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moving non-resident stepchild from larger bedroom into small bedroom

(34 Posts)
timelord92 Wed 04-Oct-17 05:23:44

My boyfriend and I have recently moved into a 3-bed house and not long after that had our first child together. His daughter (aged 13) from a previous relationship visits two evenings a week and stays overnight every Saturday.

When we were discussing room allocations I suggested that our baby together should have the smaller box room as they won’t need that much space with being a baby and they’ll also be in our bedroom for quite some time. I wanted my step daughter to have the bigger room so she could feel a part of the family still and wouldn’t feel pushed out with the arrival of the new baby. Plus, she would need the space with her age. I also put a desk top computer with a printer in the room so she could do her homework and studying when she visits, which she currently doesn’t have at her mum’s house. We have furnished the room for her too but there is nothing personal really in the room as she brings her clothing with her when she visits. I have bought her stuff in the past for our house but she ended up taking them home with her and we’ve not seen them since.

My question anyway is would it be unreasonable and cause unnecessary resentment if we were to move our child in 4/5 year’s time when my stepdaughter is 18/19 into the bigger room as they will be living in the house 100% of the time and my stepdaughter only stays one night a week?

I feel a bit now that we have made a rob for our own backs by letting her have the bigger room straight off the bat. At the time, I thought that by the time my daughter was at an age to need a bigger room, my stepdaughter would be at an age where she wasn’t coming down to stay overnight anymore. I know it seems like it could be quite an easy thing to ask someone who will be older and more mature what I think is a reasonable request, however, we’ve had major problems with her mum over simple little things that she would cause a massive issue over. She has already put it into her daughter’s head that her dad doesn’t love her once her dad started going out with me and recently she’s told her she was ‘second best again’ after we picked her up from her mums house a few hours later than we usually do on a day that she doesn’t usually come to visit. The problem is that her mum will force her down to visit her dad even if she’d rather be out with her friends or whatnot, even at the age of 18.

I was just wondered what people’s opinions of this are?

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 04-Oct-17 05:41:23

Things will change out of all recognition in the next five years. Don’t worry and stress over something you have no clue about. For now, the baby is better in the small room and DSD in the larger.

DD didn’t reliably play alone in her room until she was —not even now really— 5. By then DSD could be at college, move in with a partner, roommates or working away.

kittensinmydinner1 Wed 04-Oct-17 05:49:17

I think you sound a lovely thoughtful step mum. ! Why don't you just speak to your Dsd and tell her your thinking. It's the most sensible and practical approach. Say 'dsd - I think you should have the bigger room for now because you have GCSEs coming up and will need the PC/printer etc. It also gives you some space for friends to stay over (spare mattress under bed or double bed) but we will probably need to swap you over when DD starts school/has play dates as her needs will require the bigger room and you will have finished A levels/further study.

As long as you are up front then everyone knows the situation. We have also had mountains being made from molehills over the slightest thing -as well as ridiculous allegations that their father loves his children less if we did ANYTHING that discs weren't included in . (Not difficult when contact was sporadically withheld and required a decade of family court/contact orders/enforcement hearings) or we would literally do done nothing as a family. We also only had them 2days out of 14 !...anyway, don't worry kids aren't stupid. Be consistent, keep communication between you/dad and dsd flowing freely and she will soon work out that she isn't 'second best'. Our dsc got so fed up with it, that they moved in with us as soon as they were able to make an independent choice.
Visiting dad or seeing friends shouldn't be a choice. Encourage her to see friends at yours.

kuniloofdooksa Wed 04-Oct-17 05:56:40

Do you think there might be another baby or babies in another year or two?
Are you certain that you will still be in this house in 5 years time?
Is there potential to knock down a wall and make two roughly equal sized bedrooms rather than one large and one small?

Even though she currently stays only one night a week all these decisions should be made as far as possible considering what you would do if she was with you every night - she's a full part of your family and this is her home. Besides anything could happen in the next 5 years and she may start being with you 4/5/6/7 nights a week.

Moving her into the smaller room would certainly be logical if you have another baby and wanted to put the two little ones in the big bedroom and the older in the single room. You'd do that if she was with you 7 days a week.

