Do you have any control over how often DSC stay over?(28 Posts)
Playing evil stepmother here, but bare with me...
As lovely as my stepson is, he has some emotional and behavioural issues that I find to be quite challenging. My DP says he has had these problems since he was a toddler and still with his mother. However, his mother is in denial (doesn't happen at her house), and although my DP says he will take action in terms of finding a way to help DSS, he never does. As it stands DSS comes over every Friday-Sunday evening, and during the school holidays.
I have found over the period of a year, that I have now come to dread DSS being here, it actually causes me stress and anxiety. I feel like a passive bystander with no say, as his behaviour affects me and my other children, and even the things we can do as a family.
At the verge of walking away, I suggested to DP recently, that as a compromise, DSS temporarily be returned to his mother on Saturday evenings, rather than on Sunday. But DP would rather move out with DSS, leaving my other children and our child together without him, than change the status quo. Is this at all reasonable on either side?
I wouldn't want this sort of stress every weekend. But unfortunately that is the deal when you're with someone who has other dc. I'm glad to hear your dp doesn't think your dc together trump the dss.
Could a change of days be a solution? So maybe you have wed-sat or sat -wed so you can get some downtime on the weekend also?
I guess it is what you sign up for!
Unfortunately, there is no manoeuvrability during term time as DSS lives with his mum, and goes to school in that area. The Fri-Sun is set in stone.
He also comes to us for school holidays, Christmas etc, but even then unless DP has his own plans, we usually have him for the full duration, which makes the strain between us even greater.
My DSC come ever weekend too, and I have pretty much accepted that that's what I signed up for. We do have maybe a couple of weekends in the year when we don't have them, in order to go away without them, which I value a lot.
Could you talk to DP to see if you can find ways of making the time with DSS more pleasant? You should have a say in the house rules and be able to tackle the difficult behaviour. Otherwise all you can do is take yourself off out, with or without your own DC for a bit of a break.
I don't think it's good for the DSC's relationship with their mum not to see her at weekends btw, but think you'd struggle to raise that as an issue right now without looking like you were just looking for excuses for him not to come.
Does he come to you every weekend Friday to Sunday? I'm not surprised his mother doesn't think his behaviour is an issue because she's not spending any time with him!
Of course she is spending time with him, 5 mornings and evenings which do tend to be the most challenging times of a child's life anyway.
OP, you have the right to find it difficult dealing with the behaviour of your DS. Do you work FT during the week. If so, it would be even harder. However, your solution IS unreasonable. What if it was one of your child who had the issue and your OH suggested he was sent away as a result?
Why should the mum be default because YOU want a break? The solution has to be within your family dynamics. Maybe it might mean you doing things with your children without your OH and your DSS more. Maybe it might mean changing some of the rules in the house. Maybe it might mean your OH and DSS going away just the two of them.
If I were in your OH's shoes, I would have reacted with annoyance too. Get together at a time when there isn't as much tension and come up with ideas that doesn't involve removing the child from your OH's care.
An hour in the morning before school getting him ready, and after school doing homework, dinner, bath and bed is not quality time.
Evergreen - I think that is probably the best way forward, just having some alone time by myself of with my own children and leaving DP to it with DSS. That would prevent a build up of tension on weekends at least. I have tried strategies to work on his problems, but after last weekend we seemed to be getting nowhere and it was just too much for me.
Tete - That's it pretty much, she works during the evenings and her mother does the rest, so as I've said to DP it's very likely that she doesn't really care. Not in a horrible way, but she's out there living her life and DSS isn't high up on her list of priorities. She just uses us as childcare, the focus is never on ensuring he is actually happy and well in himself while he is with us.
Swing - She does take him to school, and pick him up some of the time. The rest of the time she is working. She lives with her mother (DSS's grandmother) and the grandmother seems to be the one doing the rest. She HAS noticed there are issues, but says it's her daughter who is the problem.
If it were my child, I would never leave things to have become this bad. I would have taken my child to seek professional help by now. The problem is, although it is clear DSS has problems no one is willing to take action. DP is too afraid to rock the boat, and DP's ex just doesn't care. So where does that leave me? I have no choice but to become a passive bystander in my own home, and I'm pretty fed up with how his issues dictate how my weekends with my own children end up.
she works during the evenings and her mother does the rest, so as I've said to DP it's very likely that she doesn't really care. Not in a horrible way, but she's out there living her life and DSS isn't high up on her list of priorities
The rest of the time she is working
So she is working a lot, providing for her child, having to rely on others for help with childcare, but her child is'nt her priority?
