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Topic : Setting Boundaries

Number of Replies: 344
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Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 01:21:13 pm
Author : dataimport
It's important to set healthy boundaries for and with your teen. Share your strategies.

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October 24, 2005, 10:53 am CDT

new step daughter

Help Dr Phil, 

  

I have been in a relationship for 7 years and married him 2 years ago.  He got custody of his 13 year old daughter 7 months ago and we have been fighting ever since. 

  

  He never lived with his daughter and his ex-wife, but they do have a very strong bond.  He did have bi-weekly visitation at his home with her until age 8, then very little contact for 4 years because his Ex was mad and refused to allow him to see her, so they only spoke on the phone.  I had met her 3 or 4 time for weekends and spoke to her on the phone every second week and we seem to have a fairly good relationship.   

  

  The Ex dumped "Jane" on us and said it was his turn,  2 months after coming to live with us Jane disclosed that her step Grandfather molested her (once).  We immediately called police and arranged counseling for Jane.  Police are investigating and charges are pending. 

  

  In the last 7 months my husband has tried to be Jane's friend instead of her Father.  Jane treats me with little or no respect and I have a problem with this and my husband can't or would understand why I am having a problem with this. He refuses to make her do any chores around the house, every time Jane and I end up in an argument about her attitude with me I fight with my husband.  It has come to the point that I have walked out of the house on two occasions and seriously considered leaving my marriage. 

  

I have tried talking to him, and he says he sees my side and he is trying to be more of a father figure.  But I find myself resenting her more and more.  I have suggested family counseling and he is dragging his heels.  It seems every time I open my mouth to speak or voice an opinion I am casted as the agitator, that" I am interfering in a "father/daughter talk" and that it upsets him and that I upset her and she rolls her eyes" (his words).  Jane seems to think she is the female head of this household and her father is doing nothing to dispel this notion. 

  

I know that Jane is going through a lot of issues about her Mother and her Grandfather.  (I was molested as a child and told her this so we could relate)  And I have talked to her and told her that anytime she needs to talk that I am here for her.  I have bend over backwards for her to try and bond.  I take her shopping,spas (manicures. pedicures, hairdressers), stood in line for 2 hours get some singers' autograph.  I really tried because I really do love Jane.  And I believe that she can't punish her mother so I am the next best thing.  She was visiting her Mother for the weekend (they were staying in a trailer and she heard her Mother and the "new boyfriend" having sex, when she told her mother she was uncomfortable with that her mother said " Well if you don't like to hear us, you can always go sleep in the car" 

  

I have a 23 year old son who was 16 when this relationship started.  Of course there were growing pains between my husband and son but he was never allowed to speak to my husband with disrespect.  He was raised to respect his elders, obliviously Jane was never taught this lessons.  And I don't feel this is too much to ask of a child. 

  

I know if things don't improve very quickly my marriage will not last as I will not tolerate being treated with disrespect and as a second class citizen in my own home.  Please Dr. Phil is there any help for us? 

 
November 2, 2005, 8:28 am CST

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: sarahjs26

All I know is I have to clear up a few things, about some of your comments, I never bash the Bio mom, in fact I am her biggest advocate, defending her and her actions every time you turn around.  The clothes burning, there was never a teary goodbye, in fact kiddo just thinks she lost those pesky little shirts, and there is no divorce situation, my husband and I have been married for almost 7 years, and she has no memory of her bio- parents being together as a family, and I have been my step daughter primary care giver since she was 4 years old, and prior to that the bio-mom, more or less gave her to the neighbors. so no I am not overstepping any boundries, by loving that child as my own.

Your are right you are not over stepping you boundries. I am also the step-mother and the primary care giver to my husbands two children. I have been with my husband for 10 years, his daughter was 5 and his son was 7 when we got together.  A little over 2 years ago my husband fought and got custody of them. I have 4 children from my first marriage, so I am no stranger to motherhood.  I know it can be hard to gain the respect of your step children, I don't think a bio-bond has anything to do with it.  Your step daughter is entering into her "teen" years and the only thing you can do is stay strong, let her know what her boundries are, and let her grow also. Pick you battles. You can't make the rules for her in her mothers home. So don't try. But, you can set them in your home, make them clear and stick to them.  Sometimes the only thing you can do is love them. Most teens rebel at some point or another. Don't let her play you and her mom against each other. Tell her, it may be okay for you to wear those cothes at your mother house and wear makeup there too. But, your not going to do it here. Set up times for her and you to do girly things, like get you nails done or take her to a spa. Take her shopping and let her pick out something that makes her feel older, but is not skimpy. It is hard to raise teen girls no matter who gave birth to them. Just hang in there and stick to your guns. You both will make it through, (even though there will  be times you think you won't) and she will be a better person when she grows up because of you.  Thank god for you her and keeping loving her. God bless you. 

