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What to do when the parents do nothing?? - Long post sorry(24 Posts)
New to the group so please go easy haha
Really need some help here because I'm at a loss!
Here's the jist...
I'm a step mum and we are a blended family. I have a 9 year old from a previous relationship, he has a 7 year old and 4 year old from a previous relationship and we have a 9 month old together. We are engaged and have been together for over 2 years.
He gets his children every other weekend and that weekend is hell on our relationship. it's just constant issues and it's not usually about the SCs behaviour. The don't have much discipline at their mum's house at all and we spend the weekend teaching them to be respectful and clean up after themselves, use basic manners and just general all-around self-discipline as small humans. That's fine, I'm pretty used to that at this point.
My problem is, I can't understand a damn word that comes out of either of their mouths and it's been like this from the start!! Their dad can understand a little more than me but even he really struggles. The 7 year old talks really fast and sentences are filled with repeated words, umm, ahh, jibberish and when he finally says what he wants to say I'm lost. He has an odd accent when he speaks, and doesn't have much articulation or diction at all. He also can't read at all which I think is a contributing factor.
The 4 year old can talk your ear off - her vocabulary is huge for her age but she can't say even 1 word the right way and she is really difficult to understand. she knows what she's trying to say so the language development is there but she just can't say it properly. basic sounds that should have been drilled into her head by now are non-existent and both children REALLY NEED speech therapy.
The issue is that my partner essentially refuses to converse with his ex about it. any time he brings something up to her she goes nuts and screams and yells and says nothing is wrong so he has given up but agrees with me that something needs to be done. He just won't fucking do it!! we constantly fight about him not wanting to fight with her about the wellbeing of his children so I know he has no issues with fighting he just won't fight with her or for his children for fear of losing them completely.
I just feel so horrible for these kids not being understood or their school work suffering (the school is a terrible one anyway) when it could actually be fixed with some form of consultation to find out what's going on and if there's a bigger issue with them (disability - strong family history, etc.) and of course I can't do anything for them because I'm not their mum but clearly I'm the only one who actually gives a shit.
Their mum refuses to meet me still and I'm not allowed to school/sports events but her new boyfriend is now living with her and attends everything and my partner just has to suck it up.
I'm just at a loss here and really don't know what to do to help these children succeed in life when everyone is hell-bent on holding them back - I understand my partner feels helpless and is overwhelmed but since I can't do anything and their mum is blind and deaf to the facts he needs to step up. it's our weekend this weekend and I'm dreading having to argue all over again but I feel like if I don't try and help them no one will.
How do you cope when you care so much but no one else sees the issues right before their eyes? or they see them but stand by and do nothing? I'm so tired of being stressed and watching these poor kids get worse and worse. I see a therapist who just tells me to let it go but I love these kids and want what's best for them and it just kills me every time they come over and have to repeat themselves constantly.
any advice would be appreciated.
Op if he is on the birth certs and therefore has PR he should be talking to teachers about their development. Have they mentioned a need for speech therapy?
He keeps saying he will speak to the school but he hasn't - he has asked their mum to though and she says they say there's nothing to worry about. I doubt she has spoken to the school though, she doesn't see an issue there at all. He really doesn't want to tread on their mum's toes it seems by going to the school himself. It's really frustrating. If I could I would but even if we were married I'd still have no rights to do anything. I know he went to the school not long after we got together and bio mum wasn't actually taking the oldest to school much and was flagged. The teacher said we can't tech him if he's not here. But since then he's been going almost every day but theres been no improvement at all in 2 years. We know the school isn't a good one but we can't get him changed to a different one.
