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to be annoyed at DS's teachers

(39 Posts)
missymarmite Thu 04-Oct-12 14:54:24

This comes on the back of an earlier thread where several posters were quite nasty and somehow made out that if you aren't married you are just "shacked-up" and your relationship with your partner's kids is somehow inferior to what it would be if you are married.

BTW, DS's father (who I was married to) buggered off and left us destitute. Marriage wasn't much of a commitment to him, was it? Didn't make him a very good dad.

I walked away from that thread because I felt some of the posts were unnecessary and verging on abusive. But it highlighted an incident that happened shortly afterwards and although I suspect many people will have quite different view from mine, I thought I'd risk the fray once more.

A couple of weeks ago DP and I went to DC 1 + 2's parent's evening at their primary school. I introduced DP as DS's stepdad. DP also introduced me to DSD's teacher as her step-mum.

Now, I know that we aren't married, but we are in a committed relationship. We both gave up a lot to live together, and we both agreed that we are a family.

I have had a few not so good boyfriends. I always knew quite early on that something wasn't quite right, so I was cautious. However, with DP I have no fears about the stability of our relationship. DP is my best friend, and I know he feels the same. We are soul mates. Whatever happens in the future, we will be there for each other, and we will care for our partner's children as our own. I know this because he isn't a vindictive person, and has a civil, if cold relationship with his ex. Our parents live locally and also refer to ALL the children as "grandchildren". DP's kids also refer to their mum's partner as their step-dad too, so she seems happy with that.

I know several families where the parents aren't married, and yet the respective kids/parents etc are referred to as step-whatever. So it just seemed normal for us to be step-mum, step-dad, rather than "my mum's boyfriend" or whatever which is a mouthful at best and doesn't at all reflect the relationship that we have with the kids or each other. I mean, it's fine in a short term relationship, but once you are committed, it's a bit rubbish really, especially in the long run.

So AIBU to be a tad miffed at DS's teacher, for telling my DS that he hasn't got a step family at all because we aren't married, just days after being introduced to DP as step-dad?

And, isn't it a bit old fashioned?

Sarraburd Thu 04-Oct-12 22:53:02

Read that thread.

It seemed to me the point they were making was more about when one does and does not have parental responsibility.

Magicmayhem Thu 04-Oct-12 22:29:11

do you have any plans to get married in the future or are you both anti-marriage? my teenage children refer to my boyfriend as their step dad, he doesn't live with us, but we are planning to get married in the future, and its something they did off their own back... do they call him dad?

oldraver Thu 04-Oct-12 22:13:29

Well technically a 'step' parent is the married partner of a DC's parent. So if you arn't married then technically your partner isnt a 'step'.

While its obviously your choice not to be married (I have no qualm with that, I am not married to DS's father) but you cant then 'claim' the things that go with marriage. You turn your nose up at what you consider 'a bit of paper' but want the niceties

Posted too soon! Dammit!

Had my Dad met and moved his GF in within a year and told me this was my "Step Mum" - I think that would be unreasonable.

These are MASSIVE terms, to just chuck them about so early in a relationship is too much and unfair to the children IMO.

I also agree with the poster who said the OP seems desperate to validate this relationship. I actually find the galloping into everything quite scary - particularly when there are kids involved.

No the teacher was NBU - she was being truthful.

The OP IS being unreasonable to put someone relatively new in her children's lives into such a serious position. The potential for it all to go tits up and the children to end up hurt and damaged if they lose a "parent" is huge.

Baby steps when there are babies involved - no need to gallop through the stages of a relationship like it's the Grand National!

My Dad has been married for 18 years....and I get on with his wife really well.

BUT - from the day they got married she has only ever been referred to (and refers to herself as) "my Dad's wife".

I personally don't like the term "step mum" or variations thereof. I have a Mum - I did not, and will never, need another pseudo parent. My Dad chose to marry his wife, and that's great for him. But why should that then automatically confer a parental role on someone, particularly when their being in my life at all was not my choice?

As I said - we get on great. My Dad's wife and me. But she has never and will never be any sort of parent to me.

op previous threads aside - if you introduced your dp as 'step-dad' and the teacher immediately corrected you, then Yanbu to be annoyed.

If it was a passing comment at a different time, about technically 'step' meaning married then yabu.

