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to worry about how DS's rubbish "dad" is going to affect him as he grows up?

(19 Posts)
superv1xen Mon 15-Nov-10 09:49:06

brief back story: DS is 4 1/2. I left his dad when he was a few months old, as, in a nutshell he was a rubbish partner and father and i didnt love him anymore. I have a new dp who I have a DD of 18mo with. we have been together 3 years and are getting married soon.

DS's dad has never been that interested in him, not even when we were together, when DS was 2 his dad moved over 100 miles away to go and live with his new gf. he is meant to see DS every 2 weekends and pick him up and have him overnight. but often lets me down with crap excuses (the last one was "i can't afford the diesel" hmm )

he doesn't give me enough maintenance even though he has a good job. and i just accept it because i don't want to fall out with him. he wouldn't give me any money towards his school uniform because he said my DP "should pay for it" ...wtf. he begrudges paying money for his own son and that disgusts me.

i could bore you all with loads more tales of his crapness but the bottom line is he couldn't give a shit about DS, he does the bare minimum and its got to the stage now where DS gets upset when i tell him his dads coming and says he "doesn't want to go to daddy's." it breaks my heart but i don't know what to do for the best because he is only 4 and i don't want to deprive him of his dad or his dad of his son. i am not one of these bitter women who ruin their kids relationships with their dads and i would never say anything bad about his dad to DS.

he has also started to ask questions about his half sister and why "she has a mummy and a daddy in the house and i only have a mummy" its like he doesn't see his dad as his dad, but merely someone he has to go and stay with sometimes.

sorry this is long and rambling, its just something i have been thinking about recently.

Chil1234 Mon 15-Nov-10 09:54:18

I think it's often wrong to force a child to have a relationship with a dead-beat parent just because they happen to be a parent. If he doesn't want to spend time with his father at the moment then don't make him. It's up to his father to make more effort... not you and not your son. You don't have to say nasty things or be bitter about the ex necessarily... just don't sugar-coat the truth too much as that can be upsetting for a child when they find out the truth. And then I'd suggest that your fiance makes more of an effort to be 'Dad'... if your son is already feeling that his sister has a Daddy but he doesn't then maybe something's not quite right there. Do they spend time together by themselves, for example?

superv1xen Mon 15-Nov-10 12:05:10

DS and DP get on really well but he will never be his dad dp loves him but i don't think you can ever love a stepchild the way you love a bio child.

i just wish his own dad could see what an amazing little boy he is and actually WANT to be a proper dad to him.

the joke of it is is that we wanted DS to have DP's surname when we get married so we all had the same surname, but when we broached the subject with my ex he hit the roof and said no way. so he can lay claim to him when it suits him obviously hmm

Bonsoir Mon 15-Nov-10 12:08:19

It does sound as if your exP is a very disengaged parent who doesn't want to take any responsibility for his son whatsoever. Of course, if your DD has two present, loving, responsible parents, that is quite hard on your DS by comparison. Does your DS have paternal grandparents or other relatives who can take interest in him and compensate a little for the lack of paternal interest?

Chil1234 Mon 15-Nov-10 12:15:44

If you're going to be married DP has to make more of an effort to be a Dad to your DS. People can and do love stepchildren and adopted children all the time. Being the 'bio-child' of his original father hasn't resulted in love, has it?

Instead of wishing and hoping for something that isn't going to happen - and passing your obvious disappointment on to your son - play the cards you've been dealt and make sure you and your DP treat both your children (because that's what they are) the same.

HappyMummyOfOne Mon 15-Nov-10 12:30:32

I agree with Chil1234, you need to work on the relationship between your DP and DS. Feeling second best in your own home brings a whole host of problems with it as children grow up, probably more so than an absent parent.

superv1xen Mon 15-Nov-10 15:16:48

bonsoir yes, DS's paternal grandparents are involved with him and love him a lot, although they only see him once or twice a month. i have left it open for them to see him more but they don't have him overnight or ever take him out or anything.

chil yes you are quite right there re his bio dad. but i would never pass my disappointment on to my son, as i have said, i would never discuss his dad negatively with him.

happymum i would hate for DS to feel second best. but i worry that no matter what we do to treat the kids the same, ds will always know that he has a different daddy and may "feel" different, even if we treat them the same iyswim?

minimouseinthehouse Mon 15-Nov-10 16:50:29

I'm always surprised when I read about single mums here pushing for contact with deadbeat dads. I also left my DD's father before he was born and I could see that the contact was damaging her - lack of consistency, poor parenting and always being let down. I stopped encouraging contact shortly afterwards and both of us have been much happier since.

