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I need advise

Discussion in 'Parents of Children with Type 1' started by Just a Step Dad, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Just a Step Dad

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    I've been staring at the screen trying to figure out how to keep this short but I can't so.....

    My wife and I have been together for about a year and a half. I consider myself a good dad. I have 5 kids from a previous marriage (ages 10-21) so I am not new to the "parenting game". My wife has 4 children from her previous marriage so a total of 9 kids altogether. Two of her kids have had Type1 diabetes since the age of 4, they are now 9 and 18 yrs old. She has another daughter (age 10) with ADHD.

    What I need advise on is how to fit into this. Obviously the child with the ADHD is a hand full, lots of behavioral issues. According to her Dr. some of her anger has to do with the fact that her younger sister and her older sister both have Type1 and have always got lots more attention than she has. I feel like she and I have a great relationship and are really growing together.

    The problem for me is the youngest daughter who is diabetic. I DO love her she can be very sweet but she is whiny and lazy and (in my opinion) plays her mom like a fiddle. Mom is grateful for my help with ADHD child. I provide structure and discipline. But ANY time I say anything to the child with diabetes I get in trouble. I try so hard to treat her like all of the other children which mom "says" she want but.....

    The youngest child was just (within the last 2 months) also diagnosed with Celiacs Disease. I do feel for this little girl, it is so sad to have to deal with this on top of everything else. But it seems that she has a license for to behave in anyway she wants. I know it sucks to not only have one life controlling disease but to have two? It is just awful. BUT does that mean she can get away with anything?

    Last night the four youngest kids (two of mine and two of hers ages 9,10,10,13) had been playing together happily all day and swimming. When it came time for dinner the kids all started to work together to make dinner. The youngest started not participating and became very pouty and whiny (I have seen my own kids do this when they are not the center of attention and tired). I asked if her blood sugar was low, she did a poke and it was 134 so great, not a sugar problem. She was pouting in the other room with her mom and I said it was because she wasn't currently the center of attention. I am not a pro at this diabetes stuff at all but I do believe that what was going on with her was "kids stuff" and had nothing to do with diabetes or celiacs at all, it was just a 9 yr old being a 9 yr old and I was not going to feed into it. Had it been any of the other kids I KNOW my wife would have been right there with me.

    But it wasn't one of the other kids it was the diabetic with celiacs so how wrong was I to try to treat her like any of the other kids! I came in from the grill and was greeted with "I think we all need to start poking our fingers 20 times a day and giving ourselves shots at ever meal, meals btw which will not include bread or anything else with glutton. I don't think we fully understand how rough her life is." Well of course when she said "we" she meant "me". That I just don't understand what the 9 yr old is going through, I don't know how terrible it is. Guess what I don't and neither does she. I think as parents we can sympathize but we won't ever really know how bad it is. So no, I don't know. But I also know that we still have a responsibility to to raise a kid. She is raising a diabetic with celiacs and I want to raise a kid who has health issues.

    My frustration is that I am only the step dad. I have no real authority in this situation the child can behave in any manner she wants and mom lets her. Even the 17 yr old who also has type1 has said that mom babies this kid but she wont have any of it. Mom says thanks for helping with the ADHD kid and for all you do, you are a great step father. But then she turns on me when it comes to the diabetic. She is driving a wedge not only between her and me but also between me and the child. I am to the point that I just want to step away and let her deal with this high need, high maintenance child who can get away with anything.

    I don't pretend to fully understand diabetes but I know that it is manageable and when looking at these two little girls one with diabetes and celiacs and one with ADHD and lots of anger issues, one would assume that the child with physical issuses would be easier than the one with non-physical issue and yet for me it is SO MUCH EASIER to work with, help and understand the ADHD and anger. Mom doesn't let the child with ADHD get any slack but yet is sheltering and shielding the diabetic to the point I am about to just give up.

    Please help,
    Just a Step Dad
     
  2. Judy&Alli

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    deleted message too short
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011
  3. somanybakers

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    I am sure I have no good advise for you but I wanted to say that based on the fact that you made the effort to find this forum and post that question you must be a very caring person and father and not "just" a step-dad ;) Kudos for you for thinking this all through and wanting to be supportive.

