I don't know anything about this subject. I'm not a step and I've never had a step. Mr GV has had some not-great experiences with step-parents and now he's one. At least I think so. We've been together over three years and have lived together most of that time. Unlike Little GV's former step-mom, he has very good boundaries and has never tried to ingratiate himself with her. However, now that it's been this long is it ok for me to push a bit?

Here's the main issue: Little GV is a fairly normal 11-year-old, which means her room is a disaster not unlike mine at her age. Unfortunately, she has a rat that lives in a giant cage in there and kicks bedding all over the place. Bedding that gets tracked throughout the house because she frankly sucks at sweeping up regularly. I've been asking nicely, begging, and threatening any way I can think of to get her to keep it cleaner in there (not even worrying about the clutter). She's at the age where as soon as my mouth opens her ears shut down, so to say it's been an uphill battle is a gigantic understatement.

Mr is even more bothered by it than I am, though he doesn't say so directly (sometimes stereotypes about English people are true). He hardly ever communicates his displeasure about something. Last night he said something about wanting to institute a no-bare feet policy and I hit the roof. My feet get hot easily and he doesn't seem to understand how deeply uncomfortable this is. I made it clear that this is not an option. I get that he's frustrated, but if it's something Little GV is doing, he needs to take it up with her. I suggested he bring it up tomorrow at dinner so we can address it as a family, rather than stewing in his discomfort.

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I don't know why he doesn't take some initiative with her. Her ex-step-mom used to crawl up her ass all the time for lesser issues than this. She went too far, but he isn't going far enough and I'm tired of getting on her for the same damn thing over and over. Since he doesn't speak out much I know she'll actually hear him and MAYBE take it more seriously. I won't back him if he wants the no-bare feet thing, but I know there are other options.

Do I talk with him specifically about the overarching issue of him having more latitude with her than he realizes, or keep it to specific issues when they arise? I'm tired of feeling like an ineffective conduit and a failure as a parent.

I'm curious how other step-parents see their development as a parent. Taking time to build a relationship doesn't seem unreasonable, but it seems like ratcheting things up a notch isn't either.

Thoughts?