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I just want to have a whinge. Being the NRP/step-parent is hard.

(24 Posts)
FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 04-Jan-16 16:21:05

I just kind of feel like as a step parent I bend over backwards to make DSS feel like a proper part of our family, including spending a lot of my own money on him (DH out of work - I pay maintenance) and we get the bare bones of a relationship where we are expected to suck up any changes at their end without complaint, don't get to see him on Christmas day even though it actually fell on our weekend, have to live with one rule for them and another rule for us.

I just typed out a very identifying rant and deleted it, but I feel really upset about this at the moment. We generally have a really good relationship with DSS' mum, but the reality is, is that DH has no control over where his son lives, where he goes to school, what happens with supposed 'medical' conditions. The only co-parenting that happens is when ex and husband don't want to/know how to discipline DSS so it falls to DH to have a go at him about something he is getting third hand from ex!

BoboChic Mon 04-Jan-16 16:23:46

It's not acceptable for you and your DH not to have a regular schedule set in stone for when your DSS is at your house.

BoboChic Mon 04-Jan-16 16:24:55

And your DH must refuse point blank to discipline his DS for misdemeanors that are not on his watch.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 04-Jan-16 16:34:10

I hate it BoboChic (particularly the disciplining thing) and DH and I have fallen out over it more than once.

And example is, DSS was told to go to bed. Didn't, stayed playing on his xbox (in his room - another thing DH and I HUGELY disagree with them about) until 6 am when his step dad found him. Then couldn't go to school as he was so tired. This happened 3 or 4 times.

Am I being dim or is an absolutely appropriate punishment to have the xbox taken away/wifi turned off/more stringent rules put in place? At a minimum? For a 14 year old?

Apparently not as ex called hysterical as she didn't know what to do and could DH 'have a word' about it.

I mean - really? confused

The schedule thing I can let slide on the odd occasion - he's a teenager, he has friends he wants to spend time with and as he lives so far it's not so easy to work out. But the reasons are 'just because' and DH doesn't want to get into an argument about it, so it just happens the way they want. It doesn't happen that often truth be told but this Xmas did upset us. As did the other ones where she'd just moved; just got married; just had a baby. Didn't matter when those milestones happened with us though.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 04-Jan-16 16:37:04

Sorry for the monumental whinge. Being a step mum is an utterly thankless task at times, but I guess I'm lucky we don't have a difficult relationship with ex.

BoboChic Mon 04-Jan-16 16:38:03

The ex sounds chaotic, thereby generating problems and then expects other people to deal with her mess. My DP has an exW like that! We are many years down the line but my only advice is to anticipate (these types are predictable in their disorganization after a while) and to be very firm!

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 04-Jan-16 16:44:29

She is chaotic, excellent description!

I just wish my DH would be a bit more firm (but not angry) sometimes. She left him and took DSS and didn't tell him where they were for a year, this was when he was a toddler but there is still that underlying feeling that it could happen again, so he toes the line.

Hopefully when he's a bit older we can have a more independent relationship with him.

BoboChic Mon 04-Jan-16 16:48:03

Your DH is being emotionally blackmailed by the tacit threat of his exW doing something beyond the pale if he complains about her selfish and chaotic behavior shock. This is not good for anyone, least of all DSS.

abbsismyhero Mon 04-Jan-16 16:51:49

sounds like total chaos but to be honest if my ds plays up to the point of screaming at home and i remove his electricals off him at my house i do ask that his dad enforces it at his house as i feel its unfair of him to see his dads house as the party palace if he is banned for two days then he is banned for two days no matter where the two days lie and he does the same for me if he has been bad there the punishment continues here as appropriate

i would never ring him bleating i couldn't discipline my child though that's just fucking weird

cannotlogin Mon 04-Jan-16 17:18:51

And your DH must refuse point blank to discipline his DS for misdemeanors that are not on his watch

how does that work? My child behaves very, very badly - I don't know, involved in bullying another child - but because it's 'on my watch', my ex shouldn't discipline him? are you actually serious?

if my children were involved in poor behaviour when with their dad, you can bet I would have something to say about it. Why shouldn't I? Their behaviour is a reflection of our joint-parenting and needs dealing with by both parents when it it out of hand.

BoboChic Mon 04-Jan-16 17:41:58

Joint parenting doesn't mean repeat parenting or swapped parenting smile

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 04-Jan-16 18:01:04

Abbs - DSS doesn't scream! It was his mum literally could not figure out how to discipline him. We would (and do) 100% back up a punishment laid down, but It seems strange that neither his mum nor his stepdad can just say right, no more Xbox till you can prove you can be trusted.

Btw after this particular incident he had his Xbox privileges removed here as well as there.

Sunbeam1112 Mon 04-Jan-16 18:09:16

If hes a teenager he will have more control over his own access with his dad. I assume it was his decision to stay with mum over the christmas period. A teenager wont want to spend any time with parents their mind focus is friends. Having a teenager full time has its challeges and maybe the mum feels better with a bit of male back up. I think its a tricky process having a teenage boy and often can go agaisnt the mum especially if dad doesn't live with them. Just thought i would add some perscpretive. I would hate to think of my ex judging me for having a handful teenager. They should be able.to co-oparent together including discipline.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 04-Jan-16 18:16:03

He's not a handful at all. I can't stress this enough. He has his moments but very few and far between.

