concerned dsds will be ignored by hubbies exw now she has her baby boy and other worries in general

(23 Posts)
Fluttercub Thu 24-Apr-14 22:18:35

apologies this is going to be a long post.
I have two fantastic step daughters aged 7 and 10 , oldest girl is not dh biological child but he has raised her from less than 1yr old so they have a very close father daughter bond and i love the fact that he didnt walk away from her when his marriage to their mother broke down, dsd1 is such a lovely girl and confides in me a great deal as i have known her since age 6 when dh and i started dating. the girls recently started calling me mum now the exw hates this but it was their decision because they heard our ds calling me "fluttercub" because thats what they called me. she also doesnt like how close we are in general and i suspect its because she doesnt have the same closeness we tell each other all the time how much we love each other.
we have several concerns tbf dsd1 has said on numerous occasions that she wants to live with us and hates her mum which is awful to hear as a girl should be closest to her mum. we always say you dont really mean that "minicub1" you know you would miss her and your ds's but she just says "minicub2" can come too because dh is her dad and she doesnt like her baby sister who has a different dad our concerns are growing because now the exw has a new baby a little boy and thats all she has ever wanted she told us herself she only has 4dc's because she was trying to get a boy! and dsd's heard this and they were hurt by it. they often have the dreaded nits their clothes when dropped off for the rare visits we get are often stained or too small poor dsd1 is a little on the chubby side and is so uncomfortable half the time in too tight clothes and embarrassed by looking scruffy they are both bullied at school because of the nits/scruffy appearence but it seems everytime we send them home with clothes that do fit and look smart and clean they dissapear its gotten to the point that dh relatives ask us to keep dsd birthday/christmas presents at our house so they know they will wear them more than once.
we rarely see them in two months we have seen them for one night and i am getting concerned that ds is missing out on building a strong bond with his sisters.
She also constantly tells them our ds is only their half brother and they are all full siblings dispite all 4 dc having different dads this infuriates me because in reality they are all half siblings but we dont point it out.
dsd2 struggles with basic math reading and has a very poor attention span but the worst thing is she has started telling lies to get attention even to us which is not necessary at all. we have offered to have dsd's more often on several occasions but basically been fobbed off with a "we'll sort something" and then being ignored for weeks. I know by law we can push for contact with dsd2 because she is dh's biological daughter but we have no clue were we would stand with regards contact with dsd1 he never legally adopted her though she does have his surname. I just want to intergrate my dsd's properly into my family unit but that is going to take more contact and regular contact we want to have them every other weekend but exw never replies to messages or answers phone calls in the week before our weekend. Dh works shifts so alot of the time it would be me providing most of their care but i want to do it, i enjoy having them and our ds 3yrs gets extreamly excited when they arrive to the point he will squeel their names and dash over for hugs and kisses and is very sullen and difficult when they go home too soon and for a few days after each visit he will ask were his sisters are and when they are coming again and i cant give him an answer except they had to go home. Help advise support anything you can offer would be very greatfully recieved xx

Fluttercub Thu 24-Apr-14 22:24:12

Should also add that we are relative newlyweds and these problems have gotten worse since ds arrival and our getting married. I only feel now that i can get involved in arranging contact and raising my concerns because i am legally their step-mum and have a right to if that makes sense xx

swissfamily Fri 25-Apr-14 07:43:22

You only see them for one night every two months yet they're calling you Mum? It's not appropriate. No wonder Mum isn't happy and doesn't want to increase contact, especially if your DH won't be present and it will mainly be you (who in Mum's mind, has already overstepped in a big way) looking after her girls. Boundaries are already far too blurred.

If you see so little of them, how can you really know about the issues at school? I'd be wary of making such damning assumptions.

Regardless of you being married, I'm afraid you don't have a right to arrange contact - that is solely your DH's responsibility.

Yes, I'm fairly sure a court would award EoW contact for the 7 year old. I would imagine for the 10 year too given that your DH is the only father she's ever know but you'd probably get more help for that one in legal. I'd recommend your DH joined the FNF forum - there is excellent legal advice available for fathers there.

I'm sorry if I sound harsh, I'm sure your intentions are honourable.

Malificentmaud Fri 25-Apr-14 08:35:55

Hi fluttercub, first just to say my advice comes from a kind place as I have been there with the same concerns as you. It's really hard to on one hand to be expected to love and care for and integrate your family with your step children, then on the other not get too close for fear of offending or confusing them. It's almost like you are expected to turn your emotions off and on completely at the whim of others.

