Am I right?

(45 Posts)
littlegreenlight1 Sun 27-Apr-14 20:06:10

So my children got back from their dad's tonight and turns out that his wife made both my sons cry this weekend!!! They are 8 and 14, not emotional wrecks, very happy boys so this is not normal for them and very upsetting. This is not the first time its happened but they poured it all out tonight about how horrible she is.
It sounds like an unhappy home, silence at the dinner table, my sons cant bear being alone with her - she is not evil but a very miserable person from what I can make out. She does nothing to interact with my children, she will take them to a park if shes taking her son etc. They have 2 very young babies, I understand she is stressed but she sounds like a horrible woman. Theyve been together years, probably married around 4 so I am used to tales of how awful shes been but tonight has taken the biscuit....
My little one struggles to say "th" and words beginning with "R".... she is always telling him off for it (!!!!!!!!!) and yesterday (their dad was at work) made him sit down with a dictionary and read all the "th" words "properly"!!!!
Isnt that just a little bit fked up? The child has a speech impediment!!!! Its like the stories my mum tells of the nuns forcing her to write with her right hand, omg, I cant believe she did it, Im gobsmacked.

So Ive said to my ex that the boys will not be alone with her anymore. I know shes not dangerous, but that kind of attitude to children is upsetting and they dont need to be around such negativity. It means that he will have to get his parents to have the boys every other saturday, or I will have them back but I am not putting up with it any more!

So would you do the same? I am a step mum myself and it IS hard and I have had days where his kids drive me bonkers but I make massive efforts to ensure we have a close and good relationship and I would never ever ever ever speak to them like this!!! I expect them to follow the same rules as my children and that is all!

Oh and my ex wont answer the phone to me so I had to tell him what she'd done by text. He hasnt (and probably wont) reply but Ill let you know if he does!

Malificentmaud Sun 27-Apr-14 20:13:30

Hmm tough one. I'm sorry i don't have the answer but didn't want to read and run. thanks

RandomMess Sun 27-Apr-14 20:16:35

Presumably at 14 your eldest has an opinion on whether he wants to carry on going or not? What does he say about it?

littlegreenlight1 Sun 27-Apr-14 20:18:32

He wants to see his dad but not be alone with her! Theyre fine about being around her if hes there, but I think she may well be 2 different people depending on if hes there or not....

RandomMess Sun 27-Apr-14 20:21:27

Well that says it all really, doesn't it?

I would put it in writing to him that the boys no longer want to spend time with his wife without him being around and you want him to respect their wishes as you are concerned if he doesn't they will eventually refuse to see him at all.

sad sounds like it's been going on for a while doesn't it?

littlegreenlight1 Sun 27-Apr-14 20:24:54

I think I Just never caught on that she was that bad. Yknow its nothing major, but she is causing a 14 year old boy to go and cry, that is not on. The younger one cries more easily if he thinks he might be in trouble etc, but this was because big one had asked little one to get his toothbrush and he went and did it so she told big one off for making little one his "slave" and little one told off for doing it I mean ffs - how shit did she make them feel for them to cry?!??! I often tell them not to use him as their runner even though I do it myself but at the end of the day its hardly a big deal and he could say no if he didnt want to, he was just being helpful!!

MuttonCadet Sun 27-Apr-14 20:30:47

Your last message sounds like she was sticking up for the youngest? What's wrong with that?

Does he have a speech impediment or is he lazy with his speech? I pull my nephews up for using "f" instead of "th" is that wrong? (Although to cry about it seems extreme, so there must be some issues).

Ultimately they'll decide on contact for themselves, at 15 I'm surprised that the eldest isn't making his own arrangements already.

RandomMess Sun 27-Apr-14 20:38:34

I was just wondering if you would achieve more by phrasing it something along the lines of "It seems as though your dw is finding the boys a bit much at the moment. Perhaps if you're not going to be around it would be better if they stayed with me rather than her having to look after them"?

