Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms wrote in, Cathryn replied​.
Cathryn's Mailbox
2 Youngsters I can't control.

3 yr old SS crying all the time!

A bio-mom worried about new stepmom in her daughter's life- can we help?

About ready to throw in the towel!

About to become a step parent and am terrified!

Bio mom badmouthing me to my stepson & he repeats to me & my kids.

Bio-mom back & I'm hurt by her impact-what can I do?

Bio-mom doesn't want me present at any of my skids school events.

Bio-mom is online stalking & has issues w/ pictures of skids.

Bio-mom physically assaulted me & telling skids it was the other way around?

Bio-mom used me, I drew a line, she’s angry--now what?

BM doesn't want her kids, then does-what's going on?

Clarifying Mission Statement for SMOMS-revised

Dealing w/ bio-mom who doesn't want to get along with me?

Dealing w/ Deceased Bio Mom's Extended Family

Dealing with SD at my young age

DH finds out he has a daughter-I feel terrible

DH sets no Boundaries for SD20-what to do?

DH w/3 bio-kids not trying to bond w/ my 2 bio kids.

Do I love my ss? I don't know.

Does the BB help or hurt with issues?

Don't know where I went wrong

Ever Feel Like Leaving?

FDH feels guilty about leaving BM & allows her to excessively call/text/email him.

Feeling like invisible parent to stepson- help!

Feeling like the enemy in my own house: Teen SD

Feeling resentment towards my SS & can't connect

From BB- A Ritual for you & your beloved

From BB: Self-awareness can hurt...why is that?

Help w/situation that dad, biomom & skid all agree on but I don’t feel is best

Holiday traditions? Some ideas from sister SMOMS

How can I find the right balance & Boundaries?

How can I handle my SD8 who loves negative attention?

How do I cope w/DH's need for perfect family when I'm more realistic about it?

How do I deal with a lying SD, her bio-mom & the ex-step mom?

How do I deal with all the hurt and anger?

How do I help her understand that chores and rules don't mean that I don’t love her?

How do I stop SD from lying to me, DH, BM, and BM's boyfriend?

How to accept bio-mom's "bad" choices?

How to deal w/ unkind skids, ex-wife, MIL costing me my relationship?

how to deal w/SD choosing bio-mom for school play?

How to handle bio-mom who keeps asking for more $$$?

How to handle it when skids away Christmas Day?

How to help ss, when BM encourages him to lie?

How to help when bio-mom returns

How to let go of the single life I thought I saw going to live versus being SMOM?

How to make transition easier for skids?

how to step back in after stepping out?

Husband still feels guilty, his kids in their 30’s

I am frustrated with my skids 99% of the time...help!

I feel jealous of DH's ex & unheard by DH-Help!

I feel left out & sort of invisible w/ grown SD’s

I really love my FDH, but really wish his daughter didn't exist?

I want a better relationship w/ teen stepson

I want a Closer relationship w/ stepdaughter

I want my bed back

I would like to know how to change my attitude towards my new inherited family

I'm at the end of my tether... Stepchildren don't seem to like me.

If you're in the mood for SMOMS Pep Talk-read this!

Invested so much love, time, energy & $$...seems it's never enough

It's too much work- I need help from DH & Family!

Jealous of sister-in-law & Skids-what can I do?

Just jealous or maybe time to leave?

Local support stepmom groups???

My DH doesn't understand why my feelings are hurt

My husband stays at his mothers when he has his daughter for the night.

Need better coping skills but..how to do so…

No matter what I do, bio-mom still hostile. I feel hopeless & scared

Not a step mom yet but need some guidance

Open for your Questions in March 2015

Right now, I HATE being a Stepmom!!!

Self-Pity-it's an emotional numbing,energy draining tactic

Someone to talk to when things come up or whenever?

SS5 keeps throwing his BM in my face! Help!

Struggling w/ a jealous stepdaughter

Stubborn DH and sexually active teenage SS

teenage step daughter & car...Ugh!

the problem is my partner...why is he fighting my efforts?

Transitions and Coparenting Struggles

Trouble coping w/BF's newborn & ex.

Venting Guidelines- A Requested approach

What are reasonable expectations?

What are these letters?

What boundaries do I need to set with husband and sd?

What can we do about the rage! I "Lost it" last night. Help!

What to do about disrespectful 20 yr/old SS

What to do when Bio mom starts turning step daughter against me?

what to do when step child stops saying I love you?

When bio-mom sends stuff from life w/your DH?

When BM causes drama, how to prevent that impacting my relationship w/ the skids?

When to call it quits? What to do?

