Very new to step-parenting - all advice very welcome(8 Posts)
I have 2 children (DS-7 and DD-4) and my DP has an 11 year old DD.
We took things very slowly initially and are both very careful not to force the new relationship/family on the other's children. That said, the children get along very well and (so far) all our time together has been amiable (and sometimes really lovely).
The 11 year old is with DP 2/7 days. I have my children 4 out of 7 days. Neither of us has a very friendly relationship with our relative exes, although we are civil/amicable for the sake of the children.
We are thinking of moving in together within the next year or so and, frankly, I'm terrified. Both of us had difficult marriages (hence two divorces, I suppose), so I don't even have a very good model of family life to fall back on. We are very happy together (it's a revelation to me that a relationship can be so good), but it's not just about us: our three children need us to get it right. They've already been through so much.
I also find myself worried about his ex, who seems to be less than reasonable/kind (although I know there are always two sides). It's definitely over (her infidelity), but she doesn't seem keen to let him go. She appears to regret her actions ("I still miss you. I still think of you.") and is occasionally dismissive/rude about his relationship with me. He doesn't encourage her (usually ignores her) and, of course, is always trying to keep things amicable for the sake of their DD, but sometimes it really upsets me that she keeps on at him. He doesn't respond in kind.
I would really appreciate some advice from anyone who's been there. My children are my priority and I am so worried that blending a family always results in harm for the children. There seem to be so few good news stories about it (even allowing for the natural tendency for bad news to get more airtime).
Thanks. It's helped just to write this, actually.
I am in a similar position to you. About to move in with me dp with 3 kids between us. Really looking forward to it but also a little scared because my marriage became so bitter. Can't give you any advice but want to wish you luck.
I met my partner in 2008. My DS were 4 & 7 and his DD were 7 & 9. I'd been divorced for 2.5 years by then and he had been separated for a year and divorced sometime later. We bought a house together a year after meeting.
We were both the injured parties in our marriages (infidelity by our exes).
It has often been wonderful and we have had some really lovely times as a blended family of 6. Other times it has been awful. Thankfully all the kids get on - I don't think we would still be together if they hadn't.
In hindsight we should have talked about expectations more (we did to a point but nowhere near enough) relating to discipline and such but to be honest we didn't know what problems were going to arise, so you can't talk about something you don't know about.
We talk constantly now. I have had to be really honest at times with him and say 'no, I don't agree with you' which is hard when you're in a new relationship and your still finding out about them.
I can remember cooking individual meals for the kids and realising that I couldn't carry on doing that, they all had to eat the same and tough if they didn't like it. We had to decide on bedtimes when we had all 4 kids and stick to it. The first time we took them all to the cinema we had to take out a loan...lol so the next time it was Fruit Shoots and sweets bought from the supermarket.
It's expensive having 4 kids. Holidays now that we have 3 teenagers cost us a fortune!
We're still together, but we love our child free weekends!
That's it isn't it Lou - so many people think we "knew what we were getting in to" but you really don't know until you're in the thick of it.
And you're also right about not being able to discuss things that haven't happened. Even together parents have that issue but the difference being that the kids can't sulk off to their other parent when they don't like what they're told
We've had a lot of 'I'm going to live with my dad' from my boys, usually when DP has had to tell them off about something. We just ignore it! My ex also says he gets 'it's rubbish here when are we going back to mums?' - kids eh!!!
I certainly looked at being a step-parent through rose tinted spectacles before I jumped into it. It's bloody hard work and I can see why many couples split up.
Luckily we have had the opportunity to have lots of weekends away and holidays on our own too, which has been relationship saving! Time alone as a couple is a must but I understand it's not always possible.
We are also quite financially stable which means we could buy a house large enough to accommodate everyone. Not being on top of each other also helps.
I lsot this thread at the time and then forgot to come back to it: just wanted to say thanks for your replies and perspectives!
It's just about to happen (his house is sold), so we're definitely going ahead. The point Louby makes about the space is a good one: the equity from DP's house is going towards a loft conversion.
Anyway, thanks and ... well, I'll check back on this again if anyone else is up for a chat. I think it's going to be difficult at times.
Yeah keep dipping in, everyone is very supportive on here.
It won't always be wonderful, sad, but true!
I moved in with my DP very soon after getting together and me meeting his children, even though it meant that the DSD had to sleep in our bed with us on the sofa bed and DSS had to share with DS when they were with us. I can honestly say that it's gone really well so far and we are currently moving into a bigger house and are getting married soon. My approach has been to treat them all exactly the same, to be loving and affectionate with all of them and to get involved with what they like doing. I think the key though is that you and DP sing off the same hymn sheet on everything, or at least appear to in front of the children. I've been lucky with mine but its been lots of effort and hard times with his ex. If they see you making an effort for them and you DP appreciates and points that out to them too, I'm sure it will all be fine. I sometimes feel like not being so selfless but its been worth it. Good luck, and keep in mind the reason you're doing it x
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