How to cope with stepchildren?
January 31, 2007 4:24 PM Subscribe
My stepchildren are driving me crazy. Please help me figure out how to cope.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My wife and I have been married for 4 years. Both of us have kids from previous marriages (ages 8 to 16). All the kids live with us. They are all decent kids but nonetheless my wife's children cause me a tremendous amount of tension.
I am probably best described as a type A personality. I am very loving with my children but have always expected them to listen, behave and treat others with respect. For the most part, they do this and feel bad if I get upset with them.
My wife is also very loving with her children. Her love is much more, for lack of a better term, unconditional than mine. She is not good at disciplining, and when she gets angry with her kids (or when I get angry), they totally act like they could care less. Her children are very negative, mean and disrespectful to each other. I think much of this was picked up from their father who is that way to them and others (they still have quite a bit of contact with him).
It is very hard for me to be around them when they act this way (and even when I'm not around them I stress about there attitude rubbing off on my children). I have spoken to my wife about this and, while in the beginning she was very defensive, she is now very receptive and tries very hard to combat this. But it is very difficult for her because she is just not much of a disciplinarian. And I find it very difficult to remind her that something needs to be done (it just feels like tattling). She is perfectly fine with me disciplining them, but I have a lot of difficulty saying anything until I have reached a boiling point. It just seems like I feel incapable of bringing myself to discipline them. I feel very much like an ass when I do, and since they act like they could care less it makes me feel even worst toward them. Because of this I feel somewhat bitter toward them and the smallest things cause me great anguish. Typical kid things (such as not picking up after themselves) make me very stressed. I almost feel personally attacked when I see there stuff laying around. I can tolerate my kids doing the same thing much better (and realizing this makes me feel very bad).
Any suggestions on what to do? I have resorted to a lot of alone time just to try to minimize the opportunities for stress but I think this just makes them dislike me more and I think it makes my wife feel bad - but she does understand. I do not think that they like me very much (and probably rightly so).
I wish things were different but right now I just want to know what to do to more effectively cope with all the anger, tension, frustration and bitterness I feel when I'm around them. I try to remind myself that they are just kids doing normal kid things but it doesn't seem to work.