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Worried about DS and

(16 Posts)
ChinaCupsandSaucers Tue 13-Aug-13 12:30:05

sweetpea A forum isn't the place to come for validation of your own feelings and position; by definition, there will be a range of views, some from people who have been where you are and others who have experienced things differently.

My exH tried to 'replace' me with his DW in my DDs life - in his opinion, I was an unsuitable mother for his DD (and unsuitable wife for him) and so he divorced me and endeavoured to replace me in DDs life first with his own mum, and then when he remarried, with his DW.

Fortunately, I had some very astute legal support and a mediator who was able to support exH to hear what I was saying; otherwise, my DD would be in the same position as your DS.

stepmooster Tue 13-Aug-13 12:02:17

and for what its worth, my mother will always have been my mother, I would have never accepted anyone trying to be that role even though she was abusive. Likewise when my dad didnt live with us when they separated I never thought of him as less of a dad. But good luck trying to rewrite history.

stepmooster Tue 13-Aug-13 11:59:55

whatever Sweetpea! I am a step parent married to someone who was in your DP's position, and I grew up with a parent who did not love me unconditionally. So I do now about being rejected by a parent and in fact what it feels like to be a step parent. You may not like my opinion but it is not one I have no experience of feeling.

All I am trying to say is your cant make your DP love your son, and you shouldnt try and you can't make your ex the dad you want him to be. You just have to live with the situation you are in!! Otherwise you confuse people and possibly make things more complicated than they need to be.

sweetpea13 Tue 13-Aug-13 10:53:00

Thanks witchifmiddx, that's the kind of advice I was hoping to hear, that my son isn't going to turn out to be messed up because of the way things are and maybe if I just leave things as they are they'll work out things for themselves?

There have been many times over the years when I thought to myself that DS would be better off without his loser of a Dad in his life but I wanted him to have the opportunity to make that decision for himself.

It makes such a difference having a reply from someone who has actually been in your situation rather than one from someone who just thinks they know everything about everything but actually they have nothing but a pile of contradicting BS to hand out.

witchofmiddx Tue 13-Aug-13 08:37:45

As you say Sweatpea, the very fact your dp has expressed a wish to adopt proves his commitment. I do understand exactly where you are coming from. My children are now 13 and 16; dh has been in their lives now 7 yrs. I am sure, especially in the early days, they longed for him to be their dad. But now I think with increasing maturity, they are 100% accepting of exactly who is who in their lives. They know their dad is crap but accept the crumbs of his time he is willing to give, That is their choice. They also know however fantastic their stepdad is, he is just that, their stepdad, so in fact they actually handle and accept the whole situation better than I do.

I think it helps that as they get older and develop friendships and lives outside the home, these become as teenagers, so important in their lives that they take the focus away from the situation, and also as they grow older they come across so many set-ups like their own that they become much more accepting and open minded.

I just wanted to show you how a few years can make all the difference.

stepmooster Tue 13-Aug-13 04:16:43

Sweetpea, your problem is your ex not your DP. You cannot rewrite history. Do not discount PR for your DP, does your ex have PR? If something were to happen to you, a car accident say then your ex would have more legal rights than your DP.
Your DP could become more involved with your DS schooling and docs etc if he had PR. Your son could live with your DP if you were to sadly pass away. At present he shouldn't have those rights. You may not like to think of the worst, but what are your plans for DS if you were to die?

BUT your partner has got to want it, and if he did then you could discuss it with your ex and he's got to want it too. If he doesn't I believe courts can grant it.
Have you spoken with a solicitor?

When was the last time you discussed your DS current behaviour with your ex? What did he say? Or your thoughts over DS feelings for your DP? God knows he may be relieved that your DP can be there for him when he can't? It doesn't mean he has to stop seeing his son.

I get your ex is shit. You can't just decide to make both men fit your dream situation. You can only deal with things as they are.

