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Ask Charlene Hertzberg Your Own Question

Charlene Hertzberg
Charlene Hertzberg, Child care provider, parent, teache
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 44
Experience:  22 years of experience working with children, formerly worked as a parental advisor
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After being widowed, I remarried quickly to a man with two

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After being widowed, I remarried quickly to a man with two daughters, ages 6 and 9. I had a son who was 17 mos. old at the time. That marriage ended 5 yrs later when they children were 16, 13, 7, and the daughter we had together was 3. At the time, I told the girls (my step-daughters) that though the marriage was ending, I loved them as much as ever and they would not lose me or their siblings. As they grew into teenagers, they had keys to my house and would show up unannounced and treated my house as though they owned it, helping themselves to whatever food they found, and coming over at night, when the younger ones were going to bed. As time has passed, I met someone and eventually married again. This exascerbated the problem; they've grown increasingly disrespectful and rude, and now show up at our new house without warning and often when I'm not even home. The oldest girl, now 19, feels entitled to make plans with my 11 and 7 yr old without asking. What are proper boundarie
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Charlene Hertzberg replied 7 years ago.

You really need to sit down with the girls and just let them know what your boundaries are. I would approach it from the perspective of now that they are adults / approaching adulthood, that you would appreciate a call before they come over, and that just for scheduling purposes, it would be best if they check with you before making plans with the other kids. It sounds like they have basically acted the way you originally told them, so hopefully they will be respectful enough to adjust their behavior appropriately. At this age many parents find themselves setting boundaries with their children, since they think of you as a parent, and there is a natural renegotiation of parent/child boundaries as they approach adulthood, I think they will best receive it if you come at it from that perspective.



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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I've made those requests, but the girls have ignored them. The oldest, almost 20, has spoken openly about how she thinks I'm doing a bad job, that I don't feed the kids properly, that I don't take care of the younger ones, and that she'd do a better job. She's gone so far as to tell a family member she's thought about getting custody. I know its ridiculous, but I worry about her impact on my young ones. She talks down to me and contradicts / insults me in front of my younger children. They are both extremely rude and disrespectful to me now, and balk when I try to address it. I've tried to handle it without hurting them, but feel I'm running out of options. I'm to the point of telling them they are no longer allowed to "show up" and can no longer see the kids unless I can be there with them. They've both had issues with risky behavior, and have a general disregard for adults. HELP!!!
Expert:  Charlene Hertzberg replied 7 years ago.

If they are behaving like that then you should definitely restrict their access to your home and children. They need to show you respect in your home if they are going to visit and be around the younger children. I'd recommend that you sit down with them and let them know that they have been excessively rude and disrespectful to you and that because of that they need to call if they would like to come by, and for now you will not be allowing them to take the younger children out of the house, they may come and visit the children at your home, if they call first, but only if they act respectfully XXXXX XXXXX and your current husband. If they are unable to do that, then they will be asked to leave.


If it continues to be an issue, you may just have to tell them that although you love them you can not allow them to be disrespectful to your family and you will need them to not visit for a few months until things calm down and they can be more respectful. If that doesn't work then you may have to sever ties, however since they are a part of your children's lives I would try to avoid that unless there is no other option.

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