    I think you are spot on to ask her to check her bg when she is acting whiny and irritable to decide if she is being a whiny 9yo or having a blood sugar issue. I think that helps keep a cwd accountable for their behavior that is not D related.

    Maybe if you explain to your wife, in a letter or in person (at a time that is not immediatly after an "episode of disagreement") how much you care and want to support and how you are trying to seperate her D related behavior from regular 9yo behavior so you can act accordingly.

    The little girl has a hard lot, no doubt. That being said, the world will not judge her behavior based on the fact that she has D and it is important that she learns to behave appropriatly to her age regardless of her diagnosis.

    I wish you luck. You seem to really care abouth this litle girl and her mother.
     
  4. Lindy

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    kudos to you - you are a busy family!!!

    First, I think you and your wife need to get on the same page - and until that happens - the rest is pointless. The child will only continue to divide the two of you, until she realizes it isn't going to work - both mom and dad (step or not) are saying the same thing.....

    As far as the double whammy dx - yep, that SUCKS! But, mom is probably a bit more flexible with her due to being her "baby".... ;)

    Hang in there - you sound great!
     
  5. Heather(CA)

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    What was your response to the pouting that upset your wife? Was there some sort of discipline? Did you ignore it? Why do you think your wife got upset? I think you said that you got in trouble for saying something? What did you say and how did you say it? If this sounds like I'm saying you did something wrong, I'm not. I'm just trying to get more details in case I can help :)

    BTW, it was awesome that you asked her to test when she was feeling that way :)
     
  6. Just a Step Dad

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    Thank you Judy! I will keep that in mind and hope that as we all figure out the diet, things will improve.
     
  7. Just a Step Dad

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    @Nancy, Thank you for your response! Yes, I do care. I love them both very much, to the point of today just feel like crying. I like the idea of a letter and I think I will try that.
     
  8. manda81

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    I have a whiny 9 year old as well, so I can relate. He's driving me bonkers.

    Children with diabetes, or celiac, or ADHD or whatever the issue may be are still just children. Children who need discipline, structure, and to be taught that they will not be able to use these things as a crutch in real life, and definitely not in our home.

    My child with diabetes gets in trouble just as much as his brother (both of mine have Celiac). Generally if he's acting terrible I do the same thing you did, and check his sugar. If it's not in range, I do cut him a little slack for the time being, but make sure to talk to him about it later. While that behavior is not OK, there are sometimes circumstances where they're feeling out of control themselves, and as children, I don't think they always know what to do with all of that.

    That said, I think anytime you get hit with a new diagnosis, it's hard for a while. For us, finding out about Celiac brought back all of our anger, sadness and confusion that we experienced during his diagnosis with diabetes. It was like being there all over again for us. Mom may be dealing with the same thing.

    We all want our children to be okay. We want them to be happy, and when life deals them a crappy hand, we want to try to make up for it. I know I did. But I think after a bit, you begin to realize the best thing you can do for them is keep it normal. As normal as possible. I feel like our job as their parents is to prepare them for their own lives, and their own lives will not be rainbows & kittens.

    It's hard to balance being a parent AND making the kids happy. It seems a lot of the time, you cannot do both.

    I agree with the poster who said to talk to your wife, or write her a letter. It's obvious you care about all of them very much.

    (If you do find out how to cure whiny 9 year olds, PLEASE let me know! :) )
     
  9. Just a Step Dad

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    @Heather, My response to the pouting that got me in trouble was "she is just upset she isn't the center of attention" Again had I said it about any of the other kids behaving the say way she would have agreed in a second. But I am just feeling like the child with diabetes is so Over Protected that I will get in trouble no matter what I say :(

    The reason I don't I did anything wrong is if it had been ANY other kids I know she wouldn't have reacted the way she did. But I am very open to being told how I could handle things better.
     
  10. Christopher

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    I am assuming you get in trouble with your wife. I guess it depends on WHAT you are saying to the child, but if it normal parenting things, then you need to push back on your wife and ask why you are in trouble for normal parenting.

    No, I don't think she should be exempt from the rules of the house just because she has diabetes. It is a complicated issue, because sometimes you do have to factor in the physical and emotional issues that come along with diabetes/celiac, but in general, it should not be used as an excuse to not follow the rules. I think you can set up a dangerous precedence in a child who thinks they are "owed" things or that the rules don't apply to them because they have diabetes/celiac.

