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To pick my child over my relationship?

(130 Posts)
MardyMarie Sat 16-Dec-17 23:23:52

I have four children, aged 6, 4, 2 and 2 months. I separated from DP 6 months ago because our home life was intolerable. He was like a spectator living in the home and had little to do with the 'nitty gritty' of family life - ok to play occasionally but no good with illness, bedtime, school and nursery run, bath time, discipline ect. He moved to his mum's on the basis that we'd try and work things out but it's just not working. I love him as a partner but not as a fellow parent and I can't see any way of improving things.

The DC cry and whinge constantly when he's around. They all cling to me and don't listen to him at all. If we go out he'll be desperate to hold the baby because the others just won't cooperate with him whatsoever. I back him up but it's just miserable. When he isn't here, they're well adjusted, happy and play nicely together. He doesn't put any boundaries in place and will do anything to avoid having to tell them off yet despite me always having to be bad cop, they constantly push him away.

They all refuse to be alone or go out alone with him so working on relationships 1:1 isn't an option. It's been tried and they just cry for me the entire time. I have never been able to leave the house without children in almost 7 years and I feel suffocated but they are miserable with him and would be happier with a sitter.

He loves them and wants to see them and I would love for us all to be a family but I can't bear seeing the DC unhappy whenever he's here. AIBU to ask of anyone can think of anything we can do to improve things, or is it going to be a case of having to sacrifice my relationship for the sake of the DCs happiness?

CremeFresh Sat 16-Dec-17 23:27:11

Your children should come first. Staying in this relationship is obviously affecting them badly.

YellowMakesMeSmile Sat 16-Dec-17 23:30:00

How on earth did it get to the stage of four children before you noticed the problem?

Children don't usually turn against a parent when that young unless there's a very good reason.

MardyMarie Sat 16-Dec-17 23:38:36

He worked away mon-fri when the older two were younger so I thought it was normal that they rejected him at weekends but even now he works 8-4, none of them want anything to do with him. He doesn't shout, smack or anything like that. He's inconsistent and doesn't give them boundaries but you would think they'd like and take advantage of having a soft parent but they absolutely don't. We were supposed to be going to a farm and to see Santa together tomorrow and all 3 older ones have asked separately that he doesn't come sad

RhodaBorrocks Sat 16-Dec-17 23:48:29

Could you look into family counselling? I don't know if it would work with children so young, but it might give you both some ideas on how to work together on parenting?

Or else suggest if he's really serious about being part of their lives then he should go on a Dads only parenting course. Your children's centre might have something like that he can go on. Or Gingerbread.

ProseccoMamam Sat 16-Dec-17 23:52:31

Haven't read your thread but of course everyone is going to tell you to choose your child over your partner. Who wouldn't, really?

Greenshoots1 Sat 16-Dec-17 23:52:33

is he their father? then yes, YABU, it isn't a choice between your relationship and your child, is it. It is about your childen having a relationship with their father. It sounds like he has no confidence at all with them, they are manipulating him, and you have allowed this situation to develop rather than supporting him. They should be building relationships with him.

WildRosesGrow Sat 16-Dec-17 23:57:35

Did you ask the children why they didn't want their Dad to come on the trip out? It sounds like he didn't have to play much of an active part with the 2 eldest and you now all don't know how to adapt to having him around more.

I would suggest you both looking into parenting courses and maybe some couple counselling. I wonder if the children are picking up on some hostility from you, perhaps as you have also been used to being the one active parent and found it hard to give up part of this role.

If you genuinely want to make your marriage work, it's not about 'putting your children first' by chucking out your husband, instead it is about working together to find a way to parent successfully together. In fact, even if you don't stay together, this will be necessary, as he will still be their Dad.

Outnotdown Sun 17-Dec-17 00:00:22

How about parenting classes? Some kind of professional intervention, maybe family therapy as suggested above. It sounds very strange to me, I've never heard of children outright rejecting a parent in that way other than for serious mistreatment.

MardyMarie Sun 17-Dec-17 00:02:17

Yes, he's their father and I'm trying to help them have a relationship but I'm not sure he would at all if I called time on our relationship. I have no hostility for them to pick up on - I want him to be able to do more so I can be with them individually, get a haircut alone ect.

Nanny0gg Sun 17-Dec-17 00:06:43

I find it odd that just because he's totally wet and doesn't instill boundaries or discipline that they don't want him around at all. They wouldn't react like that if a friend was going with you.

