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#1 of 62 Old 01-04-2010, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i am almost in tears writing this.

we need help. we spent the better part of yesterday evening arguing about the kids. we never argue about money, the house, etc. it always comes down to the kids and i'm literally worn out over it and just ready to give up.

some background:

dh and i met in college in 2004. i was still married but the now ex was on his way out. current dh and i had a very whirlwind romance starting in oct 04, moved in together in jan 05, got pg with our dd (now 4) in april 05, moved to a different town to be with his kids in 06, had a devastating miscarriage in 07, ttc for the next 20 mos and i've just had a very trying pg and premature birth of our youngest. when we met my kids were 12, 9 and 6; his were 7 and 6. he had been divorced since his kids were 1 and 2.

when we first moved in together, we sat down and decided on some very basic rules. he had been unemployed and the first things we did had to do with pooling resources and saving money. the first rules we made were that the way we did food had to change. my kids were used to getting served alternatives to the meal we had if they didn't like it (my ex's rule) and his kids were used to eating convenience foods (boxed, frozen, fast-food, etc). we agreed that feeding 7 people on a grocery stockman's wages was going to be tough. we agreed that we would require ALL of the kids to 1) eat what was served without special concessions and 2) finish all they were given/asked for before they were allowed any snacks UNTIL the next meal 3) limit convenience foods in favor of healthier choices.

we have revisited those rules over the last few years and have agreed that they have helped us not only save money, but time, energy and our minds because now we don't have the 'oh my kid did eat' guilt. because they are older, we feel like it is our responsibility to offer them food, their responsibility to eat it or go without until we eat again. this rule does not currently apply to the 4 yr old or the baby. we usually start this up at around the time they are school aged and can understand/are able to be going a while without eating. we feel like they should also learn to appreciate what they are given and throwing food away is not only wasteful but rude.

last year, dss2(now 11) was 'diagnosed' with adhd. i use the term lightly because he was 'diagnosed' by the fp and is being seen by a psychiatrist who has questionable credentials. he has zero of the adhd traits. he is a difficult and free-willed child when he doesn't get his way and is scary smart and manipulative. he's one of those kids that will cuddle with you on the couch all the while scheming about how to get you riled if you try to make him mind.

he was held back in school due to a speech impediment and maturity/readiness issues. he's smart, but refuses to do anything he's told and when he is forced to do things such as homework, he does them in his own way and time frame. basically, he's stubborn and difficult, but he can do the work. he is given meds 'when he's at school' and both dh and i feel that is a cop-out for the mom not wanting to deal with him and just give him drugs. she has increased his meds 3 times without consulting dh.

consequently, he gets his meds mon-thur and by the time he comes here on friday, he's in withdrawal mode. he is cranky, wound-up, loud, angry, violent, agressive...very reminiscent of a street drug user going through withdrawals. he is also having feeding/weight issues from the meds and this follows the fact that he was/is small for his age. my son is 4 wks younger and was 3.6 lbs preemie at birth and is currently about 9" taller and weighs about twice as much as dss. dss is about 55" and about 65lbs. he is given the same foods here as my ds, according to the rules, but refuses to eat unless it suits him.

dh approached me about 2 mos ago and said that dss told his mom that we were 'starving' him. i asked dh if he had discussed our rules with her and he said he didn't want a confrontation. he told her we would make sure dss had food to eat and didn't further the conversation.

i just found out that while i was hospitalized for 6 wks during my pg, his kids lived on junk while they were here and i wasn't around to fight about it. and lately dh has been hassling me when dss doesn't finish his food and i refuse to give him snacks. most of the time, dh will sneak him snacks and when i ask about it i'm told to back off or that a piece of fruit or popcorn isn't going to hurt. usually, the 'snack' involves a dessert food that the others are given after they finish their meals. dh says it's unfair to dss to be singled out and not get the dessert. he also throws out the 'but W is so thin and he needs to eat to grow' card.

last weekend, several of us wanted scrambled eggs but dh fried eggs for dss because he said dss wouldn't eat scrambled. however, yesterday i fixed breakfast and made only scrambled eggs and dss ate 2 large helpings.

then dh tries the 'i only get to see them for ~48 hrs/week and i don't want to spend sunday night fighting with W about eating right before he goes home.' last weekend we had grilled chicken on sunday night and dss refused to eat it; this weekend we had grilled chicken on sat night and dss ate it just fine. i feel it's more a power play on dss's behalf because he 1) knows there will be no consequences for him not eating and 2) will be given something else so he doesn't run home to his mom and tell on dh for 'starving' him.

last night was a disaster! dh and i decided to do soup/sandwiches for supper. we talked about tomato soup and grilled cheese which is a favorite meal for all of us except dss2. he doesn't like tomato soup and doesn't like grilled cheese (but will eat cheese quesadillas, go figure?). dh and i agreed that we didn't want to do a special soup and sandwich for each child, so we would do a soup that dss2 likes and keep the grilled cheeses, even though my 2 kids and our dd (age 4) prefer tomato soup with their grilled cheese. that way, there was one thing they all liked.