My DH has been in your DP's situation for 10 years with his ex. Her elder children were told to call DH dad, they took his name when they married and he felt under immense pressure from his ex to do this. Their father was still in contact, hardly got involved in parenting either and DH felt very uncomfortable about it all. I'm not saying its the reason they split up, but it didn't help matters. Of course the elder children were very confused by it. The eldest left as soon as he hit 18 to be with his true father and has not been home to stay with his mum since. That's got to really hurt her, as her eldest's dad has never lived with his son FT since he was a toddler.

You have unconditional love for your child, but you are going to have to accept its very unlikely anyone else will have those same feelings you do for DS. I know it must hurt but you can't force or blame your DP for not having those feelings. I am sure he loves DS but in a different way as I my DSS but its not the same is it? Would you love your DSC as equally as your DS if they lived with you FT?

sweetpea13 Mon 12-Aug-13 23:50:06

Also I haven't once said that what DP is doing isn't good enough, he is brilliant with DS and I feel very lucky that we have him, but I do think it's difficult for him to know what level of father role he should be playing.
They do have a bond and an excellent relationship but I know DS wants more. As I have already said, he wants a proper Dad.

sweetpea13 Mon 12-Aug-13 23:26:15

Stepmooster, no offence but I don't really like you very much, you seem to be twisting everything I say and being very negative about everything I say for no apparent reason.
I posted on here for advice from people who might have been in a similar situation but your situation is very different but yet you seem to think you are qualified to comment.

No I have not discussed PR with my ex, as I have already said, I do not think that it makes any difference. I have PR so on a daily basis there is no reason for DP to have it. What benefit would it be? So he can sign to consent for an operation? where am I when this is happening? I can not ever foresee a situation where DP having PR would be of any benefit for anybody.
This is more about DS and making him feel happy and loved.

I have given his bio dad so many chances and have tried to encourage there relationship continuously over the years. How can you say "You really have to give the guy the chance to be your DS's father"??? I have said that I have tried to get him to step up to the mark more. What makes you think that I haven't 'given him a chance'???
This is a guy who ignored calls and texts when I was in labour. He ignored calls and texts when he was born. He then met DS for the first time when he was 10 days old. He saw him a few times until he was about 2 months old and then decided that he couldn't cope with being a Dad and went back to ignoring calls, texts, letters etc. I took DS to visit ex's parents several times, he knew I was going to be there (he lives 1 street away from them) but didn't bother coming to see him. He finally started seeing him again just after his first birthday after I turned up on his doorstep with him.
Yes the arrangement is that DS sees his Dad every week but he has a tendency to let him down at the last minute. The last time he let him down I had a bit of a go at him and so he went back to ignoring calls and texts for about a month.
I let him know every time there is anything going on at school, asked him come to school appeal recently, DS's birthday party etc. Not once as he ever been to anything!
I have said he can have him as much as he likes during the school holidays, so far he's not asked for him for a single day!
But really? You think I'm not giving him a chance to be a Dad?

You're basing your feelings of my situation on your DP's situation.

stepmooster Mon 12-Aug-13 22:05:59

All these issues you have with your DS, have you tried sitting down with your ex and discussed them? What did he say? Have you mentioned about PR for your DP? You really have to give the guy the chance to be your DS's father. You said in your OP that your son sees his dad once a week but now you say its more occassional. Once a week is more than my DH and many other fathers get. Have you asked your ex if he wants him longer? Have you tried mediation?

I'm afraid i have a partners whose ex would quite happily rewrite my DH out of her boys life. So you are going to get the other side of the fence here.

I can't see how you can force a bond that's not there. I feel sorry for your DP I really do he's doing a great job and you're not satisfied. Its not his fault your ex is a rubbish dad.

sweetpea13 Mon 12-Aug-13 18:54:02

Also, DP has suggested that he adopts DS but I don't think he was aware of the legal implications as my ex would need to allow it which I don't think he would do. Also, I just don't see the need for it, other than secure his future if I was to die. DP has said that he would want to keep DS if I did die (no reason why i would but you never know). But day to day there's no reason for him to adopt him but it does at least demonstrate DP's commitment and love for DS.

