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Struggling to cope with the Step-children

(61 Posts)
Rainbow00 Wed 09-Sep-15 15:56:22

I would like some advice please. I've been with my husband now for about two and half years (married about 3 months) and we've both been married before. We have four children between us, my two are daughter 18 and son 13 his are son 6 and daughter 4. To say I'm struggling with his children are an understatement. They live with us every other weekend Thursday to Monday and we have them 5 weeks holiday throughout the year. He's had to fight a lengthy court battle to get the same parental rights as mum so this kind've makes it worse that I can't connect with them. He is an amazing dad and also step-dad to my two children, taking them on as his own, but I just can't seem to accept or connect with his.

I work with young children throughout the week so I suppose get to a weekend and I like to just switch off but when their with us it's hard work. I get quite frustrated, upset, jealous, angry etc. I just don't know what to do as its now starting to affect our relationship and all we seem to do is argue and I'm also not looking forward to the children coming to us on the weekend.

throwingpebbles Wed 09-Sep-15 16:01:33

Have you discussed this with him? What did he say?

throwingpebbles Wed 09-Sep-15 16:03:50

Also it really pisses me off when people fight for more contact on the grounds of "parental rights" as actually arrangements should focus on the Children's rights. Maybe it's too long away from their mum?

Rainbow00 Wed 09-Sep-15 16:12:38

Yes I've discussed this with him (just not the bit about not looking forward to having the children on the weekend though). He reassures me every time that it's fine and I'll get use to them and having with us but I just can't seem to see that

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 09-Sep-15 16:15:27

That does seem like reasonable contact - and gives you plenty of time on your own with DP and your own kids. What is it that is stopping you connecting with the kids?

If you can't connect with them - then your relationship will be under a lot of strain, your kids will be grown up and his have a lot of years to go. Is it the lack of being able to be 'normal' with them? They are young enough to accept your parenting and young enough to be able to take them on trips by yourself - outings etc. If I were you I'd spend a good few months making a big effort - not to make them like you or be 'nice' but to do things that make getting to know you part of the deal.

They may be holding back because they are not sure about you. Maybe they are not getting enough of their Dad one to one?

Whatever it is, this is your one opportunity to turn things around. I took on teenage step kids but they never took to me - just tolerate me. They think I'm nice but their Mum deeply resents me (no reason, not OW). I tried everything for years. It is going to be difficult for my relationship which may not survive this distance from his kids. But at least I can say I really did try for years.

Rainbow00 Wed 09-Sep-15 16:16:15

No not at all. The mum is some what a loose canon and is a little mentally challenged. The best thing for the children would be for them to live with us permanently but as it stands at the moment we don't have any real reason why they shouldn't live with their mum other than she's mad!!

I just don't know what to do really. I feel horrible thinking and being like this but it's harder than I thought it would be taking on someone else's children especially being a lot younger than my own.

TwmSionCati Wed 09-Sep-15 16:17:05

" He's had to fight a lengthy court battle to get the same parental rights as mum "

Parents don't have 'rights' children do. Parents have 'responsibilities'.
sorry to be picky but it annoys me when people talk about something that doesn't exist.

TwmSionCati Wed 09-Sep-15 16:17:40

has the mother been diagnosed with a mental health problem then, as you say she is 'mad'?

Yellowpansies Wed 09-Sep-15 16:25:10

Can you apportion your time at the weekend, so you spend some quality time with the DSC, and some time just with your own DC or on your own? Is your DH OK about you taking a bit of time out?

4 and 6 are fun ages. Are there any activities you can remember doing with your own DC at that kind of age? Books you'd enjoy reading them? Arty activities? Outdoors places they'd enjoy? Cooking?

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 09-Sep-15 16:46:24

Rainbow I sympathise - it is a lot tougher than I thought too. You don't have to feel bad for feeling like you do. However if you don't get more to grips with the situation you have a long time ahead - think about what would make it work better now rather than not speak up.

throwingpebbles Wed 09-Sep-15 16:51:39

In what way is she "mad"???
Because I am pretty sure that is how Ex H describes me and he was severely emotionally abusive by the end of our relationship....

TwmSionCati Wed 09-Sep-15 16:53:58

yes my ex used to tell his partner that I was 'mad' as well.
lovely .

throwingpebbles Wed 09-Sep-15 16:57:58

yeah I would say the combination of protracted court battles for his "rights" and calling his ex "mad" would make me pretty wary of this man

TwmSionCati Wed 09-Sep-15 17:00:27

uffff just a bit.
It is when the new wife swallows all that guff though that is worrying.

Bellebella Wed 09-Sep-15 17:01:51

Sorry before I start can I say I find it really offensive to refer to a woman as "mad". As someone who has struggled with mental health problems it's offensive and incorrect terminology. If his ex has got mental health problems, then unless she is harmful to her children there is no reason why they would be better suited to you.

Obviously your partner does not want to decrease his time with his children and I think he should be applauded for that. Maybe do something you know they like to better bond with them.

ImperialBlether Wed 09-Sep-15 17:02:53

The thing is that you are at a point in your life when your children are in their teens that you start to get a lot more time to yourself and a lot more adult activities with them. At that point I would have hated to start all over again with much younger children, particularly children who weren't my own. Why did you choose to live with him, knowing how much your life would change? Weren't you looking forward to your new life?

