Why do Stepchildren need to stay the night?

(102 Posts)
tinybluemoon Mon 18-Mar-13 10:41:15

Just a question that was raised in my other thread (Sorry MN head quarters, I know you hate these spin offs) that I thought might be worthy of exploration.

Why is it so important that our stepchildren stay the night? It isn't like any activities or bonding can be undertaken while sleeping, and I know myself I've always preferred to sleep in my own bed, and I know my own children are much the same. Surely it would be just as worth while to eat dinner as a family and than return home, especially if the children must be up early to be delieved home in the morning, not leaving much time for morning activities.

So why is it always viewed as important for visitation to include overnights? Who actually benefits from these? The children? The parents? The CSA? Who?

Petal02 Tue 19-Mar-13 17:47:06

DH treats DSS like a guest; DH is fearful that DSS may stop visiting if he's ever parented, disciplined or expected to muck in round the house. He's treated like a cross between royalty/toddler/invalid, not a family member.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 19-Mar-13 17:25:47

expat There are some fathers who treat their DCs as guests though; often motivated by fear that the DCs will refuse to 'visit' if they are disciplined, expected to do chores or fit in with family plans.
A parent can discipline a child without fear and with authority - when that is not possible, then the relationship ceases to be that of parent/child and the child becomes a guest in the household rather than an integral part of the family.

AmberLeaf Tue 19-Mar-13 17:25:22

Im imagining how the childrens Mum will feel at the prospect of no longer getting one night a fortnights break, while the OP waits for her 'dream house' to be built.

Can't imagine it has been easy caring for 4 children 2 of which are 2 yr old twins on her own.

AmberLeaf Tue 19-Mar-13 17:22:21

It is also better if the step parent in such circumstances has a healthy attitude towards her DH/DPs children too, doesn't see them as an inconvenience and views them as part of their blended family.

Doesn't always happen though.

expatinscotland Tue 19-Mar-13 17:20:31

These kids of his are 6,4 and 2. And apparently, the OP has 2-year-old twins by him and now another baby. They are young children. They can't help it their father puts it about like a rock star.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 19-Mar-13 17:19:09

soup There is no doubt that DCs who are subject to the kind of fickle parenting from a NRP that you describe are also damaged.

My point is that when contact is regular it is be better for a DC to receive a consistent message from both parents - whether that be that they are family member or a guest in their NRP home - rather than to be subject to years of emotional conflict.

allnewtaketwo Tue 19-Mar-13 17:17:23

**"'You also state that many RP’s indoctrinate children to believe that the “guest time” they spend at their father’s house should be ring-fenced, uninterrupted, protected, and not subjected to the normal fluctuations that would apply in ‘together’ families, '

That's because it's not a 'together' family, it's a blended family, so it can't work the same way. Guest time? Their father is their parent, his children are never his guests, they are his own flesh and blood"**

I agree with NADM. In some cases, the PWC does indeed indoctrinate the children to believe that she "owns" them and that they are "allowed", by her, to "visit" their father on a strictly rostered basis. That dynamic is extremely powerful in how the children perceive the respective houses. It would be extremely difficult for a child to view the NRP house as their home under that dynamic, regardless of what rooms and or beds they have there.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 19-Mar-13 17:13:32

Based on the OP of this thread alone, its clear that one adult in the DCs life (the OP) considers her DSC to be visitors to her home, and that her DSC's home is with their Mum.

What we don't know is how the DCs parents view the arrangement - but if all the adults are in agreement with the OP that her DSC are subject to visitation with their Dad, then the DCs are unlikely to suffer emotionally if overnights aren't included. They may have a different relationship with their Dad than if they were an integral part of his family, but that is preferable to years of emotional conflict caused by mixed messages and no clear sense of belonging that many DCs experience in this situation.

expatinscotland Tue 19-Mar-13 17:08:22

'You also state that many RP’s indoctrinate children to believe that the “guest time” they spend at their father’s house should be ring-fenced, uninterrupted, protected, and not subjected to the normal fluctuations that would apply in ‘together’ families, '

That's because it's not a 'together' family, it's a blended family, so it can't work the same way. Guest time? Their father is their parent, his children are never his guests, they are his own flesh and blood.