However, you are not legally anything at all, other than you husbands wife. You have no legal rights at all in regards to the children. For that you would need to have Parental Responsibility. That is sometimes agreed for step parents if, eg, mum has passed away, or is completely absent. Some people choose to have step parents as PR. I'm thinking of it for my own dd as her sm often takes her to the doctors etc. and it would probably be sensible.

The very best thing you can do now is detach. I don't mean altogether. When your step children are with you you provide a loving environment for them. As though you are a kind aunt or loving grandparent. It's great that your child accepts them too, that will add to the experience of a loving family.

As far as your child goes, don't make any promises. Don't tell them about a visit until it actually happens. When my dsd went no contact for six months my dd suffered terribly and even had play therapy because of the issues. My biggest regret was forcing (or rather over encouraging) her to believe her step sister was a big and important part of her life. In reality that wasn't my decision to make and when mum alienated my DH, we had no power to stop it.

I had encouraged the "this is your sister" because I thought it was the right thing but in these high conflict scenarios it is not a good idea.

In regards to the amount of contact. It is pitiful. What is your husband doing about this? My husband would be banging on the door of a sols office, not passively complaining about a text message that hasn't been returned. These children deserve a relationship with their father and he is failing them by not fighting for this.

The best thing you can do is keep a happy, healthy, fun home environment. Welcome the children when they come. Let your DH provide maintenance money to mum, and tell him if he wants to appeal for decent contact with his children then you will support him emotionally all the way.

I know you feel that you love these children but your responsibility is for yourself and your own child. If/ When he/ she starts suffering as a result of all of this you will realise where your love really lies.
Good luck.

Bonsoir Fri 25-Apr-14 08:44:12

OP - I am sure your heart is in the right place and you sound like a very caring person. Your DH needs to apply for more contact with your DSDs through proper legal channels so that he and you together can provide a loving home more often for all your DC together.

However, I agree with other posters that you need to avoid overstepping boundaries with your DSDs' mother as this will only serve to antagonise her and make her uncooperative.

Fluttercub Fri 25-Apr-14 09:48:40

We used to see the girls eow and 3wks during holidays , I have known them for 4 yrs , so yes I do love them and so does their brother . We get on ok with exw in general but when it comes to contact nothing happens

swissfamily Fri 25-Apr-14 10:16:08

I know you feel that you love these children but your responsibility is for yourself and your own child. If/ When he/ she starts suffering as a result of all of this you will realise where your love really lies.

This is really good advice OP. I went into step-parenting guns blazing and with every intention of being the 'best step mum ever'. Then I had my own children and realised that didn't really mesh with being the 'best Mum ever'. I wish I'd had someone to tell me to detach from the very beginning.

Fluttercub Fri 25-Apr-14 10:22:40

I do feel like I can't win at the moment if I'm to interested in what's happening to them its wrong but if IStep back and focus on my son that's wrong too its such a difficult situation I can't turn off my feelings and neither can the girls they are family and we want to re-instate the old contact which has deteriorated in the last 6months to almost nothing .

Fluttercub Fri 25-Apr-14 10:32:13

We are starting to feel that she has got herself a new family unit so dad doesn't count because she has new partner who is to be fair great with the girls and is very much becoming step dad to them , its exactly what she said she didn't want to happen when we told her we were having a baby so we made sure it didn't . It has always been a case of me being primary care giver during their visits because dh works shifts which often include weekends . And that really isn't an issue they still get to spends at least 5 hrs with dad each day of their visit . We miss them hugely as do eh relatives who only get to see them when they are with us , so I tend to take them out for the day visiting aunts uncles and grandparents on dh behalf

swissfamily Fri 25-Apr-14 10:32:15

Your partner needs to make an application asap. Once the status quo of irregular and infrequent contact has been set, it will be much harder to re-establish the EoW OP. Tell him to join Families Need Fathers - they can advise him on how to self-represent.

Fluttercub Fri 25-Apr-14 10:34:47

* when dh has to work that is , if he can swap shifts etc he does

Fluttercub Fri 25-Apr-14 10:40:51

Thank you swiss I will tell him when he wakes up , he is on night shifts this weekend . We have even told exw that we are happy to have them more as she has a newborn to care for .

Malificentmaud Fri 25-Apr-14 11:17:23

What has he actually done to resolve this situation?

I feel sad that you are suffering so badly with the weight of all of this and he doesn't appear to care... maybe I've read the situation wrong.

