....how to cope with step kids when they decide not to come round?

(35 Posts)
Icantstopeatinglol Sun 29-Sep-13 21:32:55

Just that really. Dsd15 is in a huff over something so trivial that she's been round once in 3wks and I think it's getting ridiculous now.
It's difficult to resolve things when they just don't face upto problems and just hide at home!

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 10:45:34

If the resident parent isn't supportive, and facilitates the DC's sulk/avoidance, then there is nothing you can do.

A responsible parent should treat this sort of behaviour with the same level of discipline and consequences as they would if the DC refused school for similar reasons. But many parents still score points off their ex, which means that the DC's gets away with it.

What is your DP's relationship with the DCs mum like? (I've assumed mum is the resident parent, not Dad, sorry if not!) Can your DP talk to Mum about it?

SoupDragon Mon 30-Sep-13 10:49:00

Yes, blame the RP hmm

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 11:07:53

Soup I said if the RP isn't being supportive - did you notice that?

If the DC refused to go to school because they'd been given a detention, and the DC's parent supported that by allowing them to stay at home with no consequences - wouldn't the parent be subject to justified criticism?

If the RP is doing everything possible; working with the OP's DP to try and resolve the situation, then my comments don't apply, do they? But as the OP hasn't mentioned that her DP and ex are working together, it's an fair assumption on my part that they aren't.

So not only does the RP have to deal with their own issues with their dc but they also have to deal/sort out the NRP's problem with the dc's too? Wow, what a lack of parenting the NRP has to do. At 15 the NRP should be talking with their teen themselves and sorting out their own problems. Oh and imo, not going to school is not the same as choosing not to see someone, not the same at all.

Plenty of adults choose not to see parents, certain family, cut off friends etc, this choosing doesn't suddenly happen at 18 but people learn over time and I don't think it's a great idea to force anyone into seeing someone against their will. Doesn't teach a girl especially about safe choices and no meaning no.

Not that this is the situation here but it does annoy me when children and teens aren't listened to for no other reason other than they happen to share the same dna with someone.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 11:29:59

If the RP is providing the DC with a sanctuary to hide from the NRP, then what can the NRP do? It's all very well saying that the NRP should talk to their DC, but what do you suggest? Turn up at school? On the RP doorstep?
Teens are very good at ignoring both their parents texts/calls when it suits them, but sooner or later, they have to slope home and face the music in order to eat/sleep etc. Of course, in the NRP case, they don't have to do this and if permitted, can avoid consequences with one parent with the support of the other.

Parents should work together to deal with these sorts of issues - why should the RP have to deal with their own issues alone, any more than the NRP parent should be expected to?

Oh, and you're right - refusing school is not the same as avoiding a parent; school is far less important.

TheWinterOne Mon 30-Sep-13 11:51:34

Has there been any contact at all via phone or email? Is it just DSD refusing to come or has all contact ceased?

I do agree that your DP should perhaps speak to her mum though. Maybe they could come to a solution together if DSD isn't willing to communicate. Maybe the three of them should talk about what the issue is so it's all thrown out on the table and everyone's able to move on.

Even if it's the NRP's fault I do think good communication needs to be had between both parents despite which one is at fault. After all it is their daughter who is upset or has a problem and they should work together to address it.

I know that's not always possible in certain situations but if there is any animosity between parents they should put it aside to address issues when it comes to their daughter.

Kaluki Mon 30-Sep-13 12:14:35

If either of my dc refused to see their dad I would tell them to discuss it with him and resolve the issues between them.
It's wrong to just let them opt out of contact because the NRP won't let them have their own way.
It is up to both parents to teach their dc that they cannot play their parents off against each other. Sadly in many (not all) cases the RP sees any conflict between the dc and the NRP as an opportunity to score points.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 12:17:25

A responsible parent should treat this sort of behaviour with the same level of discipline and consequences as they would if the DC refused school for similar reasons. But many parents still score points off their ex, which means that the DC's gets away with it
sorry but that is bollocks - my DC do not wish to stay with their father as they know he does not love them and his wife is a cow. Why should I drag them to him kicking and screaming? what would that achieve preciseley?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 12:23:28

Why should I drag them to him kicking and screaming? what would that achieve preciseley?

