Moving in with DP, any words of wisdom(14 Posts)
Me and my 2 dc
Been together 3 years.
Children know him well and love being with him. He spends quite a bit of time with us currently.
He doesn't have dc of his own, we've discussed maybe having some together in the future.
My house is rented and small whereas he owns his (much bigger) house hence us moving in with him rather than vice versa.
Umm I think that's all that's relevant...
We talk freely about it and our concerns etc but would really appreciate advice from those that have been there done that.
It feels right but also terrifying!
Oh the cats! I have two, he has one. His cat is the baby (now 2years old)of one of my cats, but previous attempts at them spending time together have not ended particularly well... Any advice on step-cats??
Money. Sort out the money. Once that's done, everything else will slot into place.
Feliway diffusers and perhaps start keeping his cat out of one room which you keep your cats in initially so they have their own space? I don't know if that's good advice, probably better to ask on the cat board! I think it's supposed to be a good idea to swap the cats' bedding around too - if he can give you something that smells of his cat and you give him something that smells of yours, leave them lying around so the cats an explore the other cats' scent.
Yes to money. Expect hiccups as he finds his way re discipline etc, how close are they to their own father? Because he's basically becoming stepdad really, in a way. How close that is to a "Dad" role will depend on their ages and how close they are to their dad. DH is like Dad to DS but he doesn't see his and we got together when he was 2. If they're older then he'd be more hands off, if they're close to their own dad then he'd be best making it clear it's a separate role.
Good luck! Exciting!
They no longer see their dad, he lives abroad. Very occasional Skype contact. I think dd (8) sometimes feels guilty for feeling closer to dp than her dad but I just keep reassuring her it's ok to care about the person who has a big role in her life as well as the biological parent.
We've had a few parenting issues already but I am expecting more once we're living together. My biggest thing will to be to take what he says on board without feeling criticised
"We've had a few parenting issues already but I am expecting more once we're living together. My biggest thing will to be to take what he says on board without feeling criticised "
Careful with that one- he might actually be criticising you............and it might or might not be justified.
Struggling to think of examples now as it's been a while.
Ummm. So children are messing around at dinner table, not sitting still, kicking each other under table, not using cutlery... we both tell them off, they carry on. Tell them again etc.
a) He says "You need to sort their table manners out. It's really bad how they behave at mealtimes sometimes. You should just send them straight to bed when they mess around.
b) He says "I don't know why they can't just learn how to behave at mealtimes, we tell them every day, it's not like it's ever any different. What can we do to get it to sink in?
That's not word for word but the general gist of a scenario we've had a 'discussion' about. To him that's exactly the same conversation but to me a) leaves me feeling got at, my parenting criticised and even like he dislikes my children whereas b) I feel supported and like we're in it together trying to come up with a solution.
It's probably partly him not choosing his word carefully at times and partly me being oversensitive but we've had a few similar conversations and he genuinely can't see why I'd take a) differently because he means exactly the same thing.
When I moved in with DP (and therefore acquired a part time DSS) one tricky thing was that I didn't necessarily have reasonable expectations of childrens' behaviour. I didn't have children of my own, nor did my friends, nor had I been around children much since I was one! I slowly realised I was judging DSS too much by adult standards of behaviour and manners.
I wasn't the type to get cross and try and discipline DSS (plus he was only here eow), but I would spend quite a bit of time inwardly seething!
Over time, and with a lot of help from reading mumsnet stuff, I developed more of an idea of what could and couldn't be reasonably expected of a child of his age. Then I started to pick my battles, decide which things were important to me and which I could live with. For example: couldnt live with - him never flushing the toilet, him never ever owning up to doing anything wrong or breaking anything even when it was obvious it was him! These things I brought up with DP, and also gently started to try and address myself. Other things - like leaving his shoes in the middle of the floor, or bouncing all over the sofa or making a mess everywhere - I let go and just accepted and learned to live with.
I also found that DP was more receptive to me bringing up things that I wanted addressed if I also took the time to point out the great things about DSS and praise him when he was being good. Naturally, when I was in a phase where I tended to be more grumpy about DSS than positive, he would get defensive and we would both end up cross with each other. Now, he knows I do care about and appreciate DSS, so when I bring something up he is much more receptive and supportive.
As I read this back, I realise it is advice for your DP and not for you! But maybe this could be of some use to you in understanding some aspects of how he might be feeling, if he was anything like me. Plus I imagine the fact that you are all moving into HIS home, and presumably the children will be there pretty much all the time, could make it a lot more intense. You'll both have to compromise, find house rules and expectations that you can both reasonably enforce while also agreeing on what things you can let slide.
Hmm, the table manners thing is tricky. I was lucky in that that was one thing DP was always quite strict about, and his ex is/was too. So DSS would always be sharply dealt with for messing about at the table or not using cutlery, he would always buck up fast after being reprimanded, and I didn't ever have to get involved.
How old are the children? If they're 10+ I can see more where he's coming from, but if they're younger then the 'send them to bed' thing seems rather extreme.
There are some great resources online for what sort of behaviour can be reasonably expected of children at different ages, and how this relates to their mental and emotional development and milestones. It might be good for your DP to have a look at this.
Also I think anything you can do to diffuse common issues, like sit them far apart at the table so they can't kick each other, let them choose their own cutlery so they are more inclined to use it etc can really help.
If table manners are something that is really important to him then maybe you could step up your game in trying to get them behaving up to scratch more regularly, but then he can't get cross about less than perfect behaviour in EVERY aspect of life...presuming they're not total horrors!
Thanks some great tips.
I'm also quite strict on table manners and I think that's why he (we) finds it so infuriating. Same with anything else really. They're generally quite good but we do have a few battles regularly such as table manners, going to sleep when told, getting ready in the morning without messing about... It's more them not listening that is an issue rather than their actual behaviour iyswim.
We generally have the same ideal and expectations for their behaviour, which helps, it's just how he phrases it when they are messing around that can get my back up, but we have had a few conversations about it and it hasn't happened for a while so I think he's already made an effort to word things in a way that won't make me defensive, just as I've made an effort to not take it as a personal attack when he does raise things with me.
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