School placement/BIO Dad making life hard

(66 Posts)
retroafro Mon 02-Jul-18 12:22:01


I have just registered in hope I can get advice on all the step-parent dilemas!

So Im a step-dad (well at least i think i am) who has a 9 yr old step daughter and 11 yr old step-son as well as my own 1 yr old son.

I will just get the question out the way before elaborating some more - My step-son gets to meet his new tutor and classmates at secondary/high school this evening. I want to know if its acceptable for me to go if his biological Dad doesnt agree with this?

Heres some vital information you must read - The biological dad sees thekids every other weekend so Im the one who essientally rasies the children, i make extra effort to establish an equal dynamic as we have recently had our own baby (me and the bio mother)

The children are very close to me and we are all like best friends and they come to me about all sorts of things that they cant go to their dad about - the Dad never gave a damn until i was on the scene a couple years ago and since then has tried to ruin our family dynamic.

I attended a couple highsschools when said step son was choosing his school - we went as a family and invited the bio dad as we respect he is the dad. He got very angry when he found out i was attending, even though his at thetime 10 yr old son go upset and then angry at his own dad for his behaviour saying he wanted all of us to go. long story short me and my wife coaxed him into attending for his sons sake. Its important to understand my wife gets tearful often due to bio dads demands on how he must do everything with his son now - it gets complex because he doesntdo a whole lot unless he hears we ared doing something with the kids. I have had it out a number of times explaining the kids need stability and to be able to do activies in our family and not just with him (its literally that extreme)

I dont want to go into the dynamic wit the bio dad too much, but after the school visit he told my step-son that his baby brother wasnt really his brother and my step-son ran in when his dad dropped him back very upset with this 'revalation' in which the my step daughter starts crying - its important to know he has no time of day for the step daughter and doesnt mind if we do things with her or not. he is very much only interested in his son mainly.

Now me and my wife do school runs, pack lunches, homeworks, basically the daily grindof having children...I see my step kids play with my bio son and all the children feel equal. I love them all and what we have going on - but this bio dad is doing everything to break us...he breaks our rules when the kids go to his, like allowing them to play xbox all day long and stay up to the early hrs often at partys wth very drunk people. It becomes difficult when this dad 'seems cool' for allowing these sorts of things and when we say you only get 90 mins technology time a day (which i think is fair - escpecially on school days) anyways I think you get the drift.

As it stands im not seeing my step-son meet his new tutor and class mates even though he wants me there - I fear his dad will pull some dirty trciks like the time he told the kids their little baby brother wasnt their brother (crazy really when he was raised in a family where all his siblings had different dads!) I cant lie it really really upset me, i could of killed him in that moment of finding out! we have always resepcted him as a dad and give him access every other weekend for the whole weekend and also when ever he feels like seeing them.

What do you guys think is right - can i attend my step-sons meet and greet at his new school or not?


OP’s posts: |
HeckyPeck Mon 02-Jul-18 12:46:20

If your step son wants you there they you should be able to go for his sake, but I can see why you wouldn't want to if his dad is going to cause drama for the children. He's created a really difficult situation for you all and hurting his son in the process. I'm not sure if it is the right thing to do, but I would go in those circumstances as I wouldn't want to let my step son down. If their dad does say something to cause drama I would deal with it calmly and without insulting their Dad for e.g.

"Dad says brother isn't my real brother."
"You both have the same mummy and I love you both that same. What do you think makes a brother a real brother?"

Something like that to invite discussion maybe?

Crossroads18 Mon 02-Jul-18 12:48:08

I think you sound like a amazing step dad and the kids really appreciate you and adore you. I would say yes go to the school meeting, you have just as much if not more responsibility to your step son as you are the one dealing with everyday life. Your step son will be seeing all his dad does but is just at a age that he fees he needs to be loyal to his dad. Sounds like the dad probably wouldn't go anyways. I would go, and if there is a bit of backlash it's not like you haven't handled it before and still kept your relationship with your step son x

BounceAndClimb Mon 02-Jul-18 12:56:05

I would go along and just ignore anything he does.
You are the one bringing him up, and he wants you there, that trumps what a 'dad' who doesn't even care about one of his children and wasn't interested until you were in their lives with wants.