The expectation was that it was our Christmas - I see what you're saying but right up until ex told us he wasn't coming to us as far as he, me and DH were concerned it was a done deal as it was our turn!

Sunbeam1112 Mon 04-Jan-16 18:16:44

It would be really interesting to see the other side of the story from mums perspective. Also having a step dad has it challenges the whole 'your not my dad' I dont see why you cannot leave your DH and his ex to deal with DSS the way they see fit. I think its difficult for you's to come to terms that you aren't a main focus in this teenagers life. If the child had been five then yes there would be a different take on the situation entirely. But i do think you need to sit this one out and let them get on with it.

Sunbeam1112 Mon 04-Jan-16 18:18:43

The teenager could of changed his mind,they do have tendancies to do that. Also a main residet carer. I can see why looking after him majority of the time she would like christmas although my ex gets.y dss at 5and has his for two nights.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Mon 04-Jan-16 18:25:01

I can and I do leave DH and ex to get on with it, but I am allowed to feel annoyed and ask DH to be a bit more assertive?

I've never been a focus in DSS' life so I'm not sure why I would feel differently now that he's a teenager? I'm fully aware of my position as step mum.

I do understand he might have changed his mind, but doesn't dual parenting work both ways? We're expected to back ex up but she doesn't have to back us up?

I do get your point Sunbeam, it is clear though that as we are on 'opposing teams' we will never agree!

Sunbeam1112 Mon 04-Jan-16 18:41:52

I'm just adding another perspective. Sometimes its good to get a balanced of mixed experiences from either side.Your DSS could of came around on the afternoon or evening but as a mum she can't make him either. You might find access becomes more relaxed as the years ago by this is perfectly normal.

My experiemce is both my DH and my ex DW keep out of any interactions between myself and ex. Safe to say its been pretty smooth sailing. I think the issues tend to get worse when additional parties get involved. Which many posters post about having problems with their ex partners. Hence why i suggested taking a back seat. Have a moan to DH by all means in the comfort of your own home. You might think being a step mom is harder but i can imagine being mom to a moody teenager testing boundaries can have its challenges aswell.i know my eldest brother was a nightmare for my parents during his teenage years and they are together so trying to parent with a divided family can be even harder.

Bluelilies Mon 04-Jan-16 18:53:29

It's mad isn't it? I mean general parenting issues - like behaviour at school - in an ideal world the two parents would discuss together.

But things that occur only inside one home, as a direct result of the rules - or lack of rules - in that home are for that parent to sort out, not the other one! DH has had the same as you - emails from his ex complaining that one of the DC has been on their phone or computer until the middle of the night and isn't getting enough sleep, and please can he sort it out? Or even sillier ones along the lines of "DSS smells, please can you make him wash". DH did try to relay that one to DSS - 'your mum says I'm to tell you that you're smelly...." but it just resulting in the two of them agreeing that DSS's DM was a bit bonkers confused (and to be fair, DSS really doesn't smell - my reaction was that she should try swapping DSS for my DS who's much more active and a lot smellier grin).

It's not co-parenting - trying to agree common rules across both homes, which would be fair enough, it's simply throwing her hands up in the air and saying "this should be somebody else's problem, who can I blame for it? - ahh, yes, my ex - he can sort it out"

My best advice as a step mum is to offer a listing ear but try to stay out of it as much as possible. Must be frustrating if the contact patterns change on a whim though, thankfully we don't have too much of that as younger DSC still don't have much of a social life unlike their DM who likes her child-free time much as possible

swingofthings Mon 04-Jan-16 19:02:18

I really think that at 14, it is more than time to start making arrangements directly with him. Your OH can then decide himself if he thinks the reasons for not coming is acceptable or not rather than just being told by ex.

Everything became so much easier when my ex started to talk directly with our DD about visitation and the rest and I didn't need to convince him that it was her making decisions rather than me on her behalf.

cannotlogin Mon 04-Jan-16 19:47:50

Joint parenting doesn't mean repeat parenting or swapped parenting

but it should mean singing from the same hymn sheet. There are issues that are so serious both parents need to be aware and make it quite clear that the behaviour is unacceptable.

FeliciaJollygoodfellow Tue 05-Jan-16 09:15:13

Thanks all.

I'm feeling a lot better today, I was a bit raw yesterday as got some news from ex when I dropped him off which once again will negatively affect us.

swing DSS isn't really comfortable with that. If we were to ask him outright via text/Xbox message, he would ask his mum. He's a very very young 14 year old. Plus, quite often the reason for him not coming is 'lack of petrol' - he's not allowed to get the bus, even though there is a direct bus from about 5 miles from their house to literally outside our house. I don't want to say the reason why he's 'not allowed' but trust me, it is completely spurious.

I try and keep out as much as possible, bite my tongue a lot where daft things are mentioned, and only offer an opinion when directly asked. Sometimes I am left with this face though > confused!

BoboChic Tue 05-Jan-16 20:18:33

14 year olds don't get to decide where they live. Adults decide for children.

Wdigin2this Mon 18-Jan-16 22:55:25

Wow, it's all such a minefield isn't it? Our mothers and grandmothers didn't tend to split up, they stuck it out, at least until the kids were grown...well actually that's what I did!
But sometimes I think, if everyone stayed with the same partners there would never be these 'blended family' nightmares, but having said that, I could never have stayed permanently with my ex, so it's just as well we don't have to! Oh well we can't have it all I suppose.....sadly!

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