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Recycled Dad

Hi, I am 36 and remarried. I'm married to my a girl I grew up since we were 10 yrs old. We both have kids of our own. Mine my boys are 11 and 7, and my daughter is 5. Her kids are 12 and 10. We've been married for a little over four years. We went through a very of 2 yrs that were very rough because my ex-wife and her husband put me through a custody battle falsely accusing me of child abuse. Because of it at the time it drastically hindered the development of our family development. My ex-wife left in 2005 and took my kids doing her best to keep them from me. 
I remarried in Nov of 2006. At the beginning of our marriage it was all great since my wife's kids were younger. But their dad is a typical cliche "weekend dad." He is uninvolved and emotionally neglectful in their lives even on his weekends. His family is the kind of family that tends to show their love through gifts. His wife is just as neglectful and likes to try to buy the kids off and over step her boundaries. So when the kids are at their dads there are practically no expectations on them or accountability.

At the same time my wife is the same way with the kids. She doesn't help me enforce any rules and to be blunt she doesn't set any good examples such as picking up after herself, following routines, etc. You know, basic things you should be teaching developing kids. She's just as emotionally neglectful towards the kids as their dad and step-mom. Her daughter is problematic meaning she throws tantrums is spoiled and so on. She's been diagnosed with a mood disorder but I'm not convinced because it's very evident she knows how to manipulate. She craves her moms attention. She seems to only know how to talk in two tones: hateful and baby talk. She has an attitude that she shouldn't have to do what she doesn't want to and should get to do what she want. If not she whines and throws a fit. I won't put up with it, but her mother tells me she has just learned to tune it out. Which obviously only encourages it and 9 times out of 10 she gives in. Her daughter can't seem to understand the concept of finality.....no means no.  

Her son is almost the same way. He's 12 but acts 8. He craves his mom's attention. At home he will talk baby talk and prance around. We've had problems with him in school because of his laziness as well as at home. He too thinks he should get to do what he wants. And if you ask him or tell him to do something he moans and groans about it. If he doesn't get to do something he pouts, sulks, gets hateful, and stays in his room because he's angry. He wants to spend all day every day at his best friends house, who is 8, because his "nana" babies them. My wife doesn't care to let him go everyday all day. 

Neither kid has any responsibility other than picking up their dirty clothes and making their bed every morning. And even that is inconsistent. They have to be told every day to do the simple things like brush their teeth, etc. I've tried to put daily or weekly responsibilities on them to teach them, but not only do they have to constantly be told they half way do things. It's more trouble for me and my wife does not help at all.

My step-kids are spoiled. They see our home as "our home" which doesn't include my kids. They throw a fit if anything of theirs is touched by my kids but they don't see a problem with getting into my kids things. We did have our weekends arranged to where both sets of our kids are at our home on the same weekends. But because I was so sick of the fighting, bickering, hatefulness, rudeness, selfishness, I was spending of spending my whole weekend with my own kids and I was getting no help from my wife I switched my weekends with my kids. So now my kids and her kids haven't seen each other since last August. 

I'm out numbered 3 to 1. Their mom, dad, and step-mom are all passive and neglectful. None of them enforce rules and expect anything from the kids or make them accountable for anything. They punish rather than discipline. They don't attempt to correct any wrong behavior. The only form of reprimand is when they reach a point of frustration and then they yell at the kids. The kids resent me because I'm not like the other parents and tend to think I'm overbearing. They tend to think I will get on to them over every little thing which is not true. They just do whatever they want to which I say something.

So all this leaves me as the stereotypical step-parent. The mean one. I expect discipline and cooperation in the home. My step-kids want me to be like the other 3 parents. They want me to be just involved enough for them to get what they want. Whatever makes them feel happy. For example, my step-sons school problems. I spent hours helping him. I worked with his teacher, looked up stuff on the net, put together worksheets, listened to him read, etc. I was the only parent that put in the effort. None of the others cared. And he whined and complained the whole time. 

Now I'm at a point to where I don't care. All I want is peace in my home. I'm tired of the whining and childish behavior. I'm not asking for perfection. I just want my 12 and 10 yr olds to act like 12 and 10 yr olds and for my wife to back me up. I've talked to her about all it countless times and she'll help for a tiny while only to revert back to nothing. As much as I hate to admit I feel animosity towards my step-kids. I know it is not all their fault for being treated the way they are. But then I also know they have plenty of other adults teaching them responsibility. Besides they do know right from wrong and they make their own choices. 

I'm at my wits end. I only don't see a point in trying to communicate with my wife about this. It hasn't helped so far nor does she a connection between their problems in and out of the home. I have found myself disconnected from the kids. I don't think that's a good thing. I just can't take much more of the behavior. I've been struggling with how to deal with this. Questing whether I'm over reacting. Or whether if my distance will make such an impact on my wife will she then see how much of an issue this is? I've already separated my kids from her kids. You would think she would get the hint with that alone.

So I'm stuck. I don't know how to handle this. I'm out numbered, unsupported, and resented. 
jgpicazo jgpicazo 36-40, M 1 Response Feb 13, 2011

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You said your 10-year old stepdaughter has been ''diagnosed with a mood disorder but I'm not convinced because it's very evident she knows how to manipulate.''<br />
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Well, doctor. Since you have given yourself a medical degree in psychiatry, you should be able to handle it.