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Help needed - half siblings(20 Posts)
This might be long - sorry!
Myself and my (then) BF had our first child 17 years ago. We were on and off for a bit (had DC1 too young) but I ended up pregnant again with DC2 so we made a go of things.
BF then cheated on me and the young lady ended up pregnant with their DC. We split at this point and he had regular contact with our DC. The relationship with the young lady in question never lasted. 3 years later myself and him decided to make a proper go of things. We are now married and are 10 years down the road.
Now to the problem. Our shared DC2 and his DC can not stand each other. They are now 13 and 12 and have been in each other's lives for 10 years but every other weekend our DC2 is in tears as they can't stand another weekend of his DC being here and his DC is getting more reluctant to come here. There's nothing massive going on just normal sibling squabbles etc but it's weighing DC2 and his DC down hugely.
For our part we have tried (we feel) everything and are on the brink of separating for the sake of one evening a fortnight when the 2 DC are together. His DC gets 1:1 time with Dad away from house every week (picked up after school, out for tea and park etc) and at our house EOW as we felt it was important that his DC didn't have to share Dad all the time.
His DC mum will not change arrangements at all which is fair enough. We asked to change Saturday night to just Sunday all day and DH would go and pick his DC up away from the house and go swimming etc. Then he would do an additional school pick up through the week. It was a flat no.
We thought about bringing his DC to ours later on a Saturday night and leaving first thing Sunday morning. In summer that's fine can go to park or whatever but in winter it just wasn't practical at all.
We try to separate them as much as possible but they both want to be in living room/kitchen rather than in their bedrooms.
We sit down with them and play games etc but it always ends in tears.
Really don't know what to do anymore besides separate from DH so they don't have to see each other which is what they both seem to want.
Is there anything we've not thought of or is it time to say enough is enough after 10 years of trying? I feel like we have been quite selfish and feel terrible about the whole situation.
Forgot to mention DC1 has moved out so that's why they haven't been brought in to the scenarios above.
Have you tried sitting down with both of them to try find some middle ground. They are old enough to understand sometimes compromises have to be made.
One hugely important point I didn't mention which I thought I had really not trying to drip feed honestly! DC2 is disabled and has severe learning difficulties as well. She has the comprehension skills of an average 4-5 year old.
Does his DC het time at the house with his dad as well or is it all spent out?
If that was the case his dc may be resentful of not having a he life with dad. Your dc may be resentful of all the fun trips out she doesn't get to go on.
just to get a better idea, can I ask what kind of relationship DC1 has with both siblings? Just wondering is DC is causing the issues or if its genuinely just a clash between DSC & DC2
His DC gets time at home with Dad too as I go out with DC2 to visit friends or to additional needs group etc.
DC2 not fussed for days out if his DC is there she would rather stay at home. Quite happy to go out if it's just DH or DH and myself though.
DC1 has good relationship with both. DC1 not been living at home for a year now though.
If you've tried everything you can think of maybe it's time for family counselling and some professional advice?
I dont know if thats available locally but I'll certainly look in to it thank you.
just an idea, but would it be possible to get them both interested in the same thing? like horse riding or football or some club they could bond over? not sure how that would work with your DCs disabilities OP. But maybe something they could attend on a friday evening and practice at home. Being in an outside environment may encourage DSC to feel more maternal and take care of her sibling. Would give them something to talk about and a common ground maybe. My DC go to 2 out of school classes together and it works like this.
That's a really good idea. It will be extremely tricky finding something that suits both and not where one can out-perform the other (another source of tension) DC2 uses wheelchair and has no grip due to deformities of her hands but I'll rack my brains. We live quite rural as well with a good hours travel to do something even a little exciting which sometimes doesn't help matters.
This sounds very difficult all round, although I imagine is probably not that uncomon apart from for the fact that as your DC has some complex disabilities it’s not going to be a situation which resolves itself over time iyswim.