Another possibility might be to keep your younger child in the smallest room but put a bit of their stuff in the big room too so that the large room is used for playtime/homework (when the time comes)/chilling throughout the week and the only thing that needs to happen in the little room is sleeping which doesn't require much space.

swingofthings Wed 04-Oct-17 08:24:46

Of course it would be reasonable. By then, she will be an adult and should be starting to have a life of her own and become more of a 'visitor' then needing to feel totally at home. She should totally understand that at 5, her sibling will need more room than her.

I wouldn't talk about it now though. At 13, it is hard to conceive being 18 and an adult, however, maybe do so in a couple of year, maybe as she start talking about what she'll do after she finishes college.

EmpressoftheMundane Wed 04-Oct-17 08:33:18

I think your plans are reasonable. You seem to be kind hearted and sensitive.

Unihorn Wed 04-Oct-17 08:36:35

Following this with interest as we are in a similar position!

SarahH12 Wed 04-Oct-17 09:19:54

Even though she currently stays only one night a week all these decisions should be made as far as possible considering what you would do if she was with you every night - she's a full part of your family and this is her home

Sorry but this ^^ is totally unreasonable.

OP you sound lovely. I think it's a totally reasonable request. Fwiw my parents did similar with my older sister when she was around 18/19. She was totally fine with it as she was rarely there anyway. Also things can change considerably in 5 years too so who knows if you'll even still be in at that house.

Ttbb Wed 04-Oct-17 09:24:18

Surely she would have left for university at that point? Her mother is being emotionally abusive btw. You may want to offer her done coubseling or contact ss

timelord92 Wed 04-Oct-17 12:07:16

MrsTerryPratchett - That’s what I was thinking that in 5 years things will have changed but I’m thinking based on our previous experience with their mother that things may not have changed and it will be blown out of proportion. It probably is better to leave it until a few years before mentioning anything as it is a bit far away at the minute. She has been primed to go to uni too so she move away to study.

timelord92 Wed 04-Oct-17 12:07:47

kitteninmydinner1 - We’ve already made it clear that she is having the larger room but maybe it would have been better to have worded it in the way that things may need to change in the years to come once the baby is older to prevent any friction developing. I’ve spoken to my mum about it and she thinks we should have given my stepdaughter the small room straight off the bat but I said I didn’t see the point in doing that when at the minute she could do with the bigger space.

I think your right about being upfront, no one likes to feel people are being sneaky or not being truthful. It’s just picking the right time to approach it really. When I mentioned it to my partner though he didn’t seem quite so keen to move her, even though its years away. He just said ‘well they’ll probably be sharing rooms by then anyway’ implying that the baby will be wanting to spend as much time with her sister as possible. I understand why he’s reluctant because he’s worried that my step daughters mother will cause trouble and try to sabotage his relationship between them by saying that he cares for our baby more.

I think this type of thing happens far more frequently than we think. It’s really frustrating because sometimes you feel like you can’t do anything to stop it. My poor partner has also had that happen where over the past 3 years, she has refused to visit for 3 months and then the second time 7 months because of her mums badmouthing her dad repeatedly.

To be honest she doesn’t seem to go out with friends at all. She talks about friends at school but never seems to spend any time with them outside of school. Her week seems to consist of visiting ours, spending 1 day in her nans (my partners mum), one night at her brothers and 2 nights with her mum. To be honest it seems as though she’s trying to spend as little time as possible in her mum’s house. I have heard from my partner too that neither his daughter or his son really brought friends back to the house because whenever they did it would never be plain sailing. They would either have to clean up the house days before or it would be used against them by saying things like ‘if you don’t do this or that your friends won’t be coming’. So in the end they stopped asking friends to visit. Last year she did want a sleep over in ours for her birthday but before we let it happen she stopped coming down to see her dad.

WiseUpJanetWeiss Wed 04-Oct-17 17:28:15

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I’m almost 5 years older than my brother and he got my bedroom pretty much as soon as I went away at 18.