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 17:04:51

Many NRP may strive to provide a home for their DC, and consider them to be a member of their family, whereas many RP reinforce the message that the DC is sent to visit their NRP, often reluctantly on the part of the RP, that the DC should be a guest in the NRP home and that any new family members should concede the time between DC and NRP as protected and uninterrupted.

Don't forget the "many" shit NRP who expect the RP to fit in with whatever their plans are.

AmberLeaf Tue 19-Mar-13 16:47:47

Why do step children need to stay overnight?

Erm, because they are spending time with their Dad? do you think they are there to see you?

To their Dad they are children not step children.

Not read your other thread, but going by some of the replies you were the other woman? is that correct?

Ok, ask yourself what you would like to happen when your DH/DP is with his next partner/wife and your twins want to spend time with him.

Will you then think that he should have them overnight, or just take them for a few hours?

Petal02 Tue 19-Mar-13 16:29:24

NADM you’re usually the voice of reason, and this time is no exception.

I agree totally that the quality/value/significance of the time spent with the child outweighs whether overnighting takes place or not.

I say this because there are many occasions when DSS overnights with us, but doesn’t actually spend any time with his Dad. For example, his Dad may collect him from school at 3.30pm, drop him at our house, then return to work, sometimes not getting home til 9pm, obviously everyone sleeps during night time hours, and then DSS is back to school the following day. So the “overnight stay” box has been ticked, we’ve also been rota compliant, but in reality DSS/DH have probably spent 30 mins together. It’s quality versus quantity. Box ticking and rota compliance has long been more important that the quality of DH/DSS’s relationship; and I suspect this applies to many other households.

You also state that many RP’s indoctrinate children to believe that the “guest time” they spend at their father’s house should be ring-fenced, uninterrupted, protected, and not subjected to the normal fluctuations that would apply in ‘together’ families, thus creating a very artificial situation. So if a new baby arrives in a ‘second family’, rather than everyone blending together and simply morphing into a larger family (as would happen in a together family) the exact same access arrangements have to be maintained at all costs, even if the resulting situation is unrealistic. One of the reasons I chose not have a baby with DH, is that any baby I delivered would have his/her life dictated by the rigid EOW regime that DH/DSS, and by extension me, lived by. No doubt everyone will be cheering from the rafters – well done Petal, you were absolutely right not to bring another child into the household, after all, he/she may have distracted DH from DSS for a few hours …….

In a together family, if a new baby comes along then of course everyone’s time/money/attention is diluted slightly by the new-comer, but no one bats an eyelid. But if the older child is a step child, then god forbid if any of that were to happen.

The regulars will know that slavishly sticking to historical arrangements which defy common sense, whether regarding bedrooms, overnighters or rotas in general, is a subject close to my heart. But DSS is now 18 ½ and still expects to have the same amount of overnight stays that he did when age 11. We’re presently trying to factor this into our forthcoming holiday; DH is working away for the days prior to our holiday, we could have DSS for one overnighter when DH gets back, but the following night we’re not really going to bed due to a crack-of-dawn flight, we’d need to take DSS back home at 1am (yes, 1am in the morning, that’s not a typo!) if he were to (try to) overnight with us that night.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 19-Mar-13 15:42:40

I think whether or not DCs spend regular 'overnights' with each parent is far less significant than whether the parents/adults in the DCs life place equal value/significance on whatever arrangement happens to be in place.

There are plenty of 'together' families who experience regular, prolonged separations - where one parent may not have any regular direct or indirect contact with the DCs for weeks at a time; the childs relationship with their absent parent is reinforced by the other parent during that time, and the child does not experience any longterm negative affects.

In contrast, too many separated parents view the relationship their child has with their other parent from totally different sides of the beachball - and the child receives mixed messages and conflicting emotions. Many NRP may strive to provide a home for their DC, and consider them to be a member of their family, whereas many RP reinforce the message that the DC is sent to visit their NRP, often reluctantly on the part of the RP, that the DC should be a guest in the NRP home and that any new family members should concede the time between DC and NRP as protected and uninterrupted. It is inevitable that this will lead to very confused and mixed up DCs!