It could be simple case that she just hasn't warmed to them as personalities so she finds any conflict between them or them and her just too much.

alex7149 Sun 27-Apr-14 20:57:12

It's difficult because it must be hard to tell if she's actually doing these things in a malicious or controlling way or is she trying to help them... your boys may dislike her either way.

dsd who lives with us has a massive struggle with reading due to ld and to help her learn I do flash cards with her every other night. She doesn't like doing it, but gets a sweet for every 5 she gets right. She sometimes ends up in tears if she can't be bothered, but reading is a life skill she needs and it seems to be improving so we need to do it. Maybe she thought that getting him to practice his pronunciation might help (though a bit ill informed as presumably he is seeing a salt).

I don't know, she may have good intentions but bbe getting it badly wrong. On the other hand your 14 year old wouldn't cry unless she was me an! and I think he'd probably have a more grounded view of it than your 8 year old. So I would listen to the 14 year old. Talk to your ex about this and maybe give them the next couple or weekend's to show they can make the change and if not see if you can change contact so they don't see her. If she has good intentions then she will be sad that she has been misunderstood over the years and will try and change.

Malificentmaud Sun 27-Apr-14 21:59:45

This is where so much trouble occurs when there are too many adults parenting. It's so fraught with issues it makes my brain hurt.

Alita, what you're doing with you dsd sounds very helpful and I just know 100% that your heart is in the right place but if someone rewarded my daughter with sweets for achieving something like reading or spelling I think I'd die a little inside confused

I guess we set out to parent with one man, then it doesn't work out and instead of stepping up, (sometimes due to work commitments or ingrained social beliefs which are unavoidable) he leaves it up to his new partner to take on much of the parenting. Then the child potentially has four parents, all with different beliefs. Accept in the case of serious neglect or abuse, no one is right or wrong. But it's a fucking minefield!!confusedconfusedconfused

The stepmother in OP is most likely a very decent person with the children's best interests at heart. But she's clearly left alone with another couple's (rather "ex" couple's) children (with no training, pay, or legal rights) and has the task of parenting them in a way that suits their mother and father alongside the way she (and possibly her ex) choose to parent their own children who are also present. It's an impossible position.

fedupbutfine Sun 27-Apr-14 22:40:56

Does he have a speech impediment or is he lazy with his speech? I pull my nephews up for using "f" instead of "th" is that wrong? (Although to cry about it seems extreme, so there must be some issues).

if a child is struggling with speech, they are struggling with speech. To take the mick or be rude about it is bullying. You don't think children who struggle with speech aren't already aware of how different they are?

Trollsworth Sun 27-Apr-14 22:48:31

as a parent of a child who had speech therapy, it is not wrong to correct poor pronunciation. If the child can say 'th', then they child should say 'th' whenever it is appropriate. If you live in an area where 'f' and 'th' are commonly interchanged, it can be very, very helpful for an older child to see those words written down so he knows which ones begin with 'th'.

Trying to parent someone else's children according to their wishes when you think they are doing it wrong is extremely hard. If she didn't care how his speech developed, she'd have told him to shut up. She doesn't sound super nice, but she does sound like she gives a shit.

brdgrl Sun 27-Apr-14 22:49:59

Yes, this is is too hard to know what's really going on.
I do think it is probably going too far, OP, to say or even allow the children to say that they won't see their father's wife anymore.

I'm wondering what you would see as the right amount or right sort of interaction between the kids and their long-time stepmum. You said that she doesn't interact with the kids enough, only taking them to the park when taking her own son, but clearly she is also spending quite a bit of time with them and looks after them when the father is at work and then if she is working with them (however well or badly) on schoolwork or speech, that sounds like she is actually interacting with them. And she has multiple children of her own, if I understand your post correctly, including babies - I think you need to be clear in your own mind even about what kind of relationship you would find appropriate. She can't just always be a smiling, indulgent robot - and she will make mistakes, and she is entitled to be herself, and so are you.

I agree with what Malificent has said above - some of this is down to parenting differences, and if she is put in a position to parent by your DH (his choice), then it is going to be inevitable. While the kids have you and their father as parents, she is their stepparent, and that is going to involve some influence over them - especially if she is providing care to them.

I'm afraid that the reality is that the kids may not like her, and you may find her a bit miserable, but actually, she is part of their family now and that's just something you and they will have to accept. They have step and/or half siblings as well! It would seem like a better idea to try to work with your ex on this then to create a further family division in their lives.

brdgrl Sun 27-Apr-14 22:53:36

On the other hand your 14 year old wouldn't cry unless she was mean!

