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Does it ever get better

(19 Posts)
Justonemorecuppa Wed 31-May-17 11:34:34

Will try to keep brief but without drip feeding. Been with DP for 3 years, I have 2 kids, he has 1. We waited a while before meeting kids as none of them had known us to have partners before (aside from their bio parents - neither of us had had a serious relationship since the split from our exes - mine was 2 years prior to meeting, his was 3).
My kids have adapted well and, aside from some early teething problems, really get on well with DP.
DSS is a whole different ball game. He was 7 when we met and initially seemed to be ok with things but as time went on started being more resistant to being around me, being rude to me and my kids and generally making things unpleasant for DP and I to the extent we almost split up over it all. We sorted things out and things seemed to improve so we made the decision to move in together. All kids including DSS seemed ok with things.
That was 6 months ago, for the last 2 months he's reverted back to being rude, sullen and selfish towards me and my kids. When DP picks him up for contact he kicks off, trying to refuse to come here and when he gets here he purposely ignores me. DP makes sure he spends 1-2-1 time with him every week so it's not like the whole time includes me and my kids. He has his own bed, TV and space here which I've encouraged him to make his own, I make an effort to buy the foods and snacks he likes, we include him in all our plans (even if it's not agreed contact time we'll also ask bio mum is he wants to and can come along if we're doing something). But none of it makes a difference. He just says he doesn't like me doesn't want to come round and doesn't understand why his Dad forces him to come here when he hates it. Although he's happy to come here when it suits him (i.e I have the sports channels his bio mum doesn't so when there's a football match on he wants to watch he asks to come round).
We have a holiday booked soon and I'm dreading having to spend 10 days around him. I've already told DP that I'll be taking my kids off on my own to have a break from things and give him some time on his own with his boy. DP fully agrees with me that his sons behaviour is unacceptable and has tried talking to him about it but nothing helps. I just dont know how much longer I can cope with this. Any ideas?

PeanutButterJellyTimeforTea Wed 31-May-17 11:39:27

Have you really looked at it from his point of view? From his perspective, his dad left him and chose to live with you and your children instead. He gets visits with his dad, your children get him all the time. Can you imagine dealing, at 7 years old, the feeling of being replaced by other children, and then being expected to get on with them all and be happy about it?

Does it get better? Yes, often. But only when the adults involve really understand the children and their needs.

Justonemorecuppa Wed 31-May-17 11:45:11

He's 10 now. His dad had been separated from his mum for 3 years before he met me. In the early days, he'd stay with his Dad 2/3 nights a week and would only spend max 1 of those together so he didn't feel I was pushing him out. We were together for almost 3 years before moving in together and gradually increased the time we spent together during that time so as not to rush things.

His Dad has spoken to him about it all, makes sure he has plenty of 1-2-1 time every week with him and often stays with him at his grandparents so they have father/son time. But the more he's given, the more he kicks off.

SeekingSugar Wed 31-May-17 11:48:44

Clearly he is feeling very unhappy. I doubly that you can "fix" him but I sure hope his dad moves heaven and earth to help him find a way through.

swingofthings Wed 31-May-17 15:36:22

He just says he doesn't like me doesn't want to come round and doesn't understand why his Dad forces him to come here when he hates it.
It sounds like you have made quite some efforts to take his needs into consideration, so what is it that makes him not like you and not want to come? Sometimes it can be subtle things, usually that you don't realise you are doing. I could plenty of examples when I was a kid, how my SM always made me feel inadequate because even though she didn't mean to, she always acted in a way to show to me and the world around that her daughter was so much everything than I. It was little comments, but I started to focus on these and then it became ammunition to not like her.

She would also do things like coming to turn off the hall light when I'd gone to bed, even though I'd begged for it to be left on as I was scared of the dark. I once caught an argument between her and my dad, when she didn't know I was in hearing distance, saying that it cost money and at 8, I would grow up and not be scared of the dark, with my dad arguing that it didn't matter and he was the one paying the electricity anyway. So of course, every time she then turn the ligh off when she went to the toilet, I believed she did it on purpose.