He really needs to act fast - before long the children won't be children any more and as the other poster says, it is much harder to change the status quo. They will also do whatever the hell they like once they're past 12ish years old. They might be saying they want to live with you/ see you more now, but never underestimate what they could be being fed from the other side and how their minds may alter.

I don't wish to project - but my DH never had anything formally agreed as far as contact went when he divorced and DSD was 8. Everything seemed quite amicable and Mum "allowed" as much contact as he liked as long as he handed over as much cash as she asked for and she was happy to have someone look after their DD while she went out etc. and DSD was too young to stay in alone.

DSD was very happy to come here 3 or 4 nights a week and mostly all holidays. Then he dared to withdraw some of the extra cash, and that was it... no more DSD. She sided with her Mum as many (dare I say most) children will. Because there was nothing formal agreed, and no evidence of the "Status quo" plus, DSD was 13 and could simply decide for herself... that was that.

I would suggest he send his ex something trackable (email or letter) asking for what he would like contact wise. Then suggest mediation, and as a last resort, take it to court. He can get an hour's free advice from a solicitor right now.

IF he's really that bothered?

Fluttercub Sat 26-Apr-14 13:09:31

Well the situation is much the same we asked to see the girls for the weekend got nothing between us we have text rang facebook messaged exw and her mother at least 15/20 times since Wednesday and nothing she lives too far away to just turn up so we are in limbo rite now . One guaranteed way to get her to contact us is when the cm doesn't appear in her bank account payday but that's over a week from now . We are stuck until she decides its convenient for her if we look after the girls .

Malificentmaud Sat 26-Apr-14 17:45:47

What's stopping him actually doing something about it though? And if she ignores the first couple of messages why would she reply to the subsequent 13? And if she's ignoring him I doubt she'll respond to you...

She's currently either laughing at you both, or somehow playing a bullied victim who's being harassed.

Your husband needs to allow you to take a step back from all of this, for the sake of your sanity and for your own child. And he needs to do something proactive.

Malificentmaud Sat 26-Apr-14 17:47:25

What's stopping him actually doing something about it though? And if she ignores the first couple of messages why would she reply to the subsequent 13? And if she's ignoring him I doubt she'll respond to you...

She's currently either laughing at you both, or somehow playing a bullied victim who's being harassed.

Your husband needs to allow you to take a step back from all of this, for the sake of your sanity and for your own child. And he needs to do something proactive.

swissfamily Sat 26-Apr-14 17:54:56

Your DH wants to be very careful about sending 15 / 20 messages in the space of 4 days! One could call it harassment.

Your DH really needs to deal with this via the proper channels now i.e. mediation and court.

Fluttercub Sat 26-Apr-14 20:41:36

We are not in a financial position to take her to court and she knows it . 15/20 sounds alot but broken down its literally a couple of texts a call and possibly a fb message and always polite and friendly usually along the lines of "hey could we see the girls this weekend please" the only reason I text or call is she says that dh messages arent getting through so its just incase she is telling the truth.

Malificentmaud Sat 26-Apr-14 21:05:26

Has he had a free half hour with a solicitor?

Peacesword Sat 26-Apr-14 21:19:32

Like others say this is for your dh to be really pro-active about sorting. It's not for you to do. If xh's partner were contacting me to arrange contact I would be ignoring it too, while muttering that he can't even be bothered to arrange it himself. I'd also consider that many texts harassment.

And withholding maintenance to get her to respond isn't on, nor will it look good should he decide to go down the legal route - which really is his only option. He can self represent.

Fluttercub Sat 26-Apr-14 21:39:29

We never have withheld maintenance but when its late going through due to wage issues she is straight on the phone asking were it is . By 9am usually so it does grate on the nerves that she is instantly there wanting money but When it comes to allowing her kids to see their father she is unreachable and its not just us having this problem her youngest daughters father never sees her either . As you have all pointed out though it seems we have reached the point were there really is no option but to take this to court and hope he will be granted access to eldest girl too . We didn't know that he could self represent and solicitor never mentioned it . He has seen one before we started dating and was told he may not get access to eldest but alot can change in 4yrs legally speaking so we will see another solicitor on his next day off I think thanks for all the your advice .

Malificentmaud Sat 26-Apr-14 21:59:23

I think that would be for the best but suggest he goes alone.
Good lyck

Fluttercub Sat 26-Apr-14 23:02:48

Thanks though I don't think it will go as far court it didn't when they first split up , just the letter from solicitor was enough to shock her , so hopefully same will work again .

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