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Help, I'm almost a stepmom

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
A little background first...My fiance and I have been living together for one year. We are getting married in the summer of 2007. I have two grown sons (24 and 20) from a previous relationship. My fiance has two children; a 14 year old daughter who lives with her mother (he has a good relationship with his daughters mother) and a 6 year old son, "D", who lives with his father and I. The mother of the 6 year old has no contact with her son, other than letter writing which is sporadic at best, as she's incarcerated. She'll be there for another 4 years. Here is my problem. "D" is so defiant that I don't know what to do. He believes he is ALWAYS right, that he is the boss, that he should have what he wants when he wants it, always has to have to last word or grunt or sigh or noise, etc. He will go out of his way to do the exact opposite of what he's been told. I have tried everything. I have tried being sweet and kind, selectively ignoring him, being stern, nothing has worked. My fiance and I have talked about rules and discipline. We are in agreement on this subject and are, for the most part, consistent. "D" still refuses to budge. If anyone out there has had this problem, please help me out. I'm at my wits end.
post #2 of 6

New Stepmom

I'm a new stepmom myself . . . a 14 yr old girl and a 10 yr old boy . . for the past year and a half. Anyway . . I have/had a similar problem with 'J' when I would ask him to do something - a simple request - his first response was always 'no'. He was defiant and often difficult to get along with. His dad 'A' is always on my side and backs me up if there is a problem. I've also had to back off and let 'j's dad handle most disipline situations. (I notice 'J' is also moodier and more difficult when things are not going well with his mom.) I have to remind myself daily he is the kid and I am the adult. ( Especially when I notice I'm getting in a power struggle with 'J') When things get tough and I'm going a wee bit crazy I walk away . . get out of the house . . go have coffee with a friend. Yes, it is getting a bit easier he's getting used to me . . . one day at a time. I don't know if this was any help but . . sending a hug and some support. Step parenting can be so tough some days !!
post #3 of 6
Hi Tamantha,

I'm a stepmom too, a ss7. I've been at this for almost two years now. One thing I've learned is that you are not his parent. You may want to be, you are obviously better than his mom and different than his father, but you are not his parent. His father is. Let his father do the parenting. I have bookmarked the following page and whenever I feel like pulling my hair out, I read the following essays, especially on disengaging, and it sets my heart straight. Perhaps it will help you.
Good luck, stepparenting is a b*tch! I'm first a wife and friend, a future mother too, but I'm also a stepmom. That last title I hold, knowing that I may never hear a "thank you". It just is. Sorry if I'm cynical. I do it with a full heart but my heart has been broken a lot these last two years. Keep communication open with your sweetie. It helps so much!
post #4 of 6
Thanks for the great website !! Disengaging essay is brilliant !
post #5 of 6
Wow!! The article on disengaging was something else!! I just can't imagine. Although, I agree that stepping back and allowing the responsibility of parenting to ALSO fall on the father is important... I can't imagine totally disengaging my husband's children. What about my husband? What in the world would he think if all of a sudden I put ALL the parenting responsiblity on him? They may be his children, but did you not realize he had children when you decided to live together?? WOW! I can't imagine how the child would feel if you just quit doing anything and everything for them, threw their stuff away, quit setting their place at the table, etc. IMHO, that would not be a very good way to gain peace in the house. I can imagine that my husband would resent ME for acting that way. (Doesn't it even sound a bit childish?) I suppose I'm lucky that my husband IS supportive in my parenting of his son. I actually forget often that he's not my bio-child. I have been a part of his life since he was 3 yo. He was 5yo when we were married. He moved in with us full time when he was 6yo. Times have not always been easy. There are ups and downs, but if I hadn't worked on our relationship, we would be more like roommates than family. I think that's really sad.
post #6 of 6

I just realized that my last post offered nothing to help your situation. Sorry about that. Do you stay home with your dss? Do you find that there are times when things are worse or better? How long has his mom been incarcerated? Did he witness something in his mom's home that has upset him to this degree? Did he live with his mom before she became incarcerated?

Sometimes, I think the best thing you can do for step-kids is just spend time listening to them and doing things with them. Keep what they do and how they act in perspective. Forget about little things like grunts and eye rolling. Concentrate on the most important behaviors first. Respect has to be earned when you step into the new role of mother, especially if the child is older. I know it sucks and there are really tough times. Maybe I can offer more advice if you answer some of the questions I asked.

Good luck,
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