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Dp relationship with ds - issues

(36 Posts)
aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 08:58:53

I have a ds who is approaching 10 and a fiancé who I've been with for four years. My dp and ds overall get along well but having never had kids of his own, dp can be a bit clueless sometimes on parenting. He's also deep down more interested in his own hobbies than family stuff I believe but that's never stopped him making an effort with ds and I do believe he cares a lot about him.

The problem I have is that from the start he forged this relationship with ds as a mate rather than a father figure. Not the wrong thing to do at all as ds dad is still very much around, but their relationship has always involved a lot of back and forth banter, cheekiness and annoying each other just as you'd expect from two kids!

As ds has gotten older some of the 'banter' has escalated into cheekiness and back chat. I've asked them both to tone it down as it doesn't sound great. Now we're altogether 24/7 in lockdown dp is starting to get pissed off with the way ds is with his attitude and cheekiness. Suddenly it's not acceptable. I admit ds can go over the top at times and is often pulled up on it. But dp created this dynamic with him and now he suddenly seems to expect ds to understand that actually he can't talk to him like that anymore because he's an adult 🙄

I've tried explaining that to dp but he doesn't get it and goes on the defence - 'all my fault is it then that he has no respect' and that sort of thing.

We've had a couple of really big blow ups during lockdown and I'm sick of feeling stuck in the middle like I have to mediate. My ds is overall a really lovely, well behaved lad who responds well to discipline. He doesn't speak to me in the same was as dp. I don't see how they can now undo the dynamic of the relationship and change it after 4 years. Does anyone have any advice?

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 09:13:10


Intelinside57 Sun 17-May-20 09:19:11

If your fiancee blows up when you explain this to him then no, I don't think the dynamic can be changed. If he was open and listening and wanting to take ownership it would be different. He created the situation, he's really the one who needs to be the grown up and change it. But it will take time, he can't just tell your son off, he needs to start to model some good behaviour. It also can't be for you to sort out because you don't have the same problems.Your son is only 10, is this giving you any second thoughts about the future with your fiancee?
Interesting how lockdown is shining a light on weaknesses in relationships isn't it? My advice would be don't even think of getting pregnant with him until you are really comfortable about how he treats your son and how he works in partnership with you. He isn't at the moment.

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 09:24:29

I wouldn't say it's giving me second thoughts. It's not bad enough to be a deal breaker and I suspect it's only been heightened due to the lockdown situation. But I do find it frustrating. For years I have tried to nip the cheekiness between them both in the bud when it goes too far. Telling them both off so ds knows it's not just him getting told off cos he's the child. I've obviously also spoken to dp about it privately. 90% of the time it hasn't been a problem but now dp is getting annoyed with essentially the monster he has created. Dp has told ds off about it but since I reminded him it's due to the dynamic he created then he just goes sulky whenever he is pissed off which is even more pathetic and irritating.

I do agree that ds needs to reign it in a bit with his back chat at times but dp needs to understand that it's partly due to him and kids don't simply have an off switch. Plus lockdown has been difficult for ds too and probably is exacerbating his behaviour.

BubblesBuddy Sun 17-May-20 09:25:11

Well don’t get married just yet! This won’t get easier as your DS gets older.

I think you sat back a bit and let this relationship develop. I don’t like banter at all and it leads to problems. It is down to you to set the ground rules between DS and DP. You have found a child cannot be expected to do this and the adult involved isn’t capable or sensible either.

You have no option but to speak to DS about what he says. How unacceptable is it? He clearly hasn’t picked up the changes dynamics. You will have to try and say that DP would prefer the banter is now dropped.

Hopefully DS will be back at school before too long which will give you a break. You then need to speak to DP about how you will both go forward and be “parents”. You must agree a strategy and work together. If your DS is keen on banter he might find that’s an issue at school too. So be firm with both of them.

They both need to grow up and your DP should try and include your DS in suitable hobbies or DS will feel excluded. In fact he is excluded. So address that too.

Dieu Sun 17-May-20 09:35:43

I can see what you're saying OP, and this kind of thing is very difficult to come back from. My 3 daughters have developed a very bantery relationship during lockdown; so when one comes into the room, the other will say 'oh look, it's the smelly little rat' and so it goes on hmm No offence is ever taken, and they find it funny. But they never seem to chat about anything deep, and I wouldn't want this kind of chat to be the sum total of their relationship! shock

Dieu Sun 17-May-20 09:36:54

And yeah, it must be hard and confusing when the adult in the relationship suddenly moves the goalposts thanks

Hmmmm88 Sun 17-May-20 10:16:12

My DSS almost 15 is exactly the same but with his dad. He tries to have a bit of banter but it always goes to far and it's absolutely exhausting.

My DH sometimes thinks it's fun but other times not at all so my DSS is getting mixed signals and it results in different arguments between them.

I literally have no advice for you OP but i feel for you being the mediator it's not nice being stuck in the middle.

I do however think it's part of teens growing up most of their friendships revolve around banter and your DS obviously sees your DP as a friend he can have banter with

Macncheeseballs Sun 17-May-20 10:19:59

So much banter is deeply unfunny

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 10:20:51

@Hmmmm88 it's when the banter strays into rudeness and back chat that problems arise but how can you expect a ten year old to be socially aware enough to know where the line is? This is why I'm frustrated with dp.

An example is if I say to ds stop that he will stop it. If dp says stop that, ds will say 'you stop it' thinking he's been funny and cheeky. It's exhausting.

AnotherEmma Sun 17-May-20 10:26:47

"He's also deep down more interested in his own hobbies than family stuff I believe"

Why are you marrying him then?

Are you planning to have more children with this shining example of a family man and responsible parent?