Nah. Honestly...both I and my DH have made the DSCs cry, when they were 14, and not because we were being horribly mean, either. ;)

alita7 Sun 27-Apr-14 22:56:13

Maud unfortunately, sweets is what helps get her to do it :S It does mean though that every time she wants sweet things and were home she has to earn them. wasn't 100% sure on it myself but dp and I discussed it and tried other things but after a couple of times it wasn't a fun game anymore and other rewards don't really work too well with her. Got to get her to do it somehow, she's hates reading as she really struggles and with her asd she hates it if something doesn't follow rules so English is very confusing for her as it's so varied.

sorry for hijacking the thread a bit just explaining!

brdgrl Sun 27-Apr-14 23:26:33

Alita, i think what Maud's getting at there isn't really about whether you are right or wrong to give her sweets. I'm sure you and your DH considered how you wanted to approach it and made a plan and are doing it because you believe it is the best approach. Most parents and stepparents are trying to do just that, I think.

But the mother of a child whose stepmum has decided on that approach - rewards for reading and flashcards (and I am deliberately trying to make this about a generic child, not YOUR dsc, because its really more a general point about the trap of step-parenting!) - might feel really strongly, and with as much evidence and belief on her side - that it isn't the choice she wants for her kid. So it comes down to a disagreement between the child's two parents about what's right. And the stepparent can get caught in the middle, either by putting him/herself too much in the direct delivery of the parenting or by the other parent being too willing to step back and let the stepparent do that delivery...I'm possibly going to be more upset, let's face it, if I think the stepmum (whose motives and affection for my child are a source of concern to me in the first place, as is clearly the case for many mums) is 'giving my child an eating disorder' than if its the child's father doing exactly the same thing.

I suspect (apologies if I am wrong) that the OP would be less unhappy if her children came home and said their dad had made them cry. We accept that parents will sometimes make their kids cry (at least, I hope we do!).

There are some things we all sort of agree are important, even if we disagree about what's best - like breastfeeding vs bottlefeeding, or co-sleeping vs cot sleeping - but for some people, the really triggering, really important debates might be something else - dealing with a speech impediment, or a learning difficulty, or chores and pocket-money, or any number of things.

I've seen threads about stepmums getting the children's hair cut - and some posters think it is all a storm in a teacup, or why shouldn't the stepmum get a more practical haircut - but I have to say, if anyone, even her dad, cut my DD's hair against my wishes, I would be incandescent with rage.

brdgrl Sun 27-Apr-14 23:27:00

Sorry if that was rambly and didn't make sense.

yoyo27 Sun 27-Apr-14 23:29:55

The other week my SS told his dad that I had told him off and was crying. I had said, in a very calm voice "x please don't throw that ball at my daughter's face". Luckily his sister heard me and said I hadn't told him off.

But my point is that things can be easily misinterpreted even with the best will in the world x

alita7 Sun 27-Apr-14 23:56:24

Brd girl I think that is an important point that makes my situation slightly irrelevant in that dsd lives with us and her mum has supervised contact and doesn't seem to ask anymore about these things except at official meeting's so things like hair cuts, education etc are all down to dp and therefore us as a couple. So I do all the 'mum' things for her (and don't I know it from dsd if I forget to do any of those things :p) .

It must be very hard for step mums who have their step kids at weekends and whose mothers are still either their primary care giver or very involved if not, to figure out how to look after a step child without breaking boundaries.
and hard for mothers who feel that the step mum isn't keeping to sometimes unsaid rules or isn't doing it your way.

so I think you need to chat to your ex, for the sake of the conversation keep It as you're assuming she means we'll but it's upsetting the kids could she try and not do x y and z.