well supper time rolls around and dh decides that he's going to go around and ask all the kids if they want a pbj sandwich or a cheese sandwich with chicken noodles. um, hello? we agreed on cheese sandwiches. turns out dss2 asked dh what's for dinner and threw a hissy over the cheese sandwiches. so, without consulting me, dh goes and asks the kids and then tries to get the kids to guilt me into a new sandwich choice. when i mentioned the fact that my kids preferred tomato soup with grilled cheese, he then agreed to make 2 soups!!! i already concede to making pbj once/weekend, even though i know it's not the best choice and we had pbj sandwiches for lunch on saturday. besides, i do not want to even go there on making everyone their own individualized meals. there are 9 of us here!!!

dh and i fought about it and he basically said i was mean and was picking on dss. i finally (after about 2 hrs of arguing) got him to admit that he had changed up the menu so that dss would not fuss or got tell him mom we didn't feed him. dh said that he wanted to rules changed, but only for his kids. so basically the rules apply to my kids, but not his.

he went on to insist that his kids not have chores because they are only here a limited time and that my kids do MORE chores since they are here all week. i divided chores less-than-equally this weekend, with what i thought was dh's approval. my kids did supper dishes on fri and sat night; his kids did breakfast dishes on sat and sun morning. either dh or i cleaned up after lunches and last night i cleaned up after supper because his kids were going home and mine had to get ready for going back to school. i had my dd (14) fold some clothes and ds (11) and dd to put their own clothes and the other laundry away while neither dss was asked to do any laundry, even their own. i also had my ds take out garbage this weekend and my dd (14) to be in charge of getting out the garbage in the other rooms. both times i had my kids do dishes, i required that they sweep the floor; dh's kids did not have to sweep and dh unloaded the dishwasher for them because 'they don't know where things go.' he also washed up the pots for them and any other dishes that couldn't go into the dishwasher.

i'm just so tired of the fighting but i feel like dh does NOT listen to me or value my opinions and parenting decisions. i don't feel like we should have one set of rules that apply to my kids and another for his. i also don't feel like we should have one set of rules for the weekdays and another for the weekends. i realize that things will be different on the weekends, but his kids are old enough to understand that there are rules here that they must learn and follow.

i'm also tired of fielding my kid's anger and questions. they want to know why both dss get different treatment than they do and my only answer up until now has been that we need to be nice to them and i'm tired of that, too. they aren't guests here and even my guests are gently asked to keep up after themselves because we are a large and busy family!!!

there's so much more i could go into. this isn't simply about the eating situation. there never was a blending of families; it's more like dh moved in and my kids were just told to cope while his kids were treated like they might break over the drastic changes. as an aside, he was re-married between his ex and me, so his kids had had a step parent previously.

what hurts the most? my oldest dd (17) refuses to come over any more because she's 'tired of seeing his kids treated like kings and bro and sis treated like servants.' so, i feel like i've basically lost my oldest child all because dh doesn't want to make his kids follow the rules.

Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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#2 of 62 Old 01-04-2010, 05:35 PM
 
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Holy buckets. You have *a lot* going on.

A few things:

*I don't think that blending families really works unless the two heads of the house are on the same page. I realize that on MDC a lot of families are consensual, but I think that would be difficult in a blended situation unless you have just the right set-up/group of people. You and your DH are the heads of household, so you need to come up with a solution that works well enough for the group. What is right for one family is not necessarily right for another. But it has to be one thing. The rules need to be consistent and across the board, within reason.

WRT this, if the rules are not working, they may need to change. You might have to re-evaluate how important some things are. Is it that big of a deal to allow a child who does not like the food to make themselves a pb & j? In some houses it is, in others, it is not. Would it work to allow the child to finish what they were given at the meal later if they became hungry (stick the plate in the fridge)? That way no one is being forced to starve until the next meal.

*One thing that might help the dinner issue would be to have a family meeting and allow each family member to have a say in the monthly menu. Maybe give each child (not the newborn, obviously) pick three dinners (within reason, typical home-cooked things that your family eats) and then the two adults can choose the rest. Schedule the dinners that your DSC pick on the weekends. In addition to letting all of the kids be more active in the dinner planning, having a meal plan can be a great way to stretch money.

*The way I am reading this, your DSC are with you every weekend? Although that isn't a ton of time, that is still enough time where they should know where things go in the kitchen, etc. It is their home, too. They will feel like guests if treated as such.

If DSD was with us weekends only, she would probably have age-appropriate daily upkeep-type chores (like helping with dishes or tidying up) but not major household things (like cleaning the bathroom). It sounds like you do their laundry - at their ages I would expect help with that, even if just folding/putting away if your children do that for their clothes.