Mother of 6 

 
November 2, 2005, 11:11 pm CST

To curfew or not to curfew

My husband and I have been married for 3 years now.  I have 1 child from a previous marriage, he has 2 children from a previous marriage and we have 1 child together.  Back in March of this year, his children went to live with their Mom.  I believe it was because we had rules and responsibilities at our home.  Anyway, the oldest, now 17 has moved back with us.  Mom basically kicked her out.  Before she moved back, my husband and I discussed that some rules and responsibilities are going to be set up front.  Needless to say, Dad has not set any rules or responsibilities for her.  I believe he is afraid of making her mad at him so he is expecting me to bring up these rules and responsibilities.  My biggest problem right now is she stays out late each night and then won't get up in the mornings to go to school.  My husband seems to think it is my responsibility to make sure she gets up for school.  (Even if I get her up, she still doesn't make it to school on time)  My stand point is, if she can't get up for school each morning, she doesn't need to be staying out each night.  She needs a curfew.  His stand point is she is 17, what am I suppose to do?  Should I just not worry about it and just get her up each morning for school?  I see this continuing into college (if she goes to college) and then into adulthood.  When should she be responsible for getting herself up? 
 
November 3, 2005, 8:56 am CST

major issues

Quote From: dssm_1301

My husband and I have been married for 3 years now.  I have 1 child from a previous marriage, he has 2 children from a previous marriage and we have 1 child together.  Back in March of this year, his children went to live with their Mom.  I believe it was because we had rules and responsibilities at our home.  Anyway, the oldest, now 17 has moved back with us.  Mom basically kicked her out.  Before she moved back, my husband and I discussed that some rules and responsibilities are going to be set up front.  Needless to say, Dad has not set any rules or responsibilities for her.  I believe he is afraid of making her mad at him so he is expecting me to bring up these rules and responsibilities.  My biggest problem right now is she stays out late each night and then won't get up in the mornings to go to school.  My husband seems to think it is my responsibility to make sure she gets up for school.  (Even if I get her up, she still doesn't make it to school on time)  My stand point is, if she can't get up for school each morning, she doesn't need to be staying out each night.  She needs a curfew.  His stand point is she is 17, what am I suppose to do?  Should I just not worry about it and just get her up each morning for school?  I see this continuing into college (if she goes to college) and then into adulthood.  When should she be responsible for getting herself up? 
I think that you are correct, it does sound as though your husband is "afraid" of making her mad or triggering a fit from his daughter, so he's taking the cowards way out. However, there is no need for you to say those things to him because it will only cause him to be defensive. Instead, do something constructive. Without anger, talk to your husband about the two of you presenting a united front while talking to the daughter. You and your husband should come up with a list of reasonable limits, curfews, chores, etc., and sit down with the daughter and tell her what they are. Ask her if she has any questions, and then answer her questions calmly. Don't allow her to change the subject by having a tantrum or anything- just ask her for respect and let her know she will receive respect back. She does need limits, it doesn't matter that she is 17... its silly to say that because she is 17 she doesn't need a curfew... she needs to get a good night of rest so that she can think straight at school. Your husband isn't doing his job as a responsible parent if he chooses to look the other way while his daughter flounders.. this girl is begging for limits, you need to advocate for her. But that doesn't mean you be the bad guy! You want what is best for her, and I'm sure that her dad does, too. He is just to timid to enforce the rules. Also, you need to present her with reasonable concequences when she breaks the rules. I wish you the best!! Take your power back today!
 
November 7, 2005, 12:29 pm CST

Ex is still causing controversy

I left a marriage of almost 16 years in 2001. I got married at 19 to the first guy I ever dated. Needless to say, this did not go over well with my ex. He has and continues to make my life unhappy.  

  

My oldest daughter, doesn't even want to have a relationship w/him. She is now 17. My now 13 year old son struggles w/to like him or not and I struggle when he is liking him. Which is not fair to my son at all.  

  

I have a boyfriend that moved in about 3 years ago. My ex continues to leave nasty messages, calls me names, talks about me to all (and we live in a small town). He is unfriendly to my boyfriend who is great to our children and he is still in my business and wanting to know everything I am doing. 

