Uncontrollable step children

by Vicki Hilts
(Middleville, NY)

I am a step mother of 3 children with 2 boys of my own. The step children are 20 (girl), 17 (girl), and 16 (boy). He lives with his mother because he doesn't get along with the 17 year old. The 3 of them have always lived with their father since the divorce 5 years ago and the mother isn't involved in their life unless it's to her benefit.

Here's my problem. My husband works long hours and usually 7 days a week. The 20 year old has been the mom. When I came into the picture, she didn't like me from day one and did everything she could to cause problems. She has a 1 year old daughter. We eventually kicked her out of the house after she attacked my husband and then attacked me.

We have both forgotten about the situation but the relationship is strained. Now the 17 year has a boyfriend who is 22. He lived about 5 hours away and would come and visit once a month. He stayed at the house with her, a situation that I didn't approve of and never allowed with my boys.

My husband admitted that he didn't like it either. Once a month turned into weeks and now he is here to stay. Since she has been involved with this boy her grades have dropped, she has skipped school, been caught smoking pot and is just unbearable to live with.

I threatened to leave because my husband will not do anything with her. I went to my mother's house for 1 night and he did tell her that he can no longer stay at the house. He has no job. No car. I stay at home and I didn't feel comfortable in the house with him there all day by myself.

Actually, I can't stand the sight of him. He goes between 2 names. I've asked about that and she says it's because he wants to change his name to his mom's maiden name since his father has nothing to do with him. I heard from a teacher at her school that it's because he has a record.

My husband tells her she has to clean her room and it never gets done. He tells her she has to feed her dog and it doesn't get done. My husband does it when he gets home from work at midnight. I tell him to wake her up and make her do it. I've tried to have take her phone until her grades go up, her room is cleaned, or her attitude changes. He refuses.

She asked for a kitten. We told her no because she doesn't take care of the her dog. Yesterday, I heard a kitten in her room and opened he door and there it was. I called my husband and he blew me off. He called her and asked about it and she had a fit because I looked in her room. Her sister asked us if she could get her the kitten and we told them both no and the sister got it anyway.

We pay for the all their cell phones so I told my husband that both of their phones should be taken away. He thinks if he does something they will hate them and they haven't had rules all this time that it is just too late.

She is in 11th grade and is taking 3 classes for the 3rd time. She kept telling her father that she can't take tests and the school was going to test her and put her in special classes. They sent a letter home to have my husband come in and talk to them. He had to work and the mother refused to go so I went.

They told me she doesn't do her homework, she skips all the time, she hangs with the "bad" kids, and she has a really bad attitude.

I love my husband but I don't know what to do. My son's are 26 and 25. They both live in our basement, have full time jobs, and pay their own bills. They buy their own food. Everytime I try to discuss anything with him about his kids, he makes it come back on my kids. If my kids are here 3 days a week that is a lot.

My oldest drives trucks and he is on the road most of the time. The youngest works really weird hours and he usually stays at his buddies, who also works with him, until he is done for the week. On the weekends they usually go to their dads. They hate the step kids. They tell me often that they can't believe I put up with it because I didn't bring them up that way.

HELP! What do I do?

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