Norwich, Norfalk, England
Number of kids: 2
Ages of kids: 13 and 10
Problem: I have been a step parent for Kerry 13 and John 10, for about 4 years now. Although Debbie, the natural mother, is very good with the children, I feel that she is too soft.
We have had problems over the past 3 years where Kerry has become more and more, I guess the word is obsessional. She demands that the TV is turned up exactly 10 notches before she goes to bed, the living room door must be wide open, the hallway light must be on, her bedroom door must be open and her main room light and bedside light must be on, as well as the adjacent bathroom and toilet doors, which must be shut tight.
In all honesty we have to start putting her to bed at 9.30 to get her settled by 11pm - that is no exaggeration. If either of her "rules" are violated, then she will shout down stairs and call us up, not caring that she will wake her brother up in the meantime! She has had no major family trauma except the divorce which her parents went through 4 years ago. Everything is amicable and she sees her father on a regular basis.
If Kerry is chastised in any way, she becomes abusive and shouts back, she has even slapped her mothers hand, distracting her whilst she was driving, just because Debbie tapped Kerry's hands away from her mouth because she was chewing her nails.
She will not accept me telling her off in any way. She will answer back and shout back at me to gain her mothers attention, then she will ask her. Debbie will get on to me for upsetting Kerry and says that Kerry and I just don't get on.
I am 26, Debbie is 33, I am the sole provider for the family and I try my best to keep things even, but when I am being constantly undermined in front of the children and told to shut up because Kerry or even John sometimes, has started to back chat me if I have told them off for something, it all becomes too much and very frustrating for me as I feel it should be the child's position to listen to what the adult has to say not for the adult to give in to the child's blatant rudeness. Debbie is always saying to me: "I bet you could do without all this at times?", I just reply: "I know they're difficult kids, but I love them."
What can I do? We are currently thinking of giving Kerry to her real father, who has since married and she seems fine over there, but to be quite honest this is the only thing we have not yet tried, we have to have a life as well and John has a right to live without the antagonism, surely?
Kerry has a certain respect for her father which seems to lack in our household, apparently nothing is different in either house, even his new wife is the same age as me!
Solution: None submitted yet.