Johan-dad asks: Hello. I’m married, 2nd marriage, to a beautiful lady I’ll call C. She’s got just as beautiful little girl, M. I’ve been in C and M’s life for the past 3 1/2 years and we’ve been married now for just over 1 year. M, my stepdaughter that I love like my own, is 5 years old. C and M have this love-hate relationship, and I’m saying that because one minute they can love each other to bits and the next they scream and shout at each other like hateful teenagers. My question is not that simple, but I’m going to try and break it down to simplify. M sleeps in our bed as she refuses to sleep in her bed. Mom is saying that she doesn’t want to fight at night getting M to bed so she rather give M what she wants to keep the peace. However, when it’s long past sleeping time, M is still awake and mom is then fighting and screaming at M to sleep. I feel that the fighting and screaming at night is worse than telling the child to go to bed and letting her cry in her bed until she falls asleep, because she will learn to after a while. Unfortunately this is not an option and I’ve been told that I should stay out of their fights and mind my own business. If I do make mention of the fact that I feel it is wrong, then mom goes and sleeps in M’s bed and returns to ours during the night, and the next day all I hear is how bad it is sleeping in M’s bed. Now this is just one example and there is a lot more, but I would like to know what is my right as a step-parent and how do I deal with this. If my wife is unable to discipline, and I’m not talking about giving hidings or verbally abusing the child, how do I intervene and what is my responsibility? I feel that our, my wife and I, relationship is taking a big knock because of the fact that mom either fights with the child like she is her enemy or she gives the child her way to avoid a fight and I am sitting on the sideline seeing how they destroy each other and I can not do anything about it. My wife has even mentioned it that she considered to kill herself because she can’t handle M and life, but still she doesn’t want to allow me in that circle to help her. I don’t know what part of parenting is “allowed” from a stepparent’s perspective, and what should I do as a husband to get my wife to understand that I am not the enemy but can assist her if she allows me. I always try to be calm and not get involved too much, but sometimes I’ll come in the crossfire unwillingly. Please help me to understand my role where two people I love are falling into this pit and it feels like my hands are cut off.
Hi Johan-dad – There are those who will tell you that you’re in a very common position for a step-parent. But I’ll tell you, you’re in an even more common place for a DOG! This is exactly the position we find ourselves in all the time – we ... read more