Not saying that is the same situation, just that sometimes, you don't realise that some actions can be hurtful, and if your SS is actually saying that he doesn't like you, surely it is worth trying to explore the reasons?

CrazedZombie Wed 31-May-17 19:16:10

You sound like a very caring step mum.

Are your kids female?

Is he in y5 or y6? I have a 10 year old y6 who is acting more "teen" with eye rolling and tutting. I know that it's partly because he's leaving primary school in 7 weeks and he's nervous about moving up to secondary. (His best friend is going to a different school) He has older siblings there so is at a considerable advantage with regards to the move but is usually showing signs of feeling insecure.

Justonemorecuppa Wed 31-May-17 21:13:23

My kids are boys - he does get on better with the eldest but still can be rude towards him.
DP has tried talking to him and all he says is 'no reason why I just don't like it there '. Only thing we can think of was when he first came round here I have slightly different expectations of kids to DP - I expect a certain amount of independance and taking responsibility so putting your rubbish in the bin, taking your plate out after dinner, putting toys away etc whereas dp has always done it for dss. I never made a big deal out of it tho - gentle reminder or offer of help to get him used to it and now he's better at it than my kids!
I feel like I've gone out of my way to try and help him adjust - I know it must be tough for him as he's never had to share his dad before which is why we've alwaysade sure dp and dss get 121 time plus when my boys are with their dad we'll often do something with him, just the 3 of us, but he's getting worse not better.
His mum is of the opinion if he doesn't want to come here do shouldn't make him and he can stay with her instead which we don't feel is a viable solution as we worry he'd see it that his dad is choosing me over him.
Not sure what else we can do.

Magda72 Wed 31-May-17 21:33:37

OP - are you very different to his mum?
I've a reason for asking smile

Magda72 Wed 31-May-17 21:34:24

And does his mum have a Dp or other kids/step kids?

CointreauVersial Wed 31-May-17 21:38:59

I think you just have to sit it out. You are doing all the right things, just make sure you treat him as fairly as you do your own DCs (but also expect similar standards of behaviour). Keep up the contact, keep giving him time with his DDad....and hope it's just a phase.

littlehandcuffs Wed 31-May-17 21:39:54

How close in age is he to your boys?

phoenixtherabbit Wed 31-May-17 21:41:41

I think you're doing everything right to be honest.

It probably will get better. Pre teen boys can be ahem... challenging!

What is your relationship like with his mother?

workingmumsarebad Wed 31-May-17 21:41:59

He is jealous = your sons have taken his Dad, they see him more, he has to share him with them.

Your efforts have all been good but he is jealous.

Ask him what he wants or rather get his DF to ask him what he wants. You may be surprised it could be something v simple.Mine hated going to their DFs house - various reasons - but they absolutely, loathed sharing their dad in the little time they had with him. Sitting next to him on the sofa without his DP was one of the frist things they said they wanted. Sadly that never happened.
They wanted a snuggle and cuddle for themselves!

wheresthel1ght Wed 31-May-17 22:33:50

Hi OP,

In answer yes it does get better, but it takes time. My dss is nearly 14 I have been around since he was 9. In the beginning everything was lovely and then he hit 11 and the onset of puberty and all hell broke loose. I took the brunt of a huge amount of his anger at being part of a "broken" family. I felt he blamed me for his parents not being together.

I had nothing to do with it, I was not then ow. The reality was his mum had cheated a d kicked his dad out. Unfortunately in the wake of their split and trying to not hurt the kids and his dm's at refusal to allow the truth to be told he had formed his opinions. Actually he was spot on as he had a huge row with his dm and finally blamed her. She rang me and expected me to deal with her son. He learnt a very hard lesson and from that point on I have taken the brunt of all his anger.

