need to vent... am i being unreasonable!

(26 Posts)
sadielillian413 Wed 08-May-13 08:44:18

sadielillian413 Wed 08-May-13 08:51:29

(urgh stupid phone) dss is 3.5. me and dp been together 2years and i have just had my dd (3.5wo). me and dp seem to keep coming to blows over his inability to carry out any kind of punishment for dss bad behaviour. i understand that hes only very young.. but his tempers appauling (throwing things..punching things..screaming..shouting and simply wont accept no or negotiations) and when im left in charge, which is very often as we have dss 3nights and 3days pw and dp works.. he simply will not listen to me.. i get back chat to extreme measures.. i have discussed this with dp who sets rules in place to dss but when dss has come to end of "warnings" the punishment is never carried out. ive tried to explain to dp that when dss starts school in september rules and punishments will be carried out and if dss responds in that setting how he does in my home dp and dps ex will never be out of the school! dp says im unreasonable and need to stop being so hard on dss as im 'not a parent'... so what do i do..? this has been going on for so long that i cant see me and dp seeing eye to eye on anything anymore!

Patchouli Wed 08-May-13 08:59:17

Is it worse since the new baby?
Siblings can have to try very hard for attention when there's a baby coming or arrived.
Sounds like he could do with plenty of fun time with his dad - not easy when busy with baby and working, I know.

NotaDisneyMum Wed 08-May-13 09:01:42

If you're not a ''parent" in the opinion of your DP, then stop covering for your DP - refuse to care for your DSS until your DP backs you up.

This is an all too familiar story - the NRP delegates his parenting responsibilities to the stepmum and the undermines her in order to remain "in favour". It's unfair on you, your DSS and your new baby, but unless you make a stand, nothing will change.

sadielillian413 Wed 08-May-13 09:10:20

dss's behaviour has always been this bad.. when me and dp first met i put it down to his toddler years and the "new person" in daddies life. but now i really dont see any excuse for it.. other than a complete lack of respect and discipline. its an awful thing to say but i actually dread dss visits.. they always result in me and dp arguing. dss only responds to what hes taught and with his Bm being completely useless (no engagement with her son hes allowed to do whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it) and his dad losing any backbone he ever had hes turning into a horrible young man. which is such a shame!

allnewtaketwo Wed 08-May-13 09:16:49

" turning into a horrible young man"

Did you actually just refer to a 3.5 year old as a young man? shock

I would talk to your DP and explain its your home too and you shouldn't have to accept this behaviour towards you. Obviously it's going to be difficult if he gets away with so much with his BM and he is only 3, but setting boundaries is the first step. However it's not something you can do without your DP so he needs to get on board.

needaholidaynow Wed 08-May-13 09:40:08

I feel for you I really do. He puts the responsibility on you to look after DSS quite often, and thinks you are being unreasonable if that responsibility involves trying to discipline his bad behaviour because "you are not a parent"? What does he want you to do, just smile sweetly?

What a lack of respect for the role you play in his son's life. You're his stepmum, not someone down the street.

If DSD is in my care, and she misbehaves, I will tell her off. If she is in my care, and I give her instructions to do something then she has to listen to me as I am the adult in charge. There have been a few occasions where she hasn't listened to me and DP tells her off for it, and that she has to listen to me.

If dad doesn't show any respect for you/me as stepmums, then their children sure won't! They will play on it.

elliebellys Wed 08-May-13 09:42:56

The problem isnt down to the mother.how you know what she does in her home i dont know,but she shouldnt be gettin the blame.the problem is down to your dp not doin anythin to adress the boys behaviour in your home,he needs to set boundries nd actually start parenting him.he is not just a visitor its his home for half the week.

pictish Wed 08-May-13 09:49:33

If you're not a parent, you're sure as hell not a convenient babysitter either!! Fuck that!

Look - this is untenable. It is entirely unreasonable for you to be expected to have sole care of this lad, and put up with poor behaviour, but be denied any input.

No. You are not staff.

catsmother Wed 08-May-13 10:04:48

I bloody well hate the way some men use the old "you're not a parent" excuse to prevent their partners from expressing perfectly reasonable opinions or suggestions. You don't need to be a parent to recognise unpleasant, unacceptable, hurtful, dangerous (or whatever) behaviour though admittedly you may be a little less tolerant of it than if it were your own child. That's no reason to completely dismiss you though - and if he expects you to act as a substitute parent while he's not there - which is a big ask IMO and he should be grateful you're prepared to do this - then you have every right to have a say in what goes on.

