SS full time? I can't do it(87 Posts)
Sorry for the long post!
Background is my DP and I have been together two and a half years. We have a DD 9 weeks old together. I have 2 DD's and he has one DS. My DD's live with me 5 days a week. His DS lives with us Mon & Tue each week and then Fri-Sat for 2 weeks and Sat-Sun for 2 weeks. So he is with us most of each weekend. This has worked out well so far. The problem is I just don't get along with his son and following much advice on here about disengaging, this is what I have done. DP & SS have no idea how I feel. It just works that i keep busy and out of the way and spend minimal time in his company. They truly have no idea that I just don't like SS. He is very sneaky and demanding. He is 7 and does nothing for himself. Won't wash or brush his own teeth etc, and behaves like a toddler most of the time. When he is here he insists on it being one on one time with his Dad. This works for me but as baby gets older she will want time with her Dad. SS is absolutely not interested in his sister, despite attempts to engage them. He just wants Dad all to himself and has no interest in anyone or anything else.
Anyway, recently he has been refusing to return to his Mums (she isn't very involved with him) and my DP and his parents have been dropping hints that he may be happier living with us full time. This fills me with dread. It's hard enough keeping up the pretence for half the week. I couldn't live with it full time. I had hoped things would change over time but I just can't be around him for more than a few minutes. His Dad thinks the sun shines from him and excuses his behaviours. He doesn't fit in with the rest of the family (won't clear his plate from the table after dinner or even try to make his bed or any other chores that the other kids have to. He seems to think he is exempt as he is only with us half the time. But he still wants the biggest room as he has to share at his Mums (so do my two at their Dads). He is a very fussy eater so I am expected to make separate meals for him. The list is endless. It's so hard to not have access to my partner half the week (he doesn't go to bed until around ten most evenings) I couldn't do it all week. But what do I say? How do I tell my OH if/when he asks that there is no way I could do it. It would be the end of us and then he wouldnt be with his daughter full time. So it seems like he is having to choose and I don't want that. So how do I react? How do I word it that it's not right for the other members of the family, mainly me I admit, to have SS fulll time.
He only wants it because he thinks it would be all one on one time all week. Clearly this wouldn't be the same if he was full time anyway, but from a 7 year olds point of view he thinks he will have permanent treats, late nights and no chores. I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. I dont see how things will ever change about my feelings towards him and I can manage to navigate it as it is. But 7 days a week is saying goodbye to my relationship. Please don't be too hard on me as I've said nobody knows how I feel and I keep it al in. I just want it to stay as it is. Any helpful advice gratefully received.
How ould you feel if your DP said no to your DDS being in the house - then work from there.
Give the 7 yr old a chance , he is young, interest will come with the new sib. As to rules - when he is with you perm, then he will learn the new rules and be less demanding of his fathers child.
A 7 yr old does not understand half of what you are accusing him off - eg he wants one on one all the time. MY 7 yr old, just knew thay he would see Dad more - the concept of one on one was not as detailed as youa re making out. You are putting adult intepretations into a 7 yr old, who does not think as deeply as you are.
If you want the bitch answer -yes you are being phenomenally selfish and honest. It may be better for you bit you do not know how it will be for your SS, Df or the new baby.
The way you started the post I thought you was talking about a teenager.
He is 7. You're an adult. Stop acting like a selfish spoilt child.
He's only 7! I brush my 7 year olds teeth and pop him in bath etc as he needs a bit of help still.
He does clear his plates with encouragement but couldn't really make his bed properly.
I feel sorry for your son. He's acting out because he's being shunted about.
When your child is 7, you'll hopefully look back and realise how unrealistic you are.
You should never of had a child together if you had such feelings towards an innocent 7 year old. How would you feel if your DP was like this with your DC who live with you full time? He's only a young kid and you seem massively hard on him for trival things, don't kid yourself he picks up on your dislike of him which is maybe why he isn't interested until he baby and feels insecure about his dad. If you had anything about you and you cannot accept this boy then I would leave the reltionshio. This boy most be feeling massively excluded he has step sibling who lives with his dad and a new baby.
I think that he will learn that, if he is with you full time, then family rules apply to him, full time. Would your DP be prepared to accept that?
He does sound as if he is crying out for attention. Maybe some stability would help him?
I don't think your SS will ever live up to you're expections poor lad. What a horrible thing for him to have to endure when he visits his dad.
So sad for this boy. How would you feel if your husband thought of your DDs in this way? Imagine that for a minute and then rethink this situation.
Agree with Sunny, the house rules need to apply to him now being there part time, then he will understand they will apply to him if he was there full time and if he did end up being there full time it would have a good possibility of working out.
I don't think you or DSS is a fault, the fault here lies firmly with DH. He's Disney parenting and the poor child doesn't sound happy. DH needs to step up and parent properly. If he can't or won't, then DSS living with you really is a pipe dream and I can't see the situation improving, most likely the opposite, even if it does remain on a part time basis.
It sounds like this poor child is not loved at either parents home. That is the saddest thing ever. I would go as far as to say he might have attachment issues which won't get resolved if he feels like an unwanted guest at his dad's house.