*I would probably try to let go of the junk food while you were hospitalized issue and give him the benefit of the doubt. It sounds like it was a stressful time and your DH was probably balancing quite a bit more work around the house than usual. He might have been just trying to do the best he could in a tough situation.

*I'm not a doctor, but it seems weird that your DSS only has his meds on some days of the week. How involved is your DH in his medical care. If the answer is "not very," then he should make an effort to change that. He most likely has the legal right to be involved in those decisions.

*One last thing - I know that sometimes the NCP will avoid confrontation with a child because they do not want the child to have an unpleasant experience at their house. To me, this is a bad idea. Children still need to be parented at the NCP's house, otherwise, what is the point? In the long run, it is better for the child to act like a parent, not a buddy.

Good luck.

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#3 of 62 Old 01-04-2010, 05:44 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boobs4milk View Post
consequently, he gets his meds mon-thur and by the time he comes here on friday, he's in withdrawal mode. he is cranky, wound-up, loud, angry, violent, agressive...very reminiscent of a street drug user going through withdrawals.
Why is he in withdrawal? Are you not giving him the medication at your house? Its my understanding that taking it inconsistently is a really bad idea.

Mom to Kira March 2009
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#4 of 62 Old 01-04-2010, 06:32 PM
 
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Yeah, if he must take the meds, he had better take them on the weekend as well. You are just hamstrung coming out of the gate if he is jonesing for a Ritalin fix every time he sees you.

Other than that, you going to have to get on the same page with your DH about parenting strategies. Here's what's non-negotiable: all children must follow the same age-appropriate rules when they are under your roof. Everything else is negotiable. But when your DH breaks the family rules about meals (or anything else!) for your dss, the message he's sending is "this is not really your home, you are not a full member of this family, so it doesn't matter what you do here."

I actually feel really sorry for your dss reading your post - he is reaching out to find the boundaries and discovering that he can manipulate both his bioparents in a way that a kid should not be able to. Getting out of meals and chores is a pretty poor recompense for being an inconvenient and sometimes unwanted guest, rather than a son, in your father's home.

In your shoes, I think I might turn over the weekend dinners for ALL kids to your dh, and go take a much-needed nap with my new baby! Tell him that you trust him to handle it and keep it fair. Then don't question his methods. Honestly, it's far better for all the kids involved to eat junk on the weekend than to be treated unequally and develop resentment among themselves.

I don't think your meal rules are unfair in the least. I have similar rules. But you have some complicating factors in your home life that might call for a little more leeway.
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#5 of 62 Old 01-04-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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*most ADHD drugs do need to be taken on a regular basis, not just school days, it can cause issues for the child as it does not allow hte body to maintain a constent level

*Food- we prepare one meal (usually) the kids know that they must eat a minimum of one bite of each item we prepare. If they truely do not like the food, then they are responsible for getting something themselves. They may only have a yogurt, a piece of fruit, and/or a PB sandwhich. They are ages 7, 4, and 4. So an 11 year old can certainly eat a bite of each prepared food and then get himself something different from the approved list of foods you and DH have given him
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#6 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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i REALLY appreciate the responses! i didn't realize how long that was...bless you for answering me!!! the following is more me thinking out loud, not so much criticism of your ideas. i need to get this out to see what i can realistically implement.

meds:

i've discussed them with dh and helped him research them online. we found that dss is not being treated appropriately, but dh does not want to do battle with the ex. the meds are not sent over here and dh was basically told either agree to treatment or he can't see dss. another issue altogether, but i think dh needs to get a mediator and not even deal with his ex. not only do we feel dss doesn't need the meds, at one time we agreed that a better diet would help him more than anything. sigh.

letting dh do all the weekend meals:

my kids are here every other weekend. i feel obligated to help since half the kids are mine but more than that, i feel like the kids all need consistancy. we tried the 'you cook for your kids' idea. dh would give his kids kool aid, hot dogs, pbj all weekend when my kids were gone. when my kids are here, i insist on good food and his kids won't eat and ask for junk. then i get "why do his kids get hot dogs" from my kids and "ha ha ha we get hotdogs" from his kids!!!

making something else:

btdt, didn't work. we wasted so much food that way and the kids would just whine for pbj at every meal. when we were having pbj as the meal, they whine that they were tired of pbj or end up throwing that away, too. dss threw away over half a pbj sandwich on saturday!

the food issue is about nutrition, respect and money saving. having 7 kids is expensive and we just can not afford to throw things away. and pbj is not complete nutrition and i feel like i'm doing the kids a disservice by not offering complete nutrition. i can't have the pbj rule only for 1 kid or only for weekends. when they eat pbj, we use about 3/4 jar peanut butter, 3/4 jar jelly, and 2 loaves of bread. i try to buy the good stuff, so that = a fair amount of money in addition to the meal i cooked and served that was wasted.