I said earlier that you should not make them see her if she doesn't change but actually I think it's a conversation that the kids should have with dad, coming from you it would see like your rocking the boat and restricting contact. on the off chance that actually she's a horrible bitch then something needs saying.

brdgrl Mon 28-Apr-14 00:08:15

Yes, same here, Alita - no mum involved! - harder in some ways but so much easier in others!

purpleroses Mon 28-Apr-14 07:34:13

I would be very wary of getting too involved in your ex's household. The things you describe don't sound that awful really. Kids can be head work and there have been times when I'm sure some of my DSC would have told tales to their mum of my doing dreadful things - during the course of sorting out disputes between them, getting youngest off his computer, etc. They tell us takes off their DM too grin

They are well old enough to discuss how they feel with their dad. You can help them to do this. I agree that there's no reason for them to be visiting for whole weekends when their dad's not there but it's not always feasible never to be leaving them in her company. They're a bit old to be dragged round Tescos or taken along everywhere your ex might need to go in a weekend.

TheSlagOfSnacks Mon 28-Apr-14 12:09:22

Your ex should be spending more time with them.

littlegreenlight1 Mon 28-Apr-14 12:17:51

He works every saturday, so they go friday night, and come back to me on Sunday eves, only eow though, no contact during the week, he lives 20 miles away which isnt far but when he doesnt finish work until 6 and my LO is in bed at half 7, it doesnt leave much.
Im not saying they cant be with her, just not on their own. I dont trust her, she upsets them, they can just come to me. Their step mum takes the babies out when my ex is there, its a really weird set up (ie theyre all going on holiday but my ex will be in a cottage with "his" children and she will be in another one with "hers" but that includes the two that are "his" as well.

I might be overreacting, Ill have to speak to him but I am a step parent myself and I know I could never speak to my bf's children that way, I find it over stepping the mark.

My son CANT pronounce those letters/sounds, I think forcing him to try is bullying.

Thanks for all the advice though, its really helped.

purpleroses Mon 28-Apr-14 12:31:49

If he's at work the whole of every Saturday, then having them just go for the Sunday - or maybe arrive Saturday evening, would seem much more sensible. Maybe every Sunday if that suits you OK?

Does sould like your ex is already aware that his DW is struggling with his DCs and they work better as two kind of separate families rather than one big one.

Eliza22 Mon 28-Apr-14 15:12:07

Oh dear. This must be hard for you. I think you're right to ask that their dad be present or at least, not missing for any length of time. It's not working is it? Not for your boys, not for this woman. Perhaps she objects to being left to "parent" her partner's other kids? Doesn't really matter. Fact is, they are clearly unhappy and it needs to be addressed. It's important they don't lose contact with their dad and if this continues, they will.

Could you all sit down and discuss? I could with my ex and his partner but my DH (second marriage) could not. At all.

yoyo27 Mon 28-Apr-14 15:29:53

If their dad isn't their when the kids are there, then it isn't fair on his partner to be expected to look after them but not be allowed to look after them her way.

brdgrl Mon 28-Apr-14 16:28:02

I can't believe others are supporting this idea. Massively unfair to your children to restrict their time with their stepfamily members. Unfair to your ex to insist that he be present at every minute (presumably you occasionally leave your children with another family member or carer? Does your ex get to demand that you stop doing that?

And unfair to try to dictate how they divide things up in their family unit.

I really don't know what you'd be happy with. If she isn't "overstepping", then she's neglecting. If your kids aren't happy with something she says or does, then they can't be there. And this isn't a new arrival in their lives, clearly.

Sorry, but this seems so wrong to me. You need to let your ex deal with the children and parent them as he sees fit when they're with him.

littlegreenlight1 Mon 28-Apr-14 16:34:19

I imagine she does, I wouldnt be happy to have to do it every weekend. She goes from having 3 kids to 5 on her own, practically probably very difficult I expect.

No its not working so Ill have to speak to him but no way could we all sit down together, it will be like pulling teeth to get him to admit its not working, to come up with new arrangements (nothing will suit him) etc etc.
To keep his maintenance paymets the same (he only cares about money in terms of how often he has the kids, he wont have them less as he will have to give me more) he would have to have them every saturday night.
Which Im not overly keen on but whatever, I dont want my children coming home so bloody miserable so it might be the only way. I dont know. I wont have any contact with him until 2 weekends time when they go again so Ill have it all straight in my head by then.

