Issues with partner's parenting(10 Posts)
This will be difficult to keep brief but I will try!
I've been with my partner 6 months. He is 51 and has a 6 year old son. I am mum to a 27 year old son who has flown the nest. I had him when I was 19. It is therefore a long time since I had a little one around. My partner is a wonderful and devoted father a kind and caring man who I cannot fault. His ex partner left him for another man whom she had another child with (who is now 2) and they moved 400 miles away taking my partners son which devastated him. She has since left the new man and moved back in with her parents and both kids. I have met the little boy and we get on great. I haven't met her but there haven't been any problems.
However, my partner treats his little boy like they are best mates, when he stays at his dad's he is allowed to stay up as long as he wants, he plays games on the play station which are totally inappropriate for his age by a long way such as call of duty! There are no rules or boundaries, no proper meal times, it's a nightmare! At the moment there is no bed for him as his room was being redecorated when his mum took him away and as she suddenly came back it wasn't ready. This hasn't taken any priority they just bunk in the same bed. I can clearly see that this child needs boundaries. When it gets late he says "can WE go to bed dad?" He won't go on his own and isn't made to do so. He ends up asleep on the sofa at midnight on a weekend. At his mums there are different rules and bed is at 7.30. When I try to discuss it the answer is always that he wants to spend as much time with him as he can, having fun and making him happy and that it won't be long before he doesn't want to spend time with his dad as he will want to be with his friends. It's exasperating and the only saving grace is that he's a gorgeous little boy who's mainly well behaved.
Issue number 2.......this is something which is more of a personal struggle for me and one that resulted in our first ever row at the weekend. My partner and his ex tolerate each other, she lives with her parents and they think the world of my partner. He gets two evenings off during the week which he spends with his son which I completely understand except that he has to spend this time at their house. Initially he said it was because his ex wouldn't allow him to take him home during the week but it has since come out that it's because he wasn't getting him to bed. Therefore I don't blame her! However, although I agree that it's great that they can all get on, they are still doing things together which leaves me not knowing where I can fit in. Her two year old has started calling him dad because he spends so much time there and his own dad is 400 miles away. He spent last Christmas with her, her parents, her then boyfriend and their baby so I was dreading what he was contemplating for this Christmas. He gave me a speech at the weekend about how Christmas is for kids and as far as he's concerned it is all about what his son wants and his son would want everyone together. I told him that when couples split up and make new relationships this isn't appropriate and what they should do is share Christmas and take it in turns. We ended up disagreeing and not resolving anything but I am very upset. Am I expected to be left at home alone every Christmas, birthday, Halloween and bonfire night etc until she meets another man and doesn't want him around? There is no issue at all of me mistrusting either of them it is not about that at all. If anything I suspect he is "babysitting" the 2 year old.
I'm sorry for such a long ramble and it's more a sounding off than anything. At the end of the day his faults are that he's so nice! I am torn between feeling cross and feeling guilty over "just a day" but where does it end?
6 year olds need routines, bedtimes and boundaries.
But if your DP won't listen to you at all and thinks it is appropriate for the DC to dictate Christmas arrangements, for example, you have a big task on your hands to acheive a semblance of normality.
Does he usually communicate well? Listen? Compromise?
Communicate and listen yes. Compromise remains to be seen. His answer so far has been that he will work Christmas day as he can't please everyone! He's generally quite soft. I've accepted the family interaction up until now because I struggled with what it was I was unhappy about as it hadn't impacted on time we spend together until Christmas reared its ugly head! I have told him that when we see each other this weekend we must talk!
Yes I think you need to draw a line in the sand. You sound thoroughly exasperated.
How about starting with the angle that it is silly to be having the midweek visits anywhere other than in his own home and you want to help him institute a proper bedtime routine so that he can assuage his ex's concerns?
This will never change!! A Disney dad is a Disney dad for life. Trust me, I know and having my own issues with this and thinking of leaving (or shipping madam off to a school
In Outer Mongolia.)
Disney dad! At least that made me laugh. It's so much harder having done my parenting many years ago! I've had this all before in a past life......
His answer so far has been that he will work Christmas day as he can't please everyone!
Has he really got to the age of 51 and is only just discovering this? this is the problem - he is trying to keep everyone happy, not prioritising each persons needs.
You don't say whether you live with your DP or not, but whichever, I think you are facing the prospect of many years of "independent" living. Your DP seems unable to prioritise the needs of your relationship appropriately - the happiness of his ex appears to be more important him.
Many dads absolve themselves of the responsibility to parent their DCs after a separation - and for some "stepmums", this is a deal breaker, for others they can detach and accept it.
I think it's fair to say that your DP is unlikely to change - and as his DS is so young, you have many years of this ahead.
The comments above are really helpful and thank you for not saying "it's only a day" we don't live together and I have been happy with my independence. Maybe my decision will be to remain that way. I certainly would not consider moving in together unless this was sorted. I have already explained that there can't be any "sleepovers" including the child as Im not prepared to sit up with him until midnight with kids TV and play station on then sleep in separate beds! A film and glass of wine alone is preferable!
nixy you are showing a great deal of objectivity; sadly, all too many threads on this board are from stepmums who ignored the warning signs, thinking that "love would conquer all" only to discover the nightmare they had signed up to far to late!
It is possible to "reform" a Disneydad, but only if you are prepared to stick to your principles. Like you, I was not prepared to combine households and lives all the while my (now DH) and I disagreed on parenting values. Fortunately, my DH was prepared to self reflect and we attended parenting classes together and he shed his Mickey Mouse ears, put boundaries in place and began to parent his DCs effectively.
Depending on the underlying dynamics of the relationship between your DP and his ex, if he does become a less indulgent parent, and begins to move on with his life as a single dad rather than an accessory to her life, then she may not be to happy, but that is based on my own experience.
To be honest I cannot really criticise the ex. There is only one occasion that she unnecessarily insisted that my other half take his son back home early when he was supposed to be staying at his house. Turns out she wanted a babysitter for her other child that night! But apart from that I understand why she doesn't want him with his dad on school nights when he doesn't make him go to bed. I haven't met her and have kept my distance never commenting or criticising. She hasn't minded her little boy staying over at my house. I think she's busy battling with her latest ex over their toddler! My partner will do anything that he thinks will make his son happy, including recreating the family unit with the ex family. When she meets someone else she won't want him around and that will be harder on his son! At the moment it's not a deal breaker for me and I won't give any ultimatums but nor will I be willing to move forward with the relationship which I know he wants and ultimately unhappiness only ends up one way!
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