I went thru a very similar situation when my kids were young. The oldest handled things better. The youngest was around 6 or 7 when her Dad remarried and the new wife had 2 boys, ages 8 and 10. There were no enforced rules, only alot of yelling and screaming at the kids by the new wife and a lot of running wild. The kids had no structure at his house, just playing and doing anything they wanted. I had known her for years so I was not surprised by this. Her family was very wealthy and her kids were spoiled rotten by her parents. When my youngest would get home from visitation, she was very moody both at home and at school. I talked with the teacher and we worked out a solution. We found that if we left her alone and let her destress, by day 2 or 3 of being back in a home with rules and structure, she would be back to her normal sweet self. I would let the teacher know which weekends she went to her dads, which was usually every other weekend. The teacher would not call on her in class the first couple of days and this worked really well.
At home, I had their chores posted and what would happen if the chore was not done in a timely matter. This left no room for arguments and I followed thru with the rules.
My 2 girls have grown into fine young ladies with a good responsible head on their shoulders. My oldest is now 32, been married to her same husband for 11 years with 2 great kids ages 6 & 3. My younest is 24 and dating a very nice young man. She has been paying her own way since she got out of school.
They are both well rounded and responsible women who have respect for others because they were taught right from wrong with at least one steady influence in their life.
Their Dad’s stepsons are both irresponsible and can not hold down a job but a few weeks at the time because of drug habits and bad temper and attitudes.
YOU can make a difference with your kids and keeping your values true will help to accomplish this. They will respect you and see that just having fun and games at their dad’s is not the real world.
Hang in there and believe me, I can tell you some horror stories from being in the picture to my significant other’s kids. That is a whole different story in reverse. Him doing the discipline scene and his STBX letting them run wild. But, They are now all over 18 and what a relief!!!