  

For example, he never takes the kids...he calls up and asks my son to go to the mall. WHY? Because he drove by, saw that we were doing something to our deck and that I had a new car and he wanted to know what was going on. So it cost him an XBOX game to find out from my son why we had wood in the yard and if I bought or leased my new vehicle.  

  

He showed up at my daughter's football game (cheerleading, not playing!) on Friday after they have not spoken for several months, confronted her in front of her team on the track and said hi stranger...she told him to leave and she did not want to speak to him. He smelled of alcohol. He continues to say and do things that he has no recourse for.  

  

He drove by my house one day and I was gone w/my boyfriend in his truck and we were gone for the entire day. He kept driving by and thought I was home alone so left a message stating how it must suck to sit home all day by myself while my boyfriend is out f**king someone else. And he is proud of doing these things.  

  

He lost his job of 29 years recently for a racial comment at work. He calls me (and we don't speak) to let me know he can't pay child support. He also let the kids insurance go and I found out by a billing mistake that they had no insurance for  3 weeks until I added them to mine.  

  

I am so sick of this...feel like there is no end in sight. Any advice?  

 
November 8, 2005, 11:22 am CST

Frustrated

I have a 21 year old step daughter that has disrupted our family in so many ways.  It all began this past summer.  She still lives with us and I have a 14 yr old daughter that I am trying to raise with better judgment.  My husband and I married when she was 15 so she was pretty much already set in her way of how things go.  She had an abortion at 14 and another one when she was 20.  She was arrested this past summer for possession and intent to distribute (cocaine).  Of course my husband bailed her out of jail.  She continues to use drugs, I know this because I found pot in my car after allowing her to use it... for the last time.  I confronted her and my husband at the same time, still my husband just let it go.  He is so afraid she is going to move out that he will not enforce any rules with her, even the ones he put forth as a condition when he bailed her out of jail.   My husband gets defensive about anything I say accuses me of "Picking on her".  I have tried to get him to see what her actions are doing to our marriage but he says my actions or reactions to her behavior is what's destroying our marriage.  I have gotten to the point now that I say nothing and feel as if our marriage doesn't mean very much  to him.  I agree we stand behind our children but there comes a time when they have to answer to their actions.  We are still waiting for a court date for her arrest, we are not sure what to expect. 

  

Do I keep my mouth shut while knowing that she is doing a lot of things that are illegal, immoral and inappropriate?  HELP DR. PHIL 

 
November 11, 2005, 8:49 am CST

Is anyone dealing with this?

I have a fifteen year old daughter. She has been living with her dad for a year. I have been very sad about it. Unfortunately, it was my idea. My daughter's dad filed bankruptcy, played my daughter against me, and now he doesn't pay me child support anymore. I've tried everything to get my daughter to listen to reason, but she is still siding with her dad. Her dad made my life with my daughter so miserable. He told me that if Nicole called him screaming and crying again, he would come to my house and get her. The sad thing is she knew she could get his support. He doesn't like me and he wants my daughter to hate me too. I have tried and tried to get my daughter help. Counseling was a dead end. She wouldn't go. Pleading with her to see me once or twice a week hasn't worked. Going to a lawyer and making her be with me will only cause more conflict between us. I'm at the end of my rope. I want her to see me, but not if she is going to come home and treat me like crap. The waiting game is driving me crazy. Any advice?
 
November 12, 2005, 6:21 am CST

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: tlheisler

I left a marriage of almost 16 years in 2001. I got married at 19 to the first guy I ever dated. Needless to say, this did not go over well with my ex. He has and continues to make my life unhappy.  

  

My oldest daughter, doesn't even want to have a relationship w/him. She is now 17. My now 13 year old son struggles w/to like him or not and I struggle when he is liking him. Which is not fair to my son at all.  

  

I have a boyfriend that moved in about 3 years ago. My ex continues to leave nasty messages, calls me names, talks about me to all (and we live in a small town). He is unfriendly to my boyfriend who is great to our children and he is still in my business and wanting to know everything I am doing. 

  

For example, he never takes the kids...he calls up and asks my son to go to the mall. WHY? Because he drove by, saw that we were doing something to our deck and that I had a new car and he wanted to know what was going on. So it cost him an XBOX game to find out from my son why we had wood in the yard and if I bought or leased my new vehicle.  

