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Stepchildren not wanting to spend weekends with us

(126 Posts)
rainbowsandsunshine Mon 05-Feb-18 09:04:52

I don't really know where to begin but I'll give it a go...

I have been with my DP for 5 years. I have a DD (6) from a previous relationship, a DS (3 months) with my current partner and 3 DSC (8,9 and 13).

Before I got pregnant with my son everything was running smoothly and I felt we had blended well. My DSC would come every weekend, we'd all spend time together, lots of outings and family camping trips and a big summer holiday every year. I had a great relationship with all 3 DSC and wasnt really worried about the new baby. How niave! I tried my best to continue this whilst pregnant and the children all seemed to accept the news well.

However since my son was born the children have all taken a huge step back. Whilst my daughter has adapted to her new role brilliantly, quite often only 1 or 2 of my DSC will come on the weekend and on occasion none of them will. The youngest DSD who is 8 didnt meet her baby brother until he was 8 weeks old, which I found incredibly sad and a bit hurtful if I'm honest. They often have reasons like feeling unwell, tired, homework, seeing friends etc but it's gotten to a point now where I feel there is a lot more to it.

My daughter misses them terribly when they don't come and none of them really have a bond with their baby brother at all. Infact when they do come they act as though he doesn't exist- which again just doesn't sit right with me.

We have tried to do as many things as a family as possible but DS isn't the easiest of babies and I can see their frustration when he interrupts a film by crying or when we can't be as outdoorsy as we once were.

We have booked a holiday for the summer, but were shocked to find 2 of the 3 DSC dont want to come, one preferring to spend the week with her friend and the other at an activity camp. I feel as though our family is divided and I have no idea how to make it better.

I can see how much it hurts DP to hear that they are not coming for another week, but I really don't know what more to suggest. I have suggested he goes out with the older children and spends some quality time with them but he thinks this will just divide us further.

I really am at a complete loss and am really upset by how the last few months have played out.

Sorry for rambling, I just have no idea how to move forward. I miss seeing and spending time with them as do my DP and DD. sad

Toffeelatteplease Mon 05-Feb-18 09:12:16

Booking a holiday over an activity camp and a week with a friend might not have been the best plan. Did you check first. How far apart are you? Can they visit their friends from your house? Is there a way to catch up with them over the week or at the weekend for mcdonalds or coffee instead for a bit? Your only three months in with baby, that's not an easy time, it's worth trying to find other ways to connect.

bluecashmere Mon 05-Feb-18 09:21:23

How come they visit every weekend rather than EOW? How far away from you do they live? Every weekend is quite a commitment if it means they aren't free to do things with their friends, which is important as they get older. Why not change the arrangement to alternating weekends? Might that make them more willing to come?

Things have changed now that you have a baby and there's probably a lot going on in their heads. The family dynamic is different, however much you wanted to avoid that. Give them a bit more time and don't push them as it will likely do more damage.

Alienspaceship Mon 05-Feb-18 09:28:06

Has your DH discussed it with his ex wife/partner? Can she shed any light on their thoughts?

Magda72 Mon 05-Feb-18 09:29:14

Hi OP - sounds like a very stressful situation for you.
I'm just wondering (like others) if they have to travel to see you & if so how far? Also, what is you & your dps relationship with their dm like? And, does she have a dp &/or other kids.

Tanxd Mon 05-Feb-18 09:44:03

Every weekend is great for the dad but the children then have no social time with their friends. Teenagers want to be with peers not parents.
Also once my eldest stopped going ( 12/13 ) because of this the other two also admitted they didn't want to have to keep spending weekends away from home. They grow out of it. All their belongings toys,games,clothes, laptops are at home.
Would you like to pack a bag of clothes and spend every weekend away indefinitely? That's harsh, sorry, but it is how children ( mine ) see it. It's not you.

MrsBertBibby Mon 05-Feb-18 09:46:52

They need some one on one time with their dad. No you, no boring baby, and no stepsister who sits in their dad's nest like a cuckoo.

Sorry, but how shoved out do they feel? I know you didn't intend it, but they must wonder where they are on Dad's list of priorities, and I imagine it feels low.

WashingMatilda Mon 05-Feb-18 09:57:19

and no stepsister who sits in their dad's nest like a cuckoo

Bit harsh. She's just as much his daughter as they are. Cuckoo ffs. sad

Magda72 Mon 05-Feb-18 10:01:10

@MrsBertBibby - that's pretty uncalled for. They are at their dads every weekend & op quite clearly states that to all intents an purposes they had blended well pre baby.
Just because a man goes on to have another relationship & possibly more kids does not make him a bad father!!!
And calling the ops daughter a cuckoo is just downright mean.

Myddognearlyatethedeliveryman Mon 05-Feb-18 10:03:36

What is their dm attitude to you /new sibling? My exh told my dc that my new ds wasn't their real brother. Took a while before they accepted actually he bloody was!!

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 05-Feb-18 10:05:44

More one on one time with their may help.

matilda it is a harsh way of putting it but the op’s daughter is these children’s stepsister, not a half sibling who shares a father with them like the baby does. So no, she is not just as much his child.

ShutYoFace Mon 05-Feb-18 10:09:26

*I have suggested he goes out with the older children and spends some quality time with them but he thinks this will just divide us further

This is exactly what he needs to do. They feel replaced, they feel like he has his new family and they don't fit. Why isn't he spending any time with them?

Bit harsh. She's just as much his daughter as they are

No she isn't, and if that notion is being pushed on them it will be part of the problem. OP's child is his girlfriends daughter, not his, but he lives with her full time and they don't. What do you think those children feel about that?

