DSC questions about remarriage

(23 Posts)
Apathyisthenewblah Wed 27-May-15 16:44:35

I am about to become a step mum to 2 lovely DSCs and thought the people in here may be able to advise me. I have also posted in lone parents as all advice is appreciated!

DP and his ex have been separated 5 years and we have been together 4.
DSC (to be) was just shy of 3 when they split up and it was instigated by DP. He now has a civil but not friendly relationship with his ex.

We are about to marry and although DSC has always seemed happy it is now clear that they are not.
They are asking some very difficult questions such as "how can daddy remarry when he couldn't keep those promises first time" and why does Daddy want to marry apathy and not mummy". DSC is also displaying a lot of anger to his mum about DP leaving although when he is here he is not like this. I guess he is acting out with the parent he feels most secure with.

I was hoping someone would have some advice on how DP can deal with this in an age appropriate way? I have no clue!

Bonsoir Wed 27-May-15 16:49:34

How old are your DSC? I suspect that their mother is putting those cliches in their mouth since young DC won't have thought them up for themselves. Maybe time for your DP to have firm words with his exW about putting the DCs' interests first and not fuelling animosity.

Apathyisthenewblah Wed 27-May-15 16:55:05

DPs ex and family may well have said those things and children pick up on so much but I am sure it is not deliberate animosity. DP's ex understandably wants a quiet life!
DSC are 7 and 4. They split before youngest was born. Eldest was nearly 3.

Bonsoir Wed 27-May-15 16:59:13

There's really no reason for them to be unhappy unless one of their parents isn't happy about what's going on.

NickiFury Wed 27-May-15 17:01:52

If my ex tried to have a "firm word" with me about anything he'd be told sharply to f*ck off. That ship sailed when the marriage ended.

OP, I would probably say that some people get on better than others, maybe liken it to their own friendships, how there's some people you find it easier to get along with and how that can change over time, people fall out and sometimes they don't want to stay together after that has happened and that's ok. My children responded well to that.

NickiFury Wed 27-May-15 17:03:26

What crap Bonsoir, they're not little robots! they have their own thoughts and feelings and draw their own conclusions.

Bonsoir Wed 27-May-15 17:04:25

Not at that age: cliches about behaviour in marriage are being parroted not invented.

NickiFury Wed 27-May-15 17:09:24

I do not agree and it's rather limited to suppose that applies to ALL children without taking into account their differences. This child is 7 or 8 now? Upon being told about my ex remarrying my ds said "well what's so special about this one? She won't be better than you. Why has he got to marry her?" I've never criticised or moaned about my ex to my dc, I've never discussed his endless stream of women and ds has never actually met any of them, somehow he had just picked up on it and put two and two together.

Apathyisthenewblah Wed 27-May-15 17:12:41

Thanks Nicki. I'm so baffled as to how we can respond to such grown up queries when at 7 DSC doesn't have the emotional maturity to process grown up answers.
We did try likening it to friendship but he said that when he falls out with friends he has to try to make it up.
I'm worried that he will feel like Daddy's feelings for him could change which of course as an adult parent you know they won't but it is so hard to explain to a little one.

Bonsoir I would maybe agree but DSC is a big overthinker and I can easily see him reasoning this out. He is like a little sponge who remembers everything he hears but as I said cannot be expected to have the emotional maturity to deal with such big questions.

Maybe83 Wed 27-May-15 17:46:29

I was separated from my ex 8 years when I married my dh. My dd had a sm for all that time who she gets on great with, as she does my dh.

After our wedding she had a complete breakdown and I had to send her to counselling because she found it so difficult to cope with the fact me and her dad defiantly weren't getting back together.

Her dad and her sm aren't married but have lived in together for years. It was my marriage that made her realise that me and her dad were over for good. She seen marriage as final were as living together she secretly thought some how we d end becoming a happy family again. She was 2 and half when we broke up as has no memory of us living together.

So I would underestimate how much of this is actually coming from your stepchild.

Apathyisthenewblah Wed 27-May-15 18:12:40

Yes Maybe he has said he is sad that his mum and dad will definitely not get back together.
I do think it is coming from him. The question is how to support him through it, would you recommend counselling (obviously that decision lies with his parents)

OllyBJolly Wed 27-May-15 18:28:12

I think these are quite natural questions for children of that age to ask and may be totally unprompted. I completely get their logic. Children also tend not to like the thought of change, although in my experience usually deal with it well when it happens. They can only relate to their world, and most of their friends will be in traditional families with mummies and daddies living together. I do believe there's a natural loyalty to parents - it's not always the evil ex or new partner planting seeds.