My DS went through something similar with his SM’s DC but we talked it through at the time and I explained that obviously they wouldn’t be those ages and at those stages of irritating each other for ever and that things would likely change over time iyswim. But in your situation things are clearly more complicated than that.
Can I ask, would it be possible to have a conversation with DSC to try to establish what the problems are from their perspective? Is DSC an only child in their mum’s house for instance and as such they are finding it more difficult to spend eOW with a severely disabled sibling with whom they have failed to bond and where things seem unlikely to change as the sibling is also reluctant?
Also, and again sensitive, you mention that DC1 moved out a year ago so when they were only sixteen? Can I ask why that is and what their relationship is like with their younger sibling?
We have spoken to DSC I spoke with them, DH spoke with them and we spoke together too and they wouldn't say. I think, personally, they're finding it hard being the younger sibling but actually older in a sense if you see what I mean? DEC has younger sibling at home so not an only child and has cousins round loads etc.
We thought this was a phase, it was bound to be a bit bumpy at first but 10 years later and it's still never got any better.
DC1 moved to his girlfriend's who he had been with for 2 years last year and they are at college together. He comes to visit every week and has a good relationship with DC2 and DSC.
I really wouldn't consider splitting up just because the DC don't get on. My two went through a couple of years when they had not a nice thing to say to each other. They get on fine now though.
Could either of them have a friend round sometimes to distract them from squabbling? Could one of you do something in the kitchen with one of them to give the other some time in the living room without competition?
Does DSS understand about DD's disability? Is he in some way resentful of her behaving in a way he sees as immature and not being told off for it maybe? 12 year olds can be ultra-sensitive to babyish behaviour and intolerant of younger children. One who's technically older than them but doesn't act it, and isn't expected to behave as they are can be doubly hard.
Can DD be helped to appreciate that DSS doesn't get to see his dad as much as she does so she needs to be less possessive of her dad and home?
I would be devastated to split but 10 years of this has taken its toll and I'm exhausted not just because of this situation obviously but I've had crying on and off since 8.30 this morning as DC2 knows DSC is due to be here tomorrow and it's like this every fortnight.
We 'divide and conquer' as we call it so I'll do an activity with DC2 or DSC and DH will have whoever is not with me but it all kicks off as they are both jealous and want the other person to themselves too.
DC2 understanding is not brilliant and I explain in as simple terms as I can about DSC seeing their Dad but she can't grasp it and is resentful.
It sounds as if the relationship has had differing difficulties over the years and the age may well be a factor here but of course it’s hard because things are unlikely to change wrt your DC2.
However, DSC will ultimately grow up and their understandings will change over time, and although there may always be some resentment (it’s hard but unfortunately this does sometimes happen with regards to children with severely disabled siblings) their understanding of the differences will likely mature as they grow up iyswim.
WRT DC2, what sanctions are in place to deal with their behaviour towards DSC? There is obviously a need for a lot of understanding on DSC’s part, but there also needs to be some age appropriate way to deal with DC2’s reaction towards their sibling as well, or that is likely to contribute towards the resentment especially t this age iyswim.
They're both treated the same with regards to consequences so could be something like less screen time or similar.
In this context your stepson, the ten year old, needs your DH to explain to him clearly and properly what it means for his DSS to be disabled. She will never have the life he has, never have the same opportunities, and he needs to learn how to accomodate her. With a mental age of 4/5 (perhaps permanently) you should not be expecting your DD to make much in the way of compromise.
How is your DD with change in general? Or other visitors? What I'm trying to understand is whether it's an issue with the visitor disrupting her routine and causing her to have to share etc is her brother, or simply that it's Someone.
I too would try to find a group activity and keep them out of the house. Put no pressure on them to spend time together but parallel activities could be less stressful? Even swimming?
If it’s once a fortnight there must be some way of getting them either through it with busy distracting activity or just taking one out alternately to the cinema.
It’s definitely worth trying again to explain about disabilities though too.