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AIBU to feel annoyed at stepsons mother.

(37 Posts)
BITCAT Mon 18-Jul-16 18:56:12

Tbh I really try to get on with my stepsons mother. He spends a couple of days here of a weekend, we used to have him during the week but that stopped because he didn't like our rules of no TV on a school night. He is only 8 and rules his house at home. His mother constantly makes excuses for him and his behaviour, she's says he is autistic and doesn't sleep. Yet he sleeps just fine at ours?? The problem I have is his mother won't accept my house my rules. He broke my daughters toy on purpose and he was told off then his mother rings up saying he didn't do it on purpose and he can't lie.
She always tries to make everything my kids fault. She's not got a great track record with raising kids. Her eldest has just come out of prison, her 16 year old daughter put herself in foster care and is now pregnant. I'm fed up of her acting like my kids are mean. I think I've done a fair job my 17 year old son is polite has a young lady and has not got any young ladies pregnant, her son is only 23 he has around 5 kids and one on the way..none of which he sees and many are in care.
I am not willing to change my rules or my parenting..I just don't want it to become a big problem between me and dp.
How would any of you guys handle the situation?

Gazelda Mon 18-Jul-16 18:59:46

What does your DH say?

BITCAT Mon 18-Jul-16 19:30:56

He won't argue with her because she will just simply say he ain't coming here again and then change her mind when it suits her. He agrees with me but he is stuck in the middle and he can't win either way.
Thing is with the right guidance he would have a bright future but his mother never sticks to anything.

cannotlogin Mon 18-Jul-16 21:11:28

If she's that bad, why did your DH have a child with her? He can't have not known, surely? It's all very well being a perfect parent but not everyone finds it quite so easy nor is quite so lucky.

If he is autistic, what is being done about a diagnosis?

I am not sure she has to accept your rules, but she does have to accept those of her ex. What is he doing to solve the issue?

JacketPoTayTo Mon 18-Jul-16 21:16:22

I am not sure she has to accept your rules, but she does have to accept those of her ex

I know it's not a popular view, but why shouldn't the OP have a say or be able to implement rules? It's her home. A home that she presumably contributes towards equally towards with her DP (whether she makes that contribution by working outside the home or being a SAHM). Why should an 8 year old be able to dictate the rules in her home purely because neither of his parents will discipline him adequately?

Mamagin Tue 19-Jul-16 08:10:48

Let's hope your son's 'young lady' doesn't get pregnant, at 17 he could easily catch up in the fatherhood stakes. How long were your husband and his son's mother together? Did he have no part in bringing up these children?
Does the boy Hav a diagnosis of autism? In which case a lot of autistic children struggle with changes to routine.
Yes, the OP should have a say with how children should be treated in her home, but even if this child is not autistic, he is only eight, and having to cope with two sets of rules won't be easy, not to mention presumably having seen his father disappear from his life.

Mamagin Tue 19-Jul-16 08:12:04

'have a diagnosis' - no idea where the random capital H came from

BITCAT Tue 19-Jul-16 08:41:18

He married her twice. He only has one child with her and she treated him very badly. One minute wanting him the next someone else. It's my home and all the children in this house must follow the same rules otherwise it doesn't work. It's not the child that's not accepting rules are rules its her. She was told by a specialist that TV was a big no no at night because it's too stimulating but they give in because he makes a bit of noise, where as we do not. I have 4 children of my own also and they have to follow the rules in the house, I can not change them just for him otherwise what does that tell my children?
And no he has never had much say in there upbringing. She says he can't or won't do this and that at home but he will do it here. He had a sleep diary originally we only saw it for 2 days and she never sent it again because ours were totally different to hers. Because he did sleep fine here..the fact she was sending him to bed at 6 and he was waking at 4/5 is completely normal. We send him 7.30 he is up at around 7/8. No issues. My youngest has complex learning difficulties so I do understand he may have needs, however whatever a diagnosis is a child still needs boundaries and disapline.
She frustrates me because atm he is going down the wrong path and it's a shame.
Yes my son could get his girlfriend pregnant but he certainly wouldn't walk away or have the child go into care. Plus her eldest already had 2 on the way before he was 16. She doesn't work neither does her partner. My dp does work so do I so I think I have every right to expect someone to respect my rules and boundaries when under my roof. He thinks it's cool his brother been in.prison and asked me why we have to pay for school dinners and I said because we work. He then said well don't work then you will get them free. I just put my head in my hands. Im worried for him as he can be a lovely lad and he gets on well with my youngest. Just wish his mother would step up. And I'm by no means perfect I do make mistakes but I do learn from them.

BITCAT Tue 19-Jul-16 08:51:30

We have been together 7 years. That's longer than both his marriages to her. They married young then married again many years later. I have known him since junior school we were already friends who had lost touch before we got together.

