I Can’t Discipline My Stepchildren

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child with dunce capI am not a yeller. I have never been. If someone pisses me off, I lean towards leaving the room or not talking to whomever has pissed me off for a few days, until I get over it. Or I compose nasty e-mails I never send, but do make me feel better.

I never yell at my daughter, because I have “The Look.” And when my daughter sees “The Look” she knows she better get her shit together, or put her dish in the dishwasher, or do better on a test the next time.

Now that I have stepchildren, I’m finding it extremely hard, if not impossible, to discipline them. They don’t know “The Look,” which is an expression on my face that says, “I love you but I’m not happy.”

My fiancé has told me numerous times that if his children do something I don’t like when they are with us, then I can, and should, say something to them. Which is good in theory, but in practice, I just can’t do it.

My fiancé found me outside in my backyard crying the other day. The reason? I didn’t want to go back into my house, which I no longer feel is my house, because it has been taken over by two teenage girls and a dog, which came with my fiancé, who I love to pieces. Yes, it is no longer MY house, but it is OUR house. All of ours. Still, my stepchildren’s crap was everywhere. They didn’t walk THEIR dog, which resulted in the dog shitting and peeing on a carpet that I had ordered from Italy and was ruined. Because the dog peed in the house, my house smelled like urine. I also found one of their bras on the living room table, their knapsacks in the hallway, their dirty peanut butter knives left on the table, their wet towels on the floor mixed in with their clothes, and their coats lying on the hallway floor.

Because I like a tidy house, I almost had a breakdown, or did have a breakdown, which is why I was out in the backyard sobbing uncontrollably. It wasn’t just THAT day. It’s been happening for months and months. Because they don’t walk THEIR dog, even though when I agreed to take in the dog, after their mother told her daughters, “Either Rebecca takes the dog or I’m getting rid of it,” I had conditions, which was that it was their and my fiancé’s responsibility.

The dog has shit and peed all over my house, because his children don’t walk him. I have no problem telling my daughter to put her dirty clothes in her hamper or giving her “The Look.” My stepchildren even have told me that I can tell them if I don’t like something they are doing.

But I just can’t do it.

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