I agree that at 3.5 kids are still babies - and their behaviour can be awful, very trying, seemingly pointless, you have to explain the same thing over and over, prone to tantrums, favourite word being "no" and so on so in that respect he's not necessarily unusual or marked out as a future delinquent! However - bad behaviour does have to be addressed, albeit in an age appropriate way, and even if you have to discipline the same sort of behaviour endlessly, the idea is that eventually the child learns - and this may take some years - that such and such is wrong/unacceptable and each time they misbehave like that so and so will happen. At any age, the key to discipline is consistency - praising good behaviour, telling off for bad, warning that continued bad behaviour will mean time out, removal of favourite toy, no ice cream or whatever's been decided is a suitable punishment. Quite obviously your DP making threats but never seeing them through is going to lead to this little boy doing what he wants - at his age he can't be expected to thoughtfully analyse his behaviour and discipline himself - he needs the adults in his life to set boundaries, so he'll learn what it takes to be a nice kid. This is even more important if his mother lets him do what he wants. Sounds like his dad is pretty much the same.

Parents like that rile me. Showing a bit of "tough love" every so often is the right thing to do, even if it sometimes doesn't feel like it. Do they really want him to be the "naughty" kid when he starts school ? The one that no other child wants to play with because they're always so insistent on getting their own way ?

I don't have to tell you that the only way to deal with this is to agree house rules, boundaries and punishments and then to apply all that consistently no matter how much SS protests. That you both back each other up in front of him and keep disagreements for when he's not there so neither of you is ever undermined. You should both have an equal say and be trusted equally - given you look after him so often - to apply discipline when needed. Anything else isn't going to work. Though he's terribly young, he's learnt that daddy's threats don't actually amount to anything - that he might be moaned at a bit, but no consequences, so to him, even if it's not a completely conscious decision, he figures that a few cross words is a small price to pay for doing as he pleases. No wonder you struggle with him as he knows his dad won't impose any repercussions. I'm not saying this little boy has sat down and analysed all this, not at all, but I'm certain that's the message that he's absorbed.

If your DP's not prepared to work with you then I don't see how this can ever work and he has a damn nerve to expect you to provide childcare without any input. I'd also be worried how in the near(ish) future things are going to pan out when your baby reaches the same age ..... will he be a very "laid back" (some would say that's a euphemism for being lazy and irresponsible) dad towards her with you being "bad cop" all the time, or will he be harder on her as she's the resident child and therefore there's no need to keep her on side to ensure continued contact ? Either way, it wouldn't be good. If he's not prepared to work together and give you equal respect and responsibility and parent consistently himself then I'd refuse to have SS over unless he was there. Why should you put yourself through that, especially with a new baby, when you're not allowed to deal with any bad behaviour in an appropriate way ?

sadielillian413 Wed 08-May-13 12:25:37

catsmother, me and dp have had numerous conversations about "houserules and punishements" set bed time routine, the do's and donts etc but they go out the window when its broken. and as for his excuse for not punishing dp says its because ss's bm does nothing but shout and he doesnt want this house to be the same :/ at a loss with what to do next in regards to dp. thanks for comments back ladies.. was starting to feel like wicked stepmum!x

sudaname Wed 08-May-13 12:40:15

So really you're providing free childcare for the little boys mum and dad. If youre not allowed to parent in anyway l would just insist DH has his son when he can look after him himself. If you two weren't together your DH couldn't 'have him' while he was at work, only when he was at home.
Say 'No' as others have said , if you're not good enough to parent you're not good enough to be a free babysitter.

sudaname Wed 08-May-13 12:56:53

When he starts school aswell will it be you doing all the school runs on those days on behalf of your partner and his exw ?
Sorry l know it's important to create a nice blended family atmosphere and for all the DCs to bond and so on and so forth,but that is taking the mickey imo.
You will be doing that all very time consuming school run experience soon enough with your own DC.

purpleroses Wed 08-May-13 13:15:24

Have you tried looking into parenting classes locally? If you have a local Sure Start they can help. Would be really good for both you and your DP (and your DSS's mum too by if you could pursuade her!) to go along. Would help you find ways of disciplining DSS that don't involve just shouting at him or letting him run riot.