    Try and remember that just because it was not a blood glucose related behavioral issue, it could still be related to her feelings ABOUT her diabetes/celiac. She may have feelings around food/eating, like how "easy" it is for the other non-d siblings to eat. Or she could have just been a normal whiny 9 year old. In this case, I would just let her pout in the other room.

    This seems a little extreme to me. But I do think it is a good idea to lance your fingers a few times and give yourself a shot or two (no insulin, of course), just to see what it feels like.

    This would be a big problem for me, and it has nothing to do with diabetes. It is one thing for a step-child to have issues with you disciplining them, but you need to have the support of your wife. You should have the same parenting authority as your wife.


    Maybe you could suggest that your wife come to this site and talk to some other parents here and get some ideas about how they deal with some of the same issues you all are dealing with. But I commend you for reaching out to the parents here. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  11. quiltinmom

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    I'm guessing your wife treats the youngest that way because she's the baby. Even though she's 9, she's still the baby. We women have this tendency to protect the baby and even sometimes wish they would stay the baby forever. I don't think it's a diabetes thing or a celiac thing. Those are just "avenues" used to baby the baby. If not for those, it would probably be something else.

    You're right though...you're not her father, so you have very little say here. I think all you can do is have conversations with your wife, helping her to realize she is "being had" by the youngest one. If it's a deal breaker (meaning, you'd leave your wife) let her know. If not, you just have to put up with it until you two can get on the same page about it. Instead, focus on helping the ADHD child and let her deal with the youngest. Perhaps you could lovingly bring up specific situations where she favored the youngest child, if you think it would help her realize what is happening. Maybe it's a 9 year old phase that will pass. I sure hope so.



    Good luck!
     
  12. Just a Step Dad

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    @Amanda, Thanks for the encouragement. I don't think it solved my issue but I do feel like I am on the right track. I just want ALL of my kids to be happy in life and I know once the youngest in grown the "real world" won't care that she has diabetes or celiacs or any other issues. She will be expected to behave like the rest of us have to. I work with someone who is paralyzed waist down and if he came in whiny, pouty, scream at the boss and then tried to blame it on his condition, he would be fired.

    I want this child to know that I love her and I feel for her and I know that her life will be a bit harder that most other people but that she cant hide behind it.

    Thanks mostly for your last line about curing pouty kids. I finally laughed today :)
     
  13. StillMamamia

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    Hi and welcome to the boards.

    Someone on here suggested the book :

    http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-Chi...9894/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303327582&sr=8-1

    Maybe get a copy?

    I would say give it time. It hasn't been that long since your new big family has been together (I assume??), so give it time.

    My own son with D is a whiny king. I mean a WHINY KING. I'm the stricter parent, DH is the more relaxed one, but we try to respect what the other has said regarding particular behaviours. If we disagree, we talk it out away from the kids.

    If you feel you're at your wits end, get counseling from someone who has experience in dealing with families and chronic diseases.

    Best of luck and kudos for testing. Just a word on bread and "glutton" foods - I would try to avoid putting a negative connotation on food, especially in front of the kids. Not saying you did that, but throwing out some food for thought.;)

    Best of luck.

    ETA - ignore that part about the glutton foods - I misread a part of your post. (blush)
     
  14. Heather(CA)

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    OK, saying this gently because I can tell you really care:cwds:

    Your wife is having a lot of emotions about the life her daughter is having to deal with at the moment. The D dx'd was bad enough, but to add Celiac really compounds the situation. So she is probably feeling that "her baby" has a right to be pouty at times, she does have a LOT to deal with right now, the Celiac is still new and fresh emotions are happening.

    That comment could come off as kind of snotty if that makes sense, whether you meant it that way or not, it could be adding insult to injury in your wife's mind. I'm not saying to baby her, just playfully distract her there's no reason you can't do that with all the kids. It's not a bad thing to give a little extra tlc, especially in a family that big, does that make sense?

    I would suggest the nest time she's acting that way...Give her a little attention, a hug, a raspberry, you know, dad stuff that makes you laugh.
     