we NEVER have anything that is absolutely kid unfriendly. but dsc prefer boxed over homemade mac and cheese, freezer over homemade pizza, frozen chicken nuggets over homemade, etc. it's because their mom fixes all of the crap with preservatives and they crave the nitrates and sodium!

this weekend we had:

fri supper-spaghetti with venison meat sauce (we usually have veg sauce but dh convinced me to leave out the veg so no fighting), milk

sat breakfast- bacon, pancakes (we all take syrup except dss2 he gets jelly), milk

sat lunch-pbj sandwich, chips, milk

sat supper- bbq chicken, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, milk

sun brunch- homemade biscuits, sausage gravy, scrambled eggs, milk

sunday snack- popcorn and fruit

sunday supper- chicken noodles and grilled cheese

and even that is a compromise because it's still a lot of starches and sugar and fats! but dss2 still won't eat it. he will eat it if he's hungry and we refuse to fix anything else, but dh feels guilty and gives in to him. also, i've caught dss2 sneaking food in between meals. the problem there is that he won't eat what's good for him, then goes and sneaks the chips or dessert foods. when offered other healthy foods in between meals, he refuses.

the point is, dss will eat when he's hungry. i think dh gives them wayyyy too much milk and it's whole milk, too. if there is no out, he will not starve himself. he eats copious amounts of the foods he likes and we always serve him at least one of the foods he will eat. we already make concessions for him, i just can't see feeding him crap to get him to gain weight.

i guess what i'm saying is that i'm not willing to give up much more on the food front. i've spent the last 5 years working to undo unhealthy eating habits in my kids and i refuse to go back!

additionally, i feel like dh has major guilt issues re: his divorce and absence in dsc's home life. i've discussed this with him and asked him to seek counseling but that went over like a fart in church. if we are going to make it as a family, he CAN NOT continue to try and make up the divorce to his kids by treating them like they are above everyone else. when i made small allowances for my kids when i was first going through the divorce, dh told me i needed to let them process it and move on. ugh. i feel like 99.9% of our parenting struggles and therefore our marital issues are because he won't let his divorce go!

Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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#7 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Not going to say much, but your rules seem very draconian to me. You have teenage kids in your house that want to eat and you are making that much more difficult than it should be. And I echo the previous posters who say: if there is a kid on medication when he's not in your house, he should also be on medication in your house. I'm kind of amazed that you're a 2K poster saying what you're saying in this thread.

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#8 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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I think it's pretty reasonable to expect kids that age to eat what's prepared for the family. I would not be cooking a whole different meal for a teenager. It ain't a restaurant, after all.
I agree about the meds. It's got to be tough on the kid to go on and off like that.

Lucky wife to DH and mom to DS (10/02) and sweet DD (7/08) and DSD (3/93) and assorted animalia
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#9 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 04:02 PM
 
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I think it's pretty reasonable to expect kids that age to eat what's prepared for the family. I would not be cooking a whole different meal for a teenager. It ain't a restaurant, after all.
I agree about the meds. It's got to be tough on the kid to go on and off like that.
I think that's reasonable too. But expecting kids to eat what's prepared is different than telling them they can't have more milk or a peanut butter sandwich.

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#10 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 04:43 PM
 
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I'd be a rebellious teen in your house.

I'm not saying that YOU need to make 9 different meals, but I am saying that it's not unfair to make ONE meal, and allow the children who don't like it to eat an alternative that THEY prepare. When I went veggie in high school, my parents kept a stock of alternatives for me, things that I enjoyed that were relatively healthy. A bagged salad, bagged baby spinach, pb & j, etc. If I didn't like the steak and potatoes they were eating, I could make a salad, but I had to sit and eat w/ them. And for 6 years, I pretty much ate pb & j, salads and m & m's, and I survived just fine. I wasn't a very creative veggie, and well, I don't like vegetables, tofu, or non-meat proteins.
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#11 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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You and your husband need to find a compromise. Both parties have to give in a little bit, and be willing to stick with it. It won't work otherwise. I get your frustration, and I can only imagine how tough the jougling can be with 7 kids involved, but something doesn't sound right.

******************

When I'm stuck on something regarding dsd, I always ask myself What is the goal?

Well, the goal here is for the kids to eat healthy, for the food not to be wasted and for you not to be stuck making a different meal for each kid.

Right? Right... Now, can you accomplish this goal without damaging your relationship with your own children, or your husband's kids without compromising healthy meals?

How about this for compromise on the food: I'd make a list of foods that are ALWAYS available to the kids without limits: grapes, cheese, yogurts, bananas, healthy crackers, milk etc. Share the list with mom, and make sure the kids know - if what I cooked is not good enough - get up and get your snack from "the healthy list".

The food is not wasted, you didn't have to make 15 different meals, and the snacks are healthy enough to open it up to everyone. Goal accomplished?..