If he makes any more comments then comfort and correct the comments to the children as best you can, and get your wife to message or email stating what they've told you was said and how its made the children feel, and ask what he was trying to achieve by doing this other than trying to upset his children.

buggedby Mon 02-Jul-18 13:05:14

I wouldn't go. I don't think it's your place, sorry. His two parents are attending for their child. You can play your part at home but parenting moments like these I would bow out of. I would hate an ex's partners coming along in the reverse situation.

ohreallyohreallyoh Mon 02-Jul-18 13:31:42

we have always resepcted him as a dad and give him access every other weekend for the whole weekend

why use the prefix 'bio'? He is his dad. Bio is a term used in adoption/fostering situations. It suggests the parents are no longer in contact with the child or the child has been removed because the parents aren't managing very well (for whatever reason). When your relationship breaks down and your ex moves on, you have not given up any rights or been removed because you're not coping. Do you refer to your step children's dad in those terms in front of them? I am not sure using the term 'bio' is respectful at all.

How would you like some other man dictating what access you can have to your child? How would you like to see your child only every other weekend? Can you imagine how it feels to be removed from your children's lives in this way?

These events are, in my opinion, parents only unless both parents are happy for partners to attend. In this case, they're not. So bow out gracefully rather than risk tension or worse in front of the child when it really all needs to be about him on this occasion.

mrsm43s Mon 02-Jul-18 13:39:11

Mum and Dad should go to school events. You are neither, and therefore it is not your place to go. It would be a different story if his Dad was absent for some reason.

It does sound to me as though you are trying to be "Dad" and usurp your step-son's real Dad - I'm not surprised he is upset about this. Like it or not, regardless of who the children live with, he is their Dad, and you are not actually related, just their Mum's partner.


retroafro Mon 02-Jul-18 13:39:25

Thanks for the quick replies guys and thankyou for the kind comments, I agree with all the comments - The comment from buggedby - what do you mean by parenting moments? If it was the reverse, I know that i would want my sons step dad there, knowing i lost the benefits of a bio family when my marriage broke down and that my son practically gets raised by his step-dad. But then again I have been raised in a divided home from a young age - I love my step dad and the thought of him not attending occasions hurts to think - i had him there at graduation, I had his first name as my sons middle name on the birth cert.
For me its about the children, I want them to grow up knowing we all loved them and there certainly wasn't any divide between kids - so is it ok to attend all my bio sons occasions while my step sons watches on and says i didn't attend any of his? Im just asking, because me and step son are close - he is 11 and going through some bodily changes as well as mental changes - he wont ever go to his dad on this...I have seen him develop, grow and the reward from our hard work is a beautiful thing to see. I just feel horrendous in my heart if i didn't attend, knowing now as an adult that i wanted my step dad there. Might be worth pointing out that we want his bio dads wife to attend, but she is too busy. I'm just mentally in limbo through knowing im emotionally involved - Do i really let these landmark moments go by, is it even my place, after all it was my choice to get with a woman with children and my choice to care for them the way i do. Im an active parent and with having my own son in the mix.......confused

OP’s posts: |
HeckyPeck Mon 02-Jul-18 13:45:28

These events are, in my opinion, parents only unless both parents are happy for partners to attend. In this case, they're not. So bow out gracefully rather than risk tension or worse in front of the child when it really all needs to be about him on this occasion.