If the mum doesn't care about time with her ds then why is your dh bothered about rocking the boat? It doesn't sound like there's a boat to rock.
To be honest as a mother I couldn't hand over my DS to his DF for the full weekend every weekend. Weekend time is equally shared out and it's a time where you can spend more time together no school runs work etc these are the days you can do things together so I don't understand why she wouldn't want this. It's a tricky one op how long has this access been going like this? Rather than changing it could your dp have one to one time with him?
Op what will you do if one of your children become a problen child? Move them out?
What if you spilt with your dh. And in a few years his new partner wants to reduce the time he spend with the child you have together because she finds your childs behaviour stressful?
There is no way anyone would tell me i must reduce how much i see my child. Also if he is having a lot of problems and his mum genuinely isnt interested, there could be a chance that he wants to live with his dad in the future.
What would you do then?
I am not unsympathetic, because being a step parent is incredibly difficult. But you cant just demand your dss doesnt spend as much time at yours.
No needs, her child isn't her priority, which is why she never has him for Christmas or any other holiday, including family events such as birthdays etc. and why she is totally disinterested in his welfare when any concerns are raised. She works part-time doing a not very demanding job, and has no bills to pay.
When I said "rock the boat", I would say that DP has a fear that the ex is mean enough to withhold custody out of spite, even if it works to her disadvantage.
Kate - You are right. But as I have said, if the father of my child came to me and said there was a problem with our child that he had noticed, and it was alarming enough to bring it up many times over, I would make any and every effort to deal with it. She herself has implied the problem only occurs when DSS is with us, which is what lead me to suggest he goes home earlier. But not that he doesn't come to see us at all. I agree it is probably unreasonable, but after so long I am feeling a bit more unreasonable as nothing is being done to remedy the situation.
If the mum is genuinely disinterested in her child then your dp would be better having him more not less. Maybe if he lived with his dad and saw his mum eow he'd have more stability and mum might make more effort during the time she does have him.
If she is as disinterested as you are trying to have us beleive then I judge your dh for not having his son full time.
It is something DP has looked into on a number of occasions, and I even at one point sought advice on here. The consensus both here and elsewhere was that he didn't have much of a chance of winning full custody, nor does he have the mental energy or finances to fight. Sadly, disinterest from the mother doesn't mean neglect. I think ultimately as much as I love my DP I will end up walking away from this situation.
Is it worth talking to the grandmother to see if she would like a day or a day and overnight with her GC? Because it can't be much fun for her always having the before/after school stuff - it doesn't seem like she ever has a holiday or weekend day with him.
Do you think she would like to do something with her GC - even if just picking him up after school on a Friday, going home and not having to worry about homework, going out to a kids show at the cinema and out to lunch before coming to you.
This would just cut the mother out - but I'm just thinking that I know my mum loves spending 'treat' time with my DC and those of my dsis - and my dsis lives in the same village as her mil - her mil will help her out with childcare but she also loves having her GC together or alone to do things together.
Maybe seeing if the grandmother could have a chance to just be a gran rather extra childcare might give everybody something different to break up the current routine that wouldn't be about your dh turning his son away for a night (or even just a day) but enabling him to have a chance for a special time with his gran which he doesn't seem to get a chance to do even though he sees his gran a lot.
I'm not suggesting it should be a regular thing but just having it as an option might be nice for everyone.
I think your DP may have to start thinking of himself as the primary carer. He doesn't necessarily need weekday access to do that, but if the mum is as uninvolved as it sounds your DP may need to be the one to get DSS the help he needs. I don't think he needs to be so worried about "rocking the boat" A mother who sends her child to their dad's every weekend and most of the holidays is one who appreciates her child free time. She's not going to give that up readily because your DP takes the initiative to sort out DSS's behaviour issues. If she did stop access you could you to court to get it restarted, but it sounds very unlikely to me that she would. It sounds more like your DP sees his ex as the primary carer, even though she doesn't in fact have enough time with her DS to understand his needs and try to sort them out. Better instead for you and DP to think of him a bit like a child away at boarding school in the week who needs your input at the weekends.