AnneLovesGilbert Tue 19-Jul-16 11:57:42

It's your DP that needs to "step up". He's the child's father and jointly responsible with the DM for how the child turns out.

You sound very frustrated but I'm not sure what the DC's mum's other children's decisions have to do with whether or not your DSS gets to watch tv when he's with you. Are you really saying that when she stopped him from coming over because he didn't like the no TV rule your DP didn't do anything about it?

Try to take a step back from all the other emotions and drama and tackle the specific issues around how to make your DSS welcome, supported, happy and looked after when he's with you. Yes he needs rules and boundaries, yes you can't have two sets of rules for him ad your own DC. But his father needs to be taking the line on how he behaves during contact time, backing you up on reasonable boundaries, and trying to keep some peace and harmony in the household.

If you've been together 7 years and he's 8, you must have been in his life since he was a baby, so why do you think the problems are greater at the moment?

Cosmo111 Tue 19-Jul-16 20:10:11

I have an 8 year old I don't think he would like going to his DF if his wife was as strict as you are. You sound very judgemental and very over bearing. Thankfully he enjoys going and has a supportive network there aswell. He is able to go on his PlayStation want a movie before bed time etc. It should be an enjoyable time for him to spend with his DF not with strict rules.

The DM can't be that bad if he married her twice. You seem to have abit of chip on your shoulder about her what her relationship is like with her other DC or her current situation has no real bearing on your lives. I would dread to think of my ex and his DW being overly invested in my life, just as I keep my distance in their lives we are there for our DS.

sportinguista Wed 20-Jul-16 13:01:26

Goodness, I am as strict as the OP, I do have a no TV before bed rule too on weekdays, my DS plays with a few toys or does some quiet reading with me or on days like this we are out in the garden till bed doing outdoor stuff.

I don't have that sort of problem with my DSS as he is an adult now, so if he watches TV and is tired that's his lookout! I would be hugely shocked if he had got anyone pregnant before the age of 16, but then so would his mum. I think what is happening here is the OP's values and lifestyle are so different to that of the DSS DM's family that they tend to automatically clash, therefore the child is also coming into a household where the rules and value sets are very different. We didn't have that clash because our values and ideas were broadly similar to those of DSS mum, there was the odd thing but we do things to help DSS.

One night of no TV per week is not going to damage a child, maybe you think I'm a complete authoritarian for making my child do other things like playing outside in the sunshine?

TimeforaNNChange Thu 21-Jul-16 19:21:08

He is able to go on his PlayStation want a movie before bed time etc. It should be an enjoyable time for him to spend with his DF not with strict rules.

This is very much the "guest" vs "member of the family" debate that all stepfamilies struggle with.

If a DSC is a guest in a parents household, then house rules don't apply to them, whereas if they are a member of the family, then they do.
Where it often falls down is that the resident/main parent leads the DC to expect the best of both worlds in the other parents house - avoidance of chores and rules, but the perks of being a member of the family such as holidays.

My DD has two households with stepparents - one of whom has no TV at all. She still enjoys her time with that parent though!

sportinguista Fri 22-Jul-16 12:39:19

Most seem to agree on this part of the site that step DC should always be regarded as part of both families, which to my mind means they are subject to the same rules as any other children in each house and the same privileges too as long as it means that things are done fairly.

We expect the same level of manners etc from both our boys although the age gap is such that the same rules exactly are not possible. But DSS knows that his little brother follows the same rules he did as a child.

My DS is currently enjoying a week with very little TV or devices as he is encouraged out into the garden and there isn't much time before bed for TV anyway.

Cosmo111 Fri 22-Jul-16 14:12:14

Timeforachange obviously the little boy doesn't enjoy his stay. Ex is more relaxed as when he was a boy his step dad had rules and regulations couldn't make a sandwich after a certain time, couldn't could in a certain room etche hated living there

TimeforaNNChange Fri 22-Jul-16 14:31:37

obviously the little boy doesn't enjoy his stay.

You obviously view the OPs DSS as a "staying guest", whereas the OP expects her DSS to operate as a member of the family. Neither is wrong, IMO, but everyone has to have the same expectations, otherwise it creates tension and conflict between households.

My DD would probably say that she "doesn't enjoy her stay" at my home with DH - she is expected to do chores, she has a curfew etc. That doesn't mean she isn't a valued member of the family.

sportinguista Fri 22-Jul-16 16:57:10

It's the difference in lifestyle, it's fine when as with us both households had pretty similar rules and expectations but when they are very far apart it will cause confusion and conflict.