Just to put my view across - I have one dd. My dp has 2 dc. We have been together a year and a half, but worked together for a year before that. We moved in together 3 months ago and I would never refer to myself as their step-mum, likewise he is not dd's step-dad. He is my boyfriend/partner. We live together. Our children are treated equally and are welcome and wanted in our home, but it is far, far too soon to call ourselves that. I am loving getting to know his dc, and our dcs get on brilliantly. But I'm in no rush to make it all 'official'.

op you come across as extremely insecure in your relationship, you seem to want to jump from one milestone to another to prove just how in love you are, how amazing you are together and how easily your families have merged. Take a breath, relax, if all you say is true then you have all the time in the world to establish yourself as step-mum. No need to force it.

op previous threads aside - if you introduced your dp as 'step-dad' and the teacher immediately corrected you, then Yanbu to be annoyed.

If it was a passing comment at a different time, about technically 'step' meaning married then yabu.

Just to put my view across - I have one dd. My dp has 2 dc. We have been together a year and a half, but worked together for a year before that. We moved in together 3 months ago and I would never refer to myself as their step-mum, likewise he is not dd's step-dad. He is my boyfriend/partner. We live together. Our children are treated equally and are welcome and wanted in our home, but it is far, far too soon to call ourselves that. I am loving getting to know his dc, and our dcs get on brilliantly. But I'm in no rush to make it all 'official'.

op you come across as extremely insecure in your relationship, you seem to want to jump from one milestone to another to prove just how in love you are, how amazing you are together and how easily your families have merged. Take a breath, relax, if all you say is true then you have all the time in the world to establish yourself as step-mum. No need to force it.

clam Thu 04-Oct-12 20:30:39

What sammy said ^^

SammyTheSwedishSquirrel Thu 04-Oct-12 20:23:52

To be honest, I think you're jumping the gun and getting a bit narked that others aren't seeing your relationship through the same rose tinted glasses you are. You've only been with this man for a year, yet already you've moved him into your child's home, involved him in your child's education, taken decisions over his child that you have no right to make and now you want to insist people acknowledge him in a role legally he doesn't have. Sounds to me like you're more concerned about validation of your special relationship than anything else.

So yes YABU.

larks35 Thu 04-Oct-12 19:57:00

YANBU I don't think teachers should make any comment to a child's family arrangement. If your DS calls your DP his step-dad, then that is what he is. I too wonder how this conversation went between your DS and his teacher.

Floggingmolly Thu 04-Oct-12 19:48:09

If you really have only been together a matter of months; then insisting everyone refers to your dp as your kids step dad is ridiculous.
Step parent is a legal term; it's technically incorrect as well as way too soon.

Diamondsareagirls Thu 04-Oct-12 19:36:21

NeDeLaMer, yes I agree that if that was the only basis of the conversation that it would be an insensitive comment. However, I doubt that it was an isolated comment from a teacher without reference to something else that we are not aware of. Also, we are assuming that the teacher will remember being introduced to the step-dad. As a teacher I simply couldn't remember the individual situations of the 200+ children I teach even though I have met their parents at a parents' evening.

phantomnamechanger Thu 04-Oct-12 19:32:30

YABU

Do we know how and in what context the teacher even said this? eg if they were actually discussing families/explaining in class what someone meant by step or half siblings, for eg, and your DC said "oh I have a step dad too" then the teacher was merely stating the truth by clarifying that step parent means MARRIED to bio parent.

And we all know schools have to be so very very careful about who they are allowed to let children go off with etc

your DP is not your childs step-dad, whatever you call him, just like he is NOT your DH, however much you love and are committed to each other.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 04-Oct-12 19:26:07

NeDeLaMer, yes I agree that if both the child and the adult involved want it then that's fine. But like I said, it's a minefield. Some children will go along with it because its what their own parent wants and they don't want to upset (like I did), some will feel like they have no choice but to agree, some will be more than happy with it. That's why when it comes to teachers and anyone else not privy to the individual families feelings and circumstances, it's better to either not talk about it at all, or stick with the fact.

lakeofshiningwaters Thu 04-Oct-12 19:19:40

Sounds like an odd comment from the teacher, but she is right. Not a step-parent till married. From your other recent thread, I recall you have not been together particularly long and surely there's no rush to use 'step' and be upset if it is not used.