I am glad that DS has DP in his life, he has a happier and more secure life than if me and his dad were still together or if it was just me and him and I tell him how lucky he is to have a daddy and a step daddy, but I can just tell from his behaviour that he wants a 'proper' dad.

sweetpea13 Mon 12-Aug-13 18:46:21

Stepmooster - the key thing that you seem to be forgetting though is that he doesn't have 2 parents, one of them is really just a play buddy when he can be bothered to have him.
And no I do not consider myself to be half a Mum to my DSC because THEY HAVE A MUM WHO IS THERE FOR THEM 24/7. That's the difference here. DSC have 2 loving, committed parents, DS doesn't have that.

sweetpea13 Mon 12-Aug-13 18:34:53

Stepmooster - tbh I think I can call DP half a Dad, he is pretty much playing at being his Dad, DS sees him as the father figure in his life, many people assume that he is his Dad, he was the one by his side whilst he was ill in hospital whilst his 'real dad' sat at home ignoring my texts and calls. In many ways DP treats him as his own and will never ever use the words 'but he's not mine'. BUT I'm sure that it is bothering DS that DP isn't his real Dad and I think he's reminded of the fact that he isn't his real Dad every time he calls him by his real name or every time I refer to him by his real name eg "oh Pete's home" rather than "oh your Dad's home".

No DP's ex does not have a new man in her life but I don't think you could never compare DP and my ex in that way. DP is a man who plays a very active part in his children's lives and there would never be a need for another man to fill the gap. He speaks to his children daily, he is consistent with contact, he attends things like school plays, parents meetings, has regular contact with teachers etc, he takes the kids on holidays, on days out etc. His kids are very secure in the knowledge that their Dad loves them and is there whenever they want or need him. My DS does not have that security or love from his own Dad.
DP's ex did have a relationship with another guy for a while and he was involved with the children, DP didn't have any concerns about another man having involvement with his kids or the role he was playing to them. The only issue that he had with the guy is that he was married and living with DP's ex half the week and going home to his wife the rest of the time. He was just worried about someone being involved with the kids when it was unlikely that the relationship was going to last and also worried about whether the kids were aware of the arrangement and what message it was sending out to them, especially his DD. He didn't want them growing up thinking it was acceptable to have a relationship with a married man. But he wasn't ever concerned about the guy playing any father role to his kids because he is secure with the relationship that he has with his kids.
The same as with me and my ex's partner, I'm not jealous or concerned in any way, shape or form of any role that she plays in DS's life. At first I didn't want another girl (she was 19!) playing happy families with my DS but once DS was a few months old I realised that I am his Mum and we have an unbreakable bond and unconditional love that no other woman will ever come close to so I have no reason to worry. However, DS's 'real dad' does not have that bond with DS and he is not there for him day in day out.

You said in your house DSS will ask his Dad for something and he will do it because he is his Dad but for example I can be in the middle of doing a pile of ironing, whilst DP isn't doing anything and DS asks me for a drink, DP will just say "it's OK I'll make you one" but DS will have a screaming ab dab because he wants me to make it for him.
There was a time when DS was younger when things were the other way round, he wouldn't let me get him dressed or change his nappy, it had to be DP doing everything.
It isn't the fact that he asks me first for stuff, it's the fact that he insists so strongly. There's been times when I've been poorly and needed a lie in bed in the morning and DS has had a paddy because he doesn't want DP to be the one getting up with him and making his breakfast.

I know that DS probably really misses the days of it being just me and him but I don't know how to overcome this problem.

