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Struggling

(36 Posts)
theredhen Sun 21-Nov-10 21:40:05

I am really struggling this weekend.

DP had a couple of run ins with my DS and although my DS doesn't help himself by arguing with him, I feel DP not always very fair and his own DC can do the same as DS but it gets laughed off or ignored.

I feel that all the rules for DS go out the window the moment DSC arrive and DP wants to create a fun time for them with no chores. He even let DD play games on mobile phone in the cinema today but he would go mad if DS did that!

When I try to implement just a few of the same chores and rules that I have for DS, DSC do a "go slow" and when DS dares to complain that he's picking up their slack, DP argues with him and defends his own DC. Or when DS doesn't do as he's told immediately, DP gets angry at him, but his own DC do that all the time!

Feel like it's them and us at the moment and as there are only 2 of us and 5 of them, I'm outnumbered. I also feel very upset that DP has recently critisised me for having a cuddle on the sofa with DS before bed but when his kids are here, I never get even a minute with DS as all my attention goes on his kids and right now, I'm begruding that.

piscesmoon Sun 21-Nov-10 21:59:09

You have to talk to him seriously about it and have rules for all. Don't go on the way that you are-it is quite clear the DCs are not equal.

theredhen Mon 22-Nov-10 08:36:36

Yes, I think a chat is in order.

The trouble is, it's a lot of hard work parenting 5 kids in the way you would 1 and I don't think DP is up for that.

Everytime DS leaves something on the floor, I ask him to pick it up, if we did that for all 5, I'd never stop asking and I don't think DP will back me up - I feel I have to choose my arguments.

All the kids are exhausted this morning after being allowed to stay up late and get up early all weekend (DS goes to bed 2 hours earlier when it's just the 3 of us). They sit on the computer and watch TV all morning and then he shouts at them for not being ready for school 2 hours later. confused

He tries his best but I do understand he doesn't want to be constantly having a moan, but I feel we owe it to all our kids to teach them the right way and now DS and I are living with him, I feel he shouldn't be such a "disney" dad as he won't pick after DS for the rest of the week as he does his own kids and DS is starting to realise that I expect one set of behaviour from him and DP expects something less from his DSC.

piscesmoon Mon 22-Nov-10 09:34:34

It isn't good for his DCs to treat them the way that he is. I would have a family meeting and dish out rules-let them come up with some-and chores. If DP won't listen suggest parenting classes.
If you have a large household they all need to pull their weight and not have some permanently on holiday!

glasscompletelybroken Mon 22-Nov-10 10:00:26

I think you're amazing quite honestly. I have 2 DBC's and find that hard enough. It must be incredibly difficult for your DS to find his own space and role in this larger family and having different rules for him and his step-sibs just makes it harder.

I can understand that he doesn't want to be moaning at his DC's all the time but if you have rules that everyone has to stick to then you don't have to keep moaning. If you put some basic but absolute rules in place about tidying up after them selves then you will have a period of adjustment where they will test out the system but if you really stick to it then you will get past that and it will become the norm.

My approach would be to say that it is their home and they should treat it as their home and not as a hotel they stay in some of the time. They should do their share of chores like everyone else who shares the home.

I do know from my own experience though that it is virtually impossible to get these disney dads to stick at anything even vaguely approaching discipline! If only they realised how much easier, calmer and less stressed life would be in the long run!

mjinhiding Mon 22-Nov-10 10:17:52

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Petal02 Mon 22-Nov-10 13:25:10

I don't have children of my own, but find it VERY frustrating that SS (age 16) doesn't switch off lights, close cupboard doors etc and finds it a huge effort to empty the bath and flush the loo. I'm sure a lot of 16 yr old boys are like that, but what really winds me up is that DH doesn't challenge him.

As GCB points out, it's practically impossible to get Disney Dads to implement any sort of discipline, and I've resigned myself to anger and frustration on access weekends, because I really don't know what else to do.

theredhen Mon 22-Nov-10 13:25:11

mj - I'm sorry you're having a bad time. I really take my hat off to you. At least my DSC have another home to go to.

You know, DP is great around the house and I know he worries that his kids will p*ss me off so he picks up after them and does things for them that I really feel they should be doing themselves.

I don't want him to do it for them, I want them to be responsible young people who treat us with respect. He got angry with his DS who told his Dad to "go iron me a shirt then, you normally do" when asked to sort his clothes out. Why can't DP understand that if you do everything for DC that they will not value anything you do for them.

DP seems to think getting them to pick up after themselves "sometimes" is enough. All that teaches them is that they will try every single time to get away with it, just in case. hmm Now DS has started doing it too because he knows that I pick up after him at weekends because I feel so mean picking on him and being less strict with the DSC.