Then ultimately you can do nothing, as least for the children. You can however choose to walk away from this useless man
He's not useless, he's terrified. Of her, that something could be wrong with his kids, that she will take them away etc. I understand the fear there, it's denial coupled with genuine fear. No one wants to think that their could be something wrong with their child/ren but you have to push through and that's what I need him to do. But when we only get them 2 out of 14 days we are quite powerless and that's another issue. If he does go to her and do something about it she may not take them to appointments or bother following up and we can't. He works full time and odd hours and I have no rights so it's just really tough. It's more about convincing bio mum of the problem than anything else but I honestly think nothing will convince her anyway. That's why I feel so stuck.
If they’re as difficult to understand as you say then school will say something. If these kids are struggling academically due to these speech issue then school will intervene if only to protect their own targets. What’s stopping him from calling the school and telling them his relationship with his ex is problematic and he’d like to discuss his children without reference to her? Schools often deal with this kind of conflict and wouldn’t have to tell her. He’s allowed to discuss his own kids.
If think he needs to man up. If the cannot speak to his ex wife he could speak to the school and ask them do they consider the children have speech issues? Where we live you can self refer for speech therapy so you just ring them and after 6 months you get an appointment. Working full time is not an excuse. I also work full time but he must get days off?
Op I’m a stepmum too, sometimes though you have to risk losing contact for the greater good. You said earlier “The issue is that my partner essentially refuses to converse with his ex about it”. He needs to. If she denies contact then you use the courts to fight for it back. At least then the issue will be raised and will need to be addressed
I'd say first thing he should do is get a formal access agreement through the court then his fears of her denying him access are reduced.
He could ask to have more access then could talk to the school, professionals etc and he or you could take them to these appointments.
If you cant do anything formal or go through the mum i would see if there are any phonics classes around you can take them to on the weekends for when they are there. Or do it yourself. Make games out of it. Example: this week is the letter S. Heres an ssss sound. Like a snake. Can you draw a snake?
Get them to read to their step siblings from basic books. Or sing them songs.
Although this plan ignores the fact that if it is an actual issue and not just heightened by being at your place that someone should have picked up on it (at least for the 7 year old) and have referred them somewhere by now.
Dad has as much right and responsibility with regards to schooling as mum does surely? Can he contact the school and discuss it with the teachers?
Stop making excuses for him. He is useless. As a single mother of 3 I have worked full time for years and managed to put 2 of them through speech therapy as well as attend doctor and dentist appointments, parents evenings etc. Yes, she might kick off and things might get difficult with contact but his children need him on their side and to do what they need. Start with the school. If he won’t then you need to ask yourself whether you want to be with someone who won’t fight for their children. Sadly, it seems there are plenty of women who relish a weak partner who will all but abandon his responsibilities to his children. You don’t sound like you’re one of them.
Your post is so emotionally animated. You really need to stop caring so much, you sound way too involved. They are not you kids and not your battle and you could be totally wrong anyway. My DD was also very hard to understand when she was in primary school. She is now studying Medicine. As its been said, if there really is a problem, school will pick it up.
It sounds like the weekends they are there are very regimented and disciplined based. I hope they also get to have much fun time with their dad.
After this weekend I'm going to press him one last time to contact the school and if he doesn't then I will just give up and deal with it.
We do play those type of games with them to try and get them to speak more clearly and they both make a little progress but unfortunately it's all lost by the time they come back to us. It was always natural for me to correct my child's speech from a young age (full comprehensive and articulate sentences but the age of 3) but I see now that it's not always the case. I tried just correcting them in the beginning but they get really angry and combative when that happens so we tried the games and fun approach. Just sad that it all gets lost between visits. Their mum has the stance that she can understand them so it doesn't matter about anyone else. My partner has tried to talk to their mum in the past about a variety of things but she just gets combative so I think he's just trying to keep the peace and not rock the boat. My ex and I co parent really well so this is still alien to me.
Thanks so much for responding everyone!
Part of the problem will be that mum understands them perfectly coupled with her ex trying to tell her what to do /she not doing what she should it's not surprising there's an issue.
I would speak to him when they've gone.
Can you film them so you can look at it together afterwards? I've noticed these I haven't picked up on this way.
