I want to raise my own kids differently than my stepson...how does this work? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-25-2012, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi everyone, newbie here...

 

I've been married for about 4 months--been with my husband for 4 years.  My husband has an 8-year-old son, whom I've known since he was four.  Overall, he's a pretty well-behaved child, except for some serious attention issues.  He splits his time 50/50 between his mother's house and ours.

 

Here's the thing:  my husband and I plan to have more children.  But both my husband and his ex seem to be perfectly fine with my stepson spending hours a day in front of the TV, watching shows or playing video games.  Honestly, this is something I would never let my own children do.  When my stepson is at my house, I try to encourage him to do other things and I offer to do other things with him.  But since I'm not his actual parent, it's really my husband who has the final say, and he isn't bothered by how much TV time my stepson gets on a daily basis.

 

A couple of years ago, my stepson got in trouble for a pretty serious video game addiction.  My husband and his ex worked with him for quite awhile and things did improve, but now my stepson is back to sitting in front of the TV for hours even if he doesn't like or understand the particular program that's on.

 

I've tried to indicate to my husband that all of this makes me uncomfortable because I will absolutely, hands-down not let my own children spend this much time in front of the TV.  But when I say anything, my husband just shrugs it off and if I push the issue, he thinks I'm calling him a bad father.  And again, since I'm just the stepparent, I can't do anything more than tell him how I feel.

 

Any suggestions here?

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#2 of 8 Old 11-25-2012, 10:05 AM
 
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I honestly, I think the age difference between the kids will help with this. At the earliest, you'd be adding a baby addition when your DSS is around 9? Then you'll probably have 1.5-2 years before TV becomes an issue. At that point DSS will be on his way into teenager hood and might prefer to hole up in his room with video games/TV anyway. Of course that's assuming that he has this set-up in his room (might be a good compromise?) If the only TV is in a family area, then you might have to put your foot down about how much it is on a day, and what sorts of programs or games are allowed. Does your DH spent a lot of time in front of the screen too?


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#3 of 8 Old 11-25-2012, 10:34 AM
 
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IMO the issue isnt "parenting your own children differently than your stepchild" (as the PP mentioned, there will be a huge age difference which will help) the issue is you and your husband not being on the same page regarding raising the future children you have together. You say you will absolutely "not let" your own children spend that much time watching tv....but they will be your husband's children too and he gets a say as well. Is this the only area in which you disagree? what about other aspects of raising his son...discipline, food, schooling etc...is this an overall parenting-philosophy difference or just a tv issue? You might want to work on some of this before having a baby.
 


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#4 of 8 Old 11-25-2012, 05:59 PM
 
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I agree with PP..the major issue here is if your dh is going to agree with you on limiting TV time for future kids, not so much what your dss does since the age gap will be pretty large and he will probably not be around the house nearly as much as he is now by the time your potential kids are old enough to be worried about watching lots of TV...and/or you can set rules about what is appropriate in front of little kids, etc., which may may more sense to your husband and stepson than just limiting hours. 

 

Dsd watches much more TV at her mom's than here (we don't even have a TV, just watch occasional movies on the computer) and it hasn't been an issue at all, though it may become moreso as she gets more into the teen years.  She also used to watch much more TV at her dad's house even after I moved in becuase I didn't feel like I could set rules about it either, like you, until we had kids of our own and I got dp more on board with limited screen time (he at least humors me, hah!) It was such a gradual thing, it was never really an issue-but dsd is also a really laid back kid and very used to different rules at different houses, so it may be that I just got lucky :) 

 

I woudl have a long discussion with your dh about TV time and other parenting choices you disagree with-and be prepared to negotiate/compromise!  Maybe frame it to him that you have been researching the effects of TV on kids that are very young and are concerned about a future baby/toddler's exposure to TV and video games and how you may handle that together instead of giving him a hard time about how much tv dss watches now, so that he hopefully won't feel as attacked.  Good luck!


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#5 of 8 Old 11-25-2012, 06:59 PM
 
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I agree with PP who said that the issue is really that you and your DH arent on the same page about how you want to parent your future children. If I were in that situation, I'd have a sit down and explain how I intended to raise a child, what my priorities were and try to get on the same page. You have to understand that there's going to be some give and taken, naturally. Most of us don't parent "exactly" like we thought we would before we ever had children, and most people who are in the midst of their kid sitting in front of the tv all day long every day wouldnt have anticipated that their child would ever do that. That being said, I do think it's important to have your partner on the same page about how to parent before making the decision to have kids. It'll save fights down the road. I made some points pretty clear with DH before we had kids,and he agreed with most all of them:

 

no cable

no fast food

no formula

no pacifiers

no meat

no plastic toys

no video games

no soda

no hitting

no yelling

no babysitters (that we didnt know)

no daycare

no non organic food

 

My two year old has some plastic toys, has eaten plenty of french fries, has been yelled at, goes to the babysitter once a week, watches kid programs on netflix, and DH plays video games while she watches him and during that time I sometimes sneak a teensy bit of time to shave my legs in peace :)  . She's eaten plenty of non organic food and I've even been known to give her sips of my diet coke when we are at a restaurant and she just wouldnt stop screaming and DH and I just needed to get through the meal. Just sayin', never say never. 


