and she's probably as stressed as you, but not as articulate. If they're at each other's throats, try to take them outside and let them run off a little steam.
post #14 of 46
Thread Starter 
well, gf and dp were following my lead and sending the kids to their rooms/corners instead of spanking...

until Duey decided to eat all of gf's breath mints that are on her backpack on the floor. Gee.. they taste like candy, don't they? And they were left on the floor too? And he decided to feed them to Webbigail. *rollseyes*

Luey decided to try to go potty and instead got the toilet, the bathtub, dumped 3/4 of a roll of toilet paper into the potty... Gee.. shouldn't someone have been watching him? I was busy with Webbigail, DP was 10 feet from Luey during all this...

Not sure if BF is going to get a hint... Maybe, maybe not. We'll see what happens tonight.
post #15 of 46
Thread Starter 
WTF??? She decided to do a bare butt spanking on the boys over catching them playing with Huey's lipstick? A 10$ lipstick???? WTF is she giving her 4yo a 10$ lipstick in the first place????

UGH!!!

And I know as soon as she gets back from whatever urgent thing she's doing she's going to spank Duey because he won't stop crying.

I need to go get some ice.

Huey shouldn't have left the lipstick out where the boys could have gotten it in the first place. Secondly, I would have simply taken it away and sent them to their corners instead of what she did...

Oh gods! What have we moved our family into?
post #16 of 46
Quote:
What is really driving me up the wall isn't so much their style (what we used to do) vs ours (supernanny wannabees if you can believe that), its that their Huey will try to get away with anything and everything she can.
Seriously?? You have more of an issue with their daughter than with the way they "discipline" and the way they are treating your son??

I'm sorry, I know you're in tough spot right now, but when someone abuses your child (spanking on the bare butt), you either stand up for them or you become a part of the problem. Maybe I'm being too harsh, I don't know. It seems as if a part of you is offended at how they act toward children, but it's just not enough to make you take some action. I'm sorry, I would knock on a complete stranger's door for help before living in a home where my child was being abused both mentally and physically.

I'm honestly not trying to condemn you. Please think seriously about what you're allowing to happen to your family in the name of having a roof over your heads.
post #17 of 46
Thread Starter 
It came down to dealing with the aftermath of a drug user who tried to kill me with her car (see my original post) which put us in this place. We thought she was one of the best parents we knew of cause she knew how to deal with this one completely out of control kid who she used to watch so her mother could work.

What I'm seeing now isn't the woman I knew two years ago. She also had problems with CPS but different ones.

Anyway, I had a little chat with her today after she came back. I had both boys lying on the floor and was putting ice on their bums to cool them.

"why are you doing that?"
"because some mothers would call CPS if they saw the red marks on your son's butt." She was taking her son to a dance recital and is still there as I type. I tried to explain to her that if any of them had seen what she had done, CPS would grab first and then sort it out later. She grunted and went "oh, okay." and then went on a different subject.

You can't force GD down someone's throat. We're not even trying to GD, but to try to keep our son happy and stuff from being wrecked. I wouldn't have struck the kids over the lipstick. Instead, I would have taken it away and told them to go to their naughty spots.

One of the problems is Huey's knack of playing one parent off on the other. And she currently has four of us to do this with. If she can't get what she wants with one, she'll keep on going till either we all say no or she gets what she wants. And she's such a drama queen it is driving me up the wall. She tried 4 times this morning to interrupt her mother in the shower because >>I<< dared to open her cheese strings instead of letting her do it herself. UGH. Last night it was the popcorn and she got her way and got popcorn even when three of the four had said no. One said yes so she and the other kids got some.

Trying to teach by example... Harder than it looks. I hope DP finds a job real soon so we can get out of here.
post #18 of 46
Mamid's DP here....

You know I have to look at all this with a sense of irony. We have gotten heck from some of the folks here for things we have said have done/ would do with our kids and here we are turning around having basically looking at the couple we are staying with as if we were the GD'ing parents and they were us. The Gods have a strange sense of humour. The thing is we have changed just from being on this forum. We haven't always gotten along with everyone but we have changed, in many ways for the better I think. Mainly we changed because we were willing to admit some things just plain did not work and sought out alternatives. To me that is what being an adult is all about. Make your choices, accept responsibility for them, be willing to recognize when those choices might not be the right ones and have the strength and humility to make the right choices.

Now if we can just convince the couple we are staying with that they might not know everything and they might just start to change too....
post #19 of 46
Thread Starter 
I don't know what's more disheartening...

listening to the ducklings cry because they really don't want to go to sleep...

not being able to stop spankings let alone the threat of being spanked

or trying to use gd type discipline and getting cut short by GF or BF who yell out their orders while I'm trying to reason with X duckling...

Oi vey... Thank goodness Webbigail is too young for this..
post #20 of 46
Penalt again....

Firstly, (&^*%^&*()&)^&*%&^$#%^&**(())!!! and so forth. Secondly, things kinda came to a head tonite. Mamid will post the details but basically we are going to be parenting just our own kids from now on and the other parents will parent theirs. Mainly because the other parents thought we were interfering with their parenting. I probably should have realized that this was gonna be the big stress point. After all, the most important thing to any parent is their children and if someone feels that another person is interfering with their parent-child bond....look out!

The other couple do not AP, they bottle fed both children from day 1, immunize for everything and their primary mode of discipline is spanking or the threat of spanking. We do AP, breastfeed with voluntary weaning, choose not to vax and spanking is a last resort with us. To be only threatened after all other methods (reasoning, talking, etc.) have failed. I would not even begin to classify with GD parents but if there is a halfway point between so-called traditional parenting and GD parenting we are at it. So there is just a little bit of difference in our parenting choices.

The real thing is that this couple have been very good friends to us over the years and I most definitely do not want to see such a long friendship go down the crapper because of the gap in parenting choices and the unlikelyhood of either of us convincing the other of the correctness of their position. I can only hope that we can live with each other for as long as we are stuck togeather without throttling each other. The stress of this plus the past two months has not been good for my blood pressure. 155/105 with a pulse of 92 at the drugstore machine tonite. Dug out some of my meds left over from my AF six months ago to try to lower the pressure. Gonna go to the local health food store tomorrow for some capcacin(sp).

Basically I think the seperation of the parenting will help. If we have to parent the other children we are going to our dammdest to do it in a GD way. That and we are going to seperate the kids at night for going to sleep. They just bounce off each other waaaay too much otherwise.

BTW, thanks for letting me and Mamid rant at length about this. Just being able to type about it helps even if our accounts can get a little hyperbolic at times.
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