DPs kids don't want to come on holiday with me and DCs

(125 Posts)
VelcroBaby Mon 10-Feb-14 15:03:20

I don't really know how to respond to this and was hoping for some advice from some more seasoned step parents please!

DP and I have been together for nearly a year. We planned to go on holiday with all our DCs, we both have two, his are 13 and 9, mine are 7 and 4. My DC live with me 100%, he has his for half the holidays and about 1 weekend in 4 (distance just too great for EOW). We don't live together.

DP suggested a week abroad at Easter, all DCs keen. A couple of weeks later he spoke to his exW who told him his kids had changed their minds and didn't want to go away with me and my DC. Kids don't really seem to know what they want (ie they've told their mum one thing and their dad another).

DP doesn't want to rush his kids, and I get that, they have been through their parents splitting up (for the record, DP's ex left him, he and I met a few months after they had separated) and are now coming to terms with new partners on both sides. But part of the problem is that they don't know me or my DC very well because they are not with DP very much. DP sees lots of my DC and they get on brilliantly. Clearly he wants to spend every bit of annual leave he has with them and I would never try to change that, but I would like to go on holiday with him too!

Also I don't see his DC much, because of his limited time with them.
I know it's really important for them to spend time just the three of them so we tend to give them lots of space and meet up just a few times in holidays. The result is they don't know me and DC very well .... but how can we get to know them if we don't spend time together?! DP and I thought a holiday would be a good way to do so. We wouldn't live in each others' pockets for the whole week and whilst the age gap from eldest to youngest is big, there is common ground in the middle.

I feel really resentful that his DC (and poss his ex) are getting to overrule our plans if we say fine, we'll do our own thing, but I don't want to force anyone into a holiday they feel miserable about. DP is going to chat to them again but if anyone's got any thoughts on how he or I approach this that would be great. Sorry this is so long!

MrsBennetsEldest Mon 10-Feb-14 15:12:15

Could you try looking at this problem as if it were your children and your ex and his new partner?

If the children have told their mother they don't want to have a holiday then that's that. It's not wrong of them to want to be alone with their Dad.

You cannot force the issue just because it doesn't fit in with what you want.

What's more important, you playing happy families or his relationship with his own children?

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 15:24:51

If the children have told their mother they don't want to have a holiday then that's that

Um, really? They get to dictate?

Plenty of couples with DCs holiday together; expecting their DCs to muck in together, share rooms and get in with it - they don't get to dictate who they holiday with. Why is it different when it's a stepparent?

No. Not only does that leave the DCs feeling insecure because they realise that they have control over their lives to a level they are not ready for, they have also told their Dad something different to what they have told their Mum.

DCs are genetically programmed to seek their parents approval. Hence they have told each parent what they believe that parent wants to hear. They want both their parents approval.

In this situation, it is up to the parents to make the decision that they believe is best for the DCs - not absolve themselves of that and expect their DCs to make it.
As long as the DCs are getting one-on-one time with Dad, why is a family holiday a bad idea?

uc Mon 10-Feb-14 15:29:51

totally agree with frog.

they are 13 and 9 not 23 and 19!!

clam Mon 10-Feb-14 15:30:56

Honestly? It's early days, so I would leave it for now. Just go away with your kids and see how everyone feels next year. Get to know them a bit first.

Trills Mon 10-Feb-14 15:32:42

Could you spend some time all together for shorter periods first?

A whole week with people who you don't know very well would be daunting for most adults.

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 15:35:13

It's not for their mum to dictate. But does sound as if they might be finding it all a bit too much too soon if they've not yet spent much time with you and your DCs. Older kids do take a bit longer I think to get used to new people.
DP and I did just a weekend for our first holiday all together at a youth hostel which meant there were other kids around too - that worked well and was definitely less pressured than a whole week with just us and all the kids under one roof. It's also possible to holiday together but spend some of the time just with your own kids.Or stay separately and meet up for the day.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 15:38:05

A whole week with people who you don't know very well would be daunting for most adults.

Plenty of DCs are suddenly thrust into the company of cousins, the DCs of family friends, or even the DCs of their parents best friend from High School on shared holidays, or during visits to one or other family.

I ask again, why is this different?

Are you really suggesting that a 9 and 13 year old should be able to dictate their parents holiday choice? If the OPs DP was holidaying with his brothers family, should the DCs be allowed to remain behind? More to the point, if the DCs parents were together, where would they stay?

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 10-Feb-14 15:46:27

I think they need to get to know you better before spending a holiday with you all. Less than a year with very little contact isnt really much to know someone well enough to know if you want to spend a week away with them. I wouldnt holiday with people i knew so little and would understand my dcs feeling apprehensive about it never mind the fact theyre still getting to grips with their parents'split. Could you postpone the holiday til the summer and increase contact between now and then?

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 10-Feb-14 15:53:50

But no step parents are involved, frog! It's a relationship of a year, during which there hasn't been much seen of the OP. I wouldn't push this. Let them have their holiday with their father, get to know them better for a possible next time.