Rainbow00 Wed 09-Sep-15 18:02:42

Wow I'm amazed at the responses as this is my first post. So sorry for some of the wording and terminology I know it's incorrect but I just needed to get something written down.

Yes of course it's the children's rights and they both have expressed their wishes to come and live with us. Yes I shouldn't of used the term 'mad' sorry as I've also had mental health issues but when she's saying things to children to try and make them not like their dad that's not acceptable, causing problems for us a family unit by ringing different authorities overs and over to try and get it so the children stop coming to us is just completely underhanded.

Yes 4 & 6 is a lovely age all ages are lovely and yes I know what kind've activities to do with them as that is also my job but I just find it difficult to bond with them. Having my own be so old, I've always said I don't want any more of my own so I suppose having to start again it's hard and I'm struggling with it. I also don't want my two children to feel as though their being pushed out if I interact with my step-children.

Yes I knew what I was letting myself in for but as I love children my own/family/work/friends I just thought it would come naturally the friendship/bond/parenting etc but it's not.

No my husband hasn't pulled the wool over my eyes I have seen and have read/heard what the ex wife is/was like she was very abusive towards him and then if she didn't get her own way she would threaten to do things.

Yellowpansies Wed 09-Sep-15 18:49:31

Do your own DC ever go to their dad's? Or out and about doing their own thing? I've struggled a bit with having to tread carefully to avoid my own DC being jealous of me interacting with my DSC. I found the weekends when mine were at their dad's were better times to do stuff with them at first, as i relaxed more and didn't feel so pulled in different directions

QuiteLikely5 Wed 09-Sep-15 18:55:33

At least you are being honest. This is never a problem you can fix and I do feel for the children slightly.

In your shoes I would live separately or split up. It's best all around really.

There's no way I would choose to go back to those ages if mine were your ages. You're almost child free.

I don't think he can help you with this either.

Your last and final hope if you truly want to stay is to see a counsellor.

lunar1 Wed 09-Sep-15 20:39:55

Why would you marry someone if you can't connect with their children? It seems an odd thing to do and will make things hard for everyone.

Rainbow00 Thu 10-Sep-15 08:00:46

Yes my son goes to his dad every other weekend and that's the weekend we don't have the little ones.

Yes counselling is a very good idea which I've looked into.

Because I love him and he makes me feel amazing even when I'm not feeling that great, even after everything he is amazing to put up with me.

swingofthings Thu 10-Sep-15 08:38:36

He reassures me every time that it's fine and I'll get use to them and having with us but I just can't seem to see that
The more time I spend on this part of the site and the more I see a commonality in complaints: couple moving way too fast into commitment despite issues with step-parenting. Getting married 2 years after getting together when they are complex issues to deal with relating to the children, it is not surprising that anyone would suddenly realise that it is not as they'd hope.

It takes a lot of time to adjust to step-parenting, as much as for the children to adjust to new important and permanent people in their lives. I am not sure whether the issue is step-parent being in denial and assuming that because they are in love with their partner, everything else will fall into perfect harmony immediately, or whether it is a case of expecting too much too quickly.

The other commonality when things are not good seem to be step-parents getting way too involved in judging the situation, especially the other parent. One thing that I have learnt in the last 10 years is that those people we judge are rarely what we think. I build a picture of my kids' step-mum based on what I'd heard, was experiencing with the children, how my ex had dramatically changed in his attitude since being with her and that picture was not very positive. However, I held back from letting my opinion affect my children or my relationship with my ex. I am so glad that I took that position because I now realised that a lot of assumptions I had made were wrong, or even when likely right, things had changed as the dynamics evolved.

Rainbow, you need to take a step back and try to make it work, which mean probably relinquish some control. Stop judging the mother, you don't know who she really is, what she goes through her head, what she wants, what she really experiences. Saying that a 6yo and 4yo want to live with you is ridiculous. At that age, they don't really know what they want and how could they get to that point of expressing such a wish beyond saying they don't like their mum and like dad and you better after mum applied some discipline (which kids do all the time).

Give it time, but during that time, try to remain positive. It REALLY can get a lot better, but it will take time for you to get to appreciate the children, them to appreciate you, and all of you to learn to share your life with each other. If you allow yourself to believe that one day you will get to really miss them when they are not there, then you will get there.

Yellowpansies Thu 10-Sep-15 08:39:10

I'd agree counselling sound a good idea. I'd also suggest if either of you have any flex in your arrangements with your exs to try the odd weekend with just your DS or just the DSC, so you can have a go at being a stepmum without trying also to be a Mum to a teenager at the same time.

Jw35 Thu 10-Sep-15 08:47:43

I'm sorry you feel this way and I hope you can work through your feelings. Try not to worry about your children being jealous! They should be proud of you stepping up to look after your step children!
They're very young so it must be like doing it all over again, it must be hard when you are not their 'real' mum and have so much responsibility but I would say that if their mum is not great and they've expressed a desire to live with you then you need to make their lives as good as you possibly can.

I think councilling is a good idea, try to view things from their point of view and and hard it is for them. If you love this man you need to love those kids too. It may take time for you to do this but until then try and do all you can to have that bond.

I wish you the best of luck with it and hope you feel better about it all soon

throwingpebbles Thu 10-Sep-15 10:21:41

Agree with every word swing

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