It is quite possible for a DC to feel loved and valued without overnight stays, and equally possible for a DC who has two homes to feel uncomfortable in both.

bluebell8782 Tue 19-Mar-13 13:52:01

OP - the house is your step-children's home. Sleeping-over shouldn't be something to be considered. It is important for the children and for the parent (and step-parent) to get to enjoy reading, putting to bed, breakfast etc - all the normal things they would have got to do together if the parents hadn't split. There is always room, even in a full house. Sleeping over shouldn't be thought about it should be assumed.

My DSD comes EOW - love to have her more but we aren't allowed. Her mum's home is her 'main' home but ours is hers as well. She LIVES with us EOW - not just comes to stay. She has her own bed here and at her mum's. If we have someone to stay during the week DSD will be asked if it ok to use her bed as it is hers. Step-children are not visitors, they live in your home.

They may be your stepchildren, but they are your partner's children!

They just some inconvenience that is supposed to disappear when he ends his relationship with their mother.

Reminds me of a couple of work colleagues over the years, who have stepchildren. Then when pregnant with their own child they start saying that the stepchildren will have to come over less often. Terrible. The stepchildren were there before you were, its up to the adults to accomodate them.

wordfactory Tue 19-Mar-13 11:43:01

Why OP?

Because you tend to live with your family...and the NRP is still family, or meant to be.

If he doesn't consider how he is going to house his DC when he leaves, and enters into a life where there will be no room for his DC (either physically and emotionally) then he is not worht the name of parent.

SoupDreggon Tue 19-Mar-13 07:25:12

Why is it so important that our stepchildren stay the night? It isn't like any activities or bonding can be undertaken while sleeping

Because they are family
Because parenting isn't all about bloody "bonding activities"
Because the resident parent shouldn't have to do every single one of the shit boring things just so the NRP can have fun "bonding activities"

You don't seem to like having your DPs children very much. The house that's being buying is irrelevant - this thread kind of proves the point that you don't want them imposing on you as it's not related to house size.

purpleroses Mon 18-Mar-13 21:21:19

There's lots of good reasons for staying overnight already been posted on this thread - but just to emphasise one in particular - In my experience it's quite hard for kids to be visiting a house with other kids in it, where they don't have their own bit of space - even if that's just a small part of a shared bedroom.

Before I moved in with DP me and my DCs would often spend whole days round at his. My kids and his sometimes fell out and one of his would say to one of mine - "get out of my room" or something like that, and my DC would be upset as they had nowhere else to go. The DCs actually get on much better since we moved in - everyone has their own space, the ground rules are clear - and fair, and DSC are much less territorial than they were before.

Having a bed in the house isn't just about being able to stay the night - it's also about having a bit of space that's yours. You can play on a bed, read a book, have a nap, and it marks that you belong in the house. If you don't let the DSC have a bed in the house (even if it's a high sleeper/camp bed/whatever) then you also deny them any chance of feeling at home there, or on an equal footing with the DCs that do live there full time. I think you'd end up with some rather unhappy children if you did that

Bonsoir Mon 18-Mar-13 20:42:18

So that both parents take responsibility for the whole of parenting.

wannaBe Mon 18-Mar-13 19:42:26

well as her twins are the same age as one of the stepchildren it surely makes sense that op was the ow. Which probably goes a long way towards explaining her attitude to the sdc. hmm

Booyhoo Mon 18-Mar-13 19:27:14

petal i think you are getting confused between OP's threads. this one isn't about her shortage of bedroom space and she hasn't asked for suggestions as to how to fit in all her and her DH's children here. this one is where she questioned why the children should even be staying over at their father's house in the first place.

Mother2many Mon 18-Mar-13 18:57:47

Wow...shocked anyone could/would even think this way! How would you feel if your child wasn't able to feel at home at their father's house!! Children of Divorce have 2 HOMES, 2 BEDS, sometimes, 2 BEDROOMS of their own...

I'm speechless at the inconsiderate question of the OP. angry

Petal why are you defending every single post? Like you say you're not the OP. Maybe she should be answering for herself?

And yes, travel cots, ready beds, blow up beds, it is possible.

KobayashiMaru Mon 18-Mar-13 18:51:06

Rubbish. You can always make room if you want to. She just doesn't want them there.

Petal02 Mon 18-Mar-13 18:49:55

Can't you read?????? The OP is in the process of having a larger house built, to accommodate everyone, but it won't be ready for another six months.

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