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How do you deal with unhappy feelings about your SK's other parent?

(5 Posts)
chelen Tue 13-Sep-11 13:40:35

Hi, I have an ongoing situation here that despite best efforts from OH, we can't resolve. Mum doesn't spend good time with SS, often using large chunks of the time they have together to work, do her own activities or socialise with her friends. SS gets very angry but also (of course) desperate to please his mum and spend time with her.

We have tried to raise it, SS has tried in little ways to raise it. But communication requires the other person to listen and that is out of our control.

I feel helpless and angry myself, every weekend I wish he could go and have a good time but he doesn't, he has a boring/semi-rejecting time and comes back sad/angry/disappointed. For example, mum will have an adult friend to visit, they will go out for an adult lunch and SS will be very bored and 'spare part'.

His mum is his mum and I can't change her, so what do I do? At the moment I am just feeling angry at having to deal with the fallout every time he comes home. I am sure I'm not the only one with this problem - can anyone help me find a better way to cope?

dearheart Tue 13-Sep-11 18:04:14

I think you have to let go of thinking you can control or even influence your ss's time with his mum. She is his mum - and we all have to put up with and learn to deal with the inadequacies of our parents. As time goes on, he will develop his own strategies. You can help by talking calmly and rationally about what is going on (when he does), acknowledging his feelings, helping him to come up with practical ideas about how to manage etc etc.

Kids do have to put up with a lot from their parents, and having a kind confidante can help them to process this. I think this is a role that a step-parent can really fulfil, but you do have to be careful not to let your own feelings about the parent seep through.

wrinklyraisin Tue 13-Sep-11 18:25:14

I'm in a similar situation. My OH has a 7yr old daughter who for all intents and purposes is completely ignored by her mother, who is addicted to online games/gambling. They have 50/50 custody. When this lovely little girl spent time with us over the summer for 4 day weekends and 2 weeklong holidays she cried and cried about going back to her mum's as she hates it there. It's so hard to watch this happen. I know, as a soon to be step mum, I can't openly criticize/judge/change the way her mother does things. But I do feel like it's damaging to a child to have so little interest from her own mother? My OH showers his daughter with love and attention when he has her, we take her out for meals, to the movies, have family games night at home etc so we try to "make up" for some of it. But this little girl really doesn't like it at her mothers house and it might end up that she wants to live with us. I would be happy for this to happen. But it still doesn't change the way her mother treats her iyswim.

As a step parent how do you cope with seeing the damaging affects of a parent on your step child?

chelen Tue 13-Sep-11 19:12:16

I am under no illusions we can change anything, my OH has in the past tried to explain but it is pointless. I'm just really struggling to cope with the feelings within myself as a result. I find I help help help my SS (just tonight he told me some stuff about how cross he is, and I just listen and ask questions about how he feels) and then I'm left with a sadness I can't shift, and that sadness then turns to anger because I am angry that his mum won't listen even a little bit to what her son is saying or what he isn't saying but is so obviously feeling.

On the worst days its two sessions a day - one before, one after school - with me feeling totally wrung out by bedtime. My OH/his dad is happy to do it when he's here, but he's working.

Wrinklyraisin asks the question I'm driving at. I hope and hope that my SS will grow up able to deal with it, but what if he doesn't?

dearheart Wed 14-Sep-11 20:59:00

I think you need to find some support for yourself actually - because it really is draining supporting other people. I would assume (and in your case hope) that the contact time will reduce as time goes on, and that your dss will develop strategies to help himself cope.

I think you are doing all you can. In the end, though, he is not your child and you cannot control his environment or his relationship with his parents. All you can do is what you are doing. Which sounds very caring.

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