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Lies and destruction - how to cope

(30 Posts)
bigredbaboonsbottom Wed 24-Jul-13 12:27:09

I've tried so hard to bond with DP's two kids and thought that everything was going well, although the usual arguments about consideration, tidiness and cleanliness with the pre-teen.

We found out in January that we were expecting a baby, and we made a point of making sure that DP's boys were involved and that they knew that it wouldn't make any difference to the way we felt about them.

Recently the pre-teen has refused to come and visit and won't talk to me at all, he's been rude to his grandmother, demands that his elder brother and BM run around after him and claims that both DP and I are victimising him. When asked in front of his BM to give examples of when this happened he just looked at the floor and wouldn't say anything.

We then found out that he had told a neighbour that we hit him and that he's scared of us... to say that we are devastated is an understatement. We have NEVER raised a finger to him nor would we. His dad would rather chop off his right arm than harm him. We have tried to arrange a meeting on neutral territory to talk to him about it, but he just says he doesn't want to come.

The baby is due in three weeks and I am in bits - I have told DP that I don't want to be left alone with pre-teen as I don't want to be in a position where it's his word against mine. I know that he's DP's son, but all I can think about is protecting my baby. In contrast, the older son stays with us the majority of the time, we sit down to dinner together and actually talk.

I feel myself withdrawing from the whole situation and contemplating moving back to be with my own family rather than have to deal with such a destructive force. I know that is cowardly, but I just feel so scared.

Any advice on how to deal with this would be much appreciated. I just keep coming up with worst case scenarios and it's making me cry. sad

Heti Wed 24-Jul-13 17:39:08

I feel for you, I live with my husband and his 14 year old son. My husband and I aren't talking since last night as my husband didn't like the way I spoke to his son!! Husband ended up sleeping on the sofa smile even though his other son's bed is free.
All I did was ask what he'd eaten during the day as he didn't eat his dinner the previous night after eating cereal at 6pm and I didn't want to waste my time cooking if he isn't going to eat it.
His other son who is 22 lived with us up until the end of June but he has gone to join the army but to be honest he is a dream compared to this devil child - I speak to my friends and they say 14 is a difficult age but he's been at that difficult age since he was 4!!
We are trying for a baby (sofa sleeping doesn't assist in this unfortunately) and I worry a) how devil child will react and b) how he will treat the child when it comes along. My step daughter has a little boy and devil child doesn't like him - he is always being told off for mistreating him, calls him 'child' p.s. he doesn't get that from me! He also mistreats our dog to get our, well my (bad) attention.
I understand it is difficult but it sounds like you get some support from your other half and he is being horrible to more than just you. I have found you can't say too much and it's best not to as the hatred builds up in you and then you'll appear to be the bad one.
I have had discussions with my husband in the past about being stricter etc etc but he just lets him away with murder and as a result devil child is the devil child. I am as strict as I can be with him and try to explain things and tell him it's his choice but how the option he may choose will make him look e.g. when he tries to come back at his older brother with a smart answer and just looks stupid.
As a result of his father trying to compensate for devil child's mother walking out he is lazy, bottom set at school for most if not all subjects, very confused, says he's gay, doesn't have many friends, has no respect for his father and it takes dad 5 times asking to get him to do something, he just says 'no'. He does respect me and does what I ask him straight away.
I think the best thing is to set boundaries in a fun'ish' way or at least give him a choice, it sounds like he needs some stability in his life, maybe some responsibility when the baby comes along? Make him think he helped choose the name? Help decorate the nursery? Devil child is better at decorating than his dad. Get his to help you shop when he visits, making shopping lists and collecting things while you push trolley or carry baby? Pretend he's a big help and you couldn't manage without him or just thank him for his company?
I just long for when devil child leaves home; when he's 42 hmm
Just try to manage the situation best you can. Think yourself lucky he doesn't live with you full time!!
Good Luck x

Kaluki Wed 24-Jul-13 19:11:38

Do you really have to call him devil child?

brdgrl Wed 24-Jul-13 22:09:22

bigred, I wish I had some advice for you, I mostly just have sympathy, that is an awful situation.

As I have said on other threads, I really dislike and distrust setups where a child of that age is allowed to 'opt out' of seeing one half of his family. On the other hand...I do think that at the moment - three weeks before having your child - you need to focus on that and on yourself. If he doesn't want to come around right now, and if his mum is not pushing for him to come, then let it lie for now. I think you are probably right to refuse to be alone with him as long as these kind of allegations are being made. What is your DP saying about that?

