M.M. asks from Harrisburg, NC on April 18, 2008
New Marriage, Teeanage Son, Discipline and Behavior
I was recently married and I love my husband. I have been blessed with such a wonderful man. The problem is he and my 2 kids expecially my son do not get along. I travel for my job and while I was away my son and husband had words. My husband actually threatened to beat my son. This is unacceptable 1) my son is 15 yrs old and not his biological son; 2) my husband says that he was just using threats to get him to do what he wants. I am so unhappy with the situation and all because my son did not clean his room fast enought for my husband. Granted my son is bad about cleaning his room but this does not warrant a "beating". No child especially a teenager are saints and I have tried to explain to my husband many times that when it comes to children, you spend your life repeating yourself over and over again. My son is an honor student and has never, ever been in any trouble. I am shocked that my husband thinks he has the authority or the right to even say this. At this point both my kids do not want to live with me. My daughter has already left (she is 18) and already advised that she will never come and live with me. My son has just advised me as well that he will be moving in with his real father and that he never wants to see my husband again, not on holidays etc. I am torn between my children and my husband who by the way has never had kids, and only "raised" a child from his first marriage. I love my husband but not before my children. I waited along time 14+ years to even consider marriage. Your advise or suggestions are welcomed.
C.D. answers from Chattanooga on April 19, 2008
Wow, this is a tough situation. You obviously don't want to appear that you're putting your husband before your children. Yet, they don't get to make all the decisions either. Your husband can't be expected to never discipline your kids, even if he is the step parent, but it sounds like he doesn't do it in a very effective way. It's probably terribly difficult to become a parent to teenagers after having never spent their childhood with them and growing to know them in a parental way.
So, what do you do?? It sounds like everyone is going to have to make some changes. Your son is going to have to adjust to having someone new as an authority figure in his life. Your husband is going to have to learn that discipline has to be productive, and threatening to beat a 15 year old is not healthy or effective. You are going to have to learn to manage them both the best you can. Would your husband be up for family counseling? Sometimes an outside mediator can really do wonders in helping everyone with their issues. As for your daughter, well, she's old enough to make her own decisions. It would be nice if she'd attend counseling with you guys even if she's not going to live with you since she has made such bold statements about never wanting to see him again. This makes me wonder what kind of things he's said to her...it seems very extreme.
Good luck and God bless!!
1 mom found this helpful
L.C. answers from Raleigh on April 18, 2008
M., I was never in the situation like this as a mother, but I was a teenager once with divorced parents. I am not sure about "beating", but my sister and I still got belt from our mother at 15(if we're acting badly,were disrespectful or did not do what we were told to do.........normal teenage behavior:)).We would slam doors, "how dare you, I am not a child any more....blah blah blah" and would go stay with our dad. If you husband does not have a history of vilent behavior and putting your kids down, then your son just probably pushed his buttons a bit too far.
Gosh, how many mistakes we make as parents, and your husband has to find what his role is as a step parent with teenagers????That has got to be hard.If that bothers you too, just sit down and talk about it.
My husband and I worked in a rescue mission for a while and have seen many mothers choosing a man over thier children. But your situation does not sound to me like that's what you're doing.Divorce is hard on everyone, having a step parent is hard(it was to me), but you need to let your children know that they do not need to love your husband, they do not even need to like him.......all they need to do is respect your decision to marry him and be your life partner(gosh, it took you 14 years to do that.....)Teenagers are also selfish, when they are adults and have their own kids they will understand:)
If your son insists on going to live with his father (and you know that he will be in good hands), let him. Tell him that you love him and that you'll always be there for him.
And if you go to church, talking to the pastor about this can be a great help too.
Hope all will work out for the best.
1 mom found this helpful
J.E. answers from Greensboro on April 19, 2008
Never turn your back on your children. It sounds to me like he has said or done something to both of them and they are begging you to listen. Do you know exactly what happens when you are out of town?? Does your husband say and do things and threaten your son not to tell you or he'll "beat him" when you get home?? And your husband might be the greatest guy on earth and just not know how to raise teenagers but he is the STEP parent not the FATHER and he needs to know his boundaries. Then again, your children could be jealous that you have a "new husband" in your life and maybe they feel second?? I'm just saying, I wouldnt burn all my bridges too fast. Look into things more deeply. Maybe a "nanny cam" when you're out of town?? good luck...