I don't think it helps to force contact in that situation, it's a form of emotional abuse, especially if the child has started sayiing they don't want to see the absent parent. It seems to me that resident parents are often afraid to stop contact because it's usually assumed that contact is always going to be the best thing for the child, when the reality is very different.

I think you need to be honest about the bio dad. There's a difference between bad-mouthing him and being frank about his behaviour. It won't do your child any favours in the long term if you give him a rose-tinted picture - I've known too many situations where that's happened and the child has had their illusions shattered at an older age (often in the fragile teen years when they want to seek out their father).

ChippingIn Mon 15-Nov-10 19:38:11



I don't think you should make his go and stay if he doesn't want to. I would tell the Ex that DS doesn't want to go and stay but that he's welcome to come & visit him (if he is?) or perhaphs take him out for the day, but that as DS is upset about going to stay, you are not going to make him.

I think you need to sort out the relationship with DP/DS as well. There are plenty of parents out there who love their children equally whether they are bio/step/fostered/adopted or otherwise. The 'step' needs to be factored out and the 'son' factored in.

superv1xen Mon 15-Nov-10 21:39:03

i didnt know whether 4 was too young for him to decide for himself or not, but maybe if he says it again i will tell his dad he doesnt want to go.

dp and ds do have a good relationship but maybe i should try and encourage them to step it up a bit and do more things together etc. it doesnt help matters that when we go and visit dps mum (ie dd's granny) she pretty much ignores ds and is all over dd, talk about making him feel left out the old bag

ChippingIn Mon 15-Nov-10 22:09:53

I think at 4 you have to be careful they aren't saying it to make you happy - they are very perceptive! But if he's old enough to say he doesn't want to go - I'd listen - there's usually a reason. If I felt like his Dad was good for him I'd be encouraging him to go, if I didn't I'd be supporting his right not to go

Tell DP that neither you nor the children will be going to his Mothers until she treats them fairly. Make it clear that you are a family now and that is that.

I do think it's a good idea to talk to DP about DS, explain that he really is DS's Dad and that you want him to have that relationship with DS - that he wont be stepping on twats bio Dad's toes. Talk to DS and try to make him feel lucky to have two Dads one he lives with and one he doesn't - try to make him feel luckier not less than the other kids. Then do all you can to foster the relationship between them, encourage them to do out and 'do boy stuff' etc cook together, clean the car together - whatever, as long as they do it together without you and DD.

What does DS call DP? Is there anything else he could call him to make him feel more like he's his Dad without completely wiping out his (bio) Dad?

SalFresco Mon 15-Nov-10 22:24:17

All I can tell you is that I've never had any contact with my dad and am fine about it, and my friends who had spent years of their childhood / teen years putting up with crap from their rubbish dads, I feel, had a lot more upset to deal with.

superv1xen Tue 16-Nov-10 14:31:47

thats the thing chipping sometimes ds just says stuff for the sake of it. and when his dad brings him back he seems happy enough. so its hard to know what to do for the best.

ds calls dp by his name, dunno what else he could call him really

also we have told him before that he has a daddy and a <dp's name> so he is very lucky, but not sure he gets it yet.

sal you are probably right there, but i want to keep trying with his dad for now at least.