I have a feeling when I talk to DP, he will look at me like he's humouring me and I fear that the rules will be in place after talking to the children and yet, he won't enforce them. I think I will point out to him that everything he does for his kids at weekends, he has to be prepared to do during the week for DS too. Maybe that will focus his mind, although I don't want DS to grow up lacking responsibility - it's always been really important to me and I don't want / can't change that. He is very fond of telling me that he had to do a large amount of chores at a young age and I know he sees it as a positive thing but he doesn't enforce it with his own children.

The truth is that DS is going to kick up against this more and more as time goes by, he's not hormonal yet, but add that to the mix and I think DP and him will come to blows.

Sometimes I think I had too much time to myself before I met DP and I'm not scared of going back to that but I do love DP and would love us to be a happy family unit. Sometimes I wonder if I should have met someone without kids who I could have had another child with and I would have had all the work but some more reward. blush

theredhen Mon 22-Nov-10 13:34:39

Petal,

I did say, initially, I would just chuck their stuff in their rooms and let them get on with it, which is easy enough if there aren't any other children to consider, but I don't think I can do that. I expect DS to keep his room and his clothes reasonably tidy and do things like turn off a light when he leaves the room and open the curtains in the morning. hmm

Also, it's about respect and the understanding that 7 people and 2 adults working full time can only do so much and why should they sit on computers from 6am to 9pm and have to do nothing to move away from them apart from eating?

DP and I haven't had an evening together because of all the ferrying about of children (which he does, even when they're with Mum) for even one evening in a week. I feel that it's all give on our behalf and they are learning that in life, that is OK. sad

mjinhiding Mon 22-Nov-10 20:47:34

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theredhen Tue 23-Nov-10 02:45:13

Mj - 1 teen, 3 pre-teens and 1 7 yr old.

Had a chat with DP after yet more stuff of DS's has gone missing (another bug bear is that they don't play with their own things, only DS's).

The chat went OK, not the normal clamming up and refusing to talk.

He admits his children are untidy and we need house rules, but I get the feeling he thinks I'm just stressed about the weekend and will "forget" about it by the time we see the kids again. He has always said that we should treat them all the same but has been picking up after his kids since I moved in, so I'm sure the devil is in the details.

I tried very hard to not get into the "my child" versus "your kids" argument, but seemed to fail miserably and ended up biting my tongue a lot.

Abip Tue 23-Nov-10 10:00:14

theredhen I feel for you ! Know what you mean about the chat going well and you will soon forget. I seem to constantly moan about things not getting done, dss not helping or working at 19 etc. DP will nod and agree but nothing changes. I always find the most effective way to get my point across is by saying how would you feel if the boot were on the other foot and paint out the scenario. Then they get it!!! I am lucky that my two are the smaller ones and the DSC's are older and dont touch their toys. Its all XBox mad. If it helps I beleive many dads are disney dads on here. DSS gets away with murder as he does not want him to move to his mums or rock the boat which imo is not teaching him anything. Whats the situ now?

theredhen Tue 23-Nov-10 11:19:40

I just feel that when DS does something wrong, DP is quick to point it out and notice and be negative. Not so quick with his own kids though, but he is saying that I am doing the same. hmm

I've always been very honest with DP and previous relationships and said that I don't want a father for my son, he has one (even if he is useless) and that I just want a positive role model for him. I'm quite happy to take responsibility for him. I'm now wondering if I set my standards and expectation too low and I should expect someone to treat him as his own.

I have no immediate family, so I feel I have no-one else to bounce off of with regards to how DS behaves. My friends think he is lovely and we got a glowing report from school parents evening last week. He is so generous and tries hard to earn more money to buy things while DSC get given money and then put it in their bank and play with DS stuff, then go back to Mum's and play with stuff they have there too. (DS only has one home). DSS has seen him cleaning the car at the weekend and now he wantS to do that too to get more money and deny him even that opportunity. Pocket money and spending is another subject that I think DS and DSD2 miss out on too - DS gets paid money for scoring goals at football, sometimes that's £20 a week - he's 11 and DS gets £2.50 pocket money and is expected to help around the house for that hmm DSD2 gets pocket money at Mums but nothing at ours.
You know DS loves DSC to bits too, no matter what. He's not perfect and can behave in a "silly" manner and be irritating, there's been incidences in school for being "silly" or for forgetting to hand in homework, but hey, I love him, so maybe I'm biased? I also can't help thinking that DS must feel he's never completely one of them as they are obviously a tight nit unit and he is just an "extra".

