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Discussion Starter #1
Sorry if this question's been answered before, just joined this group so I might have overlooked it. We all know what it's like to deal with exes and such, but what about when you have a difference in parenting opinion with YOUR partner [i.e., the bioparent to your stepkiddies]? I'm not talking about major conflict, but more so the little issues. Quick example...I feel that children of any age can handle a lot of structure and responsibility, so I don't think they should be allowed to jump on couches or play with their food. My partner, their biomom, thinks some of my rules and expectations are too harsh and that I should "just let them be kids" more. Don't get me wrong, she does set appropriate boundaries, I just favor setting MORE boundaries. We try to talk about these issues a lot, but what's a good method of resolution? She does want me actively involved with the children and I am able to discipline them and such. And they do accept my discipline and view me as another parental figure bc they're pretty young. But still, it's a delicate line because at the end of the day, I am NOT their mother. You know? Any advice, or similar experiences?
 

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In my (limited) experience, I've seen more trouble of this sort with female-female relationships. I think men are used to deferring to women on many parenting issues, and so when a mother marries a guy, he will defer to her in parenting a lot, especially for stepkids. When a dad marries a woman, his wife will usually take on more of a motherly role, and he will often defer to that (unless he's still quite close with his ex, and then there tends to be more conflict). In lesbian couples I've known, the mother expects full autonomy in parenting, but her partner may want to be more involved. I guess this answer isn't very helpful to you, but I can say I've seen this dynamic a few times, both online and in real life. And of course I'm generalizing broadly, but there you have it -- that's my experience.<br><br>
The good news is these don't sound like huge issues. I don't allow jumping on couches either, but if someone did, I wouldn't think poorly of them. It's not a major philosophical shift, you know. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> So take heart that you two are at least close to being on the same page.<br><br>
It sounds like you and your partner need to have a serious discussion about what your role is in parenting and to what extent you are invited to advise, to what extent you get a veto, and to what extent you get a vote (and how many votes she gets!). Maybe if you two can agree to some overarching principles then you could try to apply them to these small disagreements.<br><br>
This is something DH and I did very early -- (in fact, long before I even met the kids) -- we discussed what my role would be, what I expected, what he expected, his fears, my fears, negotiables and non-negotiables. It was incredibly useful, and we still go by that framework to this day. We happened to do all this one very long day in a hotel room out of town, and we still refer to it as The [City we were in] Accords.
 

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Wow, Violet, I never thought that the problem could be related to the lesbian aspect, but I TOTALLY see what you mean. I think a lot of our issues also come from our upbringings. My mom was an excellent mother, sweet and completely involved, but had VERY high standards as far as behavior and cleanliness were concerned. Georgia, my partner, basically raised herself and had no limits whatsoever due to her parents being involved with drugs and such. Luckily, she does set lots of healthy boundaries and rules for the kids, but I just seem to consider more things "off limits." But you're right, we probably should have a more thorough discussion on how we can compromise and work as a team. I am thankful that we agree on methods of discipline and involvement in school and all the really important things. It's just hard for me to get over things being messy or getting ruined... having two little ones is a big adjustment for someone who never even babysat before! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nut.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nut">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>violet_</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15400801"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">In my (limited) experience, I've seen more trouble of this sort with female-female relationships. I think men are used to deferring to women on many parenting issues, and so when a mother marries a guy, he will defer to her in parenting a lot, especially for stepkids. When a dad marries a woman, his wife will usually take on more of a motherly role, and he will often defer to that (unless he's still quite close with his ex, and then there tends to be more conflict).</div>
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I wish this was true in our case! We are a male-female couple, and we have plenty of conflicts. As a result, the joint children are parented differently than DSD. This is, and has historically been a source of conflict.<br><br>
I would love to hear others' experiences.
 

