Mothering Forum banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
48 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>I am engaged and have a baby on the way, due in June.  I already have two beautiful children from previous marriage.  My son D is 14, and Shakti will be 10 around the same time as the baby is due.  Both kids are happy about getting a sibling.  They like my fiance, Loki, who has been a close friend of mine for several years before we got together.  The problem, I think, is the adjustment to a step family, and the effect the fallout is having on our living space.  Compounding the problem is the fact that I have just put on bed rest ("as much as possible") for very high and quite stubbornly resistant blood pressure.  (Am seeing a specialist in Buffalo this coming week and have high hopes.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>I have to say up front that I honestly don't think the kids would be giving him such a hard time if they didn't like him.  They have always liked him, in fact it was with the kids' gentle nudging and hint dropping that we moved the relationship beyond friendship in the first place.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>That being said, they are giving the poor man hell.  Loki and I have both been through a lot, and because distance was a factor, once we decided to advance our relationship and for him to move here to NYS, things seemed to happen pretty quickly.  We have not had much time to adjust to living together.  Loki had been in a caretaker position, as his grandmother was dying, for quite some time before he moved up here, and has not had health care, a chance to process grief, or opportunities to improve his career options since before we met.  Therefore, he is dealing with aches, pains, stress and high blood pressure as he is adjusting to finally having access to the care he needs (he was not eligible for health care in Oklahoma, now that he is here his body seems to be playing "catch up") and he is not happy with his income, especially since presently the city we are living in has a serious, serious lack of jobs.  (We plan on moving after the baby comes and the school year is over, and everybody, including the kids, feels pretty good about it.)</p>
<p> </p>
<p>These challenges have been a source of mild to moderate tension between Loki and I, although with talking and planning we are finding solutions and working through the difficulties.  The kids, however, are quite smart and perceptive, and have also noticed these weak points and seized them to wield with skill as weapons in the power struggle with the bewildered new step-parent.  D is pulling the "dominant male" crap with Loki and Shakti is behaving like an imp.  Respect is lacking, chores get ignored, and the sass runneth over.  I feel like I'm losing control, and poor Loki never had a chance to grasp it. </p>
<p> </p>
<p>The effective result is chores not being done, to the point of the house becoming dangerously cluttered and messy, especially as my blood pressure worsened and my activity became more and more limited.  The pattern was the kids noticing something Loki couldn't or didn't do, and using it as an excuse for refusing to do dishes, pick up papers, etc.  The 3DS or computer time is taken away, teenager acts out and sulks or little girl tantrums, chore still lingers.  Chore sits and doesn't get done until Mama gives in and does it.  Now Mama is on bed rest and <em>can't</em> do it, and the dirty dishes assemble in the sink and kitchen table to plot a revolution, dust bunnies are left to evolve into rabid, hungry dust grizzlies, and the laundry monster threatens to eat the cat.  We're not talking about a little clutter.  It's a small apartment, and it's getting <em><strong>bad.</strong></em></p>
<p> </p>
<p>What works to an extent is the removal of privileges from the practical standpoint that if chores aren't getting done, the distractions will be removed.  This has been moderately successful.  The fact that I have just been confined mostly to bed will probably also help to pull them in line, especially the older one.  They may be playing power games with us now, but they are not completely heartless and irresponsible, and do want to help make it possible to bring baby Violet home to a safe, allegedly sane environment.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>But I think we need to move beyond reacting and responding to certain specific behaviors, and begin to shift our focus towards everybody working together to get through the immediate crisis.  Even D has acknowledged this need (while continuing to attempt to push Loki's buttons in the very next breath.)  I frequently feel stuck, since I'm mostly bed-bound, and Loki is extremely intimidated.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>How can we develop strategies for moving beyond the power struggle and working together as a family?</p>
 

·
Registered
5
Joined
·
1,470 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>FrodoLives!</strong> <a href="/community/t/1345687/getting-everyone-to-cooperate#post_16883339"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><p>...The kids, however, are quite smart and perceptive, and have also noticed these weak points and seized them to wield with skill as weapons in the power struggle with the bewildered new step-parent.  D is pulling the "dominant male" crap with Loki and Shakti is behaving like an imp.  Respect is lacking, chores get ignored, and the sass runneth over...</p>
<p> </p>
<p>...The 3DS or computer time is taken away, teenager acts out and sulks or little girl tantrums, chore still lingers.  Chore sits and doesn't get done until Mama gives in and does it.  Now Mama is on bed rest and <em>can't</em> do it, and the dirty dishes assemble in the sink and kitchen table to plot a revolution, dust bunnies are left to evolve into rabid, hungry dust grizzlies, and the laundry monster threatens to eat the cat.  We're not talking about a little clutter.  It's a small apartment, and it's getting <em><strong>bad..</strong></em></p>
</div>
</div>
<p>Perhaps have kids earn desired things (like computer time) after completing chores, rather than taking privileges away after kids fail to do chores?</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Aside from that, I can't presume to offer advice, since I myself have 3 teenage sons and struggle with their blindness (as they pass a stack of clean, folded towels, on their way to the bathroom, <em>where the towels need to go</em>...) and their unreasonable sulking, when asked to help out around the house <strong>we all</strong> live in!</p>
<p> </p>
<p>But I have to say, I LOVE your use of words!  And I will be eager to hear (and test out) responses from members with better advice than mine...</p>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
<p>I don't know if this would work in your family, but if it were my kids pulling this, I would directly ask them to quit trying to make trouble. I would make sure they don't have a genuine problem with Loki first, but if this is what you think it is, a "this. has. to. stop." lecture is in order. If they are speaking to him rudely, everything needs to come to a grinding halt. My line is, "You and I are not ok with each other if you are doing this behavior." and they know I'm not going to just forget about it. It's ok for them to openly discuss disagreements or problems they have. It is not ok to tease, bait, sass, or antagonize people, especially at home! By doing that, they are turning their own home into a war zone, and who wants to live in a war zone? My attitude is, either try to make something positive happen, or keep your mouth shut until you are in a space to do so!</p>
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top