Onetoomanycornettos Tue 16-Nov-10 14:40:19

My four year old (now five) used to say she didn't want to go to pre-school every single day, but skipped out happy and didn't worry about it inbetween. I wouldn't cut off contact because a four year old says they don't want to go somewhere if they seem happy enough in return, although it's pretty galling if you are the one always pushing for contact (phoning, arranging), so perhaps leave it up to the dad whilst not blocking it in any way and you may find the problem sorts itself.

superv1xen Tue 16-Nov-10 15:51:03

thats just it onetoomany ds sometimes says he doesnt want to go to school or similar so thats why i dont take him too seriously!

and it is always me doing the chasing / arranging etc and it gets me so mad. some dads dont get to see their kids at all and i have been nothing but accomodating and amicable with my ex, he doesnt know how lucky he is to have such a great kid and for it to be so easy for him to see him.

matildarosepink Tue 16-Nov-10 16:09:16

What about getting some kind of formalised agreement about the frequency and timing of contact so that it's easier to pin the dad down about it? Get him to state what he can realistically offer and stick to it. At the moment you seem worried about incurring his wrath if you expect him to stick to his commitments. I wouldn't bother worrying about this if I were you. He's obviously keen to have all the rights and few stable responsibilities, with some very mixed up ideas and insecurities about your new partner. None of that is your responsibility, and he is allowing his confused emotions about it mess up any attempt at consistency for your little boy.

If there's something you'd like to do as a new family to help your son feel more secure (I'm thinking of the name change thing here) then seek legal advice to see what your rights are. Your ex doesn't, and shouldn't, entirely run the show.

From first hand experience I think, as the principal stabilising influence in your child's life, the only thing you can do is keep your side of the street clean. Make sure your son has a happy and secure life with you, that he has good men in his life too (so he can see other role models) and keep your opinions on his bio's inconsistencies to yourself (amazing what kids take in). Your son will no doubt pronounce judgement for himself later in life, and you can be proud at that point that he did that independently.

Emjxxx Tue 16-Nov-10 17:12:47

There are soooo many here on MN that believe that a NRF and his child have the right to a relationship even if the NRF is a complete waster. Unless you are in the situation of having a NRP that is a complete let down you can never understand the emotional hurt (abuse) that happens.

My DS1 has a relationship with his dad, my XP and it has caused nothing but hurt and upset to both my DS1, my DD me and my DP. I don't want to nick your thread so I won't go into detail but lets just say that due to outrageous lies, constant let downs etc etc DS1, DD and me are all now in counselling.

As for the name change thing you can't do it if your XP says no. I have been with my DP for nearly 5 years now, he adores my DS1 and my DD both of them call him dad and he is the only stable father figure they have both known. Me and DP have a DS together. Me and DP are getting married next year and we all wanted the same name DD (who is 13) is already using DP surname and has done for a good few years this is because of her age she gets a choice. I already use DP surname and DS2 is in DP surname. We asked a solicitor about DS1 and have been told we can't change his name legally unless XP says we can. We have used DP surname for DS1 since he started playschool and then school as a "preferred" name but we have been advised that if XP challenges this we may be made to turn DS1 surname back to my surname by the court.

I agree with alot of the posts here that you can only do your best as you cannot change your XP actions. You need to make sure that your family life is as stable and as happy as possible.

Good luck to you, I really do feel your pain, it's heart breaking sad

superv1xen Wed 17-Nov-10 13:05:50

emjxx thats awful i am sorry to hear about your terrible experiences. i am glad you are happy with your new dp. some men do not deserve to have children do they?

so how old do they have to be before they can have a choice of what surname they use?

could i have his name double barrelled, ie "smith-jones" (thats not what it would be but just to illustrate ) or would we need twat exH to agree to that too?

Emjxxx Wed 17-Nov-10 20:23:57

Hi ya

I'm not sure on the age thing with regards to name change. I was just told that as my DD was 11 at the time, she could go by what name she wanted to, it's like her middle name is Louise and if she wanted to she could tell people, school, clubs etc etc that she wanted to be known as Louise.

From what my solicitor has told me you can't use a barrelled name either unless XP agrees to the change. I think that's more the thing, it's not what naming your changing it to it's just the plain fact that you are changing it and that requires XPs permission. What really hacks me is that my DS1 legal surname is MY old surname, it's not like it's my XPs surname

I have also been told that until a child is 9/10 ish in age then they have no real say in if they want to have contact or not. The judge said to me "your son is 5 yo he will do as he is told, he's far too little to know his own mind" !!! WTF shock

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