Regarding the DSC - they do get plenty of time on their own with their Dad. I just meant if DS is here whilst DSC are here then DP would not just take DSC to say the cinema or McDonald's or whatever but leave DS at home because he isn't his bio kid. I think the time they all spend with people is well mixed up. DS sees his Dad one day in a weekend and this is on a flexible basis so some weeks he will be at his Dad's whilst DSC are here, other weeks he will be at home, sometimes DSC come to our house, sometimes DP takes them to his Mum's house, sometimes DS has a party or a play date, sometimes he's at my Mum's, sometimes DP has our baby whilst having the DSC, sometimes she's with me, sometimes I'm there, sometimes I'm out shopping or having a bit of 'me time', DSC both get one to one time with their Dad during the week too as he takes DSD horse riding one evening and DSS to football lessons. But there's never a time when DS is being left out or being treated differently because DP's not his 'real dad'.

Witchofmiddx - There was an occasion where DS called DP 'Dad' in front of DSC, I think it just slipped out because obviously that's what they call him and DSD said "it's OK you can call him Dad if you want to". DSD also sometimes calls me "Mum" but I think that's more in a jokey way.

stepmooster Mon 12-Aug-13 17:42:34

I would definitely be asking your dp to treat him as his own,

Its completely unfair and unreasonable to expect anyone to treat a child as his own when he isn't! The only case that would be a reasonable is if the child is adopted.

Step parents have absolutely no parental rights, so unless you are going to get your children's father to agree to let your partner's adopt or sign over their parental rights to your children, and get your partner's to agree to adopt or take on parental rights for your children then you are on a hinding to nothing.

You are best off accepting the situation and not putting both your children and partner's under weird pressure to think they have more children/father's than they actually do.

Please tell me what would happen if you split up from your partners? And then found another DP? Would your children then have 3 father's?

Oh yes and please tell me if you would accept to be half a mother to your children assuming all the father's move on into steady relationships? Or is it double-standards?

Unfortunately we cannot change who our parents are, god I wish I could have had a none abusive mother. But I didn't and life still goes on, sometimes the children sense what you are longing for and pick-up on it and get confused and sad. You just have to accept things as they are and work with what you have. Could you not for instance be glad for your children that they have 2 parents and at least one additional adult carer who loves them (but not as their own) in their own unique way?

witchofmiddx Mon 12-Aug-13 15:56:34

Sweatpea I could have written your post apart from the fact dh and I do not have any children together. My two, although older, have a useless dad who by choice plays no part in their lives; and a stepdad who is an amazing role model and the most incredible dad to his own children. He is fine with my kids but what I really struggle with, is the fact that he doesn't love or care about them on the same level as his own.
I know I am being completely unreasonable, after all why should he? It just eats me away and I don't know why.

I have found from experience that you cannot force someone (your ds's dad) to step up to the mark. You can encourage them to spend more time together and hope that things build from there, but it's not something you can change. The fact your ds wants to call your dp 'dad' does say to me that he wishes he was his dad and wants him to be just that. Do you think your step children would have a problem with this? In answer to your question yes, I would definitely be asking your dp to treat him as his own, if he is able to do that, especially as you have a child together

stepmooster Mon 12-Aug-13 13:29:40

I think it's up to your DS what he wants to call your DP. I also think it's up to your DP and DS to work out their own relationship. I can see why you feel the way you do, but I don't think you can refer to DP as half a dad. He is not DS's dad, and you can't force that bond. I know that some stepfathers and stepmothers do grow incredibly close to their stepchildren but it is not mandatory, and honestly its probably not going to work or be the fair thing to do for every step family. Your son does see his father once a week, so it's not like he isn't in the picture.

Unfortuantely you cannot make your ex step-up to the plate and be the father youwant him to be, and in his absence make your partner fill the gap. Does your partner's ex have a man in her life? How does your DP feel about him if so? is your DP happy to say they are half my children and half his?

My DH sees his son 2 nights in 14, and I could never see him sharing that father title willingly. Would you share your mother title if your ex were to move on and find a long time partner/stepmother? Do you feel like half a mum to your step children?

In our home, if DSS wants something then he will ask his dad, and his dad will accept to do it because he is his father and I am not his parent. Of course I still do things for DSS in a general way, cooking, bed linen, washing etc. But surely it is instinct of a child to go their parent for love/support over and above their step mother/father?