His father has a responsibility to this child to help him become secure in his attachment to his dad.
I think you and his father need to do some serious thinking about how this child is going to be parented so that he feels secure and loved and not passed around from the two families and feeling at home nowhere. Poor thing, how many years has this been going on? He is only 7 it's not too late to help him feel safe, but it will be if you don't rethink your attitude towards him.
I do think you're being unfair on your SS, although undoubtedly unconsciously... Not quite the same but not too long ago my Dsis and I were talking about my step dad and how 'irritating', 'boring' and generally insufferable we used to find him as teens and twenty-somethings (he and DM have been together nearly 30yrs now), and we were also talking about how 'quirky', 'electric' and 'tricky' DDad used to be, when suddenly we realised that in actual fact neither were any better or worse than the other, but with Dad we had always looked at him more favourably as no matter how bloody annoying he was he was still our dear old Dad... Poor step dad never got the same allowances made! Obviously now we are aware of it it has almost vanished and we are equally as indulgent of the old Bastards...
Hope in amongst the rambling you can see the comparison, Op...? I think the poor little boy needs kindness and help adjusting.... And in actual fact, as is often said on here, you don't have a SS problem you have a Dp problem! He is Not helping build a successful blended family by allowing SS to differentiate himself, and you Both need to help him feel belongs, IMO.
maybe if/when the subject is brought up then you can say you have some concerns, currently it's very treaty when he's at yours but that can't be sustained long term, dss needs to comply with the house rules and be clear about what they are. i also think it would only be fair to sit dss down and explain this to him, tell him who will get up with him and make him breakfast, take him to school, pick him up, help with homework, about family time at weekends, that he won't always be able to have daddy to himself, what's expected of him, make him feel involved in the rule making for the house and do set aside some one on one time for him and his dad, he does need it. tell ur oh that so long as he's on your side, supportive and the kids are held to equal standards then ur willing to give it a go. what else can u do? image if he said he really disliked one of ur children and they had to go live at their dads... you'd leave him, and he'd probably leave you if you said his son couldn't live with him too. so make sure you're clear that the current situation is an unacceptable full time arrangement and work towards finding one that is.
There is a very real risk that your DSS will become a ping-pong child.
If he lives with you and has contact with his mum, your DH will be unable to sustain his Mickey-mouse style parenting technique - particularly if you make it clear you won't take on parenting responsibilities - which particularly given the age of your DD is perfectly reasonable. (Btw, stop cook it separate meals for him, your DH can do that)
The chances are, your DSS will soon grow bored of reality in your home, and want to go back to mum. And the cycle will begin again. Your DH will turn Disney to try and win his DS back.
It won't be long before your DD is old enough to be affected by the instability of her relationship with her half brother - he may not be interested in her, but as she grows up, she is likely to idolise him.
I haven't read everyone's posts, but I do feel for you as I often feel some of your issues. What helps me is that I have spoken to my OH about consistency and that rules will apply to ALL children. I think once you have 'buy in' from your OH, your feelings of resentment will lessen.
SS is being made to feel like the special one, because his dad is making him a bit of a 'prince'. Whilst I appreciate his dad needs to spend one on one with him, he also needs to feel like one of the family - I.e no special treatments and, ultimately, stability/structure.
My oh's kids are fussy eaters too. It's so irritating when i cook a meal and they look at it like its grass! Then refuse to eat it and oh then gives them crap!
I've got to the stage where I say I'm cooking xyz. Will his kids eat it. If they won't, then it's down to him to sort their food.
He shouldn't be going to be that late and your OH needs to knock that on the head. It's not fair on the other kids either that he is getting special treatments.
At the end of the day you are one 'blended' family.
Sorry I've not answered the question about dss potentially being full time, but I do feel if some of the underlying issues were dealt with, the prospect would be less stressful
You have more of a DH problem than a DSS problem.
Your DH needs to encourage his DS to keep to the family rules when he is with you and accept that he has to share his DF with his sibling. It's what all DCs have to learn when a new one comes along.
Letting everything revolve around DSS is not the way forward. It's not the DC's fault, it's his father's for not parenting him.
However, don't allow pressure to be put on you to have him full time unless your DH accepts that things will have to change.
No matter what will happen you need to speak to your dh.
A 7yr old going to bed at 10pm on a school night is not sustainable. How does he manage to concentrate at school with little sleep.
What a horrible situation for all of you OP. Like others I feel terribly sad for this little boy who is obviously behaving in the way he is because he feels unsettled.
I wonder if you completely disengaging from him has actually been that helpful? I know you say you hide your feelings well but children can pick up on things and I'm sure he is aware in some ways that you are not that interested in him. Would it be possible for you to try and build more of a relationship with him? Can you take him out somewhere on your own or give a bit of time to playing a game with him? I really think you need to be open with your DH about how you feel so that you can try and make some changes to how things work when he is with you going forward. This applies whether he is with you full time or not, I can't see that your level of unhappiness when he is with you is going to be sustainable long term - particularly as your DD grows older.