You haven't mentioned his usual behaviour...but from the thread title, I assume there are things you are concerned about beyond this latest lie about hitting him.

What is the usual routine - how often does he usually come for, what are the rules for him, what's your role?

DH and I found that baby DD's arrival provided an excellent opportunity to initiate some house rules and consequences. You need to make sure every member of the family has the same attention to their needs and a peaceful life!

bigredbaboonsbottom Thu 25-Jul-13 13:50:34

Thanks for the responses, it's nice to know that I'm not alone. flowers

DP is upset by my refusal to see child, but is saying that I should just concentrate on being happy that baby is nearly ready to meet us and just put the situation out of my mind.

I suspect the problem is that I question and query everything, don't agree that a 12 year old should play 18 rated games, or watch horror movies, that bed time is bedtime and that if you're living in a house together then you all have to make that as pleasant an experience as possible. He was even heard to say at one point "well, washing is womans work and I shan't be doing it". Because I don't necessarily believe everything that comes out of his mouth I am, of course, evil.

It appears that our biggest faux pas was telling him off after he didn't have a mobile on him when he was out late one evening and DP and I were picking him up at 10pm in the evening, hadn't been told where we were meeting (dropped off by DP's ex earlier in the day) and after 20 minutes, you do start to get a bit panicky. We got home, pretended to have a shower, went to bed and then arranged to be picked up at 9am the following morning. Which we only found out at 8:55am....

There's a general lack of communication between us and the ex. Not for want of trying on my part, but it was quite clearly pointed out to me two weeks ago, it's not me that should be trying to sort it out. Well that's all very well, but in order to prevent two adults standing on the driveway screaming at each other for the benefit of the neighbours, sometimes it just makes more sense to act as a go-between - or at least that's the way I thought up until that point. I shall not be making any attempts in future.

We've always had a pretty flexible arrangement both were welcome to come any time that they wanted. We did ask for notice so that we could make sure there was enough food (faddy eater) in, but would often get home and find a full house.

Blimey, it's a really long and rambly post, that probably doesn't even touch the surface, sorry.

I wish that the three of us (the adults) could sit down and agree a way forward that will benefit the child in the long run - if we all sang from the same hymn sheet, at least he'd have an idea of what was expected of him. Just feel like we're failing him ultimately - although that isn't stopping the hurt of the lies.

Lackedpunchesforever Thu 25-Jul-13 16:14:06

What is a 'BM' ?

SoupDragon Thu 25-Jul-13 16:18:55

Birth Mother.

Which is really rather offensive given she is his only mother.

brdgrl Thu 25-Jul-13 16:32:21

soupdragon, do you have any advice or support for for the OP? Other than politely suggesting she avoid this term since it offends some posters?

SoupDragon Thu 25-Jul-13 17:23:49

Lackedpunchesforever asked what it meant. I simply replied and pointed out that it was actually rather offensive. Is there some rule against pointing out when someone is being offensive?

bigredbaboonsbottom Thu 25-Jul-13 18:02:42

No offensive was meant - new to the forum and had read a previous thread that used the term. My subsequent post did not contain the reference as I had picked up it was considered offensive in another thread.

Apologies to anyone that has been upset.

brdgrl Fri 26-Jul-13 00:42:17

Is there some rule against pointing out when someone is being offensive?
I suppose not.
It is quite offensive to repeatedly leap on people for the use of this acronym, when they pretty obviously intend no offense, and are posting to ask about a problem they are having, especially when there is no further contribution to be made. It is offensive to put new posters off posting for help or support by jumping on them at the first opportunity, and when a friendlier approach is possible.

Alwayscheerful Fri 26-Jul-13 07:16:26

I am not a new poster and I had no idea that birth mother was an offensive term. It is quite difficult to remember all the acronyms without having to remember the acceptable and non acceptable ones too. Please give new posters a chance!

bigredbaboonsbottom Fri 26-Jul-13 07:21:54

I have asked MNHQ to remove this thread.

Brdgrl / Heti, thanks for responses that related to my concerns and worries.

SoupDragon Fri 26-Jul-13 07:36:24

It is quite offensive to repeatedly leap on people for the use of this acronym,

And where, exactly, did I do that?
I wasn't aggressive, I wasn't rude, I simply pointed it out. A poster asked what it meant, I explained and pointed out it is not a nice thing to say.

