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Do your step children get treated like guests?(27 Posts)
DP just came home from work to get changed before going to collect DSS (15). While he was here, he put the hoover round and made sure DSS's room was tidy. He asked what we were having for tea; bangers, mash and beans (I've had a hard week and can't be arsed faffing tonight) he suggested maybe we could have something nicer as DSS is coming.
DSS comes to stay twice a week. DP has to drive 40 mins each way to collect him and take him back. We live quite near a station and the train would take 10 mins per journey but he doesn't like using public transport so DP or I have to drive him.
He doesn't speak to me or DD (16) unless it's to answer direct questions and while he's here he sits in his room playing Xbox. Also, before now I have spent ages cooking tea only for DSS to wolf it down in silence before sloping off back to his room before the rest of us have finished and DP expects my DD to clean up (I told him he could help me!).
Am I being unreasonable to have a word with DP about this as it's starting to get me down.
At 15 the silence and sloping off is normal do not take it personally. I leave snacks in the fridge on their own shelf. Sometimes they are hungry at weird times.
Perhaps if bangers and mash (best dinner ever) is slumming it too much then your DH could cook something gourmet himself, assuming he has his faculties since he can drive?
You are not being unreasonable. He’s not really a guest, it’s his father’s home, and he has a room there. Your plans for dinner are fine.
Your DSS sounds quite rude to be honest. Also why can’t he help clear up after dinner, why just your DD?
Sounds familiar. My DSCs do very little in the way of helping at home. It’s praise worthy if they bring down their mugs/glasses down to leave in the sink. It drives me mad.
I spent Xmas at my DFs a few year’s ago to avoid spending Xmas like the hired help. And returned to a fuming DH who disliked being treated the way I anticipated. Things didn’t change much though. But I was treated worse by the DSCs as they thought it was my fault their DF had ‘changed’.
OP I would stop this attitude from your DP now. He isn’t helping his DS form normal relationships, become an independent individual or be able to relax with you both.
You DP is the issue his expectations of your DD compared with DS is unfair as is the special dinner
If your DP expects something nicer, then he organises a food shop/ delivery earlier in the week and the night before your SS arrives, he cooks a meal that can be heated/ stuck in the oven the next night.
Otherwise he thanks you profusely for cooking after a long week and as his son slopes off to his room after clearing his plate, he tells him to come back, pitch in with the clearing up and thank the cook.
He is then welcome to slope off to his room and be anti-social. It's terrible manners and I speak as someone who has regularly had my nieces/ nephews stay through these ages. They are not treated as guest and would never behave / or have behaved this way. Basic manners have to be taught to children and it starts at home.
I would make Friday night take out night, I have done this with my own children after a hard week. They prefer that anyway I ignore the moans of OH. He can put on a pinny and peel veg. if he likes.
Think of this from your DP's point of view. He's obviously excited his son is coming and wants to make him welcome.
I often do simple 'nice' things for my DD.(and my SC's when they were younger and lived at home). I pick my DD up from school a couple of times a week (even though she could get the bus). It's little acts of love. Fair enough if you don't want to do them, but actually it's rather sweet that your DP does.
They’re either part of the family or they aren’t.
That includes having simple teas like everyone else and not always having an immaculately tidy room like everyone else. And doing boring stuff like shopping like everyone else.
I don’t like it when people bang on about stepchildren being equal, but then pick and choose where this doesn’t have to apply. If they’re equal when it comes to nice things like holidays and treats then they’re equal when it comes to having things like a simple tea as well.
Coming twice a week he should be pitching in like a proper family member, tidying his own room, helping to lay the table and/or clearing up at the very least. You’re not running a bloody restaurant. At 15 I’d have been livid if someone tidied my room so I find that very odd.
If DH is so precious about food he can shop and cook. My DSC are much younger and one can be very fussy. DH does all pick ups and drop offs and I make dinner when he’s getting them so we all have more time to sit down together, I make sure meals are something we all like and have only ever had gratitude from him and thank yous from them. I’m happy to cook but they help sort plates, table, candles etc and then everyone helps clear up. They’re only young but they put dirty clothes in the basket and we wash only what’s in there, they put clean stuff away. We both work ft and I'm no one’s skivvy, everyone who lives here (we have DSC every weekend and a night in the week) does their part to keep things ticking over. They’re absolutely not guests, they’re part of the family and the home and that comes with rights and responsibilities. We want them to grow into capable independent people and that comes from learning to clean up after yourself, pitch in, do things which benefit other people, converse politely, be appreciative and make an effort when needed.
Your husband isn’t doing his son any favours by treating his 15 year old like a pampered prince and he’s bang out of order expecting your DD to clean up after him. Stop that crap right away. It’s an awful message for your DD and while his son may be a standard grumpy teen your DH should be thanking for what you do for both of them, and it’s not “helping” it’s being an equal member of the household.
You don’t have to collect him either, if DH wants him to have a lift he can do it himself.
You know this isn’t right OP. You have to model healthy dynamics for your DD even if DH is happy not to for his son. Do you want her expecting to have to run around after a demanding man in her future life? I hope not.
