Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Keeping it all together
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Moon Mountain Mama,
I am a stepmother (non-custodial) and my DH and I are expecting one of our own. While my situation is only partially similar to yours, I just wanted to offer my thoughts.
First, my stepson does not have any more than the typical behavior problems, but I think you would benefit from counseling or from finding a group of people who are also dealing with similar situations. I have found that, as a stepmother, I have certain expectations which often go unmet. This has been very frustrating for me. It also is a big adjustment to coparent with another person, when you are not the biological parent. My husband and I are working on this. I also worry about how my stepson's habits will affect my own son, as do you.
What I have learned is that my concerns/desires are perfectly reasonable, and I think yours are too. Children should demonstrate respect, and when they do not, they should be corrected. You have a right to control your own home and make your own rules, particularly because (I am thinking) you are custodial, and the primary parent since you are at home.
It is true that you will likely have a transition period. These are teenagers, and they will have to adjust to a new parental figure and new rules, and their habits will be hard to break. But my point is-- know that your expectations are reasonable, and I think it is fair for you to expect that, at some point, they will be met.
Secondly, I'm not sure I completely agree with PPs who have suggested that you let your husband remain the primary disicplinarian. The problem is that you are the one at home with them most of the time, so you need to have disciplinary powers too. I think this is probably another transitional issue. Perhaps your husband could sit down with you and the kids and explain to them that when he is not there, you effectively have all of his disciplinary power/i.e. you are the one in charge. He could still take the primary role when he's there, but I don't know that it's fair for you to totally withdraw from that role when you are the one dealing with most of the behavior.
Anyway, I'm not sure if what I'm saying is much help to you, but I just wanted to express my empathy and support. I do believe steppareting, particularly stepmothering, is very challenging. I can't say I've found my niche yet, but I think if I (and you) keep working on it, we will.