M.B. answers from Johnson City on April 19, 2008
I am so sad for you. I am also a single mom (5 yrs) of a teen aged child. I haven't dated or even been able to imagine bringing a man into my/our life. What you tell about your new husband is scary. Once he runs off the kids will he little by little begin to try controlling you as well and want to use physical force in order to achieve it? He has already created a situation of you having to chose him or the kids. Please think long and hard and listen, really listen to your kids' observations about him. Sometimes others can see things we are not prepared to see, You could try counseling but he is likely to be cagey enough to know what to say there. Please be careful. He doesn't sound like someone you can trust.
S.B. answers from Charlotte on April 19, 2008
First off your children come before any man.Your daughter has already left and you might never see you son again.Second no one has the right to threaten or follow through on beating a child.Third its your sons room and he should be able to have it any way he wants to..messy so he only knows where things are or clean.We all need our own private space to be able to do what we want with it.With my boys..I have 2 teens 16y & 17y..ever since they were little I let them have their room the way they wanted messy or clean but with some rules..dirty clothes got put in the hamper so when it was laundry day I knew what was dirty,dishes were not left in the rooms.If they wanted their rooms vacumed the room was pickup to the point I could vacum or I only did what I could do even if that was only 2 feet inside the door.It's called working together.
Speaking of a door its there use it.If your husband doenst like how the room looks close the door.It save a world of your sanity..
Since your husband has not raised childred he doesnt know what to do and is going by what he has seen on tv,read in books,heard from friends who have children or doing what he would do if he had his own.Talk to your husband about the room situation.Talk to your children.See what best for both even if that does mean you son moving in with his real dad..good luck..
S.H. answers from Chattanooga on April 19, 2008
Well, as Dr. Phil would say, a step parent never has the right to dicipline a child of their spouse's. Your husband needs to get a reality check. If he has never had children, then he doesn't know much about how to raise them He needs to have no authority over them, especially try to make them do something. I think you need to reconsider your marriage to this man. If he can't change and promise to leave your children alone, he needs to go. There is no man worth losing your children over. Blessings on you.
K.A. answers from Nashville on April 18, 2008
I went though the same thing when my daughter was only 11 and my son was 14. Bless you. It will be hard hard road but worth it.
My husband and I went to a wonderful counselor for 5 years. The kids were only part of our troubles, inlaws, exlaws, etc. Anyway, we were told that it takes up to 7 years for kids to accept the new spouse. My daughter finally grew to love my husband and now calls him for advise. But she was 11 when I divorced and is now 25 years old. She started accepting her stepdad around 16. My son, he is 27 now and still has issues with my husband. He seemed to accept him right off but would flip flop back and to between liking dad and liking step dad. He still doesn't accept my husband fully.
Not to make you worry, because marrying my current husband has been the best thing I could have ever done.
Let them know that it is not a competition and that they do not have to choose between their dad and their stepdad. That now, basically, they have two dads. Daddy will always be in their life, you aren't trying to change that, and stepdad will always be in your life and so will be part of their life too. Just let them know that you don't hate their dad (although during divorce its hard not to sometimes) and that you don't expect them to hate him either.
I was told that the parent they live with first is usually the one they leave and then they try the other parent, but in the end they return to the first parent. Then it happened. We moved out of the state, (on the adise of the counselor), and neither kid would move with us. They were old enough to choose in Georgia. So, they stayed with their dad. He kicked my son out at 18 and my daughter out at 15. She moved in with us. My son moved in with his grandma.
Also, my exhusband kept taking us to court with acusations, like saying my husband walked around in his underwear in front of the kids, etc. but my husband was always smart about the kids, he refused to ever be left alone with them, so when I told this in court, that he had never been left alone with them (after 7 years), they were dumbfounded and changed the subject in court. The underwear were GemShorts.
I will keep you in my prayers, and remember, nothing good is ever easy.
L.P. answers from Lexington on April 19, 2008
You say you love your husband but not enough to let him punish your son. You said you travel and when you are gone then he should be able to make them mind. I would not keep children if I could make them mind. But if it comes to choosing between my husband and my children, I would choose my children because your children could not find another mom but your husband could find another wife. You really need Gods help and guidence in this matter. Ask God to help you.