As to DS's behaviour and clinginess and how to you can get him to cope with not being a part of his father's life as much as he may want I cannot really offer any advice here. Only perhaps to analyse both your own behaviour and work out what you may be doing subconciously to influence your DS?

I do think you need to get your DP to knock the Disney Dad behaviour on the head mind, all children treated as equals, same rules and consequences in the home.

One last thing - If I were your stepchildren I might get jealous that I am having to share my contact time with my father with someone I am not related to. Do you think that could be a tad unhealthy? Perhaps if your DP got to do stuff alone with his children the disney behaviour might subside? Your son does get to see his dad alone right? So why can't they? Is this something your DP insists on doing including all the children or is this something you have an input on?

sweetpea13 Mon 12-Aug-13 10:31:40

I have a DS (4), his Dad and I split up whilst I was pregnant so his Dad has never played a proper father role to him, he sees him every weekend but he isn't really involved in his life, he isn't involved with schooling or any real parenting, basically he plays with him one day a week with no contact between one visit and the next.

I met my DP (DS's stepdad) when DS was a baby and then he moved in with us when he was 2. DS has always been very fond of DP and he really looks up to him.
We now have a new baby (nearly 1) and I noticed that after she was born DS and DP's relationship seemed to suffer a little, DS started really playing up when he's around and it often ends up that DP spends a lot of his time telling DS off, they just don't seem as close and they used to be.

DP has 2 other children from his past relationship who he sees every weekend. DS is usually involved in everything DP does with the kids and I'd say he treats them fairly equally but I would say that he disciplines his own 2 differently, he's a bit of a Disney Dad and doesn't like spending the little time he has with them telling them off, despite the fact that their behaviour can often be quite 'challenging'.

Lately it seems that DS is also being quite difficult with his bio Dad too.

So if I'm looking after DS one-to-one then he is a little angel, a pleasure to be around.
If I'm looking after DS and baby together then he is a little more difficult, a little attention seeking but nothing major.
If DP is looking after him alone then he's an angel.
If DP is looking afrer DS and baby together then he can be a bit of a sod.
If all 4 of us are together then he's a total pain in the bum!!!
But he just seems to be really craving attention from DP and his bio Dad and this makes me think he's very insecure about his relationship with them and maybe questioning their love for him.
Also, he is very clingy with me, wants me to do everything for him, if he wants a drink or a sandwich etc then he insists that I have to do it. VERY ANNOYING!

He mentioned in conversation the other day that his baby sister doesn't love him whilst he's at school so I explained that just because somebody isn't with you it doesn't mean that they stop loving you. I wondered if this is what he thinks about his Dad?

I just feel so sorry for him, he's desperate for a 'proper' dad but instead he's got 2 half Dads and neither of them are giving him the quality or quantity of love and attention which he is craving.

I don't know what the answer is though? I don't know whether he needs his bio Dad to step up to the mark more and start having more contact with him, start getting involved in schooling etc? I don't mean to sound like a bitch but he isn't much of a role model for him, he doesn't work (through choice), drinks way too much and has got a bit of a bad boy past. So in a way I'm quite happy with the level of involvement he has at the moment, but not if it's meaning that DS is feeling unloved.

DP is a fantastic role model for DS and he is a brilliant stepdad but as he has his own kids who don't live with him and because DS's bio Dad is still in the background I think sometimes he feels uncomfortable about playing at being Dad to him. And if I'm honest I don't even know myself how involved I want DP to be with him, in some ways I think it's not right for him to act like his real Dad because he's not but on the other hand I can see that DS wants him to treat him like his own.

DS calls DP by his real name but will refer to him as his Dad to his friends eg he'll say things like 'that's my Dad' which I think is really cute.

So I suppose I'm just after some advice on how to handle it, whether to speak to DP and ask him to treat him more like his own? Whether to say to DS that he can call DP 'Dad' if he wants to? Whether to ask his bio dad to step up to the mark more (which I have already done but nothing has changed)? Or whether to just leave things as they are?

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