It's difficult but you are asking him to choose see his child less. That's not a choice that is easy to make.
Can you imagine what message that would send to his son?
His son has behavioural and emotional issues and a mum who spends little time with him and you think the answer is to spend less time with his dad. Really?
Would you see your own children less if they had the same issues?
It's easy for you to spend less time with DSS because he is not your child so you wouldn't miss him you just see him as a problem.
Better parental support is needed for his son not less. If mum is not stepping up then dad needs to.
* She lives with her mother (DSS's grandmother) and the grandmother seems to be the one doing the rest. She HAS noticed there are issues, but says it's her daughter who is the problem.*
How do you know that? What kind of mum would speak with a SM who is so critical of her SC's mother and admit to this? Personally, I would say a bad mother herself!
If it were my child, I would never leave things to have become this bad. I would have taken my child to seek professional help by now. The problem is, although it is clear DSS has problems no one is willing to take action
Is it really clear or is it your opinion? I too believed that some of my friend/family children had problems when they were young, thinking they needed help but they have actually grown up to be very well adjusted adults. When had issues with behaviour (excluded from school for aggressive behaviour a number of times) but is now studying his A levels and doing very well. The other seemed to me to have autistic tendencies. Made little eye contact, had very weird obsessions and used to get very upset if things were not in order etc... He too ended up doing very well at school, then left had got a job immediately which he's had for 5 years now. Same girlfriend for 4 years and just a lovely young lad.
We don't always know best and shouldn't feel an obligation to sort out the children of others. This child is not yours, so what you would do if he was is irrelevant. You say that he is actually lovely, so focus on this and leave the rest for his parents to deal with.
Just want to make sure I'm getting this right so you have kids of your own and a kid with your SO and you SO has this little boy who lives with his mum and mainly cared for by his GM Monday to Friday and with you Friday to Sunday.
When you say he has some issues that cause tension is it that he's physically violent? Does he cause issues for the other kids? You say there's tension - do the other kids have concerns about him coming every weekend?
Thank you for your replies,
Evergreen - That's something that I have said many times, she pretty much just wants rid regardless. I also think that being the primary career is the stance I need to take...just doing more for him while he is here. Admittedly, I haven't bonded with him as well as I should have. I have decided to resolve this, maybe to begin with I will simply spend some more one on one time with him. I've agreed with DP that I will take him out this weekend, that's one step forward at least.
Swing - He has what I would call emotional issues, quite specific so I don't want to go into detail, but obviously an issue before we even got together. The problem is that he isn't really a child of others...he's my stepchild. In my home and my own child's brother. I want him to obviously be happy while he is here, so feel it is my duty to do something. Others may feel differently, I can only speak on how I feel.
Ultimately the whole stepparent thing is just bloody hard! I try to do the right thing, but with so many variables, and on top of general life stress, it's just not easy to always think clearly and do the right thing.
Can you implement 'house rules'?
If you have rules for appropriate behaviour in your house then you won't be so powerless (and it may help provide stability for SS).
We did this so we didn't have the 'In My Mummy's/ My Daddy's house ' routine off our respective biters (one each at that point). Simple stuff which meant there were clear 'in THIS house' boundaries. We just explained that everyone does things differently and that no-one was 'wrong' just making different choices. Just like there are school rules.
Made things SO much easier and when joint biters came along everyone already knew the rules and so new the biters learnt them too
I guess it's what you sign up for!
Yes, it is.
I know it's hard but you have to just deal with it. If it means you can't have such a fun time with your 'own' children then tough I'm afraid. That's how it is for families where a child is very, very hard work for whatever reason. There is no obvious solution. Certainly sending them away or palming them off into someone else is not the solution. Would you do it if it were your child?
Try to imagine how you would feel if your DH took against one of his stepkids and insisted that in order to keep him around you must send that child elsewhere a couple of days a week because he can't cope with him?
I think what this comes down to is a lack of compromise from yr husband , is he usually like this ? This situation has to work for everyone not just him . If it were me I would step out and let him soly deal with his son, see how long that lasts . I would also consider leaving as this is yr life too and you and your children are only hear once and deserve some peace in life too. The husband burying his head in the sand is the problem here and his lack of compromise
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