catsmother Wed 08-May-13 13:18:30

Really feel for you Sadie - you're really being put upon. As for the shouting remark, that's plain ridiculous and a total cop out. Who said anything about shouting when imposing discipline and telling SS off or applying a punishment after warnings didn't work ?!? Clearly, he doesn't want to bother, I'm not really sure why - it could just be laziness, it could be a fear of losing contact - either because SS won't want to come if he gets told off/punished (though he's obviously far too young to be making that sort of decision and that would only work if his mother agreed not to send him) or he could be involved in some sort of one upmanship game with his ex where he wants to be seen as the "best" parent, the "nice" parent or whatever.

I don't know how you get it into his head that being a good and responsible parent is sometimes doing stuff you'd prefer not to. Not many people enjoy telling their kids off or punishing them, but it's the right thing to do both so the child grows up into a nice, well rounded and considerate being and also so other people don't have to suffer the effects of bad behaviour. If he can't or won't face up to this there's no way you should continue being a babysitter - who presumably doesn't even get paid for the dubious pleasure - while he's at work presumably so his ex can get a break. After all, it's not as if the boy sees his dad while you're looking after him.

elliebellys Wed 08-May-13 13:20:10

What a cushy number your dp,s got.its a total cop out,typical disney dad.if he doesnt want to actually parent his son,why does he have 50/50 care,cos lets be honest its down to you to do it all.nothin is going to change unless you put your foot down nd say enough is enough.

sudaname Wed 08-May-13 13:48:47

ellies l agree but l think you'll find that OPs DP has the 3 out of 7 day split so is classed as the NRP whilst exw gets all the child benefit and the child tax credit.
Short straws all round for the OP.

elliebellys Wed 08-May-13 13:54:52

Its still shared care tho,nd a significant amount of days.ops post isnt bout the finances tho,this child needs boundaries desperatly,regardless of whos classed as nrp.

sudaname Wed 08-May-13 14:01:12

Oh yes l agree completely ellie just adding it's an extra little bit of mickey taking by all concerned of the OP really considering she's not allowed to even have an opinion let alone input, yet is free childcare for both parents and possibly will soon be doing three years school running to boot.

elliebellys Wed 08-May-13 14:07:10

Suda yes it is taking the mickey.op maybe sugest to your dp that if he continues to opt out of parenting then when he is in work that he will have to sort out nd pay for childcare himself,as he clearly doesnt value your input.see if he likes that idea.

likesnowflakesinanocean Wed 08-May-13 16:12:20

if i was ever told by dp not to parent the bad behaviour as well as good i would refuse to have ss when he isnt around . not fair on any of you to use you to babysit until something goes wrong then call you on it

likesnowflakesinanocean Wed 08-May-13 16:13:44

we are the same as you with days so classed as nr parents but i wouldnt be told i wasnt too parent them in our own home. its hard but has to be done

mumandboys123 Wed 08-May-13 16:58:23

it is not uncommon for a 3 year old to behave in the way you are describing but it should be possible to be able to reason with him and give him some boundaries and consequences.

I would ask what the reasons are for his behaviour? what is behind it? is he struggling with all these 'parents' in his life and the constant to-ing and fro-ing of shared care? Whilst many people think it's in the best interests of the child, there are children for whom it simply doesn't work and who find it unsettling. Is he perhaps one of those children? Would a different pattern of shared care (week on/week off) work better for him?

Regardless, if he is being left with you, you need to be able to discipline him. If you are 'allowed' to do that, things might right themselves in your home if nothing else.

I agree that the problem is with the dad rather than the child. When you are looking after a child you are in loco parentis and therefore have responsibility for the child including reasonable discipline. If you are not allowed to parent the child you CANNOT look after him on your own, it could end up being dangerous. Therefore if your dh refuses to let you parent your dss, you should refuse to look after him on your own. You also need to discuss where you both stand on discipline for both of the children or there could be further problems down the line.

I agree that your dss's behaviour is extreme ( my son is 3.11 and does not behave like that) but that's because his behaviour is allowed to be extreme. It won't do him any favours when he goes to school. What will your dh do if he gets told off there? Go in and tell the teachers that they are not allowed to tell him off?

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