********************
Also, something else to consider...

I HAVE to snack between the meals. Have to. My metabolism is crazy. I feel very very very very hungry, all the time . Please consider that. I'm not an abnormal person, and I realize that our schedules made us into "scheduled meals" kind of animals, but we as humans were not built to eat three times a day. We are the kinds of animals that are meant to eat little by little all day long. What does that mean? That means that your dss can very well be telling you the truth that he is starving when he is not allowed to eat between the meals.

Also, he is a teenager. We had a teenage boy stay with us for a while, and he ate a ton. I seriously wondered how in the world can his mom keep up with such an appetite. It was unbelievable! There are threads about this very topic in Teenage forum, their growing bodies demand energy, and that energy is meant to come from food. It's not an unusual thing by any means.

To top it all off, I know that when someone IS on ADHD medication, their appetite diminishes, and when they come OFF of ADHD medication, their appetite picks up tenfold. Undoubtedly, that can be a serious factor here considering the incosistensies, as the poor kid is doing this on and off thing once a week! (sympathy here?)

Whether you agree or dsagree with giving the medicine is irrelavant at this point, since nothing is being done for or against it. What does matter is that hunger is a real feeling, and there is a reason here to think that the child is completely honest when he feels he is not being given enough food. I'm not sure why there would be restriction on milk or peanut butter sandwiches (I thought those are good things?). Are you afraid he'll eat too much? This is one thing I think we have to suck up, as parents. I can't even tell you how many gallons of milk DSD goes through in one week. It's amazing.(I swear it's enough for a college fund!!!) She lives on milk, and even if we buy no grocceries that week, we are still bound to make stops for milk, because the amounts she drinks do not fit into the refrigerator.

************************
Those 6 weeks while you were sick? I'd forgive and forget. It must have been very stressful for everyone. I think it will be better for everyone to get a fresh set of rules.

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#12 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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Food is one of the biggest control issues for kids. I'd really try to step away from a power struggle around food. I hear the cost issue, but pb&j isn't that bad for you (in fact, it's pretty decent if you do whole wheat and decent peanut butter and jelly) and it's cheap. I'd recommend the book "child of mine: feeding with love and good sense". I haven't read it but have begun to implement some of its ideas for my very picky eater 10 year old who is also too thin and stubborn and will eat junk and then not eat dinner. It's really helping thus far.

I also think seeing your stepson as manipulative is not the most helpful way to frame things. Perhaps he is "manipulative", but in the face of that I'd ask what need he is trying to get met. Then work on addressing the underlying need. Work from a position of love and empathy and assume he is trying to get his needs met in the best way he knows how (even if those are wrong ways) and work with him to find more appropriate ways to address them.

It sounds like counseling would really help if you guys are fighting this much about the kids. My partner and I fight a lot about my daughter and counseling has really, really helped. Your husband might be more receptive if you approached it from the position that you both need to figure out how to relate better as a family rather than "he needs to get over the divorce". I'm guessing that both he and his kids feel a little defensive right now.
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#13 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 07:43 PM
 
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I don't know what to say about your dh changing a plan like that when it was already settled in your mind. *Except maybe plans change. *Can the kids help cook? *Can you make sure the ss goes with you to the grocery store and helps you buy things from your grocery list? (maybe with a bag of chips/candy bar at the checkout line.). Just to be more involved in the set-up for dinner. (clean-up's not the only chore, just the worse). *Get him more involved in "helping" you ; )
I understand all about a budget. *I also like bribery. Just tell him you're poor. *Tell him you'll get him special things (a candy bar) sometimes, not all the time. *And he needs to not let the other kids know. *And he needs to be a little nicer to you. *
Sure there's better ways to raise a kid, but without his bio parents on board the best thing you can do is sue for peace and harmony for your whole household. *If the other two adults ever start taking more responsibility...the rules will change again. **
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#14 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 07:45 PM
 
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I do not have a blended family, but I do NOT prepare different meals for different folks. Although I have been tempted lately to evoke a peanut butter rule..."If you don't like what is offered, make a peanut butter sandwich"
This might be helpful.

Maybe this situation is really more than about food and chores, though. I would hate to have such worry and angst over food battles. I really like the idea of starting a family menu. Maybe you could go over what they would like to eat the next weekend and what chores they like best.

Good luck!!!!

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#15 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 09:19 PM
 
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I HAVE to snack between the meals. Have to. My metabolism is crazy. I feel very very very very hungry, all the time . Please consider that.



To top it all off, I know that when someone IS on ADHD medication, their appetite diminishes, and when they come OFF of ADHD medication, their appetite picks up tenfold. Undoubtedly, that can be a serious factor here considering the incosistensies, as the poor kid is doing this on and off thing once a week! (sympathy here?)

Whether you agree or dsagree with giving the medicine is irrelavant at this point, since nothing is being done for or against it. What does matter is that hunger is a real feeling, and there is a reason here to think that the child is completely honest when he feels he is not being given enough food.

