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  1. #1
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    Jun 2012
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    Is it me? Am I a bad dad?

    Hello all, I’m new to posting but not new to the boards, lol. I thought I would share my situation and look for some input. I feel a bit lost and confused right now. I’m currently in my second marriage. My first marriage lasted 13 years and we had no kid’s. I’m now in my second and going on my 3rd year of marriage (it’ll be three years in July). When I met my wife I fell in love and it was wonderful. After being together for 10 months we decided to get married. I married into a family of 4 kids. At the time the kids were 2 boy, 3 boy, 8 boy and 14 girl. I still say wow… lol… They are currently 6, 7, 12, and 18. It’s been a very hard and challenging road to say the least.

    This is my wife’s 4th marriage and all of her kids but the 6 and 7 year old (same father) are from different fathers. Two years ago we had a child together (call me crazy if you want) and she’s my baby girl. Our marriage has been very difficult for the last year or so and I’m having a lot of problems with her 6 year old son and the two other boys. Now, I always keep in mind not to treat my daughter any different and I do my best to do just that. I don’t even know where to start.

    Before my 2year old was born the 6 year old boy started going back into baby mode I guess you could say. He wouldn’t listen and became very rude to me and everyone else. If he didn’t get his way or the food/toy etc he wanted then he would throw a huge tantrum. I’ve tried positive reinforcement and rewards for good behavior and many other things and sometimes it works but most of the time it doesn’t. I have a hard time with this because Mom tends to baby him when he throws these huge fits so they’ve gotten worse as he’s gotten older( same with the other two boys). Now he is 6 years old. He is very spiteful with me… He’s getting to the point that he pushes me, trips me and always talks back to me. I still try to play with him and show him I love him but it’s becoming very difficult to do. If I ask him to do a household chore he drops to the floor and starts saying that he’s not going to do it. At that point there is nothing I can do and I feel helpless. I try to give him choices so he doesn’t get himself in trouble but it doesn’t work with me.

    All in all, he does this to me none stop every day and mom blames me. I’ve tried to talk to her about it and I’m getting very frustrated with the situation. Sometimes I don’t even want to come home from work. Mom is VERY easy going and is not very consistent with her household rules so the kids (all 3 boys) literally run around the house like crazy. It’s very annoying and it’s getting to the point where none of them will listen to me or they will just argue nonstop. I try my best to be consistent with our rules but also try not to be too hard on them. I do realize they are kids and should have fun. When we take them in public it is usually a very embarrassing trip because of their behavior. We have the kids you see in the store that are running around grabbing things or crying loudly because they didn’t get what they want. I know that these things should happen every once in a while but every time?

    I hate eating in public it’s also embarrassing. Mom does nothing to back me up and now they barley listen to me anymore. It’s out of control and killing our marriage. She’s says I’m too hard on them so I lightened up a LOT… But what do I do to teach them responsibility and to act right in public? When the 7 year old hit’s the floor and screams and kicks things what do you do? Nothing? I’m very lost/upset and it’s taking a toll on me. I feel like I can’t be a good dad now and I’m failing. Mom lets them talk back and run around like crazy but I just can’t. We went on a cruise 4 weeks ago without the kids and I was hoping to get that connection back with mom but instead I got “you took me from my kids”. That hurt a lot. I’m not sure what to do or what’s going on but I don’t feel like this is all my fault. Some of it is yes and I’m not perfect and I’m still learning.

    I’m sorry this is so long… I guess this is a cry for help. Please, maybe some advice? Thank you all!!!
    Last edited by Snooks; 06-22-2012 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jun 2005
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    Re: Is it me? Am I a bad dad?

    Welcome to Lifesupporters, Anthoney, I'm sorry it's under such difficult circumstances. I just want to say you don't sound to me like a bad Dad at all and are doing everything you can to be a good one.

    I think the boys don't show respect to you because, and I'm sorry to say, neither does your wife. If a couple doesn't provide a united front for children, they are smart and play one against the other. Since you try to do the best you can, your wife lets them get away with things.

    I don't want to put her down as she may feel quite a lot of guilt as the children aren't from the same father and she hasn't had a great marriage record.

    Is there any chance you can get her to go with you to a family counselor to find out what you both can do to be a united front?

    I'm sure others here will give you more ideas, just please keep checking back.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.


    True love is wanting to give to another person without any thought about
    whoís getting the better of the deal.

    Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lie's man's only promise

    ~All quotes by Leo Buscaglia


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Re: Is it me? Am I a bad dad?

    I have actually nothing to add to Luba's words of wisdom.

    You need to talk to your wife, and see if you can get on the same page, communicationwise. I'd strongly suggest some counseling to improve communication between you and your wife. She may be completely unaware of how her behavior is undermining her marriage, as well as how it actually impacts on the children.
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
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    3

    Re: Is it me? Am I a bad dad?

    Thank you for your replies. I myself have been to counseling to help me through this. I've told my wife that we both should go to a counselor to help us communicate better. Unfortunately, she doesn't want to go. She says sheís been a parent for 18 years, she knows what sheís doing and sheís already made mistakes and wonít allow me to do the same. It's all very difficult to deal with and Iíve been doing this now for 3 years.