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#6 of 8 Old 11-26-2012, 07:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of the input so far.  This is the only area in which we differ about our parenting style.  In most other aspects, we are definitely on the same page.  The reason I'm struggling with this particular issue is due to the fact that I'm not my stepson's mother, so deciding discipline is out of the question--and because of this, when we do have children, I don't want my husband to think I'll allow them to do the same things his son is allowed simply because I'm not in a place to put my foot down with my stepson.  Does that make sense?

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#7 of 8 Old 12-06-2012, 01:33 PM
 
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At my house I just shut off the TV when I think DSS7 has watched enough.  Then I announce what I'm planning on doing with my time (something fun that hopefully he'll want to join me in, like, "I'm gonna bake some muffins, wanna help?"  or  "It's nice outside, wanna go for a walk with me?")  If he says no, I leave him alone.  He's really creative and usually finds things to occupy his time with (crafts, playing cars, etc...)  Sometimes he asks if he can have the TV turned back on, and I simply explain that it's giving me a headache and would appreciate it off for a bit.

 

I think the key is to have other available activities.  Sometimes DP will turn off the TV (not usually, but it has happened) but has nothing planned or any interest is playing with his son.  There's usually some sort of melt down / pouting around the house / sulking / grand expressions of boredom.  I'm not saying you have to spend the rest of the day entertaining the kid, but long enough to distract him away from the almighty TV.

 

Nowadays, DSS7 has said on more than one occasion (where I've been pregnancy tired and wanting to veg in front of the TV for a while) "Why do we always have to watch TV??  Let's play a game."  This makes me really proud that I've got him thinking of other activities, but sad that he never says this to his dad or mom (they let him watch unlimited amounts of TV and he doesn't complain!)  But he knows I'm usually up for actually hanging out with him, not just letting him waste away in front of a flashing box.

 

I agree with the other posters, it's a matter of parenting style and will certainly resurface if you have children with DH.  I'm currently pregnant and only just starting to realize some of the conversations DP and I *should* have had earlier!!! 


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#8 of 8 Old 12-10-2012, 07:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

I agree with PP who said that the issue is really that you and your DH arent on the same page about how you want to parent your future children. If I were in that situation, I'd have a sit down and explain how I intended to raise a child, what my priorities were and try to get on the same page. You have to understand that there's going to be some give and taken, naturally. Most of us don't parent "exactly" like we thought we would before we ever had children, and most people who are in the midst of their kid sitting in front of the tv all day long every day wouldnt have anticipated that their child would ever do that. That being said, I do think it's important to have your partner on the same page about how to parent before making the decision to have kids. It'll save fights down the road. I made some points pretty clear with DH before we had kids,and he agreed with most all of them:

 

no cable

no fast food

no formula

no pacifiers

no meat

no plastic toys

no video games

no soda

no hitting

no yelling

no babysitters (that we didnt know)

no daycare

no non organic food

 

My two year old has some plastic toys, has eaten plenty of french fries, has been yelled at, goes to the babysitter once a week, watches kid programs on netflix, and DH plays video games while she watches him and during that time I sometimes sneak a teensy bit of time to shave my legs in peace :)  . She's eaten plenty of non organic food and I've even been known to give her sips of my diet coke when we are at a restaurant and she just wouldnt stop screaming and DH and I just needed to get through the meal. Just sayin', never say never. 

OMG...absoultely LOVE this. I did the same thing with my hubby (for who the most part humored me).....little did I know I broke so many of my own rules...I realized it was the big picture that really mattered....90% of the time we eat healthy, organic food, don't have a ton of screen time, try to get outside daily, and we still don't use babysitters.....but sometimes we eat bad/frozen pizza in front of the boob tube and I hand over DS to my video game playing hubby so I can take a shower lol.gif


Me, slinggirl.gif mama to 1.5 yr old kid.gifDS, step mama to two tweens, married to a sarcastic sports nut censored.gif. We are unschooling! mdcblog5.gif http://twocoolfourschool.wordpress.com/

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