Tanxd Mon 05-Feb-18 10:09:43

Yes what Mrsbert has written.
The breakdown between my 3 and their dad was caused by his gf's refusal to allow our children to even have one holiday with their father on his own.
I realise you want to be with your dh during his weeks off but this seems to be a common issue with blended families.

pamplemoussed Mon 05-Feb-18 10:09:46

They don’t want to spend time with a newborn baby. It’s dull and restricting for them. I would urge your dh to take them out and do stuff with just them, with no baby in tow. He sees the baby 7 days a week he only sees them for 2. Also if it’s not too far, perhaps encourage them to come regularly, but for a shorter time - say 24 hours rather than a whole weekend? Better than fizzling out to no visits at all which is in danger of happening?

MrsBertBibby Mon 05-Feb-18 10:09:48

She's just as much his daughter as they are. Cuckoo ffs.

She really isn't. She is the OP's child by some other man. She is no kin of theirs.

I'm a family solicitor. I have lost count of the number of cases I have where contact goes bad because of people pushing blending too hard too far, and too fast.

I am also a step mum with a child of my own. We have blended pretty well, but slowly, gently, and I abandoned any thought of having another baby with their dad, because it would have brought so much more complication to their lives.

So yes, harsh. Because step parenting needs it.

SandyY2K Mon 05-Feb-18 10:52:09

I have suggested he goes out with the older children and spends some quality time with them

He needs to do this.

As they get older they will prefer to spend time with their own friends...nothing unusual about that.

Strongvegetables Mon 05-Feb-18 11:01:20

It’s not unusual for older children to want to start doing stuff with their friends.

I’d just carry on. Make their visits happy and friendly and don’t push their new sibling on to them. Your child I’ll be coping better as she sees him every day.

Their dad needs to 100% 1-1 time with them and don’t take it personally.

I was part of a two ‘blended’ families and what they are is a load of new people pushed together with the expectation of playing happy families for the sake of the adults.

Just relax with it it and don’t expect too much

WhiteCat1704 Mon 05-Feb-18 11:07:02

She really isn't. She is the OP's child by some other man. She is no kin of theirs.

But when it's a step mother she is expected to treat ALL children the same. Hers and his. Doesn't matter they are by some other women..

She is also expected to get that his children are to be treated differently to her children as they are HIS and not by some other men.

SMs can't win.

His children need to understand that things have changed. Baby is here. Family dynamic is different. Thair father has less time for them. That's what happens when there is a new baby in ANY family. Seems they have been brought up as very self centered..common in those divorced families where parents try to overcompensate for the broken home. Leave them to it. They will come around eventually.

MrsBertBibby Mon 05-Feb-18 11:14:21

SMs can't win.

Well, no. What would they "win"?

The step parent is an adult with choices. The kids don't get to choose a damn thing.

ShutYoFace Mon 05-Feb-18 11:15:15

You don't get it. It's not about HER and her feelings, its about the children.
She has her nice little family, two children and a man. They have to go visit their dad and see him playing happy families with his new children. It's not about her. And yes, SM's can't win when they are focused on themselves and their own needs and feelings.

Why is her boyfriend not spending any time alone with his own children? I bet he does with his new baby.

Steeley113 Mon 05-Feb-18 11:21:09

TBH I’ve seen this loads as the kids get older. As they grow they spend less and less time with the other parent. My DH’s step dad had young children, gradually they have all stopped going. Now at 19, 17 and 14 they never go. He has to go out of his way to even see them now (think picking up at 2am from parties). I expect the baby has just pushed things along a little, a newborn is no fun at their age.

rainbowsandsunshine Mon 05-Feb-18 11:34:07

Ok I'll try answer everyones questions...

The relationship between my partner and his ex wife isn't great but amicable. I'm not sure what is said behind closed doors though.

They have 4 other siblings at home with their Mum and her partner and have been keen to spend more time with us in the past due to space, arguing with step siblings, things being unfair etc.

His ex wife is going on holiday in the summer with her younger children (she does this every year and it is not something we agree with), she asked us to have them out of usual arrangements so we booked the holiday for then. That's why we were shocked to find that 2 of them now aren't coming.

We live a 15 minute drive from them. Contact has been every week since I met DP, I have thought about suggesting EOW but their Mum is keen on EW and I didn't want to be made out to be pushing them out, when I am not.

My DD has her own father, calling her names is just ridiculous and uncalled for.

Thanks for all of the advice. I appreciate that it is still early days and that they want to spend time with their friends etc. I will definitely suggest he spends more 1:1 time with them and see if it helps at all. I'll also try not to push it too much, it's just hard when things were going so well before the arrival of my son.

ShutYoFace Mon 05-Feb-18 11:36:31

Nobody called her names. hmm

Do they know you thought they were coming too much and wanted them to come only EOW? Their mother could have told them that.

Do they have siblings at home or step siblings? There is a big difference but you use the terms interchangeably.

becotide Mon 05-Feb-18 11:38:22

"She's just as much his daughter as they are. Cuckoo ffs."

No she's not. She already existed when Op became their step mother, she's not biologically related, she's younger and she replaced them.

And then they got replaced again with a sibling they didn't ask for and have no interest in.

The adult feelings about this are irrelevant. The children know the deal.

WashingMatilda Mon 05-Feb-18 11:43:13

I hadn't realised that the DD wasn't the OPs DP's child, I apologise.

I still stand by that using words like 'cuckoo' to describe a child living in her family home is ridiculously emotive and unnecessarily cruel, like she's somehow snuck in, turfed all his children out and is reaping the rewards.

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