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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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I was widowed 3 1/2 years ago after 27 years of marriage to

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I was widowed 3 1/2 years ago after 27 years of marriage to the same man. We had a large family. at the time of his death I still had several children at home ranging in age from 8 to 18. Approximately 2 years after my husband died I married a divorced man with 5 children at home. I knew we would struggle but I had no idea how rough it could get. His children have had little supervision and he is un-willing to discipline them or even give them any guidance. He feels they should be comfortable in their own home to the point that they live in filth and are allowed to drink, smoke , have questionable posters on their walls, etc. They are constantly in trouble at school, etc. I have no problem with dealing with these issues... I do have a problem with ignoring them and having no guidelines or expectations at all. Yes we talked about these thing before we got married.. He said he admired the way I was raising my children who are all well rounded, socially balanced and sucessful and outgoing. Once married we took it slow but the double standard became difficult to live with. His 7 year old daughter who had always slept with him continued to sleep with us and his 10 year old son was still soiling himself daily and morbidly obese due to the unhealthy eating habits in the home. I bent over backwards dealing with these issues while their father continued to ignore them as he did my children. Eventually, I left and we divorced. Within 3 weeks he came to me saying that he realized he needed to change his attitude but that he had always been "kind" to his kids and wanted to change his ways for their sake. After a few months of working at things we remarried and gave it another try. The last straw came when he asked me to apologize to his 15 year old son for doing his laundry and cleaning his room which had 16 loads of stinking laundry in it. The kids desperatly need direction and I love them all but it seems that we are not going to make it. I want to help but without their fathers support I am not sure what can be done. I am worried about the effect it is having on my two sons aged 14 and 11 who are still at home and are often embarrassed by their step-brothers reputation for lying and stealing which is in sharp contrast to the values that were stressed in our home prior to my remarriage. Is there any hope for our situation through counseling, etc. or are we best to follow through with a second divorce and go our separate ways. What does it take to make a situation like ours work?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thanks for consulting JA,
You have certainly given this situation every chance and it sound like little has changed. Correct? It is possible that counseling may help to change husband's behavior but counseling does not change personality. A change in the children's behavior and personality would also require considerable individual therapy in addition to the family therapy required. I am questioning husband's motivation to change because he promised it before remarriage and then was unable to carry through. This makes is sound more like a trait in his personality which will not change. So, it is your decision to make-can you (and your children) continue with little chance of change in husband or his children?
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