How do you handle inequality between the DC/DSC?

(34 Posts)
YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 20:03:48

I have 3 DC so obviously my money has to stretch to provide for all three. XH is financially incompetent so I don't receive any child maintenance currently and he never has money to do nice things with them/never buy them things etc. (although managed to find money to go out all the time and go on trips/holidays with whichever woman he is currently dating but that's another issue). I have a tiny family and we're not that close so there's not loads of presents etc.

DSC on the other hand is an only child and both his parents work full time, plus he has a childless SD so money isn't an issue for them. There is also a huge extended family who are really good at buying gifts for one another and there are very wealthy grandparents too. There are also multiple hobbies paid for which I just can't afford on my own.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not that materialistic and I'm trying to raise my DC not to constantly want 'things' and to value the important things in life but I think that's a hard lesson for kids in general. Despite the fact that DSC gets a lot of nice things it's more the disparity in opportunity that bothers me.

DSC comes on all our family holidays (nothing extravagant, usually in the uk) and any day trips we go on. But additionally is taken on multiple expensive holidays and day trips with his other step/parent.

It really bothers me and highlights just how disadvantaged my DC are by having such a selfish father. The kids are a bit young yet to really start noticing (although we have had some showing off) but I just know it will become an issue at some point. So how do you handle this and should DP and I be working to create more equality or should we continue as we are?

RebelRogue Sun 21-Aug-16 20:14:04

How would you create equality?

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 20:30:22

I'm not sure Rebel. I guess it's not something I stressed in my op but DP is absolutely insistent that my DC and his gets exactly the same despite the fact that we don't live together. That means we can't go anywhere unless his DS comes too. I've been saving small amounts on my own for all my DC for years and he now wants to match that total for his DS even though neither of us had that kind of money to hand. Just sometimes it might be nice to take my DC somewhere on our own considering that DSC is taken places rather a lot and we have mine most of the time. If we've got something planned, he will go and pick up DSC to join us. That kind of thing.

Lunar1 Sun 21-Aug-16 20:37:41

I'd take your children without him or his son. Then he can't complain. Expecting you to save for his ds in your circumstances is bonkers, don't move in with him whatever you do!!

LemonSqueezy0 Sun 21-Aug-16 20:39:15

I get where you are coming from but don't think there are any easy answers or quick wins I'm afraid. Are you with the CMS in regard to maintenance? This will sort out any 'misunderstanding' about what your ex can afford. In addition is there any way you could increase your own income /earnings? Are you claiming everything you are entitled to? I don't think you'll do yourself any favours comparing lifestyles and you should definitely continue to include your Dsc in your family outings etc. Try to do lots of things that they'll all enjoy and not focus on the cost or spending loads as that doesn't always equal a good time or a happy childhood. Have you spoken to your partner about all this?

RebelRogue Sun 21-Aug-16 20:42:03

How are these outings paid for? You pay for your kids and him for his? Can't you just take the kids on special days out without your OH?How much time does your OH spend with his child? How much does he spend with yours? Depending on your answer...DSC might get more material things,but your children see his dad more than he does.Trying to figure out if the problem is your oh/his attitude or jealousy. It's not your dsc's fault he was born in a different family setup than yours.

P.s. No matter how incompetent your ex is with money,if he has a wage and you go through CSA ,you should receive "something"

LemonSqueezy0 Sun 21-Aug-16 20:42:15

X post, sorry. I think the issue is your DP is desperate to not leave his DC out but isn't really considering the overall impact...

RebelRogue Sun 21-Aug-16 20:44:41

Is your OH expecting you to contribute to the savings for his son? Didn't quite get that bit sorry

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 21:04:39

It's a bit of a complicated story. When we met, DP was living with a family member so ended up bringing his DS to mine on all his contact which at that point was EOW. The DC didn't get on very well though so DP moved into a flat share. At that point, his ex asked him to have his DS 50:50 so that is now the current arrangement. However, DP is at mine during all his free time and usually my DC are here too. It's usually me that pays for the activities but I try to take advantage of anything that is free when I can.

