DSS doesn't feel like he belongs....anywhere?
Well this is my dp's interpretation.
Background is this: DP and his ex split when dss was 3. They had a joint residence arrangement that was very much controlled by dp's ex and when I met dp (when dss was 5) he would quite often have dss all or part of the week but never at the weekend unless she needed a babysitter. He managed to rearrange this so that he could have his son every other Saturday but never a whole weekend and then days in the week. We now have him about half the time but never a whole weekend. DSS is now 9. Since his parents split up, he has seen his mum in three different relationships.
DP moved in with me and my two dc two years ago (now 6 and 9). DSS shares a room with my DS. He mostly has a good relationship with my DS, especially DD(9). We had a few teething problems as there was a bit of jealousy of my DS as he is younger and he had to get used to being part of a bigger family as he had been used to everything revolving around him.
His mum had a baby in January and he hasn't quite been the same since. On his last few weekends there have been some issues: disputing family rules, disrupting my ds's birthday, hitting my ds. This week he kicked off because my ds wanted to read his Beast Quest books (sat on his shelf gathering dust) and he wanted to take them back to his mum's for his collection. Yesterday he kicked off at the breakfast table because there was one crumpet left which I cut into quarters to share and he tried to claim this wasn't fair.
DP took him aside to talk to him about what his issue was. He can't really say what it is. He say things about the rules being different at ours but he does have a habit of playing his parents off each other. We do get the impression that he sometimes feels a bit out of it here but at his mum's everything is revolving around the baby. At half term on his day's with his mum he was being dragged to baby groups. He has spoken to me before about how my dc are lucky because they live with me and even though they go to see their dad they always come back.
We have some ideas about how to make him feel a bit more at home here. We have displayed table rules so he doesn't get confused. We are allowing him and dd to sometimes have later nights at the weekend without ds(we thought it might help show him that there are advantages to being the older ones). We are making him a 'den' in the loft where dp works so he can have his own space as we are unable to give him his own room.
What else can we do? Do other parents who have joint residence arrangements have this issue? My own dc who live with me but go to their dad's every other weekend and half the holidays don't seem to have this issue. He does move between houses a lot and I'm not sure this helps.
sounds like you're doing fab. he feels pushed out because of the baby so is trying to push buttons. just give him extra hugs etc.
Thank you binspin. It does feel like he's being pushed out at his mum's and he is taking it out on us.
It doesn't sound to me as if all the chopping and changing is helping him tbh. Is it possible to arrange things with his DM so that he has a fixed regular routine and longer stays at each home? Or go to court to get it fixed?
Whole weekends in each house would be a sensible starting point, and then fixed days of the week in each.
The den sound a great idea, but maybe also make sure he has his half of the room too - at least one wall he can put posters on, etc. My DS shares with DSS along similar lines to yours. They each have letters that spell out their names on the door, which I think marks it out clearly.
To be honest I think you are both doing a great job. It's hard work juggling the different emotions. It's also hard to imagine how he must be feeling poor thing.
I agree that giving him his own space is a great idea. Involving him in decorating and ideas for days out etc. Maybe some time with his dad doing boys "things".
Does he know in advance what the arrangements are for your dc before he comes? I mean, is he there sometimes on his own, sometimes with them and sometimes they leave for their dad's halfway through his visit? I wondered if that was also unsettling him alongside the new baby. Apologies if that is a crock of shit, I know nothing about extended families but am completely in awe of the working convoluted solutions I hear about.
I have always felt like the chopping and changing doesn't help. Dp has tried to breach the subject with his ex but never gets anywhere. I think he is going to try again this week. It is silly as he was with us for extra time today for Father's Day but then went back to his mum at 3 and then he'll be back with us after school tomorrow. I feel if we had him for the whole weekend then there would be time for us to do stuff as a family and time for him to spend time with his dad on his own. It's one or the other at the moment.
Their bedroom needs a sort out in the summer holidays so we can make sure it is properly split then.
Dp wants to avoid court. We can't really afford it. And he has seen me go through a lot of stress through going to court.
He usually knows what the arrangements are. My dc are almost always here apart from today when they went to their dad's for Father's Day. We do have to fight to get holidays to marry up though.
I can really identify with the situation you describe and I think you've done well in not getting to annoyed but addressing why he's struggling right now.
My dss uses the phrase "it's not fair" alot even though I'm more than just fair and sometimes he gets exceptional treatment.
But I think it's the way dss probably feels like his life in general at this stage, and thats the only way they know how to voice it.
The den is an awesome idea! I wish I had something like that. As it is really helpful just to have some of your 'own space' in a blended family.
Goodluck, Hopefully he'll adjust to the changes soon.
You sound like a caring and inclusive family.
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