Where do I go from here?

(27 Posts)
SweetSeraphim Fri 22-Feb-13 19:53:33

I really need some help with this.

I'm sitting in my bedroom really upset and don't know how to deal with this at all.

OH was summoned to exw's house tonight to talk about the children. They are 12 and 8. I have 2 of my own too. The dsc spend half the week and eow with us.

Apparently they have been upset and not wanting to come to Dad's as they feel I'm too strict, and they don't feel I should ever tell them off.

You know, the I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for the fact that I hardly ever do.

I'm gutted. I thought they accepted me, and now I find that they've been slating me behind my back.

How can I move forward? I don't even want to be in the same room as them this weekend, I feel really betrayed.

Not ignoring any replies I might get, but I'm going to have a bath, will come back later, I promise. Please help!

MummysPuppet Fri 22-Feb-13 20:04:57

How do you get on with the exW? How have arrangements been working? Is it possible she's misinterpreted something they've said? Or worse, made it up?

SweetSeraphim Fri 22-Feb-13 21:26:46

I don't really have anything to do with the ex - very occasionally we speak in passing, but in the main, we don't talk.

The discussion earlier was without me. Exw, new husband, OH and the children. That's partly why I feel like I've been thrown under the bus with no way to defend myself. I should have been there - I look after the children with kindness and love. That should have been enough for it not to get to this. Does that make sense?

allnewtaketwo Fri 22-Feb-13 22:10:00

Not sure if this applies in your case, but sometimes if DSCs are used to dad's house being a bit Disney, then they react badly when it becomes more like a normal home, I.e with rules.

It must have been horrible for you to discover they'd all met to discuss you in this way sad

Personally I follow the "detach" method of step-parenting, and don't tell the DSCs off. Not because I feel I shouldn't, but because I prefer to stay out of things and let DH deal with them. So if I see bad behaviour, I talk to DH about it rather than tackling it myself. This is not without it's pitfalls, but I find it works better for me.

allnewtaketwo Fri 22-Feb-13 22:12:34

One thing I have learned on here is that matter how loving you are as a SP, there is always a likelihood that it will all get thrown back in your face. Being a SM in particular I think places you in such an easy scapegoat position. There's every likelihood that the root cause of the problem has nothing to do with you at all

SweetSeraphim Sat 23-Feb-13 10:40:18

allnew - that's sort of what I've decided. To detach and take a step back emotionally.

With regards to discipline though, I don't want to be in a position where my two see the sdc getting away with stuff that they never would. What is that going to teach them?

I got up this morning with the full intention of everything being normal, but I still feel proper upset. I want to go out somewhere and leave them all to it, but that looks like I'm sulking/punishing, and that's not good either.

I just can't bring myself to be alright about it. It's made me think hard about the relationship and where it's going, iyswim.

allnewtaketwo Sat 23-Feb-13 10:43:33

You don't have to be ok with it.

Does your DP realise how hurt you are? If you've told him and he doesn't care then that tells you a lot about what the future holds.

In your place I would be furious.

And to be honest, given that you have no joint children, yes, you should consider your future

SweetSeraphim Sat 23-Feb-13 10:56:06

He really cares. He can see why I'm so hurt.

But I think he thinks that I'm making a bit of a mountain out of a molehill hmm Easy for him to say, he's not the one that's been slagged off behind his back!

I personally think what's happened is that they've had a bollocking from their mum and decided to deflect onto blaming me for some imagined slight.

We've been together for a few years now, I thought they were used to me. BUt they expect both houses to let them do whatever the hell they like, and that's not how I roll.

But how can I implement that if the other 3 parents don't? It looks like an impossible situation from where I'm standing.

It's shit.

I would only agree with the "detach" method if absolutely nothing else worked, and you had stroppy teenagers who would happily give you hell for just breathing. But these DSCs are 12 and 8. You haven't said how long you've all been together - it could, as allnewtaketwo says, be because they're used to the Disney Dad style of parenting, and are most disgruntled to find that you want a normal house with normal rules.

I don't think your OH should have agreed to any kind of meeting with the XW's new husband present. It should have just been the two of them, talking it through. However, it's happened now, and you need to think of a way forward. Firstly, I would want a full debrief from your OH on what was said at this meeting, and what the DSCs specifically complained about. And I would want specifics. Chances are these kids were whinging, and are thrilled to be getting so much attention. You and your OH have to agree a set of rules for ALL the DCs, with no exceptions for his.