And I’m all for treats and doing lovely things for DC. I put pjs on the heater so they’re warm after bath time, they have favourite foods in, I play endless Lego and we see god awful Disney tripe at the cinema, they’re cherished and loved beyond belief, but they’re not spoiled and they appreciate extra effort and show us the same.
Do you think your step son actually wants to come? It sounds like he gets nothing out of these visits, except possibly some time alone with his father during the car journeys. Perhaps that's the reason why your dh chooses to give the liftS? Otherwise his son is expected to fit in like family except he's not really.
I can see both sides of this to a degree. I don't agree that your DD cleans up after him.
This is the issue with DC from split parents. Going to your dad's EOW may not actually feel like home to your SS. The norm here is to say "I'm going home" or "I'll be at my dads".
Dad's house doesn't really feel like home.
He wants the place to be as comfortable for him as possible. He might also want to dispel any ideas, that dad is messy.
Something similar to this, is my friend told me when her DHs niece/nephews visit...he tidies up and tell their DC to tidy their rooms, as if Royalty are coming, but when her nieces come over...he doesn't do this.
She told me her DC challenged him on it.
I think it's a man thing.
Just a word, my sm treated us like guests/family as it suited her. So we were guests who were expected to be polite but family to do chores. She fed me mouldy bread when she gave my little half sister fresh bread, and then blamed me for not eating my bread because the baby copied me. But I had to be polite. She gave my sister hell for not making her bed, but she wouldn't have done that to her normal guests.
Think of this from your DP's point of view. He's obviously excited his son is coming and wants to make him welcome. Except that he's expecting OP to cook the special meal and her DD to clear up after it, if nothing else it sends a very outdated message about the position of women in the household. And yes I know the father hoovers etc but that's behind the scenes. The son arrives and the women are the ones visibly catering for his every need! Also isn't the point for the son to feel part of the family, he's not visiting a hotel.
My stepson is 8 but is not a guest in our house. Granted we have him every Friday- Monday, but he has to help out (normally just setting table etc), he is responsible for keeping his own room tidy, and we absolutely do not make special meals or run round making the place presentable for him.
I suppose because he's here for the same amount of time as at mums barring school, he feels this is just as much his home too (which it is)
I know it's not a stepchild situation but I have my DC 50/50 since divorce and I like to make everything's super tidy and nice for when they come, have their fave food ready etc as I miss them so much when they're not here. I don't think that's unusual in itself. They still participate with chores etc however.
Your step son sounds like a normal teen to me. Don't take it personally. And your cooking wasn't wasted if he scoffed it down- he must have enjoyed it, he's just not mature enough to convey that in words. Give him a few years he'll probably be fine.
Your partner is the one who needs to pull his head in. If he wants a special dinner then he can plan shop and cook it. He should also expect his son to do basic things like clear the table, the same as your teenage daughter. Talk to your partner about some 'house rules' for the teens.
And yeah, don't force DSC to sit with you or make chit chat. He'll hate it and it's not a battle worth having. Accept and love him for the stroppy teen he is.
The trouble with your DP treating him like a special vip is that you become bad guy and resentment builds up for everyone. I do think a key to success is people being allowed to be themselves- you are allowed to be a bit grumpy if he’s rude, DSS is allowed to be a bit grumpy as he’s a teenager, DP needs to be more natural and not so formal. Only then can you build a relationship with your DSS.
I would ask your DSS what he likes to eat though, and make a deal? Just you and him, leave OH out of it. Make the start of a positive relationship. Say you will buy and cook him his favourite meal every week, if he makes an effort to say thanks and ask one thing about you every dinner table. Let him see you differently then just the woman who is burdened with him - which might be how he feels. Worth a try?
Could your DH take his son out for the evening for boys bonding time? This would give you and your daughter time alone, and solve the issue of tea and him spending all his time on his X box?
I don't know your SS, but him not socialising could be shyness. My 11 y o is like that, has trouble looking people into their eyes, barely says hello ( only because i'm always on his case ) and he's very much into his video games. I think shy boys are more prone to get addicted to video games. So it's not necessarily personal. My son, after living with my DP for 3 years, still barely communicates with him. And it (would) hurt me if my DP gave up on my son, but I know that it's hard when a child doesn't communicate with you...
However, I'm constantly there to remind my son about at least the minimal manners and it's working a little bit, so your DP could do the same.
About your DP complaining about food, I would politely tell him that I'm tired and it's the best I can do today and maybe he could order take out. I think what hurts you is your partner's lack of appreciation...It's very understandable that he wants your son to feel good in his house, but it's his responsibility.
Expecting your DD to clean up is ridiculous. Can you yourself ask your SS to come back and take his plate to the sink? And if it's not clear for your partner, explain to him that it's not doing your SS any favors not to learn to clean up after himself.
I think your dp is being precious there is nothing wrong with bangers and mash.
Tell him to cook himself if he wants something special.
Didnt read op properly he expects your dd to clear up and not him or his son
He sounds sexist.
No. They have their own room (which they leave a tip) 😂😂 They also have to follow the same rules as DS when they are with us so they just slot in when they come to ours.