Why is the parent's happiness more important than the child's? His step son wants him there and will be upset if he's not. The dad should be putting his son's feelings above his own and the fact that he isn't hints at what kind of a parent he is.

retroafro Mon 02-Jul-18 13:47:15

on using the term 'BIO' i was just trying to be clear - I fundamentally know he is the kids dad and he knows i respect that. The kids have said they wish i was their real dad - the first thing i say is, you have a dad who loves you lot dont be silly. their Dad wasn't even on the scene until I came along - which was 5 wholes years after the divorce.
Im not offended by your comment but it doesn't hold any truth - I have endured their dad popping around to just see the son and not even speak to the daughter, he has beat their mum in front on them. Im sorry, but circumstantial elements have forged our bind, not be 'trying to be their real dad'
I have struggled at the best of times with have kids - its a very hard job with very little reward - especially as a step parent. Their mum and dad has the final say - I never call the shots

OP’s posts: |
swingofthings Mon 02-Jul-18 13:50:01

Did you also have your dad very present in your life?

retroafro Mon 02-Jul-18 13:51:18

I don't dictate a thing - the weekends he sees his kids is how the courts deemed suitable. He only wanted them one weekend a month to begin. all this was before i even knew my wife and step-kids.
Do i need to imagine not seeing my child on this matter? He chose a lesser amount of time with them initially....did you read how he doesn't give a hoot about his daughter?

OP’s posts: |
bf1000 Mon 02-Jul-18 13:56:04

Sometimes a step parent attending these things makes it awkward as the child may have said they want the step parent there to not hurt them. The parent looks and feels like an outsider to the step parent and other parent.
If this was a reverse then the step mum 2ould be slated for calling mum a bio mum.

He's dad.

Maybe dad is struggling with dynamic of you being there every night when he has been pushed to every other weekend contact. It's hard seeing so little of you children.

You mention dad being unhappy about you doing same type of activities with him that he does. Maybe he saw that as the special son dad time that was just there's. Maybe to him it looks like you are trying to the over.
Can you hand on heart say mum would accept and be overjoyed if situation was completely reversed.?

He shouldn't have said the baby wasn't related. Is that how he said it or is it possible he just pointed out that the child was a half sibling (factually) and the children have relayed it differently to you?

funinthesun18 Mon 02-Jul-18 13:56:43

we have always resepcted him as a dad and give him access every other weekend for the whole weekend

How kind of you both hmm Do you let him do his own thing in that time as well?

My partner’s ex has a partner who likes to think he’s better. I would never in a million years think of stepping on the mum’s toes, yet she seems to think her partner is some sort of heroic symbol in her daughter’s life. He does too 🙄.
My partner has his child for a full week on full week off so it is exactly 50/50. He also pays for his child, goes to all events, helps her with homework, supports her when she’s finding things tough etc etc... yet them two always try to find faults in him.

retroafro Mon 02-Jul-18 14:02:06

Anyways thankyou all for the messages - it is very complex and not as black and white as some posters seem to think.

The kids dad left my wife and kids in a house that was practical to live in - he smashed it to pieces....he never attended any events, nor wanted to see them.
I always consider him as the option above myself - even though i know how much of a deadbeat he is.
If the guy was a decent man and raised his children well when he has them, it wouldn't be an issue....but seeing my wife cry and the children terrified of their dad often leaves me with this dilemma

OP’s posts: |
bf1000 Mon 02-Jul-18 14:02:50

You posts are quite contradictory.

He didn't care to see them wasn't bothered, yet he went to court for access? So he cared enough to go to court to get access.
We give him access every other weekend? The weekends he sees the kids is what the court deemed suitable? Do you give it or the court?

Is it possible that the 5 yrs he didn't see the kids wasn't that he didn't want to but was hoping their mum would allow him to. But in the end he had no option but to go through courts to get access.

buggedby Mon 02-Jul-18 14:02:50

we have always resepcted him as a dad

Then I think you need to continue with this and bow out of this evening. Perhaps the ex's partner is 'busy' as she doesn't feel it's her place to be there.

Sirzy Mon 02-Jul-18 14:03:19

You sound like you are massively over stepping the mark and trying to push him out. I can see why he isn’t happy.