I also think you’ve been very kind and sensible giving your SD some space of her own at yours. She may appreciate the bolt hole as she gets older, if she feels like she has no proper base.

timelord92 Wed 04-Oct-17 17:37:10

kuniloodfooksa - I said when I was pregnant I didn’t want to go through with it again but who knows how I’d feel in two year’s time. I suppose it’s always a possibility. I would definitely do that if that was the case and have the two little ones share in the big room. We will still be in this house in 5 years’ time, this is our forever home. I don’t think there would be a way to extend the rooms like that with the way the landing is as it’s our bedroom which is in between the other two.

You mention a few times that we’d have to have her stay in the larger room if she lived with us 7 days a week but the point is she doesn’t, she lives with her mum full time. Her mum would never let her stay with us any longer as 1) it diminishes the control she’s still trying to exercise over her and 2) her maintenance money would be reduced if we had joint custody of her. But saying that, if she decided she’d had enough of living there and moved in with us then I’d be more than happy with her having the larger room.

timelord92 Wed 04-Oct-17 17:38:01

TT - I think she will go to university but I’m not too sure whether she’ll move away or not to do it, in which case she’ll still be here a lot of the time I reckon. I agree with you her mother is the most manipulative person I’ve ever come across. I opened up a savings account for my daughter for when she’s older than I pay a standing order into every month. I also wanted to set up one for my step daughter too so when she’s 18 she has some money for a car, uni, deposit for a flat, etc, to which she was glad to have. We told her we needed her passport to open it and said we could have it as long as we needed. Fast forward to the next day when she messaged her dad asking if he couldn’t just use the child maintenance letter instead. Then later on that day she gave us the passport but was wanting to know what her dad was doing about a savings account for her brother (my partners son) who is 20, has his own flat, lives with his girlfriend and has his own full time job. When we told her that we wouldn’t set one up for him as he’s too old she came back the next day and wanted the passport back before we’d even gone to the appointment. So in other words, her mum is refusing us access to the passport so we can’t open up the account unless we relent and pay something towards her other son as well.

She also told my partner the other day that the £7 a week extra that my partner pays for child maintenance (once his son stopped qualifying as a dependent), her mum adds £4 to it and gives her it as £10 a week pocket money. I did find this a very clever and manipulative way of making sure that her dad doesn’t reduce it back down to the original amount once our daughter was registered with the child maintenance service. She could use it as another way of saying how her daughter was ‘second best’ again and that she wasn’t wanted.

I’ve talked to my partner about taking her counselling but he said he doesn’t think she needs it as she’s spent a lot of time away from her mother at her nans and with him. Me on the other hand, I think it will cause her emotional damage in years to come. I couldn’t call social services as she is still her mum and will still love her and agree with her even with what she does.

Longtalljosie Wed 04-Oct-17 17:39:52

Will she be going off to uni do you think? That would be a good time to do it. You have done the right thing, honestly. Let five years into the future take care of itself. Don't sour the gesture by limiting it or the next 5 years will be very difficult...

SarahH12 Wed 04-Oct-17 19:20:35

She sounds awful. But... why didn't your DP just refuse to give her the passport back until after you'd opened the account?

If you did still want to save for her, could you open up a savings account in one of your names and then transfer her the money either when she's 18 or a time you deem appropriate?

I do think it's totally UR keeping the bigger bedroom empty the vast majority of the time when you have a DC living with you full time. Too often dad's want to pretend their DC live their full time when the fact of the matter is they don't. They have one main home and one home they visit. I think it's great if your DP is on board with the idea of giving the younger one the bigger room as they get older.

paxillin Wed 04-Oct-17 19:39:10

You won't be dealing with her mum when she is 18/19. In all likelihood, contact with her mother will all but seize much before then. It will only be important for sixth form and university planning, and most of that will be with DSD directly, too. She's quite unlikely to be there two nights a week and every Saturday when she is 18.

Do what you suggested. Don't worry about 5 years from now. Don't worry about crossing the bridge before you've reached it. This is even more important in step families, because so much of it is out of your control.

