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what would you do in this situation?

(28 Posts)
MrsClaus21 Sun 13-Dec-15 13:10:11

DP's ex won't let me have contact with DSC.
She thinks I'm a crazy psycho bitch because I

I will say at this point that I have never ever before, had any involvement in disciplining the girls, I usually stay out of the way and keep quiet.

However, on that night I admit I lost my temper. But I feel that I had good reason to.

DS was 6 weeks old at the time, he had been suffering with colic since he was about 1-2 weeks old, he would scream CONSTANTLY from about 5-6pm until about midnight, sometimes until the early hours of the morning.
I was still recovering from a c-section wound which refused to heal and kept getting infected.
My SIL who suffers with bi-polar had that evening gone missing, each time we don't know whether she'll be found dead or alive.
I had a lot on my mind and I was physically and emotionally drained and utterly exhausted.
I'm not for one minute trying to excuse shouting at children, especially ones that aren't your own, but i'm just explaining why I was so on edge at the night.

So that evening DP put the kids to bed at 9pm, the usual time for a weekend. They were making up excuses, like kids do, DP kept bargaining with them, they could play on their tablets for 15 mins, and then another, and then they got took off them and they refused to get in bed, they got ignored, they got told to get back in bed, they were reminded about fun things they needed to have energy for the next day etc etc.
This went on until 10.30 and then they started fighting, actually hitting each other because one of them told the other one to shut up.

At that point I had JUST got DS to nod off to sleep in my arms and all the screaming and banging around from the girls woke him up. I admit I was furious, they were behaving terribly and I'd had enough of listening to DP pandering to them and not putting his foot down.
So I stormed upstairs and gave them a bollocking. I told them that I wouldn't accept that behaviour in my home and that they needed to learn some respect for their father and I and for our house (their bedroom door had been kicked)

They've gone home and told their Mum that I'm some crazy woman who shouted at them for no reason, totally blown it out of proportion.

Obviously their Mum isn't happy and now says she can't trust me around her children and so won't let them come to our house.

So for the past 4 months DP has been having the girls at his Mum's house, he was expecting his ex to give up after a few weeks but 4 months later and it's still going on and she is showing no signs of backing down.

The most frustrating part of the situation is that I am actually a really chilled out person, it takes a lot to make me lose my temper and I'm just not the sort of person who goes around shouting at kids.

DSC want to come to our house and sleep over, I have seen them briefly when they've had to stop at ours to pick something up etc, and they have given me hugs and said they miss me.
DD1 has been in tears saying she really wants to sleep at our house and she misses me and she feels sorry for me.

I have apologised and DP has defended me and explained what had happened to cause me to shout at the girls but she just won't accept it and will not budge an inch.
She's very difficult to talk to, DP doesn't have much contact with her any more because he finds her so difficult to deal with.
So where do we go from here? DP could just ignore his ex and bring them to our house but then she'll just stop contact.

We just don't have the money to go legal at the moment, unless maybe we can go directly to the courts? Is that feasible?
But in the past when DP has started legal action over issues with contact she has made it clear that she had no intention of obeying any court order so it could end up being a big waste of money, time, energy and emotion.

Mediation isn't even an option, DP previously tried mediation but she was considered to be unsuitable for mediation by the mediator.

What do we do?

Kelsoooo Sun 13-Dec-15 13:26:27

I've no idea.

But I don't think you were remotely wrong for shouting at them.

Kelsoooo Sun 13-Dec-15 13:27:19

And if me and DH split and my girls came home and told me that story they'd get told off by me too.

But then I'm the type of person who disciplines other people's kids when they're at mine.. Funnily enough all the kids come back...

MrsClaus21 Sun 13-Dec-15 13:43:12

Thanks Kelsooo part of me thinks yes I wasn't unreasonable, whilst they're living in my home I should be able to have a say in what goes on and how they behave, other wise how will they have any respect for me if I just sit back and do/say nothing.

But I feel so guilty about it, DP is so unhappy that his family is being affected like this and I feel it's my fault, but like he said, it's his ex who is making the decision and I shouldn't have anything to feel guilty for, but I do.

I hate that she still has the power to make DP cry sad

MascaraAndConverse89 Sun 13-Dec-15 14:11:22

I'm another who thinks you didn't do anything wrong. Sounds like they needed a bollocking tbh. You didn't hit them, you just shouted at them and told them a few home truths. Nowt wrong with that.

I have no real advice, I just wanted to tell you that you are not a psycho and you've done nothing wrong.

hampsterdam Sun 13-Dec-15 14:12:25

You have nothing to feel guilty about. Not surprising you snapped under the circumstances so don't blame yourself for that.
If I thought my ds was behaving like that at his dad's or anywhere else I would be very upset with him and would lay the law down myself.
I never understand these people who will happily use their own children to punish or control their ex.
Do you really think she would stop contact if dp just ignored her? Maybe it's time for him to put his foot down, his ex really shouldn't be having this level of control in your lives. How old are the kids?

VimFuego101 Sun 13-Dec-15 14:19:17

I thought you were going to say you slapped them or something. I don't think you did anything wrong. Is there a legal agreement in place at the moment?