When winning more important to bio-mom than getting along

Why do things Skid's say bother me so & what to do?-Updated!

Why does it bother me that my skids don't recognize how much their father does for th

Why does my ss's rudeness bother me so?

Why does my stepson Idolize his bio-mom????

Why don't I matter in the family?

Why so jealous? What about irrational fears?

Stubborn DH and sexually active teenage SS
Dear Cathryn

My DH & I have had this argument multiple times about his teenage son having girl company over with the bedroom door closed. He thinks that his son being sexually active is great. I've tired to convince him that it is nasty and just irresponsible. It started when he was only 13. I've put my foot down and it's been a while since this has happened ,SS is now 15, but just the other day he lets him have girl company again with the door closed. I know their in there up to no good. I'm not only disgusted but worried about the example the SS is setting for my 3 boys. I left the house with my boys when I found out what was going on.

Thanks, Teresa

CATHRYN’S REPLY:

Dear Teresa, It really is upsetting when our values conflict with our DH’s values. I can understand your frustration about it-especially sine you have 3 boys you plan to treat and teach differently than what your DH is allowing for his son. It would be ideal if both parents would honor each other’s value’s and beliefs about behaviors in the shared home. There are many reasons why a DH might believe his way rules the roost. It can be classic chauvinism, power trip if they make more money, divorce guilt and fears, personal reactions to their own teen years and treatment. Most of the previously mentioned issues cause emotional and mental blindness to their impact on others. It can be very hurtful, almost betraying when the man we love chooses to ignore, reject or outright defiy our wishes. This is a big topic, too big for this question. However, let’s talk about some things/approaches/outlooks you might take given the situation as it is...

While it’s easy (tempting) to get caught up in the “right/wrong” (an unwin-able) battle, I think that what you’re doing is a good thing. It may even be the time to introduce your sons to “The Four Agreements” and the concept of personal values and personal choices. Not knowing how old your son’s are (just that they are younger than your ss), I bet you can have some very meaningful, open conversations with them about the subject of sex as a teen, about respect, out integrity,etc. It’s going to highlight a double standard between you and your DH as parents AND point out, in a loving, open non-defensive way that you have a right to hold to your values with your sons, like your DH is doing with his son.

Seems your sons are likely going to ask a bunch of questions. Kids are brilliant that way. While it may be tempting (and age appropriate) to just distract them whenever you go out. It’s also a chance to model, your beliefs and your values without having to make your DH wrong.

Right from the start, my ss was all about comparing homes and judging everything we did differently from his mom as wrong, right from the start. Our response was clear “People have the right to make choices in their own homes. No one has to be right or wrong, they can just be different. It’s like vanilla and chocolate ice creams are different. You wouldn’t judge someone who loves vanilla as bad/wrong just because you like chocolate, right? (Eager agreement) OK, so how about let’s agree that people can make different choices and both choices can be honored? Not as right or wrong but as different and both OK” He agreed. The ice cream analogy worked as he already knew there were lots of different flavors (he was 5 at the time.)

As you have a chance to explain that what you feel is good for them simply differs from what your DH feels is good for his son, like chocolate differs from and vanilla, it will give them a chance to honor and follow your rules without having to judge their step brother and your DH as wrong. This will work if you can hold to the not right or wrong, just different. This can be challenging.

Different is more effective than “Right/wrong” in the long run as it allows people to be OK making different choices. This is not taught in schools, sadly. It’s hard for some people as well. Many of us were raised, judged and punished on rules of right and wrong. This is another approach that could allow for more flexibility within a single household.

Depending on your DH’s reaction to you leaving, I hope you can continue to respond to your DH’s choices, with your own, well thought out choices without any defensiveness, fear or apologies. I imagine you might do the same thing, if he allowed people to smoke, do drugs, build bombs, make crank calls, even play cards or violent video games, whatever you didn’t like around your sons. You can make choices that you feel are best for your kids and as long as he’s bringing his choices into your home and is unwilling to honor your request that he stop-HIS natural consequence of HIS choices is that you make your own choices for your sons: to take the boys elsewhere, to talk to the boys, to teach the boys WHY you believe whatever you do believe-as your choice. Make Sense?

Good Luck with this situation. It’s really hard when this kind of conflict occurs. I bet you can turn this into a wonderful bonding time with your sons. What can you do that is creative, fun, honest and loving that will also model, for your sons, how to deal with other peoples “different” choices that they’ll face in their everyday life? They are very lucky to have such a devoted mom.

All the Best, Cathryn
Cathryn's Mailbox
Stepmoms on a Mission®
PO Box 7, Medford NJ 08055
609.206.2009
Cathryn@smoms.org