Hard to see what to do as if the OP relaxes the rules to let her DSS do what he would like to but keeps the rules for her own kids it sends out the wrong message that he is different and special and therefore not quite part of the family. What about trying distraction by trying another activity before bed, maybe you all get together to read something from a book, play a bit outside if it's good weather or even a game. If he's doing something he might not feel the need for TV as much.

BITCAT Sat 23-Jul-16 20:22:50

Thing is we do very much include him in family get togethers especially birthday parties and days out. I want everyone to be treated the same and fairly. I'm not that strict tbh..I do allow a lot of freedom but on a school night I'm afraid sleep is a must and I feel if he can not follow rules now how is he going to cope in the adult world. Yes he is 8 atm but he is 9 in a matter of weeks. And yes you are correct we do have very different values. I do believe her way of parenting is lazy and had contributed to the way her other children are. I met him when he was around 3 years old. As we kepr children out of the relationship until we were absolutely sure of our relationship.

BITCAT Sat 23-Jul-16 20:26:20

He loves playing with my daughter who is 10. And he does seem to enjoy being here. I just have a hard time dealing with his mother who has many times tried to cause problems. As I said it's not him it's her causing the problems. She can not accept my house my rules and tbh she should be teaching him to respect those rules and backing us up. But that's just me. My kids dad backs me up on rules and boundaries.

BITCAT Sun 24-Jul-16 12:10:48

So to update and further explain why I get so frustrated. His mothers lazy parenting has now resulted in him becoming very badly sunburnt on his back.
If we had sent him home like that she would have had a fit. She rung last night to see if we had any after sun..we didn't but I did have some left over calamine lotion that would cool the area down. She had let him out to play, but he kept taking his top off even though he had been told not to. Now why just ignore it. My son is fair and I know he burns easily so he has to where his top whilst out, if he doesn't then I'm afraid he is not allowed out. She should have got him in regardless as to whether he cried or not it's her job to make sure he doesn't burn. It's very simple for me no top no going out.

TimeforaNNChange Sun 24-Jul-16 12:27:25

He's not your child though, bitcat and while you can judge and criticise, you cannot change how she parents.

What is your DP doing about it? He has an equal responsibility for his DS. If your DP is willing to accept it then you could call SocServ yourself but if they dont believe it's necessary to act then there is nothing you can do.

Your judgement and condemnation will undoubtedly make things worse for your DSS - if you want to remain in this relationship despite your belief that your DP is not protecting his DC, then you need to find a way of disengaging - both for your own mental wellbeing and for the wellbeing of your DSS.

missybct Sun 24-Jul-16 12:45:57

I don't mean to be harsh here OP - believe me I know how frustrating it is to parent a stepchild who has no boundaries at his other home - but you say you want her to respect your rules, yet your posts clearly indicate you have no respect for her - either as a person or a mother. Perhaps she knows this, perhaps not - but you have to practice what you preach.

Your DP had a child with someone, he allows said child to be in the care of his mother, so unless she's is having a detrimental impact on his physical and mental wellbeing, you really need to step away from judging her parenting. Me and my DP don't agree with the parenting style of DSS's mother all of the time for a variety of reasons, but she is his mother and she loves him and he loves her. I work with her, not against her, even though she puts up many obstacles for us all, herself included at times!

BITCAT Sun 24-Jul-16 12:47:25

He is now suffering with sunstroke. Being sick etc. I've suggest she takes him to the out of hrs docs and gets him checked over.
My dp has no say in anything unless he is at our house because we work as a team and back each other up. He lives with his mum so dp doesn't really get a say in anything tbh. He doesn't even get involved in any medical issues or appointments and we only get what she wants to tell us. She had a fit once because he came here after school and his dad read his school report before she did but my dss wanted his dad to read it and surely he has a right to.
This is what we have to deal with. Dp doesn't want to rock the boat and argue with her so keeps quiet to keep the police.
Social services were already at the house yesterday talking to her other children, so I would have thought all more reason to make sure he was cared for. So dp said he didn't want to give her anymore issues but tbh this is quite cancer is very real and more likely in someone with such fair skin..he is Strawberry blonde. Really hard to take a step back when I can see a child who has so much potential going down the wrong path. And I would feel the same about any child. I'm not a mean person, I'm worried because I care.

BITCAT Sun 24-Jul-16 12:49:47

Keep the peace. Stupid phone.

TimeforaNNChange Sun 24-Jul-16 12:59:33

So he's not with you now? It's not your place to advise her on her parenting. How do you even know that he is being sick?
There's a huge blurring of boundaries - you really need to take a step back - which I know is hard, because this is a child you care about.

I helped to think of myself as a respite foster carer when my DHs DCs visited - I could only influence what happened when they were here, and I was caring for them on behalf of their parents (and in the case of foster DCs, the LA). What happened when they left my home, or if their parents chose to parent in a way I disagreed with was out of my control.

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