TheMumsRush Mon 10-Feb-14 15:56:01

I think the holiday IS to get to know them, that's how I read it. OP said she won't spend the whole week with them and there will be things they do separately.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Mon 10-Feb-14 15:58:13

I can see that mumsrush but to two dcs it might seem daunting. They are young and dont have adult ways of seeing things and also, maybe this hasnt been explained well to them? Maybe they worry about not getting to see their dad alone for the whole week.

princessalbert Mon 10-Feb-14 16:04:33

Me and DH were taking all of our DSs on holiday after umm 2 years of being together.

Me and DS had moved in with DH.

We have had a few summer holidays, with all 3. We haven't sked whether they wanted to go, but their mum put up no resistance. .
Maybe a shorter break would make it more comfortable, so it isn't so daunting for the DC.?

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 16:04:58

But no step parents are involved, frog!

Which is all the more reason to compare the situation to one in which the OPs DP decides to go and stay with his brothers family for a week.

The DCs wouldn't necessarily know each other, or their Uncle or Auntie that well if they've lived in different parts of the UK or abroad; should he really allow his DCs to dictate who they go on holiday with?

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 10-Feb-14 16:07:47

There's dictating and there's not wanting to go away with someone they barely know. It's not really been a long relationship and comparing it to family is quite silly. Your family is your family for life. This is a different situation, and I don't see that anyone had even mentioned going away with family.

basgetti Mon 10-Feb-14 16:14:26

Well from the DC's perspective, they only see their Dad once a month and are probably aware that he sees a lot more of the OP's children than that. I think it is understandable that they don't want to share their holiday too. This isn't about letting stepkids dictate, it's about being sensitive to the fact that fairly recently they have had to deal with family breakdown, seeing much less of their Dad and dealing with new partners. Their needs should come before adult wants at this stage IMO.

Onesleeptillwembley Mon 10-Feb-14 16:16:12

Spot on, basgetti.
Did this thread go weird for anyone else? Blank posts and weird texts?

VelcroBaby Mon 10-Feb-14 16:18:58

Thanks everyone for your replies- am giving all angles equal thought as it feels like a no-win situation (my dc are excited about the idea so not sure how or what to tell them if we cancel the plan). I also suspect there may have been a bit of exw stirring and I do get that DPs dcs will have loyalties to both their mum & dad so possibly feel torn about who to please. (Exw's partner is an old family friend they have known for much longer, so them having a holiday together is ok...)

I don't think it should be for them to dictate and suspect they need more detail on how it would work - for instance some days they can do stuff with just their dad and other days all of us.

It is really hard to get time with them - when they haven't seen their dad for over three weeks and then have a w/e together I feel that they should get that 48hrs to themselves rather than another 3 people's needs being added in. Perhaps this needs to change?
Thanks again for your thoughts I've been churning this over and every bit of insight really does help!

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 16:23:28

onesleep I mentioned holidaying with family/friends as a comparison to highlight that in that scenario, it is accepted that DCs are expected to holiday with adults and other DCs they don't know well, which is the reason being given by many on this thread for them not going.

I think there is a valid point in that the DCs don't see their Dad often so they can't build a relationship with the OP and her own DCs; perhaps a staycation; maybe splitting the time between both family homes (the OPs and her DPs), would be a compromise that would allow relationships to form without the added stress of being in an unfamiliar place.

ajandjjmum Mon 10-Feb-14 16:24:22

Your children being excited I would say is typical of their age range, whereas your DP's DC response is probably typical of their ages - can't you just hear them saying 'don't want to go away with babies'!!!

What about going somewhere together, but having separate accommodation, so that each family has it's own space, but you still have the opportunity to get together when appropriate? Or is that a really crap idea - in which case, sorry!

VelcroBaby Mon 10-Feb-14 16:30:54

Separate accommodation would cost us more so less cash to spend on doing nice stuff and also I think gives the wrong message - we either go away all together or we don't but I'm not pretending that DP and I aren't actually in a relationship and sharing a room as that seems all the more confusing.

As for age, yes granted re my 4yo but the 7&9 yrs old kids get on well when the 9 yr old forgets that he is a whole 2 yrs older and therefore faster/ quicker / cleverer at everything wink!

ajandjjmum Mon 10-Feb-14 16:34:58

It's just the perception though - I was just wondering if that might be a way of them feeling they weren't being pushed into a 'family' situation - not suggesting you don't tell them beforehand though, or pretend that you're not together! See what you mean about cost, but thought it might be a way to keep everyone happy on the first trip together. smile

lunar1 Mon 10-Feb-14 16:38:51

The children get so little time with their dad, I really think the priority should be them seeing their dad. I would look at a couple if day trips over the summer. I bet they count down the days to seeing him, I used to.

LIZS Mon 10-Feb-14 16:47:24

how long have you been together ? I suspect it is as much as matter foo them wanting to please their mum by saying they don't want to go as that they are wary of the set up. Agree to take them all and let them each have a say in one thing they'd like to do once you have picked adestination - within reason of course.

IMO and because they spend so little time with their dad it's way too soon to do this!

It's only been a year. They barely get to see him and rarely you.

It's worse that you want to share accommodation. You're forcing them into this 'family' holiday when they hardly know you! It's not fair.

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