  

He showed up at my daughter's football game (cheerleading, not playing!) on Friday after they have not spoken for several months, confronted her in front of her team on the track and said hi stranger...she told him to leave and she did not want to speak to him. He smelled of alcohol. He continues to say and do things that he has no recourse for.  

  

He drove by my house one day and I was gone w/my boyfriend in his truck and we were gone for the entire day. He kept driving by and thought I was home alone so left a message stating how it must suck to sit home all day by myself while my boyfriend is out f**king someone else. And he is proud of doing these things.  

  

He lost his job of 29 years recently for a racial comment at work. He calls me (and we don't speak) to let me know he can't pay child support. He also let the kids insurance go and I found out by a billing mistake that they had no insurance for  3 weeks until I added them to mine.  

  

I am so sick of this...feel like there is no end in sight. Any advice?  

Talk to your x and tell him that he can see his kids, but he cannot invade your privacy. Let him know the ground rules. Depending on how bad it is, you may consider getting a restraining order.  The only thing he should be allowed to do is see his kids. The rest of what he is doing is an invasion of your privacy. Making it legal, as to when and how he can see his kids, may make him see that you mean business, and hopefully he will get on with his own life and stay out of yours. If you don't do this, you may end up losing the relationship that you are in right now. How long do you think your new boyfriend will put up with your x's behavior? 

  

Good Luck 

 
November 14, 2005, 9:37 am CST

My Stepson Doesn't Care About Anything

My stepson is 13yrs old. He doesn't take care of anything he owns let alone anyone elses things or feelings. We got him a cat and he gets mad at me when I tell him that he needs to clean the cat litter or give the cat food. He says to me " Oh my God! I fed the cat last week!" I really like the cat and I don't want to get rid of it. When he eats he uses his fingers and then wipes them on the furniture or his clothes. We recently bought him a desk so that he can have a computer (without Internet) in his room, so we told him to clean up his room and move things around the way he wants. He asked me to help him, but every time I help him I end up bossing him around and then doing everything myself. My husband gets upset when I yell at our son, but he does not listen to me any other way. My husband has spoiled him through the years and now his son does not even listen to him. It's like we are just wasting his time for him to do what ever he wants. I am getting frustrated at my husband and we are starting to fight over what to do about our son.  When we punish him for the way he is acting he just sits there like oh well or sometimes just starts crying. He knows what he is doing is wrong. We both love our son. We really want him to care about things and/or do things without having to explain everything to him. What can we do as Parents, so that our son will do things he should be doing on his own? And caring about the things he has instead of taking them for granted? 

 
November 14, 2005, 9:56 am CST

Please let me know when you find out...

Quote From: muffypotts

My stepson is 13yrs old. He doesn't take care of anything he owns let alone anyone elses things or feelings. We got him a cat and he gets mad at me when I tell him that he needs to clean the cat litter or give the cat food. He says to me " Oh my God! I fed the cat last week!" I really like the cat and I don't want to get rid of it. When he eats he uses his fingers and then wipes them on the furniture or his clothes. We recently bought him a desk so that he can have a computer (without Internet) in his room, so we told him to clean up his room and move things around the way he wants. He asked me to help him, but every time I help him I end up bossing him around and then doing everything myself. My husband gets upset when I yell at our son, but he does not listen to me any other way. My husband has spoiled him through the years and now his son does not even listen to him. It's like we are just wasting his time for him to do what ever he wants. I am getting frustrated at my husband and we are starting to fight over what to do about our son.  When we punish him for the way he is acting he just sits there like oh well or sometimes just starts crying. He knows what he is doing is wrong. We both love our son. We really want him to care about things and/or do things without having to explain everything to him. What can we do as Parents, so that our son will do things he should be doing on his own? And caring about the things he has instead of taking them for granted? 

I too have 13 year old stepson who doesn't care about anything or any body.  He takes no responbility for his actions.  He doesn't do his work at school or his homework when punsihed (by dad) for this he gets frustrated and doesn't bother even more cause "what have I got to lose?"  We have reward system but he just doesn't care cause he wants to live with mom.  I know he loves me but lets face it he doesn't want ME -- he wants his mom, understandably so.  We (mostly me for hubby since he works) found out what would be involved in his living with her (after she told me that it was possible) but she has not followed through on her end...I now have stepped out (not only of displine) but also from correcting or even reminding him...as it is too stressful and causes arguements between him and me.  I realize that he has it hard but I want him to care about something and show intitive towards soemthing....oh well maybe its the age and the two husehold thing.... 

  

  

 
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