Also, I would be a bit concerned if the school were allowing you to sit in on your DP's son's meeting, and him your dd's without permission from the other parent (assuming your exP still has parental responsibility?). I haven't taken a Parent's Evening in 3 years, but that was something we were not allowed to do.

NeDeLaMer Thu 04-Oct-12 19:19:24

Diamonds - the teacher has been introduced to him as the childs step-dad, it is not up to her to tell the child that he doesn't have a step family (whether she agrees or not).

NeDeLaMer Thu 04-Oct-12 19:17:11

Outraged - I can totally understand why you didn't want someone to be called your step-dad when you didn't feel that relationship was there, but I feel you are being a bit one sided, if that relationship is there and both the adult and the child want to refer to each other as 'step/parent/child' then that is up to them - it is daft to say it's not legally so, so it's not allowed IMO.

Diamondsareagirls Thu 04-Oct-12 19:15:18

It doesn't sound like we have got the true picture of how the conversation went here without the context. As a teacher it is really tricky to negotiate the range of family situations you come across so maybe she was just referring to the legal status of your relationship - I doubt she was commenting on if you were soul mates or not. Yabu.

NeDeLaMer Thu 04-Oct-12 19:13:07

What Cinnamondgreyhound said (except I don't have step kids!). Lots of things aren't 'legally' correct, but are common useage (as someone else said, MIL when you aren't married). It conveys the meaning of the relationship and that is what it needs to do, day to day, you only need to worry about the 'legality' of it, for 'legal' issues.

However, if you --are the one making executive decisions about a child you haven't known very long, then you have bigger things to worry about--haven't been seeing your DP very long, I am surprised you have rushed into him being 'step dad' to your kids.

tiggytape Thu 04-Oct-12 19:10:33

Agree the teacher shouldn't be remarking on your family in that way at all. But if directly asked, she would be correct to say DP is not a step father. It is a term that means being married to a child's mother but it doesn't mean more committed or less committed (people marry after 2 weeks or 20 years).
Just like if you said DP was your husband, you may mean that you are committed to each other and he is your partner forever as far as you are concerned but it still wouldn't be an accurate description.

perfumedlife Thu 04-Oct-12 18:57:42

I'm sure schools have to cover themselves legally. What if your soul mate turned up at school to take them without your permission? Or prior warning to them? Would he be down on the paperwork as their next of kin? They have to keep themselves right. If you just introduced him a few days ago to the school, how long has been in your kid's lives?

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Thu 04-Oct-12 18:45:00

The teacher was out of order to tell your child that he doesn't have a step family if he believes he does, she should have just said nothing.

But this is a minefield for other people. I used to hate it with a passion when people referred to my Mums partner as my step dad. They weren't married, and as far as I was concerned he wasn't my step dad. But my Mum liked to play happy families so she would introduce him and refer to him as my step Dad, I think partly because she felt it was more respectable. I have more respect for her for the fact that she didn't marry him when I was a child and waited until I had a child of my own, because she didn't want to be that committed to someone who wasn't my Father or to make her name different to mine.

My children have a step dad, and it was a special part of our wedding day when he officially became my dcs step dad. It was part of what made the day about all four of us, not just me and DH. I didn't like it when people referred to my then dp as step dad because it felt like it was taking something away from our wedding day when we made the actual commitment. It woudo have meant less to my dc if he had been their step dad as soon as I decided he was a keeper.

I think yabu to expect that other people should refer to your dp as a step dad, because whether you like it or not, he isn't until you are married.

WofflingOn Thu 04-Oct-12 18:38:39

Seems a particularly odd thing for a teacher to have said, and a very dodgy area to be poking around in.
Most of us would keep our opinions and irrelevant facts to ourselves when it comes to real-life situations.

As far as I know step parent actually refers to parents partner who has been given parental responsibility in legal terms. It is used freely every day to mean parents oh and I would say you use it when you're ready or the child feels comfortable using it. My dss would refer to me at his stepmum although we are married but I'm sure he would have before we were married if he's been asked. I don't think it's up to a teacher to tell a child what kind of family they have or do not have if they've been told otherwise by parents though.

StrawberryMojito Thu 04-Oct-12 18:37:33

Tbh, it's hard to judge the teacher without knowing the context of the conversation. Presumably your DS has told you how the conversation came about and what was said?

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