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Its a hard one, because to be involved in decisions and discipline as a stepparent is a privilege, not a right (IMO).<br><br>
Me and DP talk about things together, and weigh up whether or not the affect on us or the kids is greater.<br><br>
Kids do just need to be kids sometimes. Maybe have a time frame for messy moments.... I think like you do, and Dp and biomom think like your partner in regards to rules and regulations.<br><br>
DP and I came to a compromise... ie, dinner time. If they want to play with their food, they are welcome too, but if 30 minutes into dinner they are still mucking around, its crack down time. Either they start to eat, or they choose not too. Its their choice, they dont have to eat it if they dont want too, but they wont get dessert if they dont want dinner. Often now they much around for 5 minutes and have fun with food etc etc, but get down to business shortly after because they know they need to have some of their dinner in order to get the 'good stuff'!!!<br><br>
I know many wont agree with our method of doing things, so I apologise if I offend anyone in advance with that example.<br><br>
Sorry if thats no help =/ Ive just become a bit more active on posting on the boards and im sure im yakking away too much!!!!!!!!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>violet_</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15400801"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
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It sounds like you and your partner need to have a serious discussion about what your role is in parenting and to what extent you are invited to advise, to what extent you get a veto, and to what extent you get a vote (and how many votes she gets!). Maybe if you two can agree to some overarching principles then you could try to apply them to these small disagreements.</div>
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Wow, awesome advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Zarie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15401030"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Its a hard one, because to be involved in decisions and discipline as a stepparent is a privilege, not a right (IMO).</div>
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Yeah, that's a good point. Georgia has made it clear that she wants me to be very involved with the kids and most of the time, I feel just as much a parent as if these had been our children together [if that were biologically possible, haha!]. She's fine with me disciplining them and we make all their decisions about doctors and schools and such together. But I suppose I do need to just defer to her sometimes...maybe I do expect too much. Like I said, this has been a really big adjustment for me. I'm still learning as I go along. I think it's mostly on me to discuss my issues with her in a calm way and not just nag to get my way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 

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My kids' stepdad is the more strict of us two, and it has caused some minor conflict. The only thing he's taken a really hard stand on is when the kids are disrespectful toward me. My son used to hit me and SO won't allow that, name calling or back talk. He tells them they're lucky to have me for a mom because I work hard to make sure they grow up right, and if I tell them to do something, there's a good reason so they better do it!<br><br>
On that note, he's pretty much deferred to me on everything else... he's "Sit down and eat!" I like family time at the table, but it doesn't matter to me if the kids eat what I cooked or if they make themselves a PB sandwich or get a piece of fruit/veggie (always those same 2 alternatives, it's not a free for all) We compromised on "You must give dinner a good try before you get anything else" Part of this is that picking my battles as a single parent was different than picking my battles now that I have support.<br><br>
Neither of us want the kids jumping on furniture... if it's okay at home, they might think it's okay in someone else's house, which it's likely not to be! If one of my kids' friends came aver and jumped on the couch, I'd think twice before inviting them back.<br><br>
What we do is explain the reasons why we think doing things a certain way is best, and really try to hear each other out. If something is really important to him, and isn't a horrible idea in my opinion, I give it a chance.
 

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Yeah really true, it is hard to adjust, I had to make an adjustment too, and weirdly, when I finally let go of a few things and learnt to defer to dp and the kids biomom, I actually GRIEVED for myself (WTF?!).<br><br>
I know thats weird, but its quite hard having to let go and defer even when theyre your kids too dammit! Having to do all the work and not get ALL the same rights. Sucks sometimes. Take time out for yourself and write down what you want from your share of the parenting roles and go to Georgia and hand it to her, let her read it, and get her feedback after some cuddles =P<br><br>
Orrrr, do up a parenting plan together! We did that, it gave us both a little security over how certain decisions would get made in the future, so we didnt need to put our stamp on every little thing along the way.<br><br>
As for watching things get destroyed... yeah I suffered from that too. No drinks on carpets, but they can throw colored drinks at each other outside etc. For every problem you have, offer a solution to Georgia whereby the kids CAN do that crazy kid stuff, but in a different place/way/manner.<br><br>
I can get you a Link to the New Zealand parenting plan if you like, if you want it. Its quite detailed, but not for everyone = )
 
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