DS struggling with DP 'replacing dad'. Please help.

(12 Posts)
TaudrieTattoo Mon 09-Sep-13 15:13:00

Oops

TaudrieTattoo Mon 09-Sep-13 15:12:39

Those posts are really, really useful, and spot on.

The dc's father is very negative about DP, which I think is causing a conflict of loyalty.

DP and I discussed this last night and we more or less reached the conclusions you outline - that DP will talk to the dc's about what their boundaries are, will pick them up on the stuff that is directly in front of him, but leave the 'parenting' stuff to me.

He's doing so well at this, bless him.

Thank you all so much for your kind advice.

TaudrieTattoo Mon 09-Sep-13 15:11:57

Those posts are really, really useful, and spot on.

The dc's father is very negative about DP, which I think is causing a conflict of loyalty.

DP and I discussed this last night and we more or less reached the conclusions you outline - that DP will talk to the dc's about what their boundaries are, will pick them up on the stuff that is directly in front of him, but leave the 'parenting' stuff to me.

He's doing so well at this, bless him.

Thank you all so much for your kind advice.

purpleroses Mon 09-Sep-13 09:43:21

I think I'd encourage your DP to stick to things that affect him or the home generally - ie fine for him to tell your DS to pick his stuff up off the floor, feet off the couch or whatever. But try to leave the more core parenting stuff to you. So encouraging DS to do his homework is probably something you could best do yourself.

DP and I have had having an agreed set of house rules to be a big help - then either of us can pull the DCs (mine and his) up on things that are breaking them without it being too personal. I've been living with DP over a year now, but would still tend to leave it to him to remind them to do their homework - certainly for the teenagers. It doesn't affect me personally, it's not usually urgent, so it's OK to leave it for DP to do. (or if I'm aware there's an issue with forgotten homework, I might remind DP to tell them to do it)

Also - is your DS able to contact his dad when he wants to? Can he skype him or text him or whatever if he misses him when he's not around? (or vice versa when he's at his dad's?) Would be good for him to feel that his parents are still his parents, despite the different households they live between.

daisychain01 Mon 09-Sep-13 06:19:29

Hello Tawdry firstly just to say it sounds like you and DP have done all the right things by being sensitive to you DSs needs, and basing your decision for DP to move in around them being OK with the idea. Given their ages, it was good to take their expressed opinion into account.

A conflict of loyalty is very common, but IME, it tends to happen or at least be triggered if the DC picks up any "bad vibes" from the other parent, in their case from their DF. Do you know if your exP is supportive of your new relationship or maybe a bit negative, which your DC is picking up on?

DP and I moved in together in Feb (after 5 years of a long distance relationship) and he has 50/50 residency of his DS. My DSS has been lovely from Day 1, basically he has the 'implied' endorsement of his DF so is cool about me asking him to do things etc, but it has been a struggle over the years because his mum is very negative especially as I have tried to be consistent throughout, like your DP, involved, caring and trying to be the best SP I can (she misreads that as me overstepping the mark sad

I have noticed DSS does sometimes feel a conflict which I have resolved successfully by having a quiet word with DP and ensuring DP helps with the discipline side so it shares the burden. Often, I will pick up on things where discipline is needed that goes right over DPs head grin Having a united front is critical. The difficulty can be when residency swaps to the other parent and the DS gets mixed messages about "so-and-so isnt your DF/DM" which can make the child feel guilt and conflict. Not trying to make a problem where it doesnt exist but it may help explain things.

I think in your case, it is early days, as you mention things happened quickly. Thats OK but all I would say is that it took me several years to really build the trust and confidence with my DSS and I still have to work at it on a daily basis! In time, perhaps in the coming year, your DP will find things find their own level. Yes, DCs like to cherry-pick, they want the nice bits, but dont like the other bits and you are spot-on that they need to be prepared to take the whole package!

In the meantime, if you haven't done so already, maybe have a chat to DP about the matter of the ad-hoc pressie-giving, could that be something to hold off on, for the time being, or else any gifts could be joint from both of you, to take the focus from just being from DP. Over time, your DSs will get used to him being around and as they are now starting to think more maturely, they will see the logic when he mentions to them about homework etc (ie it doesnt have to be a conflict of loyalty for them to take on board your DPs comments).

I found with my DSS he is starting to tell the difference between how we "discipline" him nowadays, as he is a teenager, we arent telling him off like he is a little boy, we are giving him advice that he can accept or reject, he is too grown up for a telling off. A bit of reverse psychology works a treat sometimes!

I hope this helps!

TaudrieTattoo Sun 08-Sep-13 23:03:54

Thank you all.

apachepony Sun 08-Sep-13 22:46:33

Hmmm, I think all the advice to step parents is to go slow with discipline, so it might be a bit soon for your dp to be laying down rules? Especially for a 15 year old. This can of course be difficult for step parents who can feel like they have no control in their own home! Maybe it's best for you to discuss house rules together but for you to be the main "enforcer". Thus your ds won't have to accept being told what to do by someone who's not his father. This might be difficult for your dp but if you are consistent with applying your jointly agreed rules, and also let him know how much you appreciate him navigating the sometimes tricky waters of being a good step parent, then hopefully you can keep him happy too. Maybe as time goes on your ds might accept your dp having a firmer role.

TaudrieTattoo Sun 08-Sep-13 22:12:39

Since December. Things have moved fast, but they're fine with it. They kind of suggested he moved in...

That sounds really bad, but honestly, they all just got on so well, straight away.

I've known him longer, of course. I waited to introduce them.

MirandaWest Sun 08-Sep-13 22:10:17

I don't have any advice but have been feeling something a bit similar recently to do with DS and my bf. We're at an earlier stage in our relationship in that my bf doesn't live with us and is unlikely to for a while, but I think DS who's 9 has been having conflicting feelings about possible disloyalty to XH.

I noticed it when we were on holiday - both my bf and XH came to stay for a couple of nights (separately!) and my bf was so much more involved than XH was which I think DS noticed. Not sure he has articulated to himself about this but I think he noticed at some level. The DC see XH less often than 50:50 although do see him maybe 2 nights a week on average.

I'd say that your DS should realise that your DP will do both things he likes and things he doesn't although am not sure how is best to deal with discipline. How long have your DCs known your DP?

TaudrieTattoo Sun 08-Sep-13 22:03:40

No-one?

Maybe tomorrow...

TaudrieTattoo Sun 08-Sep-13 21:58:51

Shameless bump for attention...

TaudrieTattoo Sun 08-Sep-13 21:54:13

My new DP moved in a few months ago and he gets on with my children brilliantly. He actually, in my opinion, he does more with them than their dad ever did - and sadly, I think my ds1 is aware of this and feels very disloyal about how much he likes DP.

We do 50/50, so my DCs are with us for half the week. They are 13 and 15.

DS1 is happy to accept DP's gifts (he buys him the odd book, t-shirt, etc) but gets very upset when DP does 'dad' kind of things - like telling him to get on with his homework. He doesn't say anything much to DP, but tells me it upsets him because it reminds him his dad isn't here.

My feeling is that if DS1 is willing to accept the 'good stuff' DP offers, he can take some of the stuff he doesn't like, too. Give and take, kinda thing.

On the other hand, I can understand DS1's feelings.

I love them both, I want to back them both up. How can I do that?

Thanks in advance.

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