Goes without saying that he hasnt replied to my text.

littlegreenlight1 Mon 28-Apr-14 16:37:12

He is parenting when hes there but when hes not he has no idea what is happening. And I get NO input from him any other time.
We will come to some arrangement but if Im not happy with my children in a situation then damn right he will hear about it!!!! My god, if our kids ever went to him the other way around he would be straight on my case and rightly so! If my kids were naughty, rude etc, Id say she had cause to speak sternly to them but theyre not, he never says that she has been upset BECAUSE of the kids - which is something he absolutely would tell me.

littlegreenlight1 Mon 28-Apr-14 16:37:53

and yoyo I totally agree.

brdgrl Mon 28-Apr-14 16:42:22

Whatever, I'm sure she's dreadful and your children are always perfectly behaved.
You sound like a nightmare.

purpleroses Mon 28-Apr-14 17:11:07

I agree with yoyo. Either you leave your ex and his DP to decide for themselves how to run their own household - and that includes letting his DP parent them the way she sees fit. Or you re-negotiate contact so that they aren't spending half their time there in her sole charge.

Could you suggest they go Saturday night and Sunday day 3 weekends out of 4? That would actually mean their dad sees more of them and you would still get one full weekend a month with them.

If you can't talk to your ex, then much better to suggest your DSs talk to their dad directly about whatever has upset them. He's much better placed than you are to get a handle on it, and talk to his DP to find out her side of things. I do think that a 14 year old crying because he's been told off for treating his younger brother as a slave sounds like there must be something else going on that he's not told you. Kids do like to tell tales and stories of woe in the other household, especially if they think you'll take their side without question.

One good technique for finding out what has been going on would be to ask them "what do you think DSM/Dad would say if you told them what you've just told me?" Can help to get fuller picture.

TheMumsRush Mon 28-Apr-14 19:36:47

Maybe you needed to calm down before firing off a text, sound like you were very upset but in my experience there is always two sides to a story. It's a bit unrealistic to say you don't want her looking after your children on her own.

yoyo27 Mon 28-Apr-14 19:52:22

I also think it was actually nice of her to take an interest in your child's speech. Surely it's better she is interested rather than not bother?

alita7 Mon 28-Apr-14 20:01:21

It's either much much worse than the op says/ knows to cause a 14 year old boy to cry. or what's going on Is exaggerated by the boys and played on because they just don't like her.

I think it's fair for a step mum to tell one child not to make the other do things for him, it's probably some thing she sees a lot which means it probably annoys her and she is probably stressed. The book thing could just be what she thought would be helpful (rightly or wrongly) i agree it's not her place if you don't want her to do it, but at the same time it's not her being mean.
so it from the examples given it doesn't sound like she's awful, just not getting things right.
The boys may hate seeing her... Some kids hate seeing their grandparents but have to as they're family members! In an ideal world your ex wouldn't be working and leaving them alone with her but he probably hasn't got a choice atm. Maybe they could go to his parents for the day 1 weekend they have them a month, with or without her.
I would ask to have a chat with your ex or even try and arrange a chat with her if you can try not to be too accusing without hearing her side, if you are on speaking terms.

I know you are only trying to protect your kids which is obviously the right thing to do, but don't forget how many times kids will get upset and think you're being unfair when you feel you are telling them off appropriately or trying to get them to do homework or something else they don't want to do, so it may be that this is the case. They may play up more when their dad isn't there (especially the younger one) even if they're great kids, dsd 1 gets all attention seeking and argumentative if dp is busy doing something but is lovely if he's giving them all attention - so maybe they just dislike her as to them she is taking up time they want to be with their dad? Especially if she can't give them much attention cos of her kids which may make them feel like a spare part (especially if the family is somewhat split eg with the holiday cottages).

What I mean is sometime kids think they don't like a person when actually they don't like the situation and associate that person with the situation. have another chat with your boys especially the older one and see if he thinks that could be the case or if he definitely feels she is mean etc.

littlegreenlight1 Mon 28-Apr-14 20:53:43

alita, thank you, you've made me think a lot.
I hadn't really considered that they'd behave differently there, I know them so well I just assume they're as they are for me. their dad and I are very different people, we had our first very young and obviously grew up over time and just weren't compatible.
I know step families, hell just families are all different and we all do things differently so we will work something out, we'll talk next time the boys are due to go and find a solution that makes everyone happy ( if that's possible!).
thanks again for all the advice though, it's been interesting.

