Will My Marriage Survive the Storms?

I finally found my soul mate and we just married last christmas eve, but already there are major issues. i have two boys, ages 9 & 11 and he has a boy age 10 who has adhd.  we can't agree on one single thing as far as discipline goes for the kids.  he's too tough and mean and he says i am too easy on them, he says i cottle them.  if my kids screw up it's the end of the world and the punishment is usually grounded for a long period (2 weeks or so which is long to a child) and an extensive amount of extra chores, but if his kid screws up (which is daily at school) he makes up excuses for him and maybe grounds him to his room for a day. Then turns around and says he is probably behaving this way because i don't treat him equally when in all actuality my kids get upset because i do treat him like my own even though he treats me like crap when his dad is gone but turns into the butt kissing angel as soon as his dad pulls in the driveway. i have left the home several times to get away from his foul angry mouth and am tired of it.  we scream at each other which is not good for the kids to hear and i don't want them to grow up believing this is how couples treat each other.  We don't fight, argue, or disagree about anything else,  besides the whole kid issue we are perfect together. What would you do?
randynserena randynserena
31-35, F
5 Responses May 4, 2007

Dr. Phil says a step-parent should not try to discipline his/her step-child. Since you both have different parenting styles, I suggest making a positive reinforcement plan! Make a chore chart or good behavior chart, based on each child's needs and goals, give them stars when they do well. Eat dinner together at the table with no tv and discuss daily events with each child and don't play favorites. Talk about what you noticed they did well and give each kid their stars. Always give at least one star! At the end of the week, award according to stars (10 stars = go to the park, etc.) Once a week, switch kids around and take them out for breakfast...have your husband take one or two and you take one or two...one on one time with you will help your new step-child.

I agree. Im 27. I come from a divorce couple. My step dad nver got in the way of any of my moms desitions tours how she raised me.
I love my mom extra because of that.

If the two of you can't agree on what constitutes acceptible behavior, and apply it evenly and fairly, the situation can only get worse. I'd say get out before something really bad happens.

I think you need a consistent, written policy about what misbehaviours attract what punishments. And you both need to agree to stick to it, which means you need to both agree that it's really important. It's especially important for his son, given that he has clearly picked up on the fact that there are two sets of rules, and your. rules. don't. count. Without a united front, this will surely only get worse.

I think the videotaping might be a legit idea... but it's also a bit underhanded and may still not work - "You were prompting him to act up, you caught him on a bad day," etc. Truly, you may just have to sit down with your husband - sometime and place where the children are temporarily out of the way and cannot interrupt - and plan out how punishments should work so that all the kids are punished equally. Write down a list, put it on the fridge and agree to stick to it. Also, when the kids do something wrong, tell them to go to their rooms and then discuss (or argue) what their punishment will be without them there listening to the two of you not be able to agree on it. I hope that these ideas help... I'm not a parent yet, but I know that the things that made me rebel the most were things that my parents couldn't agree on because I knew that I could weasel my way out of them! My fiance and I are already talking about what we feel are appropriate punishments for certain acts and how we want to deal with our kids. It's scary, but I feel like it's really important to agree or at least cooperate/compromise on that topic.

Sounds like a handful. Being in that situation before as one of the children with a new step father and brother is hard enough. It is even worse when the step brother is a pain in the *** and an angel when his Dad gets home. I experienced a lot of problems with my new step family, and to be frank with you they are no longer family. My Mom and step Dad divorced which she will tell you is best thing she ever did. My step Brother was awful not just to my Mom but to me. He physically abused me for years and would be very rude to my Mom. My step Dad always treated him better and I was always blamed for anything that went wrong and I was punished severely. I think the only way your husband will see this is if you tape record your day interacting with the child or video tape it. He needs to see or hear his child in action. I know that when my step Dad found out what was happening my step brothers visits were fewer and farther between. The way my step dad treated me never changed and I hated him. You need to take that into consideration. Also, you need to seriously sit down in private with YOUR children and ask them how they feel about the step Dad and if they tell you that they don't feel right about him you much trust in the way they feel. In therapy I learned that children have a sixth sense about people. they can tell weather or not they are good right away. That is something to consider. You and your husband may get along in every other way but as long as you don't agree about the children which is VERY important (this will shape who they become and they could possibly be afraid of men or have problems with authority figures). I hope this helps. Write me and tell me more about yourself.