That's rather a prehistoric way of parenting, don't you think?

Surely, if your DC's relationship with their Dad has broken down, then counselling, support, negotiation, mediation and reconciliation are far more sophisticated tools available to you?
Of course, if you were receptive to those forms of support services, then it's unlikely you'd assume that I was suggesting physical force - nothing in my posts have even hinted at it.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 12:34:29

ffs it was a metaphor?
that is from the Greek meaning 'transport' btw, and it is used...oh never mind.
counselling, support, negotiation, mediation and reconciliation are far more sophisticated tools
sure that sounds lovely in an ideal world.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 12:41:35

also i wonder who provides these 'support services' you mention, exactly?

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 12:41:56

counselling, support, negotiation, mediation and reconciliation are far more sophisticated tools

sure that sounds lovely in an ideal world

If your ideal is that your DC's do access these services but you've been unable to secure them, then perhaps you could post on MN Local to find out what other parents have used in your area?

Family mediation, play therapy, and reconciliation services are available widely, and cost is no longer the inhibiting factor that it used to be, as many schools and childrens centres can refer families to fully-funded support, as it is recognised that the long-term impact of family estrangement can include lower attainment, and relationship problems as adults.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 12:51:57

thanks for the info chinacups but i think 15 year olds are a bit past 'play therapy' - don't you? my children's school has never offered anything btw and never will. Quite honestly if the cost of them not seeing a man who knows nothing about them and has no desire to, plus is married to a cow who has actively discouraged him from seeing them or contributing to their costs, is possibly gaining a C grade instead of a B, i think we can live with this.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 13:02:26

my children's school has never offered anything btw and never will.

What a shame - I know how frustrating it can be to seek support from the school only to be rebuffed. Perhaps a local youth club, or even Youth Church group may be able to refer you?

In my DSD case, her school DID offer support (obviously not play therapy, but youth counselling, which I think all Secondary Schools have to offer?) but she didn't think she needed it, then. It's only now she's older she realises the damage that has been done and is sadly, living with the consequences.
DSS, who is younger, has been referred for play therapy by his school link worker; his Mum has currently blocked it from happening, and DP is curently looking into a Specific Issue Order.

Of course, if your DC's Dad has rejected them then your DC's receiving support is even more important - the knowledge that one of their parents doesn't love them unconditionally will be incredibly destructive.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 13:04:11

I know it makes me weep - thanks for the suggestions flowers

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 13:05:28

the school are so vile - all the counselling they offer is 'anger management' with an unqualified worker who break confidences.

BurberryQ Mon 30-Sep-13 13:06:03

oops seemed to have hijacked this thread - sorry OP grin

Petal02 Mon 30-Sep-13 13:06:39

When DSD was approx 15, she had a huge melt down about something DH said to her, everyone just thought it was a teenage strop. She refused to see DH, and the ex (thinking that was a great opportunity to needle DH) supported DSD's decision. However unfortunately DSD had made such a huge fuss that she was (IMO) too embarrassed/stubborn to back down, positions had become entrenched, and by the time that even the ex realised it was actually in everyone's best interests to seek a solution, a few years had elapsed, and DSD didn't feel she could face her father.

Fast forward 7 years, father and daughter remain estranged. The more time that passes, the less likely reconcillation appears.

Everyone - even the ex - now realises a 15 yr old girl was not mature enough to make the decisions she was allowed to make, and the ex admits she should have driven DSD over to DH's house and things would most likely have been resolved.

In a bio family, there's no 'other home' to retreat to if a child falls out with a parent. And allowing this to happen in a separated family is not healthy.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Mon 30-Sep-13 13:17:17

she was (IMO) too embarrassed/stubborn to back down, positions had become entrenched

This happens so easily when parents are apart - the anticipation of what is going to be said encourages the DC to opt out of contact, which in turn leads to them thinking things will be worse for them because they did opt out and a week becomes a month, becomes a year and maybe two, three or more. Suddenly, Dad has become a stranger, and life is ticking over quite happily without him, so why rock the boat?

Tuckshop Mon 30-Sep-13 13:44:46

Yes, it is difficult. My dsd was so stubborn at that age. Keep the door open for her, keep in contact with her. Ring her, invite her round. Apologise if you need to. Let her know she is loved.