Rebecca2014 Sun 13-Dec-15 14:19:50

Why don't you just bring the kids to yours? Tell her your dp mother will not allow the kids overnight at her house anymore and unless she backs down the kids won't see their dad. Yes she may say she doesn't care but I bet that is bull, her kids will resent her and she miss out on free evenings.

Stop giving her all the power.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 13-Dec-15 18:06:22

If DM will not agree a regular arrangement and has ignored orders in the past then you might as well just act as if she doesn't have any power and carry on seeing the kids as usual. What else can you do? Otherwise you are basically agreeing to her terms forever.

Shouting isn't reason enough to stop anyone. You probably did go over the top, and probably do need to tell your step kids that you are sorry you shouted. That you lost control. But that their behaviour was too out of control too and you and DP won't stand for it.

lunar1 Sun 13-Dec-15 18:38:54

I'm going against the grain here. I don't for one minute think she can stop the children coming to yours and I wouldn't put up with their behaviour either.

But from their point of view it really did come from nowhere. Your dp was being completely pathetic as a parent, with all the bargaining and negotiating. He was allowing and encouraging their behaviour with the way he was dealing with it. It would have been him I'd have torn a strip off not the children.

If they are not used to being shouted at it will have been a complete shock. I think you and dp need to get back on the same page as its not fair for children to deal with conflicting parenting in the same house.

MascaraAndConverse89 Sun 13-Dec-15 19:06:07

lunar It was probably the shock they needed though. Someone needed to tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable, and I think pussy footing around and being a bit soft wouldn't have got the message through to be honest.
Of course their dad needed telling off as well I agree.

CookieDoughKid Sun 13-Dec-15 21:32:30

I don't think you did anything wrong. The kids NEEDED a good telling off but more than that, a sanction applied the next day. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. TBH - I'd enjoy having a break from the kids staying at yours - you have a little one that needs you more at the moment so don't feel guilty about that. It's not going to last forever and the bio-mum will soon relax off want her free time back for nights out.

mrsmugoo Sun 13-Dec-15 21:37:21

Oh god what an awful situation but you did absolutely nothing wrong. Your DH should have taken control of the situation and not let it get to that stage.

I hope it all works out for you.

heavens2betsy Mon 14-Dec-15 15:02:46

The first mistake made was when your DP took them to his Mums – that was like admitting his ex was right and giving her control of the situation.
I have shouted at my DSC before under similar circumstances and their Mum called to moan but he stood by me and told her exactly why they were told off (swearing, spitting at each oterhand refusing to go to bed). She wasn’t happy but DP told her it’s our house and we won’t have them behaving like that.
He can take control now – bring them to your house, sit them down and tell them the rules then do something nice together and draw a line under it.

swingofthings Mon 14-Dec-15 19:20:55

There's shouting and shouting. If the kids actually got threatened by your behaviour and told their mum that you scared them, I can understand her concern. However, it's been 4 months, the girls went to come back so she should be prepared to give a try again.

By the way, I've lost it as you've described it with my kids, but I can say with certainty that they have never been truly scared of me. The thing is if it is unlike you to act this way, and not being as attached to you as their parents, the same reaction might have been much more frightening coming from you than if it had been their mum. If mum never loses it, then clearly she will struggle to understand.

Have you considered trying to discuss it with her? Did she have an issue with contact before and could be using this as an excuse to get what she wanted, ie. you not around her kids?

MrsClaus21 Mon 14-Dec-15 21:16:24

If they are not used to being shouted at it will have been a complete shock. I think you and dp need to get back on the same page as its not fair for children to deal with conflicting parenting in the same house.

They are used to being shouted at but just not by me. Their DM is continually yelling at them, over nother, which makes the whole situation even more ridiculous, she's being very hypocritical.
DP does occasionally shout at them, but he is a pretty calm person in general.
I wouldn't for a minute that the children are dealing with conflicting parenting in the same house, that was just one occasion where DP was being a bit lame and I lost my cool, on the whole we are on the same page and we have a happy, loving home.

swingofthings yes you have hit the nail on the head on several points. I totally agree it was probably scary for the girls to see me shout because they don't have the same amount off attachment and trust. When Mum or Dad shouts they know everything will be fine, but when I shouted it was a shock and they probably didn't know whether I still loved them/liked them etc.
And yes you're right Mum has always had an issue with me. Well I say ''me'' she had an issue with DP having a girlfriend before she had even met me or knew anything about me, so it isn't personally about ''me''.
Even though they had been split up 2 years when we got together (we'd known each other for 9 years before), she didn't want me meeting the girls. She's always hated it if DP has said he can't do something for her because of me, I'm not talking about major things which you could understand her being annoyed about, but just silly little things like not being able to pick the girls up an hour earlier than planned because me and him had gone out for the day and so logistically it was impossible to make it back any earlier. Apparently that means that he doesn't give a shit about them hmm. She only wanted him to pick them up earlier so that she could share a taxi in to town with her friends!
She is very very controlling and hates that she can't control him like she used to be able to, before he started seeing me.
Before he met me he didn't really do much/anything in his spare time, if she needed him to have the girls at the last minute he was available, if she needed something picking up/fetching he was available. He was always there whenever she needed him.
Now he is always there whenever the girls need him, but not when his ex needs him, there's a difference.

