Step sons vs. MY son - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 10 Old 06-12-2013, 10:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have 2 step sons, 15 and 17 and my own son who is 5.  My step sons are not bad kids or trouble makers by any means and I most definitely love them.  But anymore I really just don't want to be around them or deal with them.  Most of what they say and/or do simply annoys me and I am tired of dealing with the way they treat my son.  They seem to think that it is ok for them to discipline and make decisions for my son.  I understand they feel he gets away with a lot more than they do.  I also understand he can be rather annoying to deal with for them.  He DOES get away with more.......he is 5.  What they don't seem to understand is that they got away with the same things when they were 5 too!  And they were just as annoying at 5! I do not expect them to remember how they were at 5 nor do I expect them to know how to raise a child.  What I do expect is that when I tell them they are not to make the decisions for my son nor are they to hit/spank/punish my son in anyway that they listen.  I do not feel it is appropriate for them to be making decisions or to be punishing/disciplining my child.  Any advice on how to get this through to them?  I feel guilty as I sometimes think if they were my biological children I would be more patient and understanding. I get that there will always be sibling rivalry and all that.......but I am at my wits end and something has got to change! I expected that the older boys would be more mature and 'big brotherly' and not so controlling and jealous! 

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#2 of 10 Old 06-13-2013, 05:48 AM
 
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Do you leave your 5yo in their care? If so, then they should be able to discipline him as a babysitter would - not spanking, but time-outs, etc. Certainly, if he is doing something dangerous, they should be able to step in if you are not right there. 

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#3 of 10 Old 06-13-2013, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I do not leave him in their care. I am not comfortable leaving him alone with them.

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#4 of 10 Old 06-13-2013, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lisadianen View Post

I have 2 step sons, 15 and 17 and my own son who is 5.  My step sons are not bad kids or trouble makers by any means and I most definitely love them.  But anymore I really just don't want to be around them or deal with them.  Most of what they say and/or do simply annoys me and I am tired of dealing with the way they treat my son.  They seem to think that it is ok for them to discipline and make decisions for my son.  I understand they feel he gets away with a lot more than they do.  I also understand he can be rather annoying to deal with for them.  He DOES get away with more.......he is 5.  What they don't seem to understand is that they got away with the same things when they were 5 too!  And they were just as annoying at 5! I do not expect them to remember how they were at 5 nor do I expect them to know how to raise a child.  What I do expect is that when I tell them they are not to make the decisions for my son nor are they to hit/spank/punish my son in anyway that they listen.  I do not feel it is appropriate for them to be making decisions or to be punishing/disciplining my child.  Any advice on how to get this through to them?  I feel guilty as I sometimes think if they were my biological children I would be more patient and understanding. I get that there will always be sibling rivalry and all that.......but I am at my wits end and something has got to change! I expected that the older boys would be more mature and 'big brotherly' and not so controlling and jealous! 

 

 

Alot of what you've said is normal sibling rivalry, which you'd see whether they were your stepsons, whether they were your biological sons, etc.  Many, if not most, older children, in general, feel that they have the "right" to discipline their younger siblings, stepsiblings, cousins, neighbors, etc.  That's normal, they want to feel useful and "big", though yes, very annoying for the adults.

 

That being said, regardless of whether or not they are your step sons or your biological sons, or sons neighborhood kids down the street, you ARE your 5 year old son's Mother and you have every right to dictate when, how and if your own son is disciplined.  Talk to them like they were your own children (as stepchildren should be treated with the same love and respect as bio children) and see if that helps.  If not, perhaps your Husband can help lay down the law.  If that doesn't work, I guess you'd have to get tough- your son's safety trumps everything else-  but from the sound of your post, it doesn't sound like your stepsons are defiant, etc, so hopefully it wouldn't get that far.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#5 of 10 Old 06-13-2013, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think you're right about the older children feeling they have a 'right' to discipline the younger child.  I am not sure where this really comes from as neither of the older boys does any sort of babysitting of the 5 year old........but you hit the nail on the head.  I just have to get through to them that they do not have this 'right'.  The oldest(17) is much better with the 5 year old than the 15 year old and in fact will step in at times when he feels the 15 yo is over stepping his boundaries.  So really the 17 yo tries to parent the 15 yo and the 15 yo  tries to parent the 5 yo! I know that the things going on are very typical sibling rivalry and normal annoying teenage behavior.  What I don't know is how to handle all of it without losing my temper. Pray for patience and guidance I suppose.  I just feel guilty at times thinking I might be more patient and less annoyed if they were bio children.  Most likely not as the 5 yo drives me nuts too and he is my own!