I would also be having a really firm talk with DH about house rules, 10pm imo is far too late for a 7yo bedtime - I wonder if some of his clingyness with his dad is because he is overtired? My DSD can behave quite dramatically differently when she hasn't had enough sleep. I would also immediately stop cooking different dinners, aside from making extra work for you it sends a message to DSS that he is 'outside' and different to the rest of the family and that he receives special treatment - he needs it to be made clear to him by you and DH that while he is with you he is part of the family and is treated as such.
So I guess my advice is a big chat with DH about the above and trying to make a plan together for making some changes and maybe trying to find some ways to build a relationship with this little boy who, whether you like it or not, is a part of your life, and who clearly needs the adults in his life to be setting some better boundaries but also showing him some love and kindness.
Good luck OP, step-parenting is not easy but can be so so rewarding if you work at it
Poor boy. He is only 7. I never understand why women pro-create with men who have existing dc that they don't like. Why extend the family when you don't like all members? He has obligations to his ds. If you don't like him you should leave.
Honestly. You don't have a stepson issue you have a partner issue. And I say this as someone who posted a similar thread many years ago and got flamed but actually it really helped me and our family.
You say your stepsons mum has bigger all to do with him - well that is the reason he is monopolistic towards his dad. He is trying to compensate. He is clearly a very scared little boy who is terrified that the exclusion and disinterest he suffers from his mum will spill over to his dad's house.
You need a Frank and honest discussion with your dp about expectations and that includes household rules, food, division of chores etc. You need to do this or it will end your relationship.
If your step son is to come full time then
- no more separate meals, he eats what is put in front of him or he goes hungry (make sure there is something on the plate he likes and alternate every other night with meals he will eat with whole family)
- he gets an hour of sole daddy time and then he rejoins the family and unless there is an issue your dp needs to engage with the whole family
- rooms is one to be discussed. Depends on how many bedrooms you have as to what the needs are. Realistically though he can't share with your Dss so if not enough rooms they need to share the biggest and he gets the next one - dsd and dd share here Dss has the box room
- sneaky rude behaviour will not be tolerated as it wouldn't be for the girls. Agree punishment and boundaries and stick to them. I had this problem with Dss when he was 9 (now 13) and it nearly broke me. But I told dp honestly and explained that he needed boundaries and the risk of what the behaviour would lead to and he agrees we needed to work on it. Dss still has his moments but 99% of the time he is great. In fact he came out with me last night and we had such a laugh on the car I had tears rolling down my face.
Please remember he is 7 and been through a lot. He is finding his feet and he will know how you feel however much you try to hide it
I am reminding myself before I post that the 2 people most failing that little boy are his biological parents. They both sound dreadful.
However you can only work on your own self. I think you are going to have to work on your relationship with your dss. Children are perceptive and of course he will pick up on your vibe of dislike. Definitely speak to your DH about household rules and the need for dss to be subject to them.
It was wrong of you to have a child with a man whose existing young child you hold in such distain. You need to understand your culpability in this situation too. You are not blameless in the wrongs that have gone on in this child's life. However you can choose to rectify the situation by genuinely building up a relationship with the child. I am not saying that to flog you over it, I am saying it in the hope that seeing dss rather than yourself as the victim of the situation might spur you into trying to make things better.
Thanks everyone. I've read advice on here before about disengagement and took this route only after trying everything else. I tried one on one time and he refuses it. I've tried taking to my partner about equality etc. I don't think anything I ask is not age appropriate. Making your bed, flushing the toilet and washing hands after, not picking your nose and wiping it on the nearest surface are all Normal requests. He behaves like a toddler because DP and his parents think it's cute so it gets him attention. I know he feeds himself and changes himself at school so he is very capable. DP does over compensate but on advice from here I have decided to parent my children and leave him to parent his son. If either of them had a clue about my feelings it would have been bought up so I know I am following advice. I treat them all equally and friendly with him. I do still occasionally try for some kind of interaction but he refuses as my level of interaction will not involve pandering to his every need. So he just thinks okay then I'll interact with Dad and grandparents as they will do everything for me and indulge. I can see why he does it, he's 7! But the behaviour needs to be recognised and stopped for his sake as well as the rest of the family. DP recognised this when we talked. He bought several books on how to blend families and how to unspoil your child etc. They are sat on the book shelf unread. He doesn't seem to mind that his son is this way, or can't be bothered to undo it. Unfortunately as many have said on here, it's big my place to discipline his son. So disengaged was and is the only way for now
One other thing to bear in mind is that your dds may be able to be more independent than your dss. My dd has bathed, dressed herself/ got herself ready for school etc etc from a very early age. Ds has taken much much longer to get to that stage. He needed a lot more input, engagement and encouragement. Partly because he is less dexterous than she is so it is that bit more difficult for him. I still go in to give an occasional teeth polish, and he is 10. No idea if there is a boy girl difference, but if you are comparing him with your girls, then it could be that his development generally is less mature than theirs.
I don't think you should have had another child and blended families in a case where you really can't stand his son. You chose to do so though, so now live with your decisions.
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