Maybe83 Wed 27-May-15 18:34:32

I defiantly felt it was the best thing my case. It's all well and good saying they have to adapt..get use to having homes etc but if secretly deep down that isn't what they want it's very hard to process.My dd has a step sister in her dads, a half sister and step brother with us. Plus new extended families on both sides. Two homes, shared weekend and holidays.

We all get on fine but she just deep down wanted it to be me and her dad and one home. She also felt that she wasn't the same in both homes. I suppose a sense of insecurity that we both had replaced her.

She was moving in to adolescent and I felt it was important she had a space to say how she really felt with out fear or worry of upsetting any one. That her opinion although wouldn't change the reality did matter.

I found a programme that dealt specifically with children going through traumatic experiences such as separated parenting, bereavement illness etc. It's ran thorough schools were I live. It helped in our case.

Apathyisthenewblah Wed 27-May-15 19:03:42

That is really helpful Maybe thank you. What you say about not adjusting as it is not what children want makes a lot of sense.

Melonfool Wed 27-May-15 19:07:45

dss had counselling when his dad (my dp) and ex broke up, this was well before I was around.

We are looking to get him some more counselling support actually, for various reasons, and he has said he would like that. He is 14 and I think his life is tricky.

I'd say it is helpful and I am hoping it will be helpful to dss again when we get it sorted out.

We are not married but have lived together 2 years now, his mum and sd are engaged and have been for two years (got 'engaged' on dp birthday while we were away with dss at dp's family and ex phoned dss to 'ask his permission to say yes' - he was 12 ffs! Poor boy cried his heart out later that day).

riverboat1 Wed 27-May-15 20:49:17

how can daddy remarry when he couldn't keep those promises first time

This wording does sound very mature for a child of the age you describe, but...

There's really no reason for them to be unhappy unless one of their parents isn't happy about what's going on.

...that's not 100% true either IMO. DSS was a bit unhappy about his mum getting remarried last year, and there was absolutely no bad feeling about that coming from his dad (and obviously not from his mum). I think it's natural to some extent.

TBH, with DSS we (his dad and I) didn't try to force him to be enthusiastic about the wedding, we just let him say his piece occasionally and said we understood why he felt like that and it was OK, but the wedding would be fun and nothing was really going to change etc etc. Don't know how his mum coped with it. On the wedding day itself though DSS had a great time, playing with his friends family and being the leader of all the kids, and he was very sweet (if giggly) during the ceremony too.

So I'd say don't make too big a deal of it, marriage is a funny thing that keep D's can probably only understand on a simplistic level which is understabdably confusing in their particular situation. As long as its not coming up all the time that they're upaet about it, Is just acknowledge their feelings, keep on with simple explanations and don't expect too much of them - chances are they'll really enjoy the day itself.

riverboat1 Wed 27-May-15 20:51:09

keep D's = kids
Is = I'd

Apathyisthenewblah Wed 27-May-15 21:44:46

River he is currently refusing to come to the ceremony and is just coming to the party.
It is not the day that worries me as such but all the feelings it is obviously dragging up for him.
He seems enthusiastic when he talks to us about it (unprompted) for all the reasons you said, playing with friends and family and eating cake!
However it is a different story at his mums.

Quesera21 Wed 27-May-15 22:14:38

To him the last time Daddy did something big - he left him and his mum and then a new baby came along.

Daddy is now about to do something big and everyone is making a fuss, he will be worrying about another baby coming along, his place in all of this etc etc.

Do not underestimate what a young child remembers - the insights I hear from my now 7 yr old from when their father started an affair in our house in front of the DCS, whilst I was at work, are scary and believe me the words have not come from me! ( I was unaware that mine and her DCS would be locked in the front room and given chocolate and milk to keep quiet, "why did they always go up stairs and why does she always moan and cry alot when she is upstairs".......

Apathyisthenewblah Thu 28-May-15 13:58:03

Oh my word quesera, that is a lot for a 7 year old to handle.
As I've said I'm sure that DPs ex is not fuelling this. She is an excellent mum who just wants her kids to be happy.
It is just hard when he will say one thing to dad and another to mum. I wonder if counselling would help him express what he sees as bad feelings to his dad as well. I may suggest it to DP. I just don't want to overstep.

Paddlingduck Thu 28-May-15 16:33:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Apathyisthenewblah Thu 28-May-15 19:51:42

Er is right Paddling. It is a mine field.

anon33 Mon 01-Jun-15 18:03:06

My parents had been divorced for 20+ years and my mother had been living with her partner for 15 years when they married (I was in late 20's) and I still found it very upsetting! For me it was a confirmation that the shared history my parents had together was completely wiped out. Not rational I know, but there you go.

OP I wouldn't worry to much about who said what, but more focus on getting your SC help with their feelings. Reassure them that this is something normal. The mistake that many parents make is thinking happy mother/father=happy child. That is not always the case.

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