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#6 of 10 Old 06-14-2013, 05:30 AM
 
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I think part of it is to lay down reasonable ground rules - no physical punishment, for example. But they SHOULD be allowed to step in if he's doing something where he could get hurt. Perhaps even by putting him in a time-out while they come get you. If *I* were in your shoes, I would recognize that they ARE approaching adulthood, and while they may not be caring for him in a babysitter sense, they do apparently have time with him when you are not right there. So they I think they should have at least enough "give" that they can top him, make sure he's safe, and get you. I know you can find a middle ground. 

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#7 of 10 Old 06-14-2013, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I do agree and hope they would stop him from doing something dangerous to himself or others.  The problem is that it goes far beyond that.  I have and continue to attempt to rationalize with them in hopes that they will see why what they are doing is inappropriate but they continue to do things however they want to.(typical teenagers)  They simply can not seem to draw the line between what is acceptable and what is absolutely not acceptable.  The 15 yo mostly has demonstrated over and over again that he simply is not a suitable caretaker or authority figure for a child.  And honestly I really do not expect him to be a good parent at this age.  The issue is that he continues to assert his authority and power over the little guy even though it has been communicated many many times that he in fact DOES NOT have this authority and power!  I try to be patient and understanding with the 15 yo when dealing with this issue as I feel I can not expect him to be  patient and understanding with the little guy if I am not setting that example with him.  I just have a hard time being patient and understanding when I am telling him something for the 20th time!  I suppose this is where praying for patience and guidance comes in! I realize many parents with teens go through this very same thing, just not sure how they all come out of the teenage years alive! Any advice on what I can say to a teenager to help them understand what/why their boundaries are with the little guy would be appreciated.  As I said, I have tried to reason and rationalize to the point of exhaustion.  I need something a little more creative!

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#8 of 10 Old 06-14-2013, 08:12 PM
 
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Is your husband also reinforcing that they are not to parent the 5yo? While some of this is normal, yes, it sounds like the 15yo is not understanding the guidelines or is understanding and thinks he knows better (also common, lol). 


"Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen." Ralph Marston

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#9 of 10 Old 06-14-2013, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Exactly, he understands and thinks he knows better! He is 15, he knows it all! Dad does reinforce this, just not as consistently as I do or as I would like him to.

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#10 of 10 Old 06-18-2013, 10:34 AM
 
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Maybe you could approach it from a different angle. Perhaps rather than getting him to stop, you can just get on the same page about discipline and guidance. My kids (who are younger than your step-sons, so it's certainly possible this wouldn't work at all) have grown up helping to care for younger siblings and my older kids (including my step-daughter) often step in to mediate sibling conflicts or offer some guidance and discipline to younger siblings. But, because they have had a consistent philosophy and strategies modeled for them their whole lives, they are generally pretty appropriate. If they aren't, we might step in to help the older one change their methods, but we don't usually try to stop them. (I'll also add that we run a childcare program in our home, so my kids have loads more experience caring for younger kids than your average child.)
 

For example, the other day two of my kids were playing a board game and the 8-yr-old was being really bossy to the 3-yr-old. I reminded him, "That's sounding a little bossy and I can hear your brother isn't enjoying the way you are talking to him. Can you find a way to show him what to do, one that is more cooperative?" The 8-yr-old immediately shifted his tone from "No, stop doing that" to "Hey, buddy, can you put your piece here? See, it goes on the blue space." He's had lots of practice, so sometimes we only need to remind him, "he's only 3" or "try another way," but other kids might need more direct instruction: "It sounds like you are worried about his safety. Moving his body is disrespectful-- everyone is in charge of their own bodies. You can tell him it isn't safe and ask him to move. I find he's more likely to do it if you make it seem fun." 

 

If what I really need is for the older child to stay out of it, I just let them know, "Thanks for wanting to help. I've got it. You worry about [whatever it is they are supposed to be doing]." 


Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
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