  15. Christopher

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    I really don't understand the logic behind a statement like that. I think when he married the children's Mother he should then be granted all the rights that any parent would have. He is living in the house, probably contributing financially, emotionally, physically, dealing with all the day to day issues that come with raising and parenting children, yet you think he should have his mouth taped up when it comes to having a say?? Wow. :confused:

    He may not be the children's birth father, but he is now one of their parents, and as such, he should have the same parental rights as their Mother.
     
  16. HBMom

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    As another poster mentioned - do you think she was upset because she felt like she couldn't participate in dinner like the rest of the kids could? Maybe she felt that way but couldn't put it in to words?? I do agree that she will have to learn how to deal with Diabetes and Celiac as she grows up, and I do agree that she should have to go by the same rules as the rest of the family, and starting now is a good idea, but you may have to just go one step at a time. It is so great to see that you care so much for her and I see what your goal is - it just might take some time.

    I have a non-d daughter who is 11, and she gets emotional over EVERYTHING, so I definitely can see where combining D, Celiac, and everything else could just cause a girl her age to melt down at times. Maybe talking to your wife about the two of you having a conversation with her daughter another time, when things are calm, would help? Let her know that you are aware that it is hard to deal with the things she has to deal with, but come up with ways she can communicate with you that would work better??
     
  17. virgo39

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    Often, step parents do not have the same parental rights as birth parents.
     
  18. Christopher

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    I understand that, but to make the statement that he has no say in dealing with the children simply because he is not their biological father seems wrong to me.

    I am sure in a legal sense, unless he adopts her children, there are certain things that he may not be allowed to do. But in the day to day raising of the children in the home, I think he should have the same parental authority as the Mother. If not, he will be seen and treated like an outsider with no authority, and to me that is not fair to him and is no way to live.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2011
  19. virgo39

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    Understood. I was just responding to your statements saying that he should have "all" the rights any parent would have and the "same" rights as his mother. It seems like that would be one of the biggest challenges in being a step-parent.

    I sympathize with the OP, because it certainly sounds as though he has the child's best interests at heart and may see things with a different/better perspective than the child's mom. I think issues like this can be very difficult to work through on one's own and the ability to do so probably depends in large part on very, very open and neutral communication in private between the parents and time to accept deal with the new Celiac dx.
     
  20. Flutterby

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    My daughter is 8 has t1 and celiac. She DOES pout when she's not the center of attention. She's so use to being the center that she doesn't know what to do when she's not.

    You and Mom need to sit down, with no kids, and talk about whats going on. Have t1 and celiac sucks, it really does. I hate it for my child, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but that doesn't give her permission to be in brat mode all the time.

    When bratty behavior comes up we will check bg to see whats going on, if its normal she's basically told to knock it off or she'll be in her room. If she is indeed low (or high) we fix the problem, wait until she's calmed down, either by sitting with us or by going to her room by herself to chill, then we discuss with her what she did and how its inappropriate. We tell her that we know it sucks, we totally understand, she's allowed to get angry but she may not take it out on others. We do not let her get away with bad or inappropriate behavior just because of D or celiac.

    The little one is wrapped around mom's fingers and I can see why, she's the youngest, has type 1 and now celiac. Its hard for a mom not to let little things go.. but its only going to hurt the entire family, including the little girl.

    As hard as it may be, you and mom need to sit down. We've noticed in our house that my DH gives our oldest 'extra' chances, lets her get away with more, does special things with her and this is because we KNOW K gets a lot of attention, so he's trying to make up for it, but in the mean time he wasn't doing very many 'special' things with K.. I pointed this out to him and he said 'well, she gets so much attention already'.. yes, she does, but its all MEDICAL attention, its not like we take her on special vacations and leave the older one home.. But because *I* saw him doing this I started treating the younger one a little bit more lax.. We discussed it, multiple times ;) and hopefully have straighten out the issues.. But Mom really needs to understand that bad behavior from this child shouldn't be accepted.. if she's going to throw a fit because she's not getting all the attention then she needs to leave what ever the project is and go elsewhere.. T1 and celiac shouldn't be used as an excuse for her to get what she wants. The sooner mom sees this the better for everyone involved.
     

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