Stepson doesn't follow rules, Dad doesn't enforce them, I'm the bad one - FamilyEducation
Stepson doesn't follow rules, Dad doesn't enforce them, I'm the bad one
01/19/2011 at 08:00 AM

I have a 13 year old step-son. His dad has spent his life feeling sorry for him and doesn't really parent him. He has wanted me to be a parent to his kid but isn't consistant with backing me up. My husband makes up rules and never enforces them or follows through on the rare occasions he punishes. His kid never does anything he's saposed to and has to be told me. I've tried to talk to my husband and he gets so mad and defensive. Our relationship is suffering b/c I'm so stressed out about his kid. We have a 3 year old together and it all affects him too. I just don't know what to do anymore. He doesn't seem to want to fix any of the problems and then wonders why I'm so unhappy. Here's an example....I have a problem with a 13 year old pooping the tub. I think help needs to be looked into. Besides the gross factor it's just unsanitary for the rest of us. He does nothing about it except tells him to pay attention to what he's doing. I make him clean it up and then the kid has to clean the shower, but then I'm the bad one. Nothing is done about the lack of using soap in the shower or brushing his teeth after we've spent thousands on fixing various issues. I've had councelors/therapists even tell me I'm doing thigs right and my husband just doesn't care. What do I do?

Ask your doctor for information about encopresis. One of my foster kids had this, and so did one of the kids I tutored. It's a complicated problem.

I have looked it up and even taken him to the doc for it a few years back. My husband won't take the next steps to get the issue fixed. I think it's that guy thing "easier to ignore and then it won't be an issue". I told him if it happens again I'm calling the doc again but I know that will be a huge fight too.

Some things are worth fighting about. This little boy's health is important.

well to be honest, Im just figuring this out. Apparently its a man thing. Men refuse to admit that there is anything wrong with their sons! My fiance is the same way with his 6 yo Daughter. he wont punish her, and always babies her, when I punish her, he doesnt understand why because she is his perfect angel. I HATE it! My ex gets mad at me everytime I say something could be wrong with our 5 yo son. so its a man thing. However if I was his step mom, I would not care what dad said-obviously he refuses to correct the situation so someone has to.

It may be a problem with the men in your life, but lets not make generalizations, or paint with too broad of a brush.

This is a generalization, too, but in my experience, most women are this way. We'd rather think that someone is trying to pin something on our righteous offspring than help our child take responsibility.

I have worked with many parents whose children have additional needs and have not found this to be true in the majority of cases. I also have two children [grown up now] who have additional needs. It is not fair to make such sweeping generalisations as this, either about the mothers or fathers. As a step mum, you are one step removed from some of the emotions here, whether you choose to accept this or not. You say you have a three year old, so put him in that place and see how that would feel. I have found the fathers I've worked with just as ready and capable of working towards goals with their children as the mothers have been. It isn't always easy to accept that your child is 'different' in some way. Looking at the name you have chosen to use in this forum, lostcause, it seems that you have given up anyway. I am glad that you have found some therapists to affirm to you that you are doing the right thing. That must make you feel happier.