I think the way forward is after the house rules have been established - eg., clearing the table after meals, no TV until homework is done or whatever, there should be a family meeting with your DCs and his DCs, where this is spelled out calmly in the interests of everyone knowing where they stand, and what the boundaries are. In a blended family, there's no room for prima donnas and princesses. Everyone is treated the same, and fairly.

And that's how it's going to be. And if he can't accept that, and wants special treatment for his, then you probably do need to think about how you can have a future whereby your children are treated less favourably than his. And I think you should tell him that, too. Chances are, he really hasn't thought about it quite like that.

I've just seen your latest post. SMs do get slagged off. I was, just the other weekend as I pointed out that for DH to take DSS to his mate's 1 1/2 hours before we had friends for dinner (and we hadn't even bought the food yet) really wasn't on, and DSS could use public transport.

Does the XW let them get away with a lot at her house?

VBisme Sat 23-Feb-13 11:13:35

It sounds like your DH needs to step up and parent his own children so you don't have to.
All the children in the household need to abide by the same rules, or it won't work.
Quite honestly I'd take my kids elsewhere this weekend, do something nice with just you three and let him Disney dad.
The fact that this meeting was without you tells you all you need to know, and those kids are not being brought up to respect adults, I hope the respective parents are ready when this turns around and bites them.

purpleroses Sat 23-Feb-13 11:16:42

Sounds a horrible position to be in. I think it's the way things have been raised that's upsetting you rather than the detail of what they're complaining about isn't it? They've all been talking about you together behind you back.

At 8 and 12 they shouldn't really need their mum backing the up about things that go on in your house. But if they have gone to her moaning, and she's concerned about the things they've said, she should only be raising with your DP that the DCs want to talk to him about X and Y, and then stay out of it. Then your DP can talk to you and you can agree together what to do about things - either he talks to DCs alone first, or you do it together, but either way you're involved in the process.

And your DP can make sure things happen this way by saying no he won't go to ex's house to discuss things that go on in your home. Instead his ex can simply relay what the DCs' concerns are (if that's really necessary) and then he and you can sort it out together.

SweetSeraphim Sat 23-Feb-13 15:41:10

To be fair to DP, he didn't know her husband would be in on the conversation until he was already there. And I do know that he backed me up, so I'm not really blaming him for how it was done. However, I think he is aware that if that ever happened again, I would NOT appreciate being left at home with no defence.

There were a couple of incidents that they brought up. One was me shouting at 12 yr old dsd for being really cheeky to me about a month ago hmm The other was me telling off 8 yr old dss for trying to slam the car door on ds (7) fingers the other day. Those were the specific things that they spoke about.

Exw wants me not to discipline them at all. The children have told us that new husband isn't allowed to tell them off, that he has to tell her and she has to deal with it. This is how she wants our house run too when they are here.

It's so difficult. I've said to DP that I'm going to start taking mine out on the odd Saturday when they're all here, so that both he and I can spend quality time with the respective kids, and I'm going to stick to that. I have told him many times to take them out with just him sometimes, so they can have him to themselves - this is something that used to bother me with my stepmum, she was always there, and sometimes I wanted time on my own with my Dad. So I get that. BUt he just doesn't listen. I've suggested it this afternoon, but yet we're all still sitting here together.

I've already detached emotionally a little bit. I don't feel like I can trust them - I can't be myself as obviously that's not good enough. Meh.

purpleroses Sat 23-Feb-13 16:23:44

That might work for the ex and her DP but ime if you have your own DCs of a similar age it's pretty difficult not to be involved with disciplining. And the examples you give are things when you've had to react in the moment. You can leave your DP to tell his DCs what the rules are or to dish out punishments required but you're not going to find it easy feeling you can't stop cheak or dangerous behaviour yourself sad

SweetSeraphim Sat 23-Feb-13 16:31:04

I didn't find it easy before, let alone now!

And my dc are similar in age - 15 and 7. They would not dream of behaving the way that the sdc behave when they are here, and I would be mortified if I thought they were misbehaving at someone else's house. But I've mainly brought them up on my own, so obviously I think my way is the best way wink

I don't understand why DP doesn't want to spend time on his own with them. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's because if I'm there he can leave it to me. Well, I'm afraid that in light of recent events, I'm not going to be there all that often anymore.

