Online Parent Support Chat

9.9.08

MY partner and I have gotten into numerous arguments...

Hi Mark,

My name is Erica, I just recently purchased your product, I have gone through some of the information which I am have very helpful. Not feeling so alone, and feeling a bit of validation on my step-son's behaviour. Let me set up the situation first and then I am hoping you will be able to help me to better approach the situation then I have been;

My partner and I have been together two years, we are expecting a child, and miscarried last year. I have three daughters born to me, 15, 7, and 3. My partner has a 10 year old son to which he holds full custody. I have joint custody of my eldest daughter and full of the two younger ones, they have different fathers. I am 41 and my partner is 29. My stepson Jaylee's mother is very inconsistent in his life, she comes in and out as she pleases, and when she does she spends her two hour visitations shopping and buying him anything he wants. My partner was in a very toxic relationship prior to ours, and to my understanding she was "mean" to the boy. However, I only have one side of the story. My partner had spent 5 years with her.

Prior to me moving in i made it very clear to my partner, Jamie, that I do not raise my daughters the way he raised his son e.g. playing video games for hours on end, watching tv, or laying around doing nothing and being paid to do household chores.

I have spent the last two years stressed out!!!! The boy has lied about me, he tried to physically push me, he argues back with me, he has tried to hurt the younger children - "accidently" dropped the 3 year from the top bunk, and tried to get her to put her hand in scolding hot water. After the second incident I made it very clear that this kind of behaviour would not be tolerated. It hasnt happened since. The boy has had some improvement since I moved in, yet my days are filled often times filled with constantly telling him the same things over and over. For lying he has to do math pages we jus started this, the first day he got 10 extra math pages. His favourite words are I cant do it, and then cries incessantly. I give him 5 minutes to cry then he is to finish his work, which he does, and i know he knows it isnt going to work but he is so used to doing it that it happens automatically it seems. I have tried ignoring his behaviours and jus sending him to his father but his father does NOTHING, and if he does do something its so over the top that I dont understand why I sent him to him.

I know I am not a bad parent but I feel as though the child is winning and my will is being weakened. My daughters get disciplined for things they learned from him. He answers every question not directed at him, he speaks for every person in the house, or so he thinks, everyday he is told "not talking to you jaylee" EVERYDAY!!!! He consistently tries to make decisions for himself and my girls. None of these behaviours are encouraged, consequences are given, and yet he persists, when I have to go away he does as he pleases, and whines to his father about having to do things that he cant. He still has to do them, but after two years he still uses the same techniques, he asks obvious questions, he tries to kiss butt when he is being ignored, he thinks compliments will get him out of trouble, which with me it doesnt, it in fact gets him completely ignored.

The principal of his school has encouraged me to continue whatever it is that I have been doing because he seems more secure, and his program was modified for the better a year after I moved in, his teacher felt the need to tell me first because she wanted to encourage me to continue. MY partner and I have gotten into numerous arguments over what is or is not being done for him. I try very hard not to lay blame, yet I get so frustrated that I end up taking out all my frustration at whichever one is closest, my partner or his son. My partner refuses to see how important it is that consequences take place that are fair for the development and personality stages of the children, and he thinks I should punish my 3 year old the same as i would the 10 year old. It doesnt make sense to me.

I am sure you get many emails of this sort, but as i started to do your quiz it occured to me that, I am not an over-indulgent parent, I didnt parent the boy and my girls do not display the characteristics. They are polite, well-mannered and have friends. However, it seems to me that I am going to become this over-indulgent parent if I dont get hold of this soon. I believe my partner and the boys mother have been the over-indulgent ones, how do I deal with this, so as to not lose my sanity or my relationship? I have often thought of leaving my partner because of this issue.

Thank you. I am not on my high horse as my partner would imply, my issues comes after two years of observation and experience with the boy, and 15 years of parenting. And no I am not a perfect parent and have made many mistakes with my children. Every time I try to speak to my partner about it, i get the ``you are no better`` speech. So if i seem defensive i suppose this is why.

My Out-of-Control Teen

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