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Kids moving between parents - a step parent's dilema

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Kids moving between parents - a step parent's dilema


Kids moving between parents - a step parent's dilema

Hi there, 


I am a new step parent (1 year) to a 13 and 14 year old girls and a 17 year old boy. The 17yo has just failed year 12 and is into drugs and partying. The 14yo is just starting to get into partying. The 13yo is still lovely and easy to be around. 


Over the last year the 14yo has spat the dummy and moved to her mother's house. Now, the 17yo boy has just moved to his mum's house as well. Their mum is very toxic, and says horrible things about their dad almost all the time. I can see their attitudes towards us changing because of the things she has said. 


We are about to move to a new 4 bedroom house to accommodate all of them even though two of them are no longer living with us, and the third is with us 50% of the time. 


My issue is that I am feeling resentment towards the kids because they just lose it and then go to the other parent when they dont get their own way. I know that within 6 months we will have at least two or maybe all three back with us at least 50% of the time. I feel used by them, I feel like they are taking the mickey, and I also feel for my husband who just seems to accept whatever the kids want to do. 


My feeling is that if/when they do want to come and live with us again, that it is after a discussion with BOTH my husband and I, where some ground rules are laid and decisions are made about what it looks like. I love them all, and would love to have them with us, but not if they are just going to use and abuse and treat us poorly. 


Any advice? 


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Re: Kids moving between parents - a step parent's dilema

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Hi @FlorenceSierra , 


That sounds like such a tricky situation to navigate, especially when your blended family is relatively new.  I can understand how frustrating it must feel, especially if you feel like they will be coming and going from your house if they don't get their own way. 


It sounds like setting some ground rules as a family could be a really good idea- if the kids are also involved in this, it may make them more likely to buy in to the process. This can include things like what the consequences will be if rules aren't  followed, and also what rules are non-negotiable in your household.  It's definitely one of the biggest challenges in starting a new household as a blended family - we have an article about this here, which includes a video of a step parent sharing her experiences. You mention that your stepson failed year 12, is he working or studying at the moment? 


Ideally it would be good to make sure your husband is on the same page as you about this too - how do you think he'd feel about this approach? 


If you think it would be helpful to chat more about this with a professional, we do offer a free one to one parents support service 

in partnership with the Benevolent society. It's available to all parents and carers of young people aged 12-18 in Australia, sessions are done over the phone or online, and they can help you to work out an action plan that will work for you and your family. 


Thinking of you all - step parenting can be a really challenging experience at times, but the rewards can also be huge. You're not alone - feel free to vent here any time!