UC Tue 29-Apr-14 09:29:41

Littlegreenlight, it is definitely true that kids behave totally differently at one house to the other. I can give you numerous examples of this in my own children, and my step-children.

I have had conversations with my ex, where he has said our DSs are behaving confrontationally with him, answering back etc, whilst when they have been at our house, they are beautifully behaved and polite. I have had the same in reverse - I've talked to him about one or other of them misbehaving, and he's said that they haven't shown the same behaviours at his.

My step children are the same. They can be angels here, and demons at their mums, and vice versa.

A lot of it boils down to dynamics. Your children have other kids in their dad's household, and only themselves in yours I think? My SDCs have a similar thing, whilst my DCs also have a sibling with their dad. It is a big leap going from a house where you are the only kids and the boundaries are very clear because it's always been just your immediate family, to adjusting to another house where there are other kids too, some related to you through a shared parent, and some not related to you at all, only by the situation you are in.

As for your DCs' step mum, I have been in the situation where I have been home alone looking after my DSs and my SDCs at the same time - so 4 kids at once on my own - two mine and two steps. I found it stressful, difficult, arguments were highly likely, as it is impossible to cater for 4 kids at once, when their ages range from 12 - 6. Eventually, I told my DP that I couldn't cope with it, and didn't want to do it, as it was no good for the kids or for me, and therefore, him. And I was only doing it once in a while, for a day or so in the holidays. It sounds like the SM in your situation has to do this EVERY WEEK. And she has 5 children, with an even wider age range than me. I think she is in an almost impossible situation, and I'm not surprised that she is stressed and probably miserable and suffering under the strain.

I can also give you examples of kids manipulating the situation. My youngest DS decided that what he really wanted was his mummy and daddy back together. How to achieve that? Tell his dad that his SD was mean, and tell his mum (me) that his SM was mean. Then we'd get rid of our partners, and hey presto, we'd get back together. Luckily all the adults communicated with eachother, and got to the bottom of it - DS was telling lies in order to achieve a grander aim. Maybe he has a career as a politician before him...

It's difficult, but please don't automatically think that the SM is the "bad" cop in all situations. It sounds as though she's been left in a situation that could push anyone to their limits. It would be better if she could see that you understand that, rather than leaping to attack here because she "made your DCs cry". If she's anything like me, the stress of looking after so many kids on your own, when they aren't all yours, on a regular basis, she'll have spent many an hour in tears herself.

shey02 Tue 29-Apr-14 11:24:46

Amen UC. The life of a step mum is so misunderstood, often punished by normally well-behaved, 'angelic' children, misunderstood/unappreciated by fathers who disney parent or parent through guilt, who are made to feel guilty by exwives and dc for having a life....... And hated by the natural mother's who think we are maniacs who don't want to share their children and who think we hate them.

At what point do we get a break or some support? At what point are the children just left to live peacefully, without interference - within two households with different dynamics, different rules and are raised to be responsible for their own behaviour and stop playing parents off against each other. Sorry, I have feet firmly in both camps and nurture my children to address their issues directly with myself if relevant to me or their father if it is something to do with him or his house/rules. (Two of my dc are younger than the OP's).

However, on the other hand one of my dsc is extremely cold to me regardless that I make every effort to show interest and interact with them, unfortunately he believes his mothers lies. The other three are absolutely fine with me, however they portray to their mother that they don't like me and that they don't like spending time with me because of this or that. Basically, they lie to keep her happy. I'm okay with it, I understand why they do it, for an easier life. I pity them though, poor kids having to do that, feeling so divided. Just saying OP, things are not always what they seem, not always as bad/negative as kids portray. And sometimes you do have to eat your vegetables, or pick up your laundry, or put the dishes away, regardless of which house you're in. It's not about control, not about anyone being mean, it's family life, whether you like it or not. People have different styles, we are all different, but unless you have concrete proof that she is deliberately 'bullying' your children, I'd tread carefully with addressing this.