    I know Iím still new to being a Dad but I canít be all wrong about everything. This is all taking a toll on me emotionally, mentally and physically (anxiety). I went on antidepressants to help with my anxiety but I didnít like the way it made me feel so I took myself off. Iíve tried sitting down and telling her my feelings and how it affects me on a daily basis but nothing changes. She told me last week when I tried to talk to her about this that Iím too hard on them and if it came down to it she chooses them over me. That statement said a lot to me. I never asked her to choose between me and her kids and never would. But if this is how she feels then we may be doomed.

    Itís amazing how much is going through my head right now and how emotionally/mentally broke down I am now. I feel like one of her kids and not her husband. Iíve read a lot of these boards and I am thankful my situation isnít worse than what it could be. But sometimes it feels that bad. I hate the thought of not being with my little girl everyday but I know that if things donít change then I have to feel happiness again.

  5. #5
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    Mar 2005
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    Re: Is it me? Am I a bad dad?

    If your wife is set in her way, expect this pattern of behaviour for at least another decade, if not 15 or 20 years. That is the amount of time the six-year old will need to get their life in order, shape and all that jazz.

    That is a very long time to be miserable. That is a very long time to walk on eggshells. And that is effectively what your wife is offering you. You need to look after your own mental health. At the moment it does not seem like your mental health is being served by remaining in this toxic situation.

    Don't be too harsh on yourself. Parenting and stepparenting is a difficult skill to obtain, and you basically learn through trial and error. Naturally you will make mistakes. But experience is not simply the result of having x number of kids over y number of years. Parenting is awfully complex, and you need to establish reasonable boundaries, teach your children skills and all that. It seems your wife is struggling in that department. Parenting is a team effort, and if you are betrayed by your own team, then you will struggle. That does not necessarily mean you are a bad parent.

    You wrote in your first post that this is your wife's fourth marriage. That is a lot of marriages for anyone, and unless she is also a widower, that means she has been part of three failed marriages. Whether the kids played a role, I would not know, but the only common denominator in those 3 marriages was your wife.

    Why did your wife divorce her previous husbands / why did they want to divorce your wife? I fear she may be acting out the same issues again and again in each of her marriages, and not learn from her mistakes. If she is unwilling to learn from her mistakes, then there is nothing you can really do about it.

    Another question: How is the 18-year old handling the situation?
    The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. - Rabindranath Tagore

    Keep true to the dreams of your youth. - Friedrich Schiller

    The only philosophy which can be responsibly practised in face of despair is the attempt to contemplate all things as they would present themselves from the standpoint of redemption. - Theodor Adorno

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    3

    Re: Is it me? Am I a bad dad?

    I have walked on eggshells for a very long time now and I think that itís having a huge effect on me. My two year old daughter is my pride and joy and I am coming to a conclusion that in the long run, she would be happier with an unstressed, happy Daddy. Itís just a very hard decision to make and I feel bad for all of the kids. I guess guilt plays a big factor on how they feel if I separated from my wife. I do know that my concern shouldnít be with them but only my daughter. But thatís very hard to digest.
    Parenting does seem very complex and with each child comes different trial and errors. So I feel like her experience plays a very small role because each situation is so different from the other. I know Iím a good Dad and person but the wife makes me feel otherwise. So with that, I doubt myself a lot.
    My wife has been married 3 other times and I do feel this could be a trend with her. Iím not sure why her other marriages failed but I assume she played a big role in the failures. All I really have to go in is my marriage to her and what she has said about the previous husbands and we all know there are two sides to every story. I was dropping off her two of the kids with their Dad one day and he asked me why she doesnít ever drop them off and I replied she always had something to do or is to tiredÖ his reply was ďIíve been there brother and good luckĒ to me that said a lot, lol. I would love to swap a conversation with him but that would be crossing boundaries that shouldnít be crossed.
    I get along very good with the 18 year old. Iíve never played a father role with her nor have I been a disciplinarian. Since me and my wife have married she lets the 18 year old do basically whatever she wantís. The only problem I have with the 18 year old is she never had to do anything around the house Mom lets her boyfriendís stay the night anytime they want. At one point she had three different boyfriends stay the night within a 3 month period (they werenít all at the same time she would break up with one and the a couple of weeks later the other was there). I was not cool with that and said something to my wife about not setting a good example for the other kids by allowing this. It didnít do any good, her current boyfriend stays there almost every night. BlaaaÖ

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Re: Is it me? Am I a bad dad?

    Anthoney, I've read your posts and the replies as well, and I think you are in a situation that doesn't seem like it's going to get better. I'm really sorry to say this, but it seems like your wife has made up her mind that it's all about the children, and is refusing to budge. You say you've talked to her about counseling and told her how you feel, but you aren't getting any co-operation. It seems to me she thinks she's right and that's it, and you are to take it or leave it.

    The sad part is that it is taking a huge toll on you and that's not good. When things get bad physically and emotionally, it's a matter of time before your health will start suffering too. Our bodies aren't made to carry stress for a long period of time, I believe.

    You are a good Dad! You are trying so hard to be a good Dad to her children as well, setting limits and boundaries, but not getting any support from your wife. Kids notice this like I said before, and are making you feel bad as kids do when they see they can get away with things from a parent who lets them do everything.

    You may have to make a decision very soon, just like the other husbands. Who knows if your wife left them, or they left her, the thing is they are out of the marriage. You may have to do the same. You can still be a good Dad to your little girl; and you are right, she will be happier to have a happier Dad in the long run.
    Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.


    True love is wanting to give to another person without any thought about
    whoís getting the better of the deal.

    Love always creates, it never destroys. In this lie's man's only promise

    ~All quotes by Leo Buscaglia


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