Mueslimorning Mon 30-Sep-13 13:57:53

Agree with the idea that some form of mediation by rp is required.
When ds, 15, suddenly decides that seeing friends on his dads weekend is more important I intervene, I may suggest that a trip to the cinema could be put off until his weekend at home, for example. Usually ds acquiesces.
Once there had been a "misunderstanding" and sm and I had a chat and we both helped father and son to talk to each other again. I do it because I know long term my ds is better off emotionally forming a close relationship with his dad.
I do realize not everybody has this view, dh ex did everything in her power to alienate dsc. Needless to say, it didn't work out, we now have dss 50:50 and even dsd has happily given up misplaced loyalty to her mum for a balanced relationship with her dad.
Things were sooo rocky in our home for,such a long time (so much in fact that I recently thought of packing it in) mostly because Dsc were not to feel welcome; it leads to Disney parenting, prioritizing time with dsc over partner and many more avoidable catastrophes.

Petal02 Mon 30-Sep-13 14:00:48

A week becomes a month, and then a year and maybe two or three or more. Suddenly, Dad has become a stranger, and life is ticking over quite happily without him. So why rock the boat?

China, that’s EXACTLY how it is. And whilst DH is obviously very sad this has happened, he has (after 7 years) almost got used to DSD not being around – he’s not happy about it, but in the same way as when someone dies, you just have to accept it.

They did meet up a while ago to see if any bridges could be built (we still think DSD was after money, but that’s another story) but there had been so much water under the bridge, so much time had passed, that they no longer knew each other, no longer had anything to say, the meeting didn’t go well and neither side has initiated contact since.

Tuckshop Mon 30-Sep-13 14:01:27

I arranged mediation for dsd and her Dad via our local youth advisory centre, although dsd was on board with going because she was so desperate to sort things out with her Dad.

theredhen Mon 30-Sep-13 14:03:55

My answer to this is always "what would the children do if the natural parents were still living together?" The answer is that the child and parent would HAVE to sort out their differences because they would see each other every day. This might involve constant dispute and arguing but more likely, it would involve a small disagreement and both parties working out a resolution. The child would learn that confrontation is not always a terrible thing, it doesn't always end in disaster but it's a way of communicating.

It is VERY common for teens to rebel against a parent, to refuse to obey house rules and be disrespectful. It happens because as a child grows he/she realises that his/her parents aren't perfect and have flaws in their personalities. It can come as quite a shock for many kids and they often become angry with that parent.

In a "together" household, most probably the "favoured" parent would help to sort out a solution for both the child and the other parent, to enable harmony in the home. There is no such pay off in a separated family, and in fact, it oftens pleases the other parent to see the child turn against someone who they themselves dislike so much. It makes them feel supported and hence fills THEIR need for acknowledgement on how difficult they find their ex partner.

I have experience from both sides. I have 2 resident children in my house, neither of which want to see their respective NR parents, both children are made and encouraged to go, both children have found their own coping strategies through talking it through and working things out for themselves. They are both 15. I actively dislike both NR parents and get very angry and frustrated by their behaviours but ultimately I will not be able to control their behaviour now or in the future and enabling the children to cope with their other parents is something I feel is my absolute duty. Both are doing well in school and achieving as well or better than predicted, have friends and although are not perfect, are functioning reasonably well as teenagers.

We are also have a non resident child as part of our family who refuses to see us and have anything to do with us or our extended families. He is 14 and after being actively supported in his wish to have nothing to do with his NR parent is now refusing school, has welfare officers involved, is attending school counselling (on recommendation from school), has dropped social activities and is suffering from low self esteem. He was predicted all A stars in GCSE but is now not on target. Part of self esteem is feeling "part of something" and for a child to choose not to be part of such a large chunk of his and his siblings lives has understandably taken it's toll. His resident parent has refused to encourage him to attend family counselling or mediation.

A parent who actively refuses point blank to see their NR child, is rare in my experience and often will just need enough rope to hang themselves but ultimately you need the child to learn from this, to protect them might feel a natural, caring thing to do, but ultimately part of growing up is learning to cope with all sorts of situations. We often teach our child the practicalities of growing up, doing chores etc but just as important is it to teach a child the emotional confidence of coping with difficult people, even if that person, is your parent.

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