help me to understand dp & blend things better.(9 Posts)
not sure I can help him more, or if I need to address my thoughts or what.
anyhow, am due any day really with DC with DP. his first bio child my second.
DP is a fantastic step dad to both his other step son & my son, he's v v hands on v v active loves silly play, for his part I feel can be a little strict, but likewise he thinks I can be a little soft - mostly we rub along on this front quite well. sometimes I probably do stick up for DS quite firmly and the result is DP feeling that DS & I don't want him around. which we very much do.
Usually DS plays up when he's been let down by his dad - i've taken steps for XH to actually start telling DS himself when he can't come & why instead of protecting XH, however we're still left with the fall out - perfectly normal.
DP for his part is v patient & understanding, & trys v hard with DS, but he's admitted to finding it hard when DS pushes him away & his buttons, & basically wonders why he bothers. (other times when DS is let down by his dad he won't let DP out of his sight, and will literally want to be doing everything with him)
I've tried to explain to DP that DS for his part, is trying to make sense of everything - after all his dad left us when he was 18 months old, he gets let down by his dad prob once a month at least, and in his child logic is trying to work out if DP will do the same, likewise DP in some respects I think is worried about blending too much and fully taking on the role again incase things go wrong again and likewise he gets hurt himself - think there's insecurities all around tbh with both not wanting to get too hurt.
maybe i'm over analysising this, but likewise I don't want to have an unsettled DS who's got a lot of big changes atm going on in his life, or a DP who can't get on with my child when he's my other child's father.
DS is 5, so still teeny, which I think sometimes also frustrates DP, as I keep reminding him DS is 'only 5' but likewise you can't project adult feelings onto a child.
help - does it get easier?
I didn't want you to go unanswered but not sure I have any answers!
I have 2 dsd's and find their behaviour very difficult sometimes. I try to remind myself that they are just kids and not deliberately trying to wind me up but sometimes I'm not sure that's true!
I also think you can overdo making allowances for kids in this situation, which they will then take advantage of for evermore! They are unlucky that their parents have split up but that doesn't mean they can behave badly.
My DH has a good saying he comes out with when his kids are playing up which does help me to keep it in perspective sometimes. He says "Honestly, you children behave just like children sometimes!"
It's a balance and one I'm not good at and in answer to your question, I have heard it gets easier but it hasn't for me yet and it's been 5 years!
Hi, I have a lovely SS who lives with us, he's now 8. Much of what you talk about I recognise, when he is upset about his mum he can go either way - limpet-like or total rejection of me.
My SS is very good at expressing how he feels, I asked why he got so cross with me and he explained that because I'm the one doing mum things it gets muddled up in his head and he feels cross with me about the things his mum does and also the nice things I'm doing that she doesn't do for him.
I've had advice from a psychologist who explained that it is very likely that my SS will externalise the anger he feels with his mum by acting out with me. He doesn't get chance to be angry with his mum, partly cos he has a smaller amount of time with her but also cos he isn't secure enough to express it. So basically when they treat you like sh*t its a compliment - how nice!
I agree that making allowances doesn't mean putting up with bad behaviour. we make allowances by having extra time to talk and also planning non-taxing activities, we often take it down by about 2 years if we think SS will be wobbly before or after seeing his mum. But we tell him that however hard it is he can't be horrible to people or behave badly - I think that's important because other kids wont make allowances, nor will colleagues when they get to work so they have to learn to cope.
It does get better. I now have a massive collection of memories shared with my SS. We've worked thru some problems, I've got cross and he's got cross and we've made up. I found things got much more affectionate when I started doing more on my own with him. Its prob easier your son is younger, altho he is more muddled up because he doesn't understand why his dad is the way he is, he is also more open to making new relationships with a step parent. Much harder I think to come in when kids are teens.
Best of luck!
hi thanks both,
chelen - that's what I've tried to explain to DP, DS must feel secure with us as he can express himself & know we'll be here, as the mother you expect it but think it is harder on DP. He & DS are spending the morning at the weekend doing 'boys things' - ie climbing the rocks & exploratating as DS puts it lol, they do seem to have a good bond, which will obviously strengthen in time. That's possibly what's going on with DS as well though - his dad will plonk him in front of the telly if his gf isn't about & leave him to get on with things/not do anything with him, (even reading etc as GF does it all) DP however as I say is the silly one for play etc and the big silly friend not trying to be a dad.
glass - yes I do agree with that, i'm keen that DS is still respectful to all adults & doesn't have the attitude he adopts at times just because his dad's let him down, it's so draining. Maybe a phrase like you're being such a child will help us keep things in perspective.
Guess I also need to be aware of making too many concessions for DS as well. it is good to hear that familys can blend well though, do either of you have your own DC's with your partners/DH's? my worry is DS being pushed out as DSS was the first, DB is the bio child and poor DS is the middle one who's over looked.
my situation was very similar to yours a few years ago, there's a 6 year gap between ds1 (my exh's son) and ds2 (dh's first child), and we had similar issues with ds1's dad letting him down, so ds1 would veer between feeling like dh is his dad or pushing him away because he's not.
ds1 is now 10, and while he doesn't have a spectacularly close relationship with dh, they are sort of 'friends'... it isn't perfect and i try to point dh in the right direction sometimes and get him to engage more with ds1. i think you're right that you have to keep making the point to dp that he is the adult in this scenario and that he has to keep plugging away at it however unrewarding it sometimes may be.
i must say i didn't find that the arrival of dh's own bio child (ds2) pushed ds1 out in any way, and in fact maybe it even gave dh a better sense of how much you love your own child and therefore why you put up with them being a PITA on occasion.
sometimes I probably do stick up for DS quite firmly and the result is DP feeling that DS & I don't want him around. sad which we very much do.
this is the tough bit. i think its always difficult as the step parent to ever be an equal in the bond between first born child and parent. It is likely that your partner will feel closer to his first born that he does to DS1. Your DP also does not have the oportunity to be a 'first time dad' and has to share all the 'first time' things with DS1. I was in the same position (although the mum...) and found those things very difficult to deal with and often (rather shamefully resented DSS at times as the amount of time and effort we as a family spent concentrating on DSS needs far eclipsed that of DD who just had to 'fit in' cause she wasnt the one from the broken home..)
Its a really tricky thing to balance- on the one hand you will want both children to be treated the 'same'... but you recognise even now that that isnt the case (ie you are making allowances for DP and DS1 due to insecurities over the way exH is letting DS1 down...)...
I dont have any answers I am afraid.... other than to keep plugging away until you find something that works for your family.
Hi, I also have a toddler with my OH, so a half-sibling to my SS. This has been very positive for my SS, he has enjoyed watching his bro grow up. I think it has been god for him to see me discipline the toddler as well so it helps to show I'm not just picking on him - I'm just generally a misery!
We have the usual squabbles between kids of course.
There are however some emotional issues which crop up, my SS has strong views that I am doing things 'wrong' sometimes because he can't get his head around different mums doing things different ways. Also on occasions when my SS doesn't want to go stay at mum's he can take it out on his bro, because he is jealous that he can just have one home with both parents in it. We are very open here and talk about these feelings so my SS can be told not to take it out on his brother.
hi all, thanks for your reassurance, DP is spending the morning with DS today exploratating (ie doing silly boys things and climbing trees) while I go shopping. fingers crossed that things blend smoothly, i'm sure a lot of it is my worrying needlessly as i'm v protective of DS & likewise the whole new mum worries of second child being pushed out, it being DP's first etc etc.
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