What is the general view on family holidays?(9 Posts)
I have a 13yo ds from a previous relationship. He lives with me and my dh and his half-siblings from me and dh. Ds dad and I split when ds was 2yrs old, it was messy and he was threatening and abusive at times.
I met now dh and he has been a part of ds's life and fulfilled a step parenting role since ds was 3yo. Ex has remarried and had 2 further ds and is not a great dad to his first ds. He lives 45mins away and yet hasn't established a regular routine of seeing him. Last time his dad offered to have him overnight around his 13th bday, ds declined because he would have to share a bed with one of his younger brothers which he found uncomfortable. His dad then forgot to call on his bday. Recently, ds has started voicing jealousy towards his half brothers by his dad as his dad makes little effort with him and he feels a disparity. Ds has joined fb (sigh) and is faced with posts and posts from his dad and stepmum, photos of them and their 2 ds captioned 'love my family' etc. Not malicious, just a bit thoughtless I feel. They've all gone on a family holiday (despite ex pleading poverty about visiting ds saying no money for petrol) and he's finding the photos hard to deal with. He has just told me he has blocked his dad and stepmum on fb and I'm waiting for the fall out to happen.
In anticipation of this, and so I know what is reasonable or not, do most step families take non-resident dc on their hols? And how do I allow my ds's feelings about not being treated as a 'proper' son by his dad to be validated and addressed without causing a massive fall out that I want to shield him from?
What shit parenting from your ex
My dss is 8, my dc are 16 & 21
DP and I sometimes go away for a mini break without any dc 😊 or we sometimes take them all... occasionally we have taken just dss (e.g. Legoland) or just my dd (16) or just the older two. I think this is fairer than dragging dc on a trip they would not enjoy!
However, just leaving the one dc out of a 'family holiday' is crap AND the 'my family' posts without the whole family are hurtful! My sister lives in Australia and if my brother visited & they put a pic on social media they would always say something along the lines of 'wish other sis could have been here'
Your ds probably sees you & your dh as his parents, so my advice would be to love him & support him and make it clear how much you like having him around... then he will know it's not him that's the 'problem' in this scenario, if that makes sense?
You know it's cathartic to get that off my chest and have someone acknowledge how shit a parent he is. Ds is such a wonderful young man and I hate that his dad has made him feel inadequate.
I can just see a confrontation brewing and I don't think it's what anyone needs right now!
Yes we go on holiday without my step daughter.
Sometimes she comes away and sometimes she doesn't, she doesn't want to be away from her mum for very long so wouldn't come anywhere for longer then a weekend. That doesn't mean I'm not going to take our kids away!
On my own Social media account as well I would caption my pictures how I liked. My step daughter is 9 though and not on social media yet and me and her dad are not looking forward to that at all.
I don't really have any advise but I think it's pretty normal for family to take all kinds of trips away, some with step children some without.
For me and DH our view has been either “adult” holidays or “family” holidays.
The former don’t happen very often and are usually weekend breaks for a special occasion.
A family holiday until recently is just that - all of us. DSD and DS.
I say until recently as DSD is now an elder teen and decided this year that she didn’t want to come skiing (she came on our summer holiday).
However that was her choice and we’d never dream of not inviting her and taking DS away only.
She spends her time about 70% with her mum and 30% with us (used to be nearer 50/50) mainly due to schooling/after school activities during the week now we are in A level territory.
I really feel sad when I hear on non resident children not being included. It’s like having a 2 tier family and it can’t possibly do anything but undermine the relationship between the child and non resident family and create a very natural (and imho justified) sense of resentment.
I feel equally strongly about NR children having their own space. DSD has always (and always will) have her own bedroom. It’s not used by anyone but her. It’s her private space. I appreciate this isn’t possible for everyone but as a minimum a child should have a bed and set of draws etc to call their own. Having to share a bed with a half sibling just re-enforces that they are not “really” part of the family - there literally is no place for them.
That said I’m not sure what you can do. I doubt your ex is going to change his MO at this point.
Just making sure you provide a loving home and listen to his concerns is more valuable than you probably realise.
DP and I have 3 DSs between us (DS3 is both of ours) and we have a ‘no one person left behind rule. So we’d go away with DS3 and not take the older two but we wouldn’t leave behind one of them behind. Nor would DP or I take the children without the other.
This is not so much a holiday dilemma as the ongoing issue of how you can support your son in managing his very valid feelings
I think it is good he has blocked on fb
We had a similar scenario in our family and the stepfamily bond grew stronger the more DD disengaged from her disappointing DF
It's just difficult seeing your DS hurt I empathise
We make a point of making sure that all children are included and if we cant afford it for all of them then we don’t go. Even little one days trips are still enjoyable. I think the affects of not taking the non-resident child will always make them feel that they weren’t wanted.
Do you mean that your ex took his children away on holiday and not your son? It sounds like the less contact he has with his dad the better. He’s a vile excuse of a human being. How do you work out the visitation? Does his dad seek contact with his son or is it you doing it all the time?
I think in this situation you hold the key. Make sure he is loved and try not to say anything negative about his dad to him even though you are well justified to.
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