I used to think it was because he hated me but after a particularly awful period I broke down in tears and asked him why he hated me, what had I done. He cried and told me he didn't hate me he loved having me about but he didn't know ow how to deal with that.

He lashed out at me because he felt it was safe. His mum had shunned his emotional collapse, he felt like he couldn't talk to his dad mainly I think because of issues with his step dad and his view of what men should be like and so that left me. He trusted me and he felt he was safe to act out against all the anger and angst he felt.

Things are hugely better now, he is older, able to cope better, his dad is better at taking the lead and hammering his poor behaviour and I am better at taking a big deep breath and counting to - 1000- 10 before I react.

If your ds's and him were bio family chances are they would be fighting and behaving exactly the same, try seeing the positive of he feels comfortable and "at home" enough to act like a little shit

You are doing all the right things, keep doing what you are doing!

wheresthel1ght Wed 31-May-17 22:35:54

Sorry I did for paragraphs but the speed has removed them. I have reported to mnhq

Anidiotabroad Wed 31-May-17 22:55:10

In short, yes it does get better.
I've been with DH since DSS was six. We have had many challenges, (especially around DH doing everything for him).
He has no memory of his parents being together as they split when he was three. He just always wanted a "normal" family. He was fed up being passed back and forth. I think he just hated living between 2 homes - different rules, forgetting to bring things he wanted/needed, having to share his parent (at both houses) with a step parent. It was easier to take his frustration at the situation out on step parents than on his parents.
Then, as a teenager, he realised the advantage of another home when things weren't going his way!
DSS is early 20s now. We have a good relationship. He still goes between 2 homes but can drive back for anything he's forgotten!

Justonemorecuppa Thu 01-Jun-17 14:35:45

Magda - I'm very different to his mum & she's remarried. She has an older and a younger sibling.

Littlehandcuffs - My eldest is 12, my youngest is 9.

The bickering between the kids I could handle - I'd actually appreciate them acting like regular siblings. Its the disdain he treats us all with.
His Dad has tried to speak with him multiple times to find out whats up and just says I dont know, or nothing just dont like it. Even DP's family have noticed it.

I'm just so tired of the whole treading on eggshells the whole time.

Magda72 Thu 01-Jun-17 18:58:08

Hi justone,
I asked as I'm wondering if he actually prefers it when he's with his dad & you & is actually feeling guilty about it & a little envious but can't express it 'properly'.
I know my kids used to feel wracked with guilt if they had a great time at their dads & only relaxed after endless reassurance that I thought it was a good thing.
How does he get on with his stepdad & other siblings?
As an aside but related my dp can't believe how relaxed my home & kids are in comparison to the 'home' he had with his ex wife & he thinks this throws his own kids as they are mothered very differently by their own mum.
Is their any chance that both houses/homes are so different that the constant readjusting is causing your dss stress?
My middle child who's 15 said to me recently that he hated the going back & forth between houses so regularly & that it would have been much easier if the gaps were longer! Ex & I thought we were doing the right thing by him seeing them a few evenings a week & one night every weekend - turns out the kids found it a total pain!

AlphabetSoup3 Thu 01-Jun-17 23:19:47

I've had this and I've read other people who have had this too. Although mostly when the kids hit teenagehood or older.

I just think it is hard and you can't ignore your own fustration and just 'bend over backwards' for a child who is being resentful and mean. It affects the whole dynamics. I did this, with two teenage step sons, initially felt a lot of care and even love for them, but over time one of them just decided that as 'step' parent I was only OK if I was in my place and being nice to them. ANYthing else, was not on and I think it has contributed hugely to me and DH splitting up.

Stand firm OP - it's awful but really after doing your best you also have to lay down the line and expect some cooperation. Otherwise the atmosphere is poisonous for your other children which is not fair on them. They didn't ask for this either but they can't be expected to put up with that kind of seething resentment all their childhood.

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