I am not a new poster and I had no idea that birth mother was an offensive term.

It is the correct term when used in relation to an adopted child where there are two mothers. It is not the right term to use to describe a child's actual mother - they are just the mother.

ediblewoman Fri 26-Jul-13 08:01:06

Actually Soup Dragon whether you meant it to or not your first post comes across as really hostile. The OP comes across as sad and feeling that she wants to try and resolve difficulties and you've just scared her away from a supportive arena where she could have received advice.

Perhaps if you feel it necessary to comment on this issue again you could post something more like your second post which was much more tempered and informative.

SoupDragon Fri 26-Jul-13 08:48:21


brdgrl Fri 26-Jul-13 11:00:15

bigred, going back to your post...I know you've asked for this to be removed, but I hope you'll repost and get more responses.

I don't have any experience of dealing with the ex/lack of communication, but I am sure others can give you good advice about that.

This though - I suspect the problem is that I question and query everything, don't agree that a 12 year old should play 18 rated games, or watch horror movies, that bed time is bedtime and that if you're living in a house together then you all have to make that as pleasant an experience as possible - I get that!

I have very different ideas about how I want my DD to be raised, compared to the childhood rules/boundaries that my DSCs had (they are teens now). The same kind of stuff you mention - fixed bedtimes, restrictions around tv and games, general levels of respect. My DSD was allowed/encouraged to draw on walls and furniture; my DD is not - that sort of thing.

For the most part, my DH is in agreement with me, in theory, but on the other hand - he did things (or didn't do things!) differently for so long with his first two kids, that in practice, he is just used to those ways. He does tend to be a lot softer on DD, or just doesn't notice things - like the clock creeping around to her established bedtime.

Anyway, we have accepted that there are two sets of rules in our house - the ones the 'big kids' were brought up with, and the 'new' ones that DD will be raised with. That is how we deal with the things that, frankly, it is too late to change gears on. I'm not, with a couple of teens, going to suddenly insist that they can't swear or watch 18 films or stay up all night.

There are also really clear 'house rules', though, that we agreed on and that ALL the kids are expected to follow. These are all about the areas that affect the family unit or the home - or my DD. So while I won't try to insist that the DSCs don't swear - we do have a rule that they don't swear in front of DD or at the table (and they do follow this, I'm pleased to say). I don't make rules about their (crap) diets...but we do have rules about not eating in the front room. I don't try to change years of bedtime habits...but I do expect that the dog be walked before noon, so if it is DSS's turn, he'll have to get up and do it even if he's been up all night.

Sorry, I've banged on and maybe its not very helpful.

Heti Mon 29-Jul-13 18:32:14

Kaluki I don't need to call him devil child but it makes me feel a little better smile it is quite difficult living with step children full time so any little something to lighten my mood does help. When he was 4 in one evening he told me if I had children I wouldn't be able to look after them, that I was a cow and asked me if he was evil. When he was 5 he told my mum who was in her 70s that if she didn't come and get us for him he would tell us she had been nasty to him. People say at 14 he is at a difficult age - and I respond that he has been at a difficult age since I met him at 4.

Even the easy to get on with stepchildren are difficult sometimes. My eldest stepson who is 22 came home from his Army training this weekend, he spent all weekend with his girlfriend which we fully expected and didn't have a problem with as it saves him weeing on our toilet seat smile but when they fell out and he heading back to hers to sort it out he arrived home 20 minutes before his train was due to leave and wondered where dad was to take him to the station!! Looked very healthy after 8 weeks training but unfortunately he's still inconsiderate as if he had come home an hour earlier it would have saved his dad a 5 hour round trip to take him back to camp sad

As for 18 rated games - I have had the same discussion with my husband and as others have posted he will suggest he is going to be harder on his son but when it comes to it he just lets him do what he wants until he can't take his cheek and attitude any more.

On the debate whether BM is offensive or not, perhaps a nice thing my stepson said to me might lighten the mood. I have always tried to be neutral in any discussions we have about his mother, I have never met her, will never understand why she left but I have always tried to stay neutral in our conversations. We were discussing his mum and I said she would always be his mummy and he said 'not if you and dad get married....she'll be my ex-mummy' - I think I would rather be a BM than an ex-mummy smile

bigredbaboonsbottom Good luck with DP's two kids and for the arrival of your little one. It will all be fine and try not to worry, if it all gets too hard just post on here and we'll keep you going xx

bigredbaboonsbottom Tue 30-Jul-13 07:08:06

Thanks for sharing stories.