MadamGazelleIsMyMum Sat 23-Feb-13 16:33:53

Sympathies OP, my DSD (7) has gone through a phase of not wanting me to tell her off or impose any rules, and accusing me of being mean to her. Following that, DH's exP said I am far too strict and has been trying to impose her idea of what should happen in our house on us.

We have resisted, and DSD has simply had to understand there are different rules here than at home. She is treated no differently to the children who live here all the time, and in time has accepted this state of affairs. It was very hard to start off with, there were a lot of tears and not wanting to come and see us, which was very hard for DH. But we felt very strongly that it was our household, our rules, and any adult in the house must be able to enforce those rules. I also really examined my own behaviour, to see if there was any issue, and was very careful to maintain a welcoming and friendly demeanour to her. E

Xalla Sun 24-Feb-13 07:05:51

I completely concur with Madam Gazelle!

My DSD's Mum said once upon a time that she didn't want me disciplining her child. I said from the outset, "that's fine but in that case I won't agree to being left alone with her". Her Mum and stared at me for a few moments and immediately backed down as it sank in how inconvenient the repercussions of that would be ;-) She's often complained to my DH that I'm "too strict" but I'm not lowering my standards or those that I expect my own kids to adhere to for the sake of making my DH's ex or my DSD feel more important.

Your house, your rules and of course you have a place in enforcing them.

My DSD (7) is now very aware of the different expectations of her two different homes. To be honest, recently I think she's really come to appreciate the structure and consistency that she gets when she's with us.

It's terrible that Mum's DP was part of the discussion and you were not. I sympathize with how 'ganged up on' you must feel. Don't be bullied into lowering your standards though. I'd have a family meeting, acknowledge (talk about) what's happened and agree a set of a house rules that you expect ALL the kids to live by. Make it clear that digressions will result in consequences. Your DH can mostly dish out the consequences but in his absence, you need to be able to.

If you're in a 50/50 contact schedule I don't think it's possible for you to never discipline your stepkids. Especially if your DP works full time.

SweetSeraphim Sun 24-Feb-13 11:15:44

Right, I have decided to call a family meeting in half an hour. This is going to be hard, not least for the fact that I'm now constantly aware of everything going back to mum.

Softly softly approach... But not giving an inch. Does that sound about right?

purpleroses Sun 24-Feb-13 11:30:22

I'd focus on making them feel that they can and should bring up things that bother them at your house to you and DP. Say you're sorry they felt they needed to involve their mum, as you and DP would rather sort things out in your house. Don't try and find practical solutions to any disagreement over what the rules should be in front of the DCs - just hear them out, and show you understand their concerns, and then you and DP can agree any changes to house rules or clarity on them afterwards. Otherwise you risk being overrun in the interests of "democracy" or finding that you and DP obviously don't quite agree on something but aren't going to get to opportunity in front of the DCs to talk things over and form a united front.

Good luck!

SweetSeraphim Sun 24-Feb-13 11:39:32

Thanks so much for all your advice, all of you. I shall let you know what happens!

AThingInYourLife Sun 24-Feb-13 11:50:47

Hope it's going OK.

glasscompletelybroken Sun 24-Feb-13 16:08:56

I have PM'd you

VBisme Sun 24-Feb-13 23:45:54

Good luck, I know that it's hard, but FWIW I think you are absolutely doing the right thing.

SweetSeraphim Mon 25-Feb-13 12:14:37

Surprisingly, it went really well!

I was very honest. Told them that I wanted them to be honest with me too, and if they have an issue, they can come to me or their Dad and we'll sort it out here. Sds feels like he gets picked on when he's here - the problem being that he's the most badly behaved!

I've made it quite clear that I'll be continuing to discipline them though, they live in my home for half the week!

They seem to take it all on board, they were pretty grown up & sensible, to their credit.

Hopefully we've turned a bit of a corner - am however currently waiting for a phone call from their mum though, there's always that chance that I might get a bollocking for speaking so freely with them hmm

SweetSeraphim Mon 25-Feb-13 12:16:36

I really appreciate your responses, btw. This place is always great for knowing that people have had similar experiences, somehow that alone helps you to feel better.

AThingInYourLife Mon 25-Feb-13 13:13:40

Well done, SweetSeraphim.

Those kids are lucky to have you smile

SweetSeraphim Mon 25-Feb-13 13:56:46

Thanks matey smile I couldn't have carried on like it was this weekend - so tense I thought I might explode!

Step-parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I thought parenting my own was hard enough!

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