Agree here too. I take a commonly prescribed med for ADHD (I have mild ADD but it also helps my Chronic Fatigue Syndrom) When I take it, my appetite decreases a lot. If I stop, even for a day or too, I feel starving painful hunger pains if i do not eat every 1-2 hours.

I will repeat what I posted earlier though. since they were 3, our children have known that if they do not want what is prepared for the family meal they may get their own substitute from the "approved" list. Parents are not leaving the table to create extra meals. Also, a refused protein must be replaced with a protein, a refused fruit or veggie must be replaced by a fruit or veggie, etc. So they are still getting the food groups needed.
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#16 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not going to say much, but your rules seem very draconian to me. You have teenage kids in your house that want to eat and you are making that much more difficult than it should be. And I echo the previous posters who say: if there is a kid on medication when he's not in your house, he should also be on medication in your house. I'm kind of amazed that you're a 2K poster saying what you're saying in this thread.
i appreciate the ideas and help. i don't appreciate the above, though. just because i'm on mdc doesn't mean i'm ghandi fcol! i have real world concerns that can't be fixed with granola or a good ol' round of kumbaya. i do the best i can and i have very little say in dsc's lives, even inside my own home.

i am not willing to do the 'if you don't like it fix pbj' thing because no one will eat anything else and i will have wasted my time with a balanced meal. it is my duty and honor to make sure my kids are properly nourished. pbj and cow milk don't cut it. they are all being serve good food, they refuse to eat it.

and i honestly can not believe someone suggested that i tell dss to lie about me giving him 'bribes' to eat. that goes against everything i teach as an ap'er!!!

eta: we are doing all we can to avoid public aid. dh makes ~ 40K/yr. i don't have the luxury of wasting money on food especially when there are 7 other people in this house that can and do conform to our rules.

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#17 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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No, no, no, no. *I was suggesting you bribe him with the occassional treat; tell him not to let the other kids see. *
*I said until all the other adults who are ultimately in charge want to raise the bar maybe you could make peace and harmony be your goal in this relationship. * It was just a thought and you may not want to try it.

you clearly misunderstood if you thought I said "bribe him and have him lie to you" (how is that even possible?).*
You're not weak for seeking suggestions. *You clearly have your hands full. *Even if no one can help you brainstorm a solution or two, sometimes it just helps to talk about it, even if it's just online.*
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#18 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 10:28 PM
 
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i am not willing to do the 'if you don't like it fix pbj' thing because no one will eat anything else and i will have wasted my time with a balanced meal. it is my duty and honor to make sure my kids are properly nourished. pbj and cow milk don't cut it. they are all being serve good food, they refuse to eat it.
I understand you are frustrated, but unless something gives, your alternative leaves out someone not only improperly nourished, but quite plainly - hungry (I know I would be in his shoes, and I'm done growing! AND I'm not on the ADHD meds on/off schedule).

It just doesn't sound reasonable, and I hope you understand that people are only trying to brainstorm ideas on this topic.

What I'm trying to say here, more than anything, is that I know that in our house, a problem like that would not be solved on my own without serious input from the dad.

What are your choices?

#1. a power struggle that continues to put stress on the whole family (kids resent it, you resent your husband, he resents the way his son is being treated, a vicious circle, kwim?).

#2. A search for a compromise (maybe through counseling?). The trick is, you have to be willing to do it, it won't happen on its own, and the situation is likely to continue to deteriorate.

What other alternatives are you considering? Allowing the teenage boy to continue go hungry on the weekend when his is off his meds? Watching your husband employ double-standard rules?

Maybe I'm not seeing something, but I do mean well with my advice, and my advice is to compromise, and to consider that the boy may very well be telling the truth about the hunger issue. And that's a very big deal that colors many replies in this thread.

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#19 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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I think there are bigger issues involved than the meal situation, but that's where I'm throwing my 2-cents in.

We have a similar "one meal" philosophy to yours, with a couple differences. First, everything is served "family style," so if there is something someone doesn't like, they don't have to serve themselves any. That way anything that is left can be packaged up as leftovers and I don't waste nearly as much food. (One exception is that I will put a vegetable on everyone's plate "just in case" they decide to try it... but I am talking two green beans or a slice of cucumber, and if they don't eat it I will... so no waste there).

Also, having left-overs means that every few lunches or dinners we can have a "leftovers" meal and people can pick and choose from a wide variety of options for that meal without any extra work for the cooks.

If they only like one part of the meal, they can have just that part of the meal (if quantities are limited, they do have to ask if other people want more and share what's there with whoever wants it.) Since all the options on the table are healthy ones, and there is a variety of things served over the course of a day/week, I don't honestly care if they eat only green beans for dinner, or if they eat their pasta plain instead of with sauce. If someone hasn't had much protein, I'll make sure there is a meal with a protein source they love coming up in the next meal or two. If someone never eats vegetables, I make sure there are a wider variety of fruit options served. If all they ate was the bread there probably won't be much in the way of bread at the next meal.