DSS is always getting into scrapes at school, getting injured while fighting and I know he was being referred by his primary school to some sort of counselling (DP hasn't bothered to find out exactly what has gone on and ex wife, won't communicate with him). Despite writing all this, I actually think he's an alright kid that just needs some firm boundaries, he loves sport and is naturally bright. Ex wife doesn't discipline him either and I just think he is crying out to know where he stands in the world.

Maybe I'm being precious, maybe as I only have one biological child, I'm just too focused on him. But I feel that nobody else is and that if I don't look out for him, who else will? All my energy and time gets taken up with 3 DSC (DS disappears off with one of the DSC) when they are here and when he does appear, DP seems to not want him around. Even when DSC are here, DP doesn't want me cuddling him or spending anytime with him without him being there. Is it jealousy on the part of DP or am I just being precious?

I really don't know. I do know that I am really upset with the whole situation. sad

mjinhiding Tue 23-Nov-10 11:28:06

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theredhen Tue 23-Nov-10 11:40:50

Yes, DP wants his kids as much as possible, but as soon as they have gone, he's making plans for just the two of us and we never seem to do anything just the 3 of us, always have to wait for the kids to come to do anything child orientated, like DS isn't good enough on his own. Part of me wants to arrange more things with DS on his own, but then DP moans at me for leaving him out, but if I include him, I feel we can't interact as a threesome. Maybe it's true and 3 is a crowd.

I think DS is the same. Struggles with the sheer number of kids and tries to be what they want and get their attention and yet on a Monday evening he is very, very keen to spend time with me.

Feel like I have 2 men who want my attention and feel guilty for giving it to either of them and yet at weekends, I'm expected to become super mum to 5 kids.

Don't get any space as DP is always around now. Feel like I can't just be myself and enjoy the pair of them with me. Always wondering if one is going to upset the other and I'm going to be piggy in the middle.

mjinhiding Tue 23-Nov-10 11:46:29

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theredhen Tue 23-Nov-10 11:55:26

You know I never would have chosen to have more than 2 kids myself. I feel that I fail his kids by giving them not enough of my time, I fail him by having DS around all the time, I fail DS by getting babysitters, but not when other kids are around, so DP and I can have time. I fail myself by not being able to do anything but work and do the basics at home. Sigh.

MJ - how do you manage to take 1 child out without all the others wanting to come?

I try my best to make the most of the limited time together when DSC arent' around, and yes, I am quite prepared to upset DP by having time with DS alone and I would actually quite like it if he did the same and gave me a break from his kids, but know that DS would feel left out.

mjinhiding Tue 23-Nov-10 12:03:29

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theredhen Tue 23-Nov-10 12:18:40

Yes, that makes sense.

DS is slap bang in the middle age wise of the 3 oldest step children.

DSD is the baby at 7 years old and demands a lot of time and obviously can't be left without proper supervision.

So you see, anything fun for DS age 12, DSD age 13 and DSS aged 11 are probably going to want to do also.

You are absolutely right about them having a whole other family, but in a step family situation you are supposed to conveniently forget about that and it doesn't help that my step children live 2 completely and seperate lives. I have recently made lots of comments about thinking I should meet the ex wife (who won't communicate with DP at all) as I want her and him to realise that those children have 1 life and it just happens to be shared between 2 households.

mjinhiding Tue 23-Nov-10 12:35:59

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mjinhiding Tue 23-Nov-10 12:39:55

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theredhen Tue 23-Nov-10 12:43:26

Thanks for that info MJ, it's really good to hear how you do things.

Yes, I did think that I might start making him come alone to see my extended family (DSC find it boring, I think).

If I took him shopping and bought him something nice, they would all want to come next time grin.

I have taken on board your idea of orange Weds etc. and I think as long as we go straight from work, we could do it without being too late. The trouble is that disney Dad lets the kids get virtually no sleep when DSC are there, so I feel DS needs lots of early nights when they're not there, so don't want to keep him out late and Friday night he does a club.

mjinhiding Tue 23-Nov-10 12:44:49

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theredhen Tue 23-Nov-10 12:49:12

MJ, my work would like me to do more, I don't do full days as it is. I really need to study to further my career and I know there is no way I can do that combined with the fact I'm not sleeping very well anyway.

I feel a bit guilty in that we do have a cleaner for a couple of hours a week, but it's a big house and there's still the washing, ironing, cooking etc. and we really do live miles away from anywhere, so just doing a weekly shop could take at least 3/4 hours (I get it delivered!)

mjinhiding Tue 23-Nov-10 12:51:15

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