Samesituation Wed 04-Oct-17 20:53:47

When we moved to larger property a year ago SC were given the smaller room from the outset. They stay 1 night a week every week, tea twice a week and additional overnight stays during holidays etc. My 2DC have the bigger rooms and being DS and DD I wanted them to have separate even though only 3 and 5. We were redecorating most of house so it just seemed easier from the beginning. We've not really had a problem with the room, but my god the manipulating of SC by their mum is on a level I've never known. Dad doesn't love you or care for you as much, you are second best, you will always be left out. If DH can't do something or take them somewhere, the other 2 (as my DC are now known by them ) take priority and as you dont love us we're not coming to your house. Youngest SC has a tendency to go on and on and on and moan and whinge and shout and cry to get what he wants to the point where mum gives in for the peace DH does not. And if we are to ever go anywhere without them, and I mean nowhere special, we rarely go anywhere of interest, im talking an hour at the park, shopping (which they hate), visiting local family, we don't hear the end of it for decades. Eldest SC sends the most rude and incredibly cheeky text messages to DH, the attitude, lamguage and behaviour at the minute is unbearable. I could not imagine speaking to my parents as a 40 something, the way they speak to DH (and their mum so she says), DH and I are almost certain eldest SC is getting some 'help' with his texts etc. I just don't understand why a parent does not want to protect their children. We're 8 years down the line and the manipulation seems to have intensified in the last 12-18 months and DH and I cannot fathom out why?

EggysMom Wed 04-Oct-17 20:59:44

I would hold the thought that you can swap bedrooms in the years to come, but not voice it. Your SD will be much more mature when she is 18, and more likely to understand that the swap makes sense, than she is at her current age .

FlyingJellyfishInTheAttic Thu 05-Oct-17 22:31:50

Have a similar thing. 10 year old DSS and 1 year old DD. Two bigger rooms and one small. One room mine and DH. Agreed DSS should have other bigger room and DD small one as DSS will need the space more especially in the next 5 years when he is 15 and DD is 6 (to him her stuff is boring but the things he will like won't always be child friendly). DSS with us 2/3 days a week. Agreed when DSS 19 and DD 10 the rooms can be switched. Totally fine.

timelord92 Fri 06-Oct-17 08:16:43

SarahH12 - My DP didn’t refuse to give her the passport back because she was very clever in the way that she asked for it back. She didn’t just say I need my passport back. She said I need it to set up a new bus pass so of course you can’t really say no to that even if we knew that you don’t need one to set up a bus pass to begin with.

We could set up a savings account in one of our names but the interest rates are nowhere near as good as they are for children’s isa accounts. I think he would like our daughter to have the bigger room in future but he’s just always cautious of what might happen with my step daughters mother and how she might make her feel about it.

timelord92 Fri 06-Oct-17 08:16:56

Paxillin – You’d think that we wouldn’t be dealing with her mother when she is 18/19 but she is a very controlling woman and if she can still get away with controlling her daughter by bulling/manipulating then she will. I hope when she is older she does move out or at least have a bit more of a mind of her own. But we will see what happens in the future.

timelord92 Fri 06-Oct-17 08:17:12

Samesituation – We’ve had the attitude as well from both of my partners children, more so from his son who used to live with us when his mother tried to kick him out. When we put the house up for sale to be able to buy the one we are in now, the son’s response was ‘well what about our inheritance’ and ‘this is my house, I’ve lived here longer’. With the younger one, the mother does the same as what you’ve experienced with the famous ‘he doesn’t want you’ and ‘your second best’ which is an absolutely disgusting way to talk to your children. The worst part of it is, is that we can’t do nothing about it.

That’s what we will have to deal with soon, the possibility of going somewhere, the 3 of us without our stepdaughter. Although, as she gets older it will be more than likely so won’t want to come as much. I hope holidays can be done without her mum causing trouble, which we’ve had up until now. I wouldn’t want to go without her, but I’d be lying if I said the possibility didn’t cross my mind occasionally that it would be so much easier to go on holiday, go for days out, etc without my stepdaughter because of the trouble her mum causes. The damage that would be done to her though by doing that will stay with her for the rest of her life.

I think these mothers want to protect their children but I think the need to hurt their ex-partners is so overpowering that they can’t see that it is actually hurting their children. It’s like they are so blinded by bitter that’s it’s all about what they want. I wonder what happens to their relationship in years to come as the children surely must wise up when they are adults.