WeThreeMythicalKings Mon 14-Dec-15 21:21:39

She can't stop them staying over. Your DP needs to put his foot down or take her to court.

WorriedWoman1234 Mon 14-Dec-15 21:39:41

Parents have equal rights of their children unless a court has made an Order about arrangements for the children. I can't imagine why your DP just caved in and took the children to his mothers - utterly ridiculous. The birthmother has no right to dictate the arrangements without good reason. Losing your cool is what happens sometimes in normal life and I reckon the ex used this to prevent the kids coming to you.

So I think your DP needs to tell his ex that the children will be staying at yours for whatever days he usually has them. It's difficult to get into court as there is no legal aid but you can represent yourself in the family court and more and more parents/step parents are doing this. There is a good book explaining the steps that need to be taken (can't just think of the title) and DP and his ex would have to have mediation to prevent the matter going to court. To be honest though you're better staying away from the family court if at all possible.

So DP needs to put his foot!

Adelecarberry87 Tue 15-Dec-15 12:53:11

Difficult op as the DC could of said anything from you screaming and swearing at them. As a mother that would be alarming to me. Yes you shouted at them but you and your DH are both at fault you need to work together. Not one going off the handle. You shouldnt have to shout at kids to get them to behave. Be firm and strict and inforce a punishment.If they didnt want to go to bed make them this is really down to your Oh to be setting boundaries in place to combit this. I have it the other way as my ex refuses to tell him off for fear he might not want to go and see him. A parent is a parent not necessiarly a friend.

Dragonsdaughter Tue 15-Dec-15 13:22:33

Oh rubbish, most of us shout occasionally, totally understandable when tired with as newborn - your DP needs to explain the situation if he hasn't already to both ew and kids and then carry on . The ex has no power to dictate what your dp does in his contact time and should grow a backbone - taking them to his mums is confirmation to the ew that you are a danger to his children. Any crap and I would send as solicitors letter

Adelecarberry87 Tue 15-Dec-15 13:46:07

It isn't necessarily needed to shout. The issue is the lack of discipline and pandering by op giving tablets back to the kids is rewarding negative behaviour. Its important op you and dh work together to inforce boundaries especially more so as you have a child together. I understand why OP shouted im not saying that what i'm saying is theses could be put into place to prevent the need to shout by inforcing a punishment no tv or favourite toy, no trip out etc.

wowis Tue 15-Dec-15 14:32:06

Hi OP,
I'm in a very similar boat it's really hard isn't it. You can apply to court for access but only after reffering yourselves for mediation. This isn't scarily expensive and you can self refer if his ex refuses mediation you can then go to court for access.If she agrees it can be resolved at that point. She might not like this and want it resolved in mediation or she might be an awkward fucker like my dp's nasty bitch of an exw and it would go to court. We were quoted £300 for the application to be made then everything else costs depending on what needs to be done.
You have my sympathy and empathy but good for you for giving those sc some boundaries.

MrsClaus21 Tue 15-Dec-15 19:54:53

adele the issue isn't about boundaries or the way they are disciplined or the way DP and I work as a team, that was just one night. You can't make a judgement based on one story of one shit night when I lost my temper because of various things going on.
On the whole we never really had much of an issue with behaviour, as I said up thread, our home is a pretty happy place. I admit that DP is a bit soft with them but they aren't bad kids so there isn't usually much need for any real discipline. And of course DP worries about upsetting the girls because he ones sees them EOW, he wants the time with them to be nice.
If it was a regular occurance that they behaved badly and DP didn't discipline them and I shouted, then I'd agree with you. But it has happened ONCE.

The issue is about how we deal with the ex, whether DP puts his foot down and risk rocking the boat and giving her reason to stop contact. Or whether we try and go down the legal route, or whether that would just be a waste of time (I've got a friend who has spent years going back and forth to court and it's got them nowhere), or whether we just wait for her to realise she's being ridiculous.

This thread got me thinking last night, about how things used to be and how things have changed over the years.
I really think that she's getting a kick out of splitting me and DP up, even if it is just EOW.
She would love him living back at his Mum's house, he was just around the corner from her, was always available, she could click her fingers and he'd go running. It suited her down to the ground. I really don't for a minute think that she is one tiny bit concerned about her kids being around me, I think she just gets pleasure out of controlling DP and having an impact on our lives. What she has failed to see is that it's her kids who are going to be affected by it the most.

Morganly Tue 15-Dec-15 23:48:06

Your H should have stepped in to deal with the situation when you were in such a vulnerable state. He should step in now and sort it out now. Stop feeling guilty. Yes, his ex is exploiting the situation but he is equally culpable. You are not.

Bananasinpyjamas1 Wed 16-Dec-15 01:30:40

Maybe chat with your DP, ignore her and distance yourself from EX as much as you can. Make arrangements regular. Your DP did play into your weakness by bringing the kids back when it happened.

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