I'm quite ill at the moment, was diagnosed quite recently with a chronic illness and it's taking time to get my medication right. My contract at work finished and wasn't renewed so I'm trying to set up my own business. I don't think I'm employable currently due to my condition so I've considered going down the ESA route but I would rather work if I can.

I have always been reluctant to contact the csa but did so very recently. The day XH received the letter, he called me to tell me he is being made redundant. No idea if that's true or a complete coincidence but he's quite friendly with his boss. XH has income through undeclared means and substantial savings which the csa have already advised me they can't collect on unless I provide proof of this income. Basically I'm screwed.

DP hasn't said where the money is supposed to come from for the savings but we are planning on living together at some point soon and he always talks about our money being 'family money' although in reality, I cover most outgoings even when he is at my house most of the time. I do want to resolve this before we live together but I haven't mentioned anything in case he takes it the wrong way. He often seems reluctant to come out with me and just my DC but much more enthusiastic if his DS is also involved.

Lemon, you've hit the nail on the head there - DP really doesn't consider the overall impact even though he intensely dislikes my XH and acknowledges what a terrible and unfair father he is to my dc.

RebelRogue Sun 21-Aug-16 21:13:29

So he insists his child goes with you every time,but it's just you that pays for the outings? Does he ever take your children if he does something with his child? Does he financially contribute in any way at all? Is his money part of this "family" money?

cannotlogin Sun 21-Aug-16 21:14:24

You are dealing with children with two different sets of parents and circumstances and therefore,inevitably, a difference in income and therefore lifestyle. Your children will cope with some children in their class having way more than them, because that's the way of the world, why would this be any different?

I am not sure why you would have what you seem to be suggesting is a 'family day out' without the D.SC., unless you don't consider them to be part of the family? Would you take the D.SC. on a day out and leave behind your children?

Mycatsabastard Sun 21-Aug-16 21:16:27

I get where you are coming from.

I have two dd's and when I was first with dp we had very little money but I was good at finding vouchers, deals etc to try and ensure we had a few good days out. We ALWAYS included his dds (one an adult, the other younger) as we had his youngest EOW.

However, sometimes we would do things on the weekends we didn't have his youngest and that's when the issues started. His dd would start complaining about being 'left out' regardless of the fact that she would be doing something with her mum and stepdad. It got to the point that on weekends we didn't have her, it was expected (by her and her mum) that we wouldn't do anything good so that she wouldn't miss out. However, she was still going out and doing fun things with her mum and stepdad.

It's so bloody hard trying to keep everyone happy and we are in the same situation as you. DSD has her mum and stepdad and no other dc around so all spent on her (time and money) and both of them are very well off so lots of days out, holidays, nice clothes, clubs and trips etc. My dd's have only me and dp and they have to have less (we don't have much anyway) as part of our money goes to DSD. So what little we have left still gets split three ways and it seems incredibly unfair that one child is getting the lions share of time and money while the others are left splitting the rest between them.

I have no answers except try to get him to look at it from your dc's point of view. You don't want resentments to creep in (as is what happened here) where one child gets everything and the others can't have half the same experiences or chances.

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 21:18:44

Yep, pretty much. When he has his DS, he often just takes him out. If we only have his DS then I'm expected to come on those outings too. DP contributes by paying if we go out as a couple for the most part although pays for things here and there. He has to spend quite a lot commuting to see his DS or bringing him here etc.

It's a situation that has evolved over the time we have been together but I'm feeling the unfairness so much more now I've lost my job and XH has only in the last year been crap at paying maintenance. Things were more equal before.

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 21:21:20

X-post mycat, yes, it seems a very similar scenario, particularly the expectation that we do nothing unless DSS is also there to join in. It's yet another unexpected disadvantage to having a blended family.

Ragwort Sun 21-Aug-16 21:26:52

Are you saying that your DP doesn't live with you but insists on treating his child equally ? confused

Why can't you just do things with your children without your DP (who is surely a 'boyfriend' rather than a partner?) ............ he can then do things with his child.

Do you really want to live with this man, if things are so complicated already and you are not even living together ............ why make it even worse? Just see him on 'dates' if you want to .............. and keep all the children separate.

