Tips for helping my DSS feel comfortable with the new baby(11 Posts)
A bit of background so as not to drip feed: My DSS is in his early teens and we have contact every other weekend and half the school holidays, although now he's getting older the arrangement is becoming more flexible which is fine. Contact has been messy over the years with court and social services involvement due to his mother's behaviour and our relationship with his mother is fairly horrendous. DH and I have been married six years and together nearly nine. DSS loves his mother very much but their relationship is difficult and he views our house as a sanctuary from his mother, but won't leave her to come and live with us full time, which we understand but make it clear he is always welcome.
DH and I are expecting our first baby at the end of this year. DSS had seemed slightly excited when we told him back in June and we have tried hard to strike a balance between including him in discussions about the baby but not talking about the baby too much. We have given him the option of moving bedroom when the baby comes, which he has taken, and he is excited about his new room, picking paint colour etc.
There was an incident with his mother last night and DH had to go over there to calm things down. His mother told us that DSS is dreading the new baby and wants nothing to do with it. DH spoke to DSS about it who admitted that he does have worries but is also telling his mother what he thinks she wants to hear. In the back of mind I'm wondering whether he's now telling DH what he thinks he wants to hear also! DH has tried to reassure him that he will always be his first child, always important and a part of our family and it seemed to go down well.
What can we do between now and the baby being born to help him feel more positive about it? Should we be talking about the baby more with him? Any tips from those of you that have been here before are much appreciated.
Is he worried he will end up babysitting, or trips out will end as soon as baby arrives?
These are things you can reassure him on.
Bringing out his baby photos might help?
We aren't sure exactly what the issue is and he's not that talkative when it comes to emotional issues. The baby photos are a great idea, unfortunately his mother has all of those.
My theory is that he is worried about sharing his Dad, and maybe to a lesser extent he's worried about sharing my attention too. Or maybe he is scared of his Dad having a new family that he isn't part of full time? I don't know, it's hard to say exactly what it bothering him.
Maybe talking about some plans for things he likes doing that will happen after the baby is born - holidays, hobbies, whatever. So he realises that his life will go on.
My DS is 13 and his dad has a toddler. He was initially excited by it, and then got rather bored and fed up with the baby that took up so much of his dad's time and energy. The baby's now a toddler though and has learned to say his name, and DS is growing more fond of him, and finding him more interesting. So kind of treat it all as it comes I guess and maybe accept that teenage boys aren't always so excited by babies, but in the long run he'll probably appreciate many things about having a sibling.
Do you think that his mother may be anxious, and her anxiety may pass on to your DSS? Our DSS was also anxious with our first DC, his mother made it clear to us all she thought DH was creating a new family and would forget about DSS and her.
TBH it got a lot better once the baby arrived, and we included DSS as much as possible. DH would always talk about DSS as a baby and DSS loved to hear the stories, he also asked DSS if he could get some baby photos from his mum so we could have some in the house.
We also had a big family portrait done once the baby was old enough.
With our second child I picked a name which fitted with DSS's, they share initials. I told DSS this and I think that helped too.
My DSS will not talk either, but we just pile on the reassurance and make sure we don't exclude him from family functions as much as possible.
You sound lovely op, I would just keep doing what you are doing. I expect that the only thing that will help is him seeing for himself that everything is fine once the baby has arrived.
Stepmonster may have a point re DSS's mum. I think I found it much harder than my DCs did to get my head round my ex having a new baby. They got all the fun and excitement, but I just had the worries about them being left out, not enough space for them, etc. So if you can do anything to reassure your DSS's mum, that may have a good knock on effect on him. You might want to reassure her re contact arrangements, where the baby and DSS will sleep, financial support (to her, as well as anythign you pay direct for DSS), holidays and special times with his dad, etc. Does sound like you're thinking of all the right things, but they may not have got through to DSS's mum if he's not a great communicator, and your DH thinks tells her what he thinks she wants to hear (so presumably your DH thinks she isn't keen on the baby?)
Planning stuff to do just him and dad when the baby arrives is a great idea!
Not the whole weekend, or dawn to dusk stuff obviously as you'll be shattered, but local matches, a game or 2 of pool, a film...
Thanks for all the lovely replies. Unfortunately his mother is definitely part of the problem, she has made it quite clear to everyone that she wants me to miscarry and we are fairly certain that she is filling his head with rubbish about his father not loving him etc. That said, she has always done this and until now it hasn't damaged his relationship with his DS.
DH has found an activity that they could start doing together every Saturday he is with us, which hopefully he will enjoy and will give them some father and son time.
We don't have him now until next weekend but we will take all of your suggestions on board and hope he opens up a little more.
Oh that is an awful thing for his dm to say
All his df can do is reassure him before baby arrives, and let him know that if he feels left out, he just has to say something.
Good luck op.
Obviously you will want to choose the baby's first name, but why don't you let stepson choose his middle name, maybe from a favourite short list of yours?
Well done on having a dad and son joint activity together - I think that's a great idea.
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