Irrespective of living arrangements he is their father. Your not doing him some sort of favour by letting him see his own children!

Ariela Mon 02-Jul-18 14:03:31

Is your step son's dad attending the event? Yes - then you do not need to go. No - then it is fine to accompany his mum if your step son wishes.

Simple. There will be bags of other times you get to go to school, and probably your own son will go there eventually..

RoboJesus Mon 02-Jul-18 14:10:43

It's up to the kid. End of

retroafro Mon 02-Jul-18 14:11:31


To clarify - Before i met my wife, they had a court order etc. He had them every other weekend. My point being I respect what they hhad in place and not altered that - in actual fact, the dad now takes his son football training through the week and attends any football related event, even on our weekends of having the children. (were not allowed to them on his weekends, without drama)
Me and my wife try to attend events inclusive of their dad, just so the daughter can see him, as he doesn't bother with her that often.
To clarify, he doesn't do homework, attend school related things at all. He is awol through the weekend and says its work commitments that stop him from seeing the kids...when he doesnt want the kids on his weekends - we make up an excuse to the kids so they just think he is poorly or his boss is nasty and making him work.
The dad only wanted them ONE weekend a month originally - he has only started to show a slight interest in his son as of late - which was were not allowed to do a hobby with him...yet he does football with him. My wife wants a rapport with her son!! we have them the same amount of weekends as the it fair that my wife or me for that matter get aggro if we take him to a club mid-week in our time, which doesnt affect his weekends playing footy with his son?

OP’s posts: |
BoneShaker Mon 02-Jul-18 14:12:42

I can't help thinking that you're placing a little too much importance on tonight's school event. At secondary school it all tends to be very much 'hands-off' compared to primary school. There isn't really all that much involvement with a child's classmates. The only ones that you generally meet are the ones who are your child's actual friends, and usually that happens outside of school.

It's useful for parents to meet the tutor but there really isn't a need for two parents and a step-parent to do this. It's quite rare for me and my DH to attend school events/meetings together. Usually one of us would go and then update the other with anything relevant that they needed to know. In your case it would make sense for your wife to go and then pass on any details to you afterwards.

I think that this is one of those times where you need to take a step back and leave it to your wife and your step-son's father.

If it really is all about getting back at you or asserting himself as 'the big man', your insistence on turning up is going to play right into his hands and make things awkward for your step-son in the process.

If his motives for going are a little more altruistic, then your step-son will benefit from having a father who is involved in his life.

funinthesun18 Mon 02-Jul-18 14:13:31

Might be worth pointing out that we want his bio dads wife to attend, but she is too busy.

She has her own life and commitments. So long as both a parents attend it does not matter if she or you don’t go.

retroafro Mon 02-Jul-18 14:21:28

The dad has always had the option to see them when ever. alot of posters are replying as if the dad is decent dad. the amount of time h sees his kids has increased since i been on the scene - he hardly bothered before, make what you will with that.

He has told his kids their little brother isnt really their brother, he doesnt bother with his daughter - surely these two things say alot?
It certainly does in my house when the daughter who is almost 10 now remarks on this and i can see its damaging effects.
Is it my fault that the dad didn't care, but partial does now? is it my wifes fault for moving on and remarrying to me with children.
me and my wife have not overstepped any boundaries and encourage the dad to see his kids more to think of them.
At the end of the day me and my wife have them for approx 24 days of a month and any weekend he decides he cant have them and any holidays he goes on with his wife and mates.
I will probs look after baby and daughter just to appease the dad so he doesnt plant cruel seeds into his sons head again.

I think of the children irrespective of what i think about their dad, wish he did the same.

OP’s posts: |
Sirzy Mon 02-Jul-18 14:23:46

He is making an effort now though, the past is the past (and let’s not forget you will only be getting one half of the story and the truth is probably somewhere between both version!)

You aren’t their father. He is. You are stepping on toes is some sort of dick measuring contest it would seem

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