If kids are generally eating well and they continue to tell me they are hungry, I assume it is true and offer more food more frequently. As my family often hears from me, "fair" doesn't mean everyone gets exactly the same, it means everyone gets exactly what they need... a child going through a growth spurt needs more food, a child who is sick needs something their body can tolerate, a child who is lactose-intolerent won't be served cow's milk, the grown-ups like their burritos spicier than the kids do... different people have different needs at different times, and as parents we need to be in tune with that and be flexible when we need to be.

One other thought is that when I was a kid, we were allowed to choose a vegetable that we wouldn't eat. When that was the vegetable being served with dinner, my parents would cook an alternative for the child who didn't like that one. I didn't have to eat peas because I hated them. I didn't really like corn, either, but because I chose to refuse peas, I tolerated corn. Would it be possible to let the kids all choose a meal or an item that they can refuse, that you would be willing to replace with a comparable alternative? So if someone hates homemade mac n cheese, you can set aside some of the macaroni noodles after they are cooked and that person can have macaroni with red sauce or butter and cheese or whatever.

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#20 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 11:25 PM
 
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The logistics of trying to feed that many people are probably already overwhelming. Adding to that having one or more kids not eating the prepared meal and making pbj (for example) instead means a lot of wasted food. Plus, once one kid gets up to make a sandwhich, there is a good chance more will follow. I personally don't allow this. What I do is to make sure there is at least one part of the meal that each person likes (again, probably a lot harder with that many people!) so that everybody is eating something healthy. I second the idea of involving him with meal planning. Also, I would simply not keep unhealthy snacks in the house so they are not an option (although, you would have to get your dh on board).

I am a big snacker-I would be happy snacking all day and not ever sitting down to a big meal. My daughter is the same way. However, I make sure that the snacks that are offerred add up to a "complete" nutritional picture. I.e. she might be offerred carrot sticks, yogurt, whole grain cereal/toast, rice cakes, hummus, etc. throughout the day, so really she is getting everything she needs. I do understand why this would be hard to manage with all the kids running around plus the expense of keeping snacks and meal supplies in the house. But, I do think that food should be available throughout the day if he is hungry. I think things like offerring two kinds of soup and two kinds of sandwhiches is reasonable, espeically if some of the kids can make their own. I also think that if he is claiming to be starving but still refusing the food you offer, he isn't really starving, KWIM?

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#21 of 62 Old 01-05-2010, 11:51 PM
 
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I think it might be a good idea to call your dsc's mother on her bluff. Either she sends over the meds so your dss isn't all screwed up all weekend long, or he doesn't come over that weekend. Unless she has sole custody and your dh sees his children only at her whim, she actually doesn't have the power to make this decision alone. But he will need to step up.

No sane person WANTS to do battle with their ex. I can appreciate your dh's desire to avoid that. But maybe you can get it across to hm that not only are you, the other kids and the budget suffering from this every-weekend med withdrawal - his son is suffering too. He needs his dad to advocate for him.

I have no idea if meds are a good choice for your dss - but if he's taking them 5 days days/week regardless and that decision is out of your hands, in almost every case he is better off taking them 7 days/week.

I wouldn't let a teenager on the Ritalin Rebound (or whatever med he uses) stay in my house every weekend. It's obviously pushing you to the edge right now. If his mother is determined to give him two days off from the meds, then she can jolly well keep him and deal with the fallout. I'm not saying that that is a great long-term solution, but you do need to make it clear that you are not going to have HER make dosing decisions that are making things so bad for YOU.
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#22 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 12:24 AM
 
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I think it might be a good idea to call your dsc's mother on her bluff. Either she sends over the meds so your dss isn't all screwed up all weekend long, or he doesn't come over that weekend. Unless she has sole custody and your dh sees his children only at her whim, she actually doesn't have the power to make this decision alone. But he will need to step up.

No sane person WANTS to do battle with their ex. I can appreciate your dh's desire to avoid that. But maybe you can get it across to hm that not only are you, the other kids and the budget suffering from this every-weekend med withdrawal - his son is suffering too. He needs his dad to advocate for him.

I have no idea if meds are a good choice for your dss - but if he's taking them 5 days days/week regardless and that decision is out of your hands, in almost every case he is better off taking them 7 days/week.