ImperialBlether Sun 21-Aug-16 21:28:06

I'm afraid I think you've got involved with two men who think you will sort out their financial problems. This new guy sounds like a cocklodger, tbh. I hope he's contributing to your household funds. Is he seriously suggesting that you contribute towards his child's savings?

RebelRogue Sun 21-Aug-16 21:38:04

Tbh you'll never achieve true equality,as you have to provide for three kids(on your own),while dsc's mum only has to provide for one(with help). That being said it looks to me,that most problems arise because you and your OH are NOT equal,or contribute equally.

Somerville Sun 21-Aug-16 21:38:07

I agree with Ragwort - you have a boyfriend, not yet a partner. Therefore you don't yet have a step child or a blended family. And yet your boyfriend is acting like it's a blended family and treats for your children can only take place when his child is also around to benefit.

You have a lot of concerns - on the surface how to treat all the children equally, but actually I think your spider senses are tingling about all the unfairness and that if you move in together it'll only get worse.

I'm a lone parent too and I have to say that I wouldn't consider moving in with my boyfriend if it meant my DC were going to end up either being or feeling like the poor relations.

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 21:40:04

I don't know how I ended up in this situation to be honest. It was a slow build up of time being spent together but I never asked for any contribution because we're not officially living together. It feels to me that he has all the control in that he comes to mine when he wants to, stays at his when he wants to. And I just go along with it. I've never been in a step situation before and there are so many grey areas that I never knew existed. For example, he didn't discuss moving over to 50:50 contact but then I'm not sure he should have?

I could just do things with my DC alone and I often do but it would be nice if he actually wanted to considering that he's at my house so often with my DC. He is really helpful but it feels like he's only interested in helping me out rather than being involved with my DC. He's also convinced that his DS has it hard because his mum is disinterested according to him. Maybe I'm asking for the impossible.

RebelRogue Sun 21-Aug-16 21:44:04

You're asking for a partner and he's not one. At best he pretends to be one when it suits him,at worst...well i guess you already know the answer deep down.

Somerville Sun 21-Aug-16 21:51:49

You're not asking for the impossible.

Things like his custody going from EOW to 50/50 should have involved a discussion between the two of you, for sure. Not in terms of you giving permission, but to decide what affect it would have on your time together, his finances, etc... And then, based on that, whether your relationship is still a goer. You need to consider whether any big change will be in the best interest of your children, and him, his. If the two of you ever throw in your lots totally together (whatever that looks like for you... married or living together with joint finances, or whatever) you'll both need to consider the best interests of all the children. Which is even trickier, I imagine.

I think it sounds like you need to ask for a bit of physical an emotional distance so you can work out what really is in the best interest of both you, and your children.

Akire Sun 21-Aug-16 21:55:11

i think it's more case of day to day fairness than just treats. He works full time and shares cost of child with child's mother and step parent. But spends most time heating/electric/water/food/treats at your house when you firstly have children to care for on your own and secondly are not well enough to work at the moment!

If be asking for third of shopping and other bills if you are routinely going from a family of 4 to one of 6.

If you do stay together I would want you to have some holidays with just your children and him say you manage one week a year. Then maybe one together. If other child then getting 1-2-3 weeks away with mum that seems fair too.

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 21:58:20

Rebel, for the most part, he talks and acts like a partner. If it were up to him, we'd already be married and living together. I'm definitely being more cautious.

Thank you Somerville, it's nice to get some clarification on what I should at least be consulted on. I think the crux of the problem is that I feel like he has way more control over what happens but he denies this is the case. He's already told me that when we live together he will be seeking residence for his DS and has started thinking about which local schools are good. It's said in a way that presumes I'm on board without any discussion and I find it very difficult to say 'actually, wait a minute'. Our DC really don't get on though and there are big issues with DP understanding sibling dynamics with him having an only child.

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 22:01:48

Thank you Akire, I like those suggestions, they seem fairer than what we have going on now.

It would also solve the problem of our joint holidays (which is usually my DC's only holiday a year) being spooky by the DC not getting on.

Is there's manual for these things? grin I feel like I'm trying so hard to be fair to everyone that I get the crap deal sad.

YellowBricks Sun 21-Aug-16 22:02:36

Spooky = spoilt

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