CountryGal13 Tue 29-Apr-14 16:06:36

I'm a step mum who's been on the receiving end of something similar. The eldest of my husband's teens was upset with him for something which had nothing to do with me. Obviously, resentful feelings must have been bubbling away for sometime because all of a sudden we got a text from mum saying that they only wanted to see dad in future and not me with a list of things that I'd supposedly said, done or ment. Things that I had said sounded awful when they were completely taken out of context and shortened to mean what they obviously wanted them to. The only time I'd ever got angry, even though it was over a year previous was dragged up and even though it was justified their mother was only told their very edited version of events, ect ect. I could go on forever about all of the times they've upset me, ignored me, disrespected my home ect but apparently that doesn't matter because I'm the adult. I'm always polite and friendly to my husband's teens but I'm very detached because the rejection used to really upset me.
I'd just consider that there might be another side to this story and that your sons may be taking things she does and says very personally because they don't really like her. I don't look after my sc anymore because they'd ignore me and pretend I didn't exist when their dad wasn't here so the atmosphere on my days off was awful and was making me miserable. I've found step parenting to be an absolute minefield and your damned if you do and damned if you dont. I now have as little to do with everything as possible x

TheMumsRush Tue 29-Apr-14 16:29:41

Country that's so sad sad

wheresthelight Wed 30-Apr-14 22:03:39

I am inclined to agree with alita

My dsc's behave completely differently when it is just me looking after them to when their dad is here too (he works shifts) - for me they behave fine. Do as asked, are polite, mostly remember manners eto. Wheb their dad is here I am blanked, disrespected and treated like shit on their shoes and it drives me insane. We have had the odd text from exw having a go because dp has hit the roof over their behaviour or because i have confiscated computers, sent them to their rooms or removed a trip out as punishment.

Kids are bloody brilliant at manipulation especially where split families are involved.

How certain are you that the story you have received is actually the truth?

Perhaps you would be better off talking calmly to your ex and telling him what the kids have said and asking him what has gone off?

littlegreenlight1 Wed 30-Apr-14 22:29:57

Youve all made me see it ALL from every angle.
As I said, exh doesnt answer the phone to me and Id text him.
Turns out he had something to say to me too.
I took it on board and had a good hard think.
I understand we parent differently, and as I said, I have sc myself, well I have a bf with children and we spend the weekends together (which is what exh does, we are just not married).
Ive told him if he would like to see the boys this weekend and have a chat then thats fine and he hasnt replied, but I dont expect him to.

Several of you have said my children might be manipulating the story, yes, they might. I have no real reason not to believe them but Im not stupid, theyre children and are going to aim for the angle that is preferable. That original post was written in anger and I apologise massively to any stepparents I may have offended.

I am a bit of a perfectionist and this does trickle in to every aspect of my life massively, but thanks all of you who have helped me see the error of my ways.

wheresthelight Wed 30-Apr-14 22:38:07

Step parents are a very easy target because very often the actual parents don't like them and regardless of how much you think they don't know, they always know.
Often if they have misbehaved and are worried nrp will tell rp then they will often get in first with an embellished version. I am not saying this is what has happened and you seem to be open to it as a possibility which from a sm perspective is very welcoming.

Your exh and his dw clearly have a different approach and depending on how long their approach has been running it could just be a rebellion against it esp given your kids ages.

I would be inclined to suggest that you suggest tonyour boys that if they have an issue with their step mum they discus it with their father and not you. They're old enough to be able to deal with this directly hopefully?

littlegreenlight1 Wed 30-Apr-14 22:40:39

Thats what Ive said to them, of course I am here for them but really they need to discuss it with him. Theyve never really been able to chat with their dad, but maybe its time they did.

wheresthelight Wed 30-Apr-14 22:48:35

I think that is great of you and for your exh. He needs to listen to his kids and it will probably take criticism about his dw better from the kids than from you as he won't see it so much as you interfering iyswim. (not saying you are btw!)

My youngest dsc is 8 and believe me when I say she is a manipulative little beggar at times! I love the bones of her but when she is in a mood she can be a right madam. I don't doubt that she goes home saying what a bitch I have been but dp and his exw have an ok ish relationship and whilst we do get the odd text it is usually the pattern that dp will tell exw at drop off if anything has gone off that has resulted in discipline etc so that she knows what happened and what punishment etc has been handed down.

His exw doesn't believe in discipline and never says no to the kids so that creates massive issues - however from snippets of what the kids have been saying recently I think since she moved in with her dp she has had to crack down as her dp doesn't take kindly to their crappy behaviour!

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