Hmmmm88 Sun 17-May-20 10:31:14

He's pushing the boundaries without a doubt he's seeing how much he can get away with with you DP.

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 10:34:14

@AnotherEmma When it comes to stepparenting I don't believe he has the same responsibilities as me. In all honesty I would probably prefer to spend the day in a spa or a pub than in soft play or stood on a freezing cold sideline watching ds play football but I do it because he's my son. And dp is involved in all that stuff too. Doesn't mean he isn't allowed to prefer his own interests. Quite natural for the best of us.

And no we won't be having anymore kids.

AnotherEmma Sun 17-May-20 10:35:41

I wouldn't marry anyone who wasn't interested in spending time with my child and taking on a step parent role.

You are failing your DS by choosing this man.

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 10:41:03

@AnotherEmma at no point did I say he doesn't make time for my ds. In my original post I said he makes effort with him and cares about him. But please don't let facts get in the way of making a superior judgement.

My issue and the whole point of this post was the problems I'm having with the dynamic of their relationship.

I'm absolutely not failing my son.

AnotherEmma Sun 17-May-20 10:42:28

Sure, living with a man who regularly winds him up and loses his shit is not failing him at all.

You crack on dear. Not sure what magic solutions you were hoping for.

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 10:46:13

@AnotherEmma wow, you're nice 😂😂

Thanks so much for the helpful input. I do hope one day my family can be as perfect as yours so clearly is. I won't deny there are issues in the way that they communicate. I don't deny there are sometimes frustrations and rows. It's called reality, dear.

It doesn't mean I'm failing my son. That's a really terrible thing to say to someone. Get some lessons in empathy and class.

monkeymonkey2010 Sun 17-May-20 10:50:14

He's also deep down more interested in his own hobbies than family stuff
Yet you keep him in your home,life and your ds's life?

You claim he's 'clueless' re parenting as doesn't have kids - yet he has no problems asserting his 'authority' and disciplining your child?

Your son is getting older, becoming his own person - and his needs are changing.
i have a feeling your partner doesn't like this as it changes the 'power' balance for him.

Your child was even younger than now when this 'banter' dynamic was sold to him as 'how things are'....bullying and power plays disguised as "just joking and being mates".

Your DP didn't stop his 'banter' when you told him it was unhealthy - and for some reason you allowed it to carry on.
If you thought it wasn't 'right' then what makes you think your son does?
He probably secretly hates the constant 'picking' on him but he's been told this is 'normal' behaviour, so he stands up for himself the only way he's been taught how.

How about you reassess what exactly this DP of yours is bringing to your life in terms of partnership.....and whether it's a good idea having him in your lives.
The older your son gets, the more he stands up for himself and becomes a man - the more your DP is going to feel 'threatened' by him.

monkeymonkey2010 Sun 17-May-20 10:51:39

and you don't let someone who's 'clueless' about kids call the shots and over-rule you when it comes to your child.

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 10:54:40

@monkeymonkey2010 I see what you're saying but I really don't think it's any kind of a power struggle. Dp is a bit clueless about kids and that's why I think in the early days he thought this matey, jokey relationship was the way to go. The way ds now responds to him is rude at times but it's what he's been used to and he is pushing boundaries. It's just more noticeable due to the increased amount of time together.

Despite them winding each other up they do genuinely love one another and if we split up for any reason I know ds would be deeply upset. I just want to work on the way they communicate and make it a little more respectful on both sides.

dontdisturbmenow Sun 17-May-20 10:57:13

It doesn't matter if he really created the situation, your DS needs to learn now. You need to pick him up in it each time, not just often. It's not about blame allocation but realising that there's an issue that needs tackling.

It's no big deal, it's all very normal, part of the transition. Just need some readjusting.

ThePianist38 Sun 17-May-20 10:57:19

Don’t have any advice I’m afraid but if your DP can’t put up with the cheekiness of a 10 yrs old , imagine how is going to be when your son is 15-16 . Everything was ok while your DS was young , now he grows and can “ give it “ back and your DP can’t take it . Your DP needs to change his attitude and start acting like a step parent and not like a mate , if he doesn’t create the situation your DS can’t respond .
From what you’re saying in your 6 yrs relationship your DP has not done anything with your DS alone ? why can’t he watch your son playing football while you’re at the spa? is either not interested in taking on the role or you’re not giving him the chance?

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 10:59:18

@ThePianist38 I'm not sure where you got that idea from but he has done a lot of things with him alone. He picks up the slack if I'm working, takes ds to football and things like that. It's just that I'm the more authoritative one I guess.

You're right about the growing up thing though. I hope that as ds grows into a teen we can readjust some of the dynamics.

Cherrysoup Sun 17-May-20 10:59:55

It sounds like you’re blaming your DP and it’s not your ds’s fault. Your ds has repeatedly been told by your DP that it’s not acceptable but according to you, it’s your dp’s fault so tough and a 10 year old can’t be blamed. I think you need to back up your DP and honestly, at 10, your son knows fine well that he’s pushing buttons. Irrelevant, but 10 is the age of criminal responsibility. He is more than capable of stopping himself-is your DP winding him up?

I’d say your DP needs to be consistent too, he can’t have the banter/cheekiness if he can’t cope with it, so he needs to impose limits, he is the adult after all. Are you backing up your ds and telling your DP it’s his fault?

aliceinsunderland44 Sun 17-May-20 11:09:58

@Cherrysoup yes I suppose sometimes I am. He's my son and I will always defend him first and foremost. I do try and be fair though and I have pulled him up several times on it but ultimately I do blame my dp a bit as he's the adult and he's the one who chose this dynamic even though I have warned against it at times. I've said he can't expect ds to know where fun stops and rudeness ends. This is what I mean about being stuck in the middle...

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