I wouldn't let a teenager on the Ritalin Rebound (or whatever med he uses) stay in my house every weekend. It's obviously pushing you to the edge right now. If his mother is determined to give him two days off from the meds, then she can jolly well keep him and deal with the fallout. I'm not saying that that is a great long-term solution, but you do need to make it clear that you are not going to have HER make dosing decisions that are making things so bad for YOU.
My impression was that it was dad and stepmom's choice not to give him the meds while at their house. It seemed like it was with the decision to give meds at all that the mom is saying there's no choice. Perhaps the OP could clarify? If the mom is actually withholding the meds, then that is a big deal that I'd go to court over. For that matter, if my ex was withholding meds while my daughter was with him we'd have big issues as well. There needs to be some kind of mediation to figure out whether to medicate, but once that decision is made it has to be consistent. Otherwise you're just really messing with a growing kid's chemistry.
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#23 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 12:50 AM
 
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Not going to say much, but your rules seem very draconian to me. You have teenage kids in your house that want to eat and you are making that much more difficult than it should be. And I echo the previous posters who say: if there is a kid on medication when he's not in your house, he should also be on medication in your house. I'm kind of amazed that you're a 2K poster saying what you're saying in this thread.
I will have to agree that this is a little snarky.

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#24 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 01:29 AM
 
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I will have to agree that this is a little snarky.
Not really. I don't agree with what the poster is doing, but my remark wasn't snide.

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#25 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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I guess that is why the written word can sometimes be interpreted so many ways without having the context of tone, facial expressions and gestures to help convey the message. I regress and apologize for my rush in judgement.

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#26 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My impression was that it was dad and stepmom's choice not to give him the meds while at their house. It seemed like it was with the decision to give meds at all that the mom is saying there's no choice. Perhaps the OP could clarify? If the mom is actually withholding the meds, then that is a big deal that I'd go to court over. For that matter, if my ex was withholding meds while my daughter was with him we'd have big issues as well. There needs to be some kind of mediation to figure out whether to medicate, but once that decision is made it has to be consistent. Otherwise you're just really messing with a growing kid's chemistry.
absolutely not true. the meds are not sent over and dh was TOLD by the ex that she does not give him the meds on the weekends. i suspect that she gets X amount of meds for the month and uses the weekend amounts to 'boost' during the week.

i will never, ever refuse to medicate if that is the absolute best thing for MY kid. i do not and will not decide those things for dsc. not my place.

i REALLY appreciate the comments from ariche, oriole, greenemami, and smithie! you get it, you REALLY DO

dh and i have talked but we have not come to a consensus as of yet. left overs are usually reserved for dh's meals during the week at work, but i think we may work those in to the reg. meals. and dss IS given foods he likes at at least 2 of the 3 daily meals and IS offered healthy snacks. he refuses them and tries to sneak sweets or chips or the like. i don't keep much of that stuff around, so it's obvious when it gets eaten.

this is about SO much more and i AM using gentle parenting with dh's and my own and our children. whew. however, BEING gentle doesn't mean that i don't sometimes want to just scream and hoist the meal (and possibly the kid) out the door and just not have to try and be the even minded grown up that i am! i LOVE these kids, no question, or the whole thing would probably be a non-issue as in eat what you like, i don't care. i think meal times are family times and good opportunities to teach parenting to our kids so that good choices get made here AND outside the home.

Jen-loving Bill, mama to Teryn 18, Kalyn 16, Ricky 13, Natalie 5, Angel Zoe '07 and rainbow1284.gifAmelia Rae 22 mos bonus kids (dss) W 14, W 13 NEW grandbaby due 10/10/11

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#27 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 01:27 PM
 
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I think it might be a good idea to call your dsc's mother on her bluff. Either she sends over the meds so your dss isn't all screwed up all weekend long, or he doesn't come over that weekend. Unless she has sole custody and your dh sees his children only at her whim, she actually doesn't have the power to make this decision alone. But he will need to step up.

No sane person WANTS to do battle with their ex. I can appreciate your dh's desire to avoid that. But maybe you can get it across to hm that not only are you, the other kids and the budget suffering from this every-weekend med withdrawal - his son is suffering too. He needs his dad to advocate for him.
This.

Not to stir the pot any more, but is she giving the extra pills to your DSS during the week, or is she doing something else with them (taking them herself, selling them)? If she is giving them to your DSS in a way in which they are not being prescribed, the prescribing physician should really know this. What if she inadvertently overdoses him? Amphetamines are nothing to play around with.

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#28 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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i REALLY appreciate the comments from ariche, oriole, greenemami, and smithie! you get it, you REALLY DO
And not to stir it even more, but I also think it is good to hear from people that don't agree with you. I think that this is what this board is for- to sometimes check yourself to see if you are being rational sometimes. Sometimes a different perspective is refreshing (as long as it is said in a kind manner).

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#29 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 01:47 PM
 
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just a quick reminder to please keep the UA in mind when posting:

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Mothering invites you to read and participate in the discussions. In doing so we ask that you agree to respect and uphold the integrity of this community. Through your direct or indirect participation here you agree to make a personal effort to maintain a comfortable and respectful atmosphere for our guests and members.
thanks

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#30 of 62 Old 01-06-2010, 02:07 PM
 
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just a quick reminder to please keep the UA in mind when posting:



thanks
What is UA?

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