We took both DP's DS's out for tea on Saturday. Eldest was fine and hasn't gone home since, no issues there.

Youngest struggled to make eye contact and asked to be taken home as soon as we had eaten and got back in car.

Please don't burn me, but I really struggled to be nice, despite going out for tea being my idea. I am trying to be grown up, but its difficult.

Agree Heti, ex-mummy is quite horrific thought!

BRDGRL - House rules. I was thinking of doing that next week (maternity leave starts on Friday-thank goodness!) And pinning it up for all to see as soon as they walk through the door.... Might point DP in right direction to grin!!

emilyeggs Tue 30-Jul-13 07:27:52

Bigred, it's one of the hardest thing you will probably ever do. It's obvious to me you are trying hard and are a nice person (you wouldn't even bother looking for help otherwise). Please don't get scared off MN, lots of people hear have great advice, better than mine anyway grin.

bigredbaboonsbottom Tue 30-Jul-13 08:01:24

Thanks Emily - its taken me a few days, but I decided to be brave and respond to the support.

I'm not usually a wuss, but I'm so emotional everything seems like a mountain at the moment. I really need my perspective to get back in focus. I'm driving myself nuts.

Heti Tue 30-Jul-13 15:58:35

To be honest me and my stepson have a bit of a roller coaster relationship - it has it's lows but I always know it won't always be like that, we have some good times too.

I feel bad when I do complain to my friends and they remind me he is only a child and they actually feel sorry for him, makes me sound like the evil stepmother.

At the end of the day you only get what you give so try to be nice to him, maybe it's better not to try to discipline but do be firm - i try to do it in a joking way xx

stepmooster Wed 31-Jul-13 08:18:35

Hi OP, I wonder if some of what are you feeling is about wanting to nest. DH has commented to me (I am due end Aug) that I am in my stamping down the twigs phase. So I am on edge, and he is more mindful when DSS is here (he pulls him up more if he is being untidy).

When we had DD house rules suddenly became a priority to me, I needed calm, order, cleanliness etc I wanted the nest to be perfect.

DH and DSS can be a messy pair, and I completely flipped one day after I spent best part of the morning tidying/cleaning for them to walk through the door and undo everything in 10 minutes.

Both DSS and DH were very shocked, I'm usually very laidback but I'm not sort of person to be treated as a doormat. I wasn't rude, but I was bloody clear that if they didn't respect some rules they would see a completely different side to me. I explained newborns have no immune system so the kitchen needed to be spotless when making bottles and to leave it otherwise may make her poorly. Plus handwashing after the toilet, leaving dirty tissues everywhere etc...

Half of it sunk in, the other half I have to turn a blind eye. DSS eats junk food and drinks glasses of fizzy pop like its going out of fashion. I just won't let DD get like that (or newborn). So now if the junk food and pop must be consumed its got to be out of the little ones sight.

But I can definitely say now I'm pregnant again and about to have DC2 your emotions are all over the place, and its not helped when your nest is shared with children who do get 'special' allowances when it comes to house rules and of course usually we stepmothers have no say in parenting decisions.

bigredbaboonsbottom Wed 31-Jul-13 12:31:20

Heti, I shall try to be better I promise. Although, if he doesn't come and visit I'm at a bit of a disadvantage. I am pushing DP to make regular contact though - so maybe that will go a little way to getting back to some kind of normality. I am feeling a lot calmer about things than I did when I initially posted.

Stepmooster - yeah, I think that there is def a link to what's going on and the impending arrival of DC. I couldn't even leave the house this morning until I'd cleaned up the front room and kitchen. I was VERY late for work blush. Eldest DSS and DP have no concept of the idea of clear sides, and as for emptying the dishwasher without nagging prompting, forget it!

Can I ask if any of you found that a problematic DSC suddenly became an angel and wanted to be involved when their little brother/sister arrived?

shotofexpresso Wed 31-Jul-13 12:39:36

Could the arrival of new baby be making him very insecure in some way?
obviously nm you can do there, Must be awful being accused of something you have not done, if indeed you have not done it.

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