He has to speak to school, does he attend parents evening? If not he has good reason to book an appointment to see them.
Is there anyone in her family he could speak to?
I care a lot and I have tried not to but it's just so hard to watch.
They have plenty of fun time with dad, I tend to leave them to it for half the time these days because it's so hard and I'm a firm believer in children being with their father and spending proper time with him. I also take one so the other has alone time with their dad, even just for a story. We just don't allow certain things in our household that they get in their mums (super violent video games, excessive amounts of screen time etc).
He needs to talk to the school. A seven year old who can’t communicate clearly or read will absolutely be on the school’s radar.
We posted at the same time and said some similar things.
I think that too many men hide behind 'I'm frightened to do anything in case she kicks off/stops my contact' as a way of being excused for not parenting properly or acting in their children's best interests. I wouldn't put up with this if it was my children, why is he colluding with their neglect? It is his responsibility as their parent to advocate for what is best for his children. Working full time is no excuse. I work full time and manage to raise my child perfectly well. He knows he can go to court if there are contact issues and that he can get as much, or more contact, whatever his ex has to say about it. The issue is, they are both being lazy parents and he isn't listening to you.
You are heading for real trouble. Its obvious that you put all the blame on their mum and believe she is not a good mum. You are trying to put pressure on these kids and they are clearly not responding well to it. It won't be long before they start to resent you first for pestering them on something no one seem to have an issue with and belittling their mum, and yes, however much you think you don't show your true feelings to them, they will pick up on it.
Teachers are trained to pick up issues such as speech disorders. If there are concerns, they will raise it the right channel. You mention accents. Have you considered that actually it is you who struggle to understand them and others do fine? As said, my DD was just the same yet it wasn't considered a speech issue. It improved a lot when she had braces at 11. If her sm had dealt with it the way you are, I would have been very annoyed. Your OH is entitled to deal with it as he sees fit rather than how you feel it should be dealt with.
I think that too many men hide behind 'I'm frightened to do anything in case she kicks off/stops my contact' as a way of being excused for not parenting properly or acting in their children's best interests
And some fathers don't actually agree with their partner but can't be bothered to challenge them be s'use they feel so strongly about the issue, they can't cope with the arguments so instead pretend to be be too scared to bring it up with the ex.
I like the idea of Rory's Story Cubes. They are useful for encouraging children to express themselves clearly and also help families learn how to cooperate through play - a skill that might be particularly challenging for blended families.
What are the children's strengths and interests? I think sometimes it can be good to tackle relative weaknesses in one area through using aptitudes or knowledge in other domains. Have them tell you about dinosaurs or whatever their passion is.
You can repeat back in a friendly, interested way what they've just said in corrected form to check you've understood them with the emphasis on perfecting your understanding rather than their weak linguistic abilities.
And try to move away from the mindset of there being 'something wrong' with them. They are just themselves, with certain strengths and certain weaknesses.
Your not there yet but you will be soon. He's lazy and would rather put his head in the sand.
I understand ex drama, my dp's ex is a loon, her mother demanded I had an abortion, she has harassed me, though she won't meet me and knows nothing about me to the point she's names her new baby the same as mine dc. Threatening to call the police for kidnapping because they weren't married and she decided she didn't want the dc to sleep at his new flat But,
My dp doesn't stand up for me and the scared excuses have become just that excuses. The ex has made her dc have her partner surname at home and his real one at school and I've told my dp this behaviour is unacceptable and damaging.
There are things you have to compromise on but there are also things you have to fight for and the well being of your dc isn't something you let slide because your scared.
This isn't a happy situation and not standing up for you or the dc isn't making life better so change needs to come.
At the start I said your not there yet, but as soon as you explain what you expect to happen, what you want to change to better your family and he makes an agreement to act your see that nothing will actually happen and there will be more
If it take 6 months if court and her stopping contact for 2-3 while you proceed court it will be worth it in the long run