Has anything changed in the last 12-18 months? Either in your home or hers? Something must have happened, her control is slipping maybe and she’s panicking? It could even be one of the children has mentioned something to her and it’s made her jealous.

Samesituation Fri 06-Oct-17 09:26:29

The only thing that's really changed (other than us moving) is their mum now has a DP, we don't really know how long for but it is at least 12 months that the SC have mentioned him. Prior to that they didn't know about him and at first he was introduced to them as her friend. Which I totally understand from her point of view. I was never introduced to SC until after we had been together a year (we didnt live together at first) but they knew about me a couple of months beforehand. Her DP has a young DD, and we know that they used to do things together. However DD has now moved away due to her mum's DP work for the foreseeable, which we know EW is delighted about as she made a flippant comment about this to my DH. We obviously wondered if this has made them a little more insecure as this is mum's first long term partner (we think) since they separated. We know there have been a couple of let's say 'dates ' or 'relationships' says for a few months and were pretty sure the children didn't know about these and as mum's never said anything neither have we. Mum has told us that she has told the children they will always come first and her DP will never live with them. Now that's all well and good but what if that changes? They decide they want to get married or something ? Anyway that's up to mum it was her decision to say that.

EW is a very very controlling, jealous and materialistic person, (and its not a case of just what my DH has told me his family are well aware of how she is and have told me themselves) I had a very long chat with DH BIL, about 2 years into our relationship and I could not believe some of the things I was told - but that's a whole different thread !). Now don't get me wrong DH was not an angel either and there was wrong on both parts, how they lasted 15 years is beyond me. But he's also never told the children anything about the relationship with their mum. He thinks, and I agree they are too young but he is willing to talk to them when they are older.

We have discussed this problem at length, why has it reared its head more problematic now?

We've never thought of it as you suggested that the desire to hurt EXP is so great that it doesn't matter how it's done. I suppose they really are using their children and so focused on their goal they are blinded by what it is doing emotionally and mentally to their children.

I have relatives and friends who have separated with children and not yet have I come across a situation like this. They are all very adult in the way they talk to and behave in front of their children, even where infidelity has been the cause.

Only a couple of days ago DH suggested that maybe it was to try and create a divide so that the SC would not want to come and cut them out of his - and our lives completely, it would look like their decision but because of the manipulaton she was really behind it. And he thinks this even more so now that her DP DD is out the picture (really not sure if there is any contact) she wants to have her DP , kids and play 'happy families'. My initial reaction to DH was don't be so silly, but the more I think about it the more be could be right.... I really hope not.

I Have felt incredibly sorry for my DH reading the texts he gets sent, listening to the things they say to him, sometimes its heart breaking.

I just hope we can get past this, but I do know that if we do anything with out them, it will bring it all up again. And we have agreed that our DC are not missing out because we can't logistically get 6 of us somewhere. SC come with us to everything that is possible and sometimes we dont go to things if we all cant go. Last summer there was a milestone birthday celebration for one if my DH relatives in another part of the country. We can't fit 6 in our car, train was working out incredibly expensive, we would have needed 2 hotel rooms... so we didnt go. Could we have hoped in the car, 1 hotel room, yes but DH didn't want to leave them out of that.

Like you I'm thinking thst as they get older, they're going to be less likely to want to come and will have matured a bit and not be that bothered, and ideally woken up to the manipulation from mum and risen above it ?? Too much for me to wish hmm

Wow ! That was long - thanks for reading if you got to the end !!

Magda72 Fri 06-Oct-17 10:36:27

Hi Samesituation,
I think your dp may have hit the nail on the head. My dps exw likes to txt him telling him how she'll be the perfect sm when she meets someone (as opposed to me who is apparently awful to her kids). But I've always felt that what she's doing is trying to push a divide between dp & his kids so that they'll choose her when the time comes. She's more than happy to have me treat them dreadfully at the moment while she tries to find someone, but the minute she gets into a relationship & she's another man to do the donkey work at the weekends that will be it - she'll be on the happy families wagon.
Honestly it's so exhausting dealing with this type of personality. This woman is same as what you guys have experienced & will say anything she wants to the kids about their dad, me, or worse still, my kids!

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