There must be more to it.

MardyMarie Sun 17-Dec-17 00:13:02

They say they don't like him, Wild.

He tries desperately to be their friend and sometimes things are ok - but it's only when he's doing as they tell him. As soon as a nappy needs changing, or a hand needs holding, they hate him and scream the place down. He then relents and leaves me to see to it that whatever needs to happen, happens.

Last week, for example, we were in a cafe and 2 yo got up and started rolling and then running around. I was breastfeeding baby. I told 2 yo it was dangerous as people were carrying hot drinks around and to please return to her seat. She carried on running around. Rather than back me up or retrieve her, DP tried to take the baby so I could deal with 2 yo. I refused and said baby needs feeding, you can deal with DD how you see fit. He sat down and kept calling her and she kept not listening. People were glaring and I said that the longer he let's her do it after we've said she must stop immediately, the more confusing it is for her. So he went and picked her up and plonked her down on her seat where she proceeded to scream and try and climb onto my lap.

MardyMarie Sun 17-Dec-17 00:15:35

I agree that it's odd, Nanny, I would have thought they'd prefer him because he's soft and does as he's told, can give them his full attention without having jobs to do ect. But they don't. They'll boss him around and use him then it's almost like they resent him for it because they treat him shoddily afterwards

Greenshoots1 Sun 17-Dec-17 00:17:55

what happens when they complain or cry about being with him? Do you step in and take over? It is more likely that they simply enjoy the power game rather than actively dislike thier father for no reason, isn't it? If he just had them every Saturday, and you were no where in sight or ear shot, they would most likley start to build up a proper relationship.

Butterymuffin Sun 17-Dec-17 00:20:58

What suggestions has he made about how to improve things with the kids?

Haffiana Sun 17-Dec-17 00:22:53

This is just a guess, but if you have done everything for the children, and have not let him learn and make his own mistakes then this could be the result. Children with two parents understand immediately that those parents are different and do things in a different way. If they are rejecting him it is because he hasn't had a chance to do anything his way.

You say that he is 'no good'. Well, that is your fault. He hasn't had a chance to learn. What you need to do is simply go out and have your haircut, have a few hours shopping or whatever, and let them all learn together how to be a family. They will be fine.

StrugglingAlbion Sun 17-Dec-17 00:24:14

I read your thread title only and can confidently tell you to pick your child. Don't be a dick.

Coyoacan Sun 17-Dec-17 00:24:49

Of course he's timid about setting boundaries if they don't even like him. The example in the cafe doesn't strike as out of the ordinary. Of course a two-year-old will kick off under those circumstances and he was understandably nervous about the situation.

StrugglingAlbion Sun 17-Dec-17 00:26:25

I have now read your posts and think there must be more to it.

They wouldn't completely reject him because he's too soft. There must be another reason

MardyMarie Sun 17-Dec-17 00:30:27

Coyoacan - that's not true. If I'd been able to get up I would have retrieved her immediately and she wouldn't have cried because I would have done what she expected. It's the not knowing where they stand with him that causes upset. If I wasn't there he'd have let her continue, which she knows.

I have tried just leaving them to work it out. It's utterly miserable and he doesn't hide that fact.

MardyMarie Sun 17-Dec-17 00:33:46

If there is then I don't know what it is, Struggling. They don't completely reject him - they're happy to see him as long as he's doing as they tell him.

Crispbutty Sun 17-Dec-17 00:34:24

How do the older ones get on with him? Do they spend any one on one time with him?

KnightsOfCydonia Sun 17-Dec-17 00:36:57

I think you need to have a private chat with the older 2 (separately from each other) and find out their concerns.
I agree with others that there seems to be more to this than meets the eye.
Their behaviour sounds like how I behaved when I was that age when my mum attempted to leave me with her partner, I sincerely hope that there is a different reason for your DC's reactions.

ArnoldBee Sun 17-Dec-17 00:37:44

My children don't want their dad around most recently on a trip to see Santa. This is because he works weekends and they are not use to having him around. In our case it's not a reflection on his parenting but what they have come to know as the norm. As it turned out they both loved him being there.

fussygalore118 Sun 17-Dec-17 00:43:14

It's all very odd.... its hard to believe that they dslike him that much for the reasons they give

And simply put you splitting up wont be a case of choosing the children over him he is their dad and will have rights to see them witbout you.

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