Help with useless ex!!(32 Posts)
Please someone help me out, my step son comes to stay with us every weekend. We pick him up in the morning and have him until Sunday lunch time. Every rime he comes ours he's always in clothes that are ripped or dirty, hasn't had a wash or brushed his teeth, and just lately he isn't even having breakfast in a morning before coming to us. Now I don't mind changing his clothes etc but for dh ex to not even make sure he's clean or fed worries me. Dh has raised these issues with her several times and she just doesn't respond. She has another child with her current partner but this child is the opposite always clean, can tell she's well looked after, always out with her mum doing things, buying new toys etc. I'm at my wits end nothing we say to her matters. My husband does his best by his son we buy him new clothes all the time, treat him to days out (when we have the money). He's treated no different to mine and dh son. We have another baby on the way and I worry now she's going to get worse. I've told dh he needs go seek advise on this now because it's every week which raises concerns. We see pics on social media and it's the same when he's home so we know she isn't doing it just because he comes our house.
Has anyone dealt with an ex like this that can offer any advise at all??
I don't have any experience of this directly, but I would be saving pictures that his DM posts if they show more than a usual 'been out playing' type of look, I think your husband should be contacting your DSS' school, and actually thinking long and hard about returning a little boy to a house where you suspect his basic needs aren't being met, particularly him not being fed.
How old is your DSS?
My DSS can be like this, as he is a teenager he does not bother washing and just wears old clothes.
I agree that it depends on his age how to proceed, keep a record of everything though just write how he is when he arrived describe it in a notebook date and both sign it then if you ever need to push for custody you have records of this :/
He's 9 nearly 10 but when he's here I say to both him and my son first thing go have a wash etc and he does it no hesitation. I feel really bad on him because he's at that age where he will soon be noticing the difference in how him and his sibling are treated if he hasn't already. We bend over backwards to make sure he has everything he needs and more. I only get the tax credits for my son and dh pays his ex maintenance for his son but we're still paying out more. We started sending clothes to her house but we stopped because he never wore them back to ours not once. Her excuse was she couldn't find them. I've suggested the diary thing to dh and he agrees that's a good idea to monitor the situation, I don't like to call mothers at all because I know everyone is in different situations. But ... there is no excuse she gets her maintenance off us which is a fair bit plus her and her hubby work and as I said we have sent clothes previously. Then the hygiene again no excuse it's not difficult to remind a child to brush their teeth or wash their face. She had ago because we don't take him away on holiday like they do but holidays are a luxury and that's something we can't stretch to doing.
We have had similar issues although not to this extent.
Definitely keep a record, save pics from her social media - ideally screen shot them so that you can prove they were posted by her and at what times etc. Definitely speak to a solicitor and might also be worth having a chat with the local hv if you live in the same area.
When we were having issues over untreated nits, dirty clothes and underwear etc our hv said they would consider it neglect and would be reporting to social services if it was s patient.
Does your DH have any contact with school? If he is the same there maybe they could have a word with mum and raise it?
every weekend? ripped clothes? where are all these clothes coming from (assuming he is in uniform during the week?)?
this child is the opposite always clean, can tell she's well looked after, always out with her mum doing things, buying new toys etc
how do you know this? what is 'etc'? how do you know that your step son is categorically left out of new toy buying?
What have the school said?
A diary of concerns is pointless. It's little more than 'he said, she said', even in court unless Social Services and/or the school get involved. If the child is genuinely filthy and in ripped clothes, this will show in photos. So take some that are time and date stamped, perhaps?
Luckily dh has a good relationship with the school as he is the one usually sorting things out down there as and when there are issues. Photos are a brilliant idea thankyou. Yes nits have also been a issue here too but we just put that down to kids at school, until that became regular so we had to tell her to check hair regular as we were having to get rid of them so are weekends were pretty.much wasted sorted them out. We meet dh ex in a mutual place each week to pick him up so we see the sibling often and we see how nice she looks and things that she's been bought... we do ask dh step son if he got anything and he does say no but that isn't our worry he has plemty of lovely toys at our home.
To give you perspective from the 'other' side, I can say that my DS could have been your DSS. I have spent all his life pestering him about showering, brushing his teeth and keeping his room clean. He is a wonderful boy, intelligent, kind, extremely mature and independent, always praised by his teachers, but when it comes to hygiene....well, somehow, that doesn't seem to come so easily.
When he was young, I used to buy him his clothes without him with me and he wore whatever I bought him. Then I started to notice that he wouldn't wear a number of items and he admitted that some things he didn't like, so I told him that he would need to come with me. I might as well have told him that he couldn't watch TV any longer! He absolutely hates going shopping. Last year, after I pestered him over and over, I said that he had no choice but to go. That left him in tears telling me that I was ruining his day! The prospect of spending my limited disposable income on clothes that he didn't want wasn't a pleasant experience.
He is now 13 and I think just about turning around. I still have to remind him to shower and brush his teeth, to go and get changed when he puts dirty clothes but at least I'm not getting a grumpy response back any longer.
As for the 'he doesn't it when he is with us', well so did DS, but that's because he felt much more intimidated with his father and SM than at home.
The reality is that if he is coming to the age of 10 and he does care to be clean and properly clothes, he should be starting to do these things of his own accord without being reminded, so maybe things with his mum as not as they seem and maybe you shouldn't be jumping assuming that it is all the fault of the ex.
That comment is fair but... this isn't the same he doesn't hate clothes shopping in fact he enjoys it more than me. He's so excited when he gets new stuff off us. He also isn't bad with his hygiene when he's here either every weekend he asks for a shower, we only need to remind him in a morning to wash and brush his teeth before playing out. We don't need to at night! But when he's at home he doesn't do these things and when we have raised it with mum she just says she's busy with her daughter at that time of day. Well I'm sorry her daughter is 5 so I'm pretty sure she can take 2 mins of her morning to just say to him don't forget to do your teeth and have a wash. But these are only a couple of the issues like I've said he's not even eating properly at home and when we ask him why he says mum didn't make any. Just go straight out. I love that boy like my own and it breaks my heart knowing this, when he's here I treat him the way mine does we take him for his hair cut every 6 weeks with my son, go out to lunch every Saturday, he even does his homework at out house because mum won't sit with him on a Sunday and assist him. So I'm caring for and paying for a child that isn't mine that I don't get extra money for, we pay maintenance ontop mean while she gets all this money off us plus tax credits and child benefit and not a penny goes on him. Just a shame that some people don't see what we see otherwise comments like that would not be made. Believe me
well, yes, the child is fed and clothed and housed...so some maintenance money is being spent on him. Both parents have a responsibility to ensure haircuts are done regularly, homework is completed etc. If my ex would do this, I wouldn't - nothing to do with being lazy or not caring, just a few less things for me to worry about. My ex never puts our children in a bath before he takes them to school on a Monday - I think it's piss poor parenting but at the end of the day, he knows I'll do it on the Monday evening so why would he bother?
If he doesn't need reminding to clean his teeth in the evening, why is he not cleaning them at his mum's house? what about his father teaching him to take responsibility for himself? And you really can't have any idea whatsoever whether his mother never reminds him about these things or whether she reminds him 15 times before he actually does it because you don't live with them.
Whilst I agree that it sounds like something is amiss here, I think you need to really focus on what you can genuinely have knowledge and understanding of and not what might be being said by a young child who might think it's what you want to hear. Breakfast, for example, did they get up late and then did he sit staring at the TV whilst refusing to get dressed whilst mum reminds him 15 times so that it gets to the point where she says 'well, you'll have to go to your dad's without any breakfast then' rather than 'I'm not making you any breakfast, you can go hungry, I don't care'? And more to the point, how would you know the difference?
Don't you think we would not be as angry if these were the scenarios but they are not. We 100 percent know because we do communicate with the mum and the response we get us shocking... "I forgot, or daughter is playing up, can't find them, didn't have time" we pay close to £200 per month for just him and that money does NOT get spent on him. She's always on nights out with her hubby, treating her daughter, not once has my ss come our house in new clothes or saying his mum bought him something. That's not including the money we spend when we have him, she's a very lucky lady, compared to us that have happily suggested in the past instead of paying what we pay we would supply his clothes, uniform, shoes, hair cuts, whatever he needs. But no that's not good enough ... she has to have the money! Well I'm sorry but we will stop it if it carries on we don't pay through csa this is a voluntary agreement and she can start having them payments again when we start to see a difference! He's gone home now and to be fair he didn't want to go today, when we told mum he could stay here another night we just need his uniform she screamed back at dh NO YOU HAVE HAD YOUR TIME WITH HIM! Surely she would have been grateful for the extra night off!! Solicitors tomorrow to find out our options ... ss has also previously mentioned he would like to live with us but mum won't allow that.
The reality is that you can't control what is happening at his home, so no point in focusing on what mum does or not, which really you are only getting from the boy who clearly is going to take a 'it's not my fault' attitude. You make it sound like he is suffering from neglect from his mum. He is almost 10 and if indeed his hygiene really matters to him as he claims to you, then surely he wouldn't need to be reminded at all.
If he doesn't care as much as you believe, but will do it if reminded, then surely it is in your (or his dad) to remind him about it, say that it is nice when he comes and he looks nice in his new clothes.
So maybe his mum is a bit overwhelmed with her situation, is it really so bad that it should be dad (or you, but that is your choice to do it on behalf of his dad) who he does homework with, take him to get his hair cut? I expect his mum does a lot that you and your OH don't do.
What type of mother has the heart to treat her children so differently?
If what you are describing is true then you would have to involve external agencies..............
The boy is also of an age where his wishes will be taken into account by the court
Yes to taking photographic evidence. You will need proof otherwise these things are just judgements between warring parents
You right we can't control what's happening at home and that's what worries us ... your a bit quick to jump and say she could be overwhelmed and defend her actions. This is our life and this child goes without a lot when he's home. A few months ago he cried to us saying he didn't want to go home and when we refused to let him go she called the police on us who then told us we had to let him go back home to her. They didn't even question him to see if he wanted to stay. All she is after is the money, she moans at us if we're a day late with the maintenance and last year he came ours in the summer with winter clothes on ... so yes this maintenance gets spent on him does it!? And yes thank you quitelikey5 we took pictures when he arrived Friday his uniform was ripped and his trousers were too small. His socks had holes and his shoes needed replacing which of course we replaced the lot. Dh is seeing his solicitors tomorrow and he has also said he will be contacting child services for advise.
Does dad pay the recommended amount of CM? Just wondering if money is an issue ..
Is it possible that the ex is deliberately sending him in tatty clothes so you go out and buy new clothes etc?
£45 is per week maintenance isn't in real terms that much to provide a bedroom, feed and cloth a 10 year old, pay for activities etc. It could be that she thinks you should be paying more and sees that the £45 is just to cover the provision of a bedroom and food type of thing?
It is more worrying and sad if this is deliberate neglect of your dds and massively favouring his half sister Would it be possible to see if your dss would rather live with you and have contact with his Mum?
I really don't get how he has ripped clothes on every single week. How can that possibly be?
Again, what have the school said? A child who is repeatedly wearing clothes that are too small etc. would at least be on the 'cause for concern' radar.
Around 2 years ago the school did contact dh in relation to this but as he doesn't live with us full time there was only so much we could do so school then contacted her. After this occasion we went to the local uniform shop and spent £45 on two new sweatshirts and two new polo shirts then on to tesco for two pairs of trousers. That helped for the rest of the school year. Until it was time to go back ... again we bought new uniform but asked her to provide just the shoes as our son was starting school the same year and we had to get all his stuff too. She didn't bother with new shoes and it was only 4 weeks into the school year we noticed they had holes in the bottom ... ss them commented "mum said you need take me clarkes" for a start why clarkes? And secondly we asked her to provide the shoes as we had bought all new uniform and pe kit for him. We have started taking the ripped clothes and putting them in the bin and he now goes home in clean joggers which we keep as spares for round the house. Which were not too bothered about seeing again or not. We pay £190 a month maintenance each payday then anything between £50 - £100 extra a month in various other things when at our house. She asked could we pay more once baby 2 arrives as we would have more income but I put my foot down and told her no as that money is for my children and the money she relieves is out of his wages. Which caused an argument and her threatening we won't see him again
So SS have already been involved?
Would you be happy to have your DSS live with you full time?
So...the school are recognising that there is a problem, and you (or rather, your DH) has been aware of the school's recognition of the problem for the last 2 years but...what has been done? Buying school uniform ad infinitum won't solve what you seem to be saying is an issue of neglect. So is the child being neglected or not? And if so, why, if you have had school backing, what action has your husband taken during the last 2 years to ensure that his child isn't neglected? What evidence of this neglect does he have which isn't 'he said, she said'?
School commented on it once! Because since then we have kept his uniform updated and made sure he has it to fit. Listen, I came on here for advise not to be bashed by everyone. At the end of the day these are ongoing issues that we want to try and resolve without legal action but we will take legal action if it is necessary. I'm not saying he's being neglected but from what we have witnessed and the response from the mother it hasn't helped the situation. She won't communicate with us about it and always has a excuse. Dh is happy to keep supplying the essentials but only if she's willing to pull her finger out and be a mother to him. I wouldn't dream of treating my kids any different to each other whatever the age gap. Like I've said we are going to speak to his solicitor tomorrow or at least get an appointment booked for this week, see what they suggest. We have offered to have him more if that's what would help but she turns us down, we have him more when he's on school holidays anyway. We buy him new clothes all the time, we supply new footwear as and when needed, we pay maintenance for her to get him the things he needs but that just doesn't seem to help in the slightest. Dh is going to call school and book to see his teacher too so he can seeasily what their opinion is as they haven't raised it since... as far as we are aware anyway! We know from a friends experience that ss won't always contact the father if issues have been raised with them, only the mother! But we will soon find out. Thanks to all who have genuinely commented trying to help anyway. We will get something sorted this week.
I think you are getting a hard time because people like to know as much as possible about the whole picture and are trying to work out whether the mum is really the problem.
I feel sad for him. It sounds like you are doing all you can by supporting/loving/providing as much as you can when he is with you. Could he spend more time with you?
The breakfast thing sounds odd. Presumably his mother doesn't make breakfast for her daughter either, then? Could your DH teach him how to make his own toast or sort our cereal for breakfast? He's at an age where he should be able to do that and it's particularly important on school days.
We have just got off the phone to social services and it just so happens the there is a open case with dss mum and kids. We have expressed our concerns to them and they have told us that she is under observation and she has been warned the children will be placed under temporary care if by the next meeting there have been no changes which we found out is this coming Wednesday! We asked what will happen with dss and they assured us as dh is his biological father and see him regular he would be the first point of contact. I knew I just knew something wasn't right and I was correct in following my gut with this one. Dh is applying for full custody with the backing of social services. He also has a meeting at school at 3.15 with class teacher